Aftermath of the Trump Administration, March 2022


My daily chronicle of news about the Trump administration (20 January 2017 – 20 January 2021), Republicans, Democrats, corporations, courts, resistance, and persistence continues to wind down. I am still posting important articles, especially ones that reflect the differences between the Biden administration and the Trump administration and ones that address the toxic legacy of the Trump administration and Republicans. I hope to devote more of my time to posting muckraking articles on my site and to working with my local activist group in pursuit of progressive change and a stronger democracy. Thanks for reading!


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Tuesday, 1 March 2022:


Putin steps up assault on residential areas, and Biden closes U.S. airspace to Russian planes, The Washington Post, Isabelle Khurshudyan, Steve Hendrix, Rachel Pannett, Ellen Francis, Timothy Bella, Dan Lamothe, Brittany Shammas, Reis Thebault, and Hannah Knowles, Monday, 1 March 2022: “With a massive convoy of Russian troops idling just 20 miles north of central Kyiv and shelling intensifying from the capital to cities across Ukraine, Moscow appeared to escalate its attacks on residential areas Tuesday, with videos and social media posts documenting the devastation and fierce fighting. The most visible assault came when a missile strike hit Kyiv’s main TV tower and a nearby Holocaust memorial, killing at least five people, officials said. Footage of the aftermath, obtained by The Washington Post, showed a gruesome scene of blown-out cars and buildings and several bodies on fire. Kyiv was bracing for an all-out assault amid fears that Russian troops would encircle the capital, as they’ve apparently done in the country’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, its mayor told The PostIn his State of the Union address, President Biden applauded the bravery of Ukrainians fighting the invasion and called for the United States and its allies to continue to support the resistance to Russian forces. But, Biden acknowledged, ‘the next few days, weeks and months will be hard’ for Ukraine, with Russian President Vladimir Putin expected to continue escalating his offensive. Biden also announced that the United States would close its airspace to Russian airlines, ‘further isolating Russia and adding additional squeeze on their economy,’ he said.

  • Nearly 680,000 Ukrainians have left the country since the start of the invasion, the United Nations reported, marking the largest exodus in Europe since the Balkan wars of the 1990s.
  • Congressional Democrats and Republicans are rallying around a new push to provide billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine.
  • European Union nations are probably not going to send fighter jets to Ukraine, despite a senior E.U. official’s vow that aircraft would be among the military aid the bloc promised, officials said. Zelensky repeated his plea with the E.U. to admit his country on an emergency basis.
  • The United States and other world powers decided to release 60 million barrels of oil from their reserves, a move intended to reduce gasoline prices that have climbed rapidly in recent weeks, according to the International Energy Agency.
  • Apple said it is pausing product sales in Russia and has limited other services within the country.

What Happened on Day 6 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times, Tuesday, 1 March 2022: “Explosions struck the capital, Kyiv, and an apparent rocket strike destroyed an administration building in Kharkiv, the second largest city, killing civilians.” See also, U.S. official says Russia’s 40-mile convoy has stalled on its way to Kyiv,  NPR, Bill Chappell, Tuesday, 1 March 2022: “Logistics problems are stalling a massive Russian convoy that’s pushing its way toward Kyiv, according to a senior U.S. defense official. The convoy, which has been measured as stretching for 40 miles, is apparently being hampered by fuel and food shortages. The news comes as Russia continues to concentrate attacks on the large Ukrainian cities of Kyiv and Kharkiv. As night fell on Ukraine on Tuesday, Russia’s large convoy was still about 18 miles north of Kyiv — representing little or no change from Monday, the official said. The official added that some elements within the military column are ‘literally out of gas’ and having difficulty feeding their troops. ‘The U.S. says about 80% of the estimated 190,000 Russian troops that rimmed Ukraine are now in the country,’ NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman reports. ‘About 400 missiles have been fired by the Russians since the invasion began last week.'” See also, Russia bombards a Kyiv TV tower and the Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial site, NPR, Rachel Treisman, Tuesday, 1 March 2022: “Apparent Russian strikes have hit the main television and radio tower in Kyiv, as well as a memorial to the site where Nazis killed thousands of Jews during World War II. Ukraine’s foreign ministry confirmed the attack in a tweet, in which it equated Russia with barbarism. The State Emergency Service said five people were killed and another five injured in the attack on the Kyiv TV tower, according to Interfax. Citing the Ministry of Internal Affairs, it also reported that the broadcaster’s control room was hit and TV channels will not work ‘for some time.’ The ministry said backup broadcasting of some channels will be switched on in the near future, and the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection is asking Kyiv residents to rely on regional TV channels until then.”

State of the Union Highlights: Biden Gets Tough on Russia and Promotes Plan for Economy. Mr Biden said Valdimir Putin would ‘pay a price’ for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Of his economic plans, he said, ‘I have another way to fight inflation: Lower your costs, not your wages.’ The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Tuesday, 1 March 2022: “President Biden used his first State of the Union address on Tuesday night to condemn President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, rally global support for the besieged country of Ukraine and convince Americans that his administration has made progress toward a Covid-free time of economic and social prosperity. The hourlong address, delivered to a mostly maskless audience of lawmakers and others in the House chamber, was in some ways two separate speeches: The first half focused on the war unfolding in Europe, followed by a second half aimed at reviving his stalled domestic policy agenda in Washington.” See also, Biden’s State of the Union applauds unity against Russia and seeks more unity at home. At a moment of global chaos, Biden cites Americans’ broad agreement on the Russia-Ukraine war to urge similar unity on domestic issues. The Washington Post, Annie Linskey and Tyler Pager, Tuesday, 1 March 2022: “President Biden sought to rally the country against war, inflation and the pandemic during his first State of the Union address Tuesday night, using one of the biggest moments of his presidency to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and pitching a diminished agenda he hopes can win bipartisan support. The speech unfolded against a brutal backdrop as fighting intensified in what has become the biggest European land war since World War II. In the opening moments of his address, Biden noted the rejection of Russia and embrace of Ukraine by Americans of all stripes as evidence of the country’s underlying commonality. ‘We fought for freedom, expanded liberty, defeated totalitarianism and terror. We built the strongest, freest and most prosperous nation the world has ever known,’ Biden said toward the end of his address. ‘Now is the hour. Our moment of responsibility. Our test of resolve and conscience, of history itself,’ he said, adding ‘I know this nation will meet the test. To protect freedom and liberty, to expand fairness and opportunity. We will save democracy.’ The lawmakers in the chamber displayed unity as Biden spoke about Ukraine, as some waved small Ukrainian flags and Republicans joined Democrats in applauding his condemnations of Russia. But that unity evaporated the moment Biden turned to domestic policy.” See also, 5 takeaways from Biden’s State of the Union address, NPR, Domenico Montanaro, published on Wednesday, 2 March 2002: “President Biden’s first formal State of the Union address focused on Ukraine, inflation, the coronavirus pandemic and a four-point ‘Unity Agenda.’ He urged world unity in standing up to Russia, listed ways he’s trying to address rising prices (even if they will likely have limited to no effect in the short term) and offered an optimistic outlook about the end of the pandemic. Biden made mention of some progressive policy items, such as the need for robust voting-rights legislation and stood up for transgender and abortion rights (while leaving out some other topics such as climate change). And he also touted some of the accomplishments of his first year, such as the COVID-19 relief bill and the bipartisan infrastructure bill. But the speech’s emphasis on many of Biden’s centrist policy positions, like not defunding the police, was a clear choice in an election year. It was reminiscent, in some ways, of Bill Clinton’s 1995 State of the Union address made after Republicans’ historic gains in the 1994 midterm elections.”

Continue reading Aftermath of the Trump Administration, March 2022:

Trump appeals ruling forcing him to testify under oath in New York state’s civil investigation into his business practices, Associated Press, Michael R. Sisak, Tuesday, 1 March 2022: “Former President Donald Trump has appealed a judge’s decision requiring he answer questions under oath in New York state’s civil investigation into his business practices — a widely expected move that’s likely to prolong the fight over his testimony by months. Lawyers for Trump and his two eldest children filed papers on Monday with the appellate division of the state’s trial court, seeking to overturn Manhattan Judge Arthur Engoron’s Feb. 17 ruling. They argue ordering the Trumps to testify violates their constitutional rights because their answers could be used in a parallel criminal investigation. In an eight-page ruling, Engoron set a March 10 deadline for Trump and his children, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., to sit for depositions. Lawyers for the Trumps asked the appellate court for a stay to spare them from questioning while it considers the matter. The court did not set a date for arguments. It typically issues decisions several months after that, but could be inclined to rule on an expedited basis given the urgency of New York Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation and the Trumps’ desire to swiftly overturn Engoron’s ruling.”

President Biden will deny the shield of executive privilege for two top advisers to former President Donald Trump–his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and former trade adviser Peter Navarro–in the House select committee’s January 6 investigation, Axios, Hans Nichols and Jonathan Swan, Monday, 28 February and Tuesday, 1 March 2022: “The move will likely force Flynn and Navarro to make a choice: cooperate with the select committee or face potential criminal referral from Congress to the Department of Justice.” See also, Biden denies former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and trade adviser Peter Navarro executive privilege claims in January 6 committee investigation, The Washington Post, Tom Hamburger, Tuesday, 1 March 2022: “The White House counsel’s office informed former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and trade adviser Peter Navarro on Monday that President Biden would not back claims of executive privilege to shield them from testifying before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol. ‘President Biden has determined that an assertion of executive privilege is not in the national interest and therefore is not justified, with respect to particular subjects within the purview of the Select Committee,’ said a letter to Flynn’s attorney from deputy White House counsel Jonathan C. Su. A similar letter was sent to Navarro. The letters were first reported by Axios.”

The House committee Investigating the January 6 Attack on the Capitol Subpoenas Lawyers Who Worked to Overturn Trump’s Loss. The committee issued six subpoenas to people who worked on legal aspects of the former president’s bid to invalidate the 2020 election. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Tuesday, 1 March 2022: “The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol on Tuesday subpoenaed a half-dozen lawyers and other allies of former President Donald J. Trump who promoted false claims about widespread fraud in the 2020 election and worked to overturn his loss. Those who were sent subpoenas for documents and testimony participated in a range of attempts to invalidate Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory, including filing lawsuits, pressuring local election officials to change the results and drafting proposed executive orders to seize voting machines. ‘The select committee is seeking information about attempts to disrupt or delay the certification of electoral votes and any efforts to corruptly change the outcome of the 2020 election,’ Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the committee, said in a statement. ‘The six individuals we’ve subpoenaed today all have knowledge related to those matters and will help the select committee better understand all the various strategies employed to potentially affect the outcome of the election.’ More than 550 witnesses have testified before the committee, which is tasked with writing an authoritative report about the violence of a year ago that left more than 150 police officers injured and resulted in several deaths.” See also, Conservative pro-Trump attorneys subpoenaed by January 6 committee, The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany, Tuesday, 1 March 2022: “The House select committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, issued a subpoena Tuesday to Republican attorney Cleta Mitchell seeking records and testimony from the key legal adviser to former president Donald Trump who led efforts to subvert the results of the 2020 election. The conservative firebrand is one of several lawyers subpoenaed by the panel who were also closely involved with various strategies to delay or overturn the certification of Joe Biden’s victory, including Christina Bobb, an attorney turned One America News host, and Katherine Friess, who worked closely with Rudolph W. Giuliani and former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik. Several of these lawyers spoke with Trump on Jan. 6, 2021, according to the committee’s findings.”

John Bolton says Trump ‘barely knew where Ukraine was’ and complained about his own administration’s sanctions against Russia, Business Insider, Jake Lahut and John Haltiwanger, Tuesday, 1 March 2022: “During an appearance Monday night on Newsmax’s ‘Rob Schmitt Tonight,’ John Bolton, the US’s former national security advisor, criticized former President Donald Trump, his old boss, over his administration’s legacy in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. When the host depicted the Trump administration’s approach as ‘pretty tough on Russia, in a lot of ways,’ Bolton disagreed. The former Trump national security advisor said the 45th president ‘did not’ handle Russia better than President Joe Biden, as Schmitt said, and listed a series of qualms he had about how Trump dealt with Russian President Vladimir Putin. ‘We didn’t sanction Nord Stream 2,’ Bolton said, referring to the Russian offshore natural-gas pipeline running to Germany under the Baltic Sea, which was officially canceled last week by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. ‘We should have,’ Bolton added. ‘We should have brought the project to an end.’ After mentioning sanctions the Trump administration enacted on some Russian oligarchs, Bolton became more frank. ‘But in almost every case, the sanctions were imposed with Trump complaining about it and saying we were being too hard,’ Bolton said. ‘The fact is that he barely knew where Ukraine was. He once asked John Kelly, his second chief of staff, if Finland were a part of Russia. It’s just not accurate to say that Trump’s behavior somehow deterred the Russians.'”


Wednesday, 2 March 2022:


Russian forces continued their deadly assault in key Ukrainian areas, prompting some local leaders to warn that their cities were near the breaking point, The Washington Post, Paulina Firozi, David L Stern, Steve Hendrix, Ellen Francis, Timothy Bella, Meryl Kornfield, Hannah Knowles, and María Luisa Paúl, Wednesday, 2 March 2022: “In Kherson — a key port city where Russian state media said Russian forces had taken control — the mayor noted that armed troops visited his office and that they had reached an agreement about civilian movement in the city. Still, he wrote on Facebook, ‘the flag above us is Ukrainian.’ A Ukrainian armed forces spokesman told The Washington Post, ‘The battle continues.’ Earlier, videos from Kherson showed defiant people waving blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flags in front of Russian troops. As fighting continued, the United Nations General Assembly voted 141 to 5, with 35 abstentions, in favor of a resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The resolution demands that Russia ‘immediately cease its use of force against Ukraine’ and withdraw its military forces.

  • President Biden added to the unprecedented — and growing — battery of political and economic embargoes against Moscow, announcing that the United States would close its airspace to Russian airlines.
  • Russia’s Defense Ministry said 498 service members have died and more than 1,500 have been wounded in the fighting. It’s the first time Russian officials have conceded the conflict’s high toll on Russian lives — though there is no way to verify the count.
  • More than 900,000 Ukrainians have fled since the start of the invasion, the United Nations reported, marking the largest exodus in Europe since the Balkan wars of the 1990s. The U.N. had recorded 227 civilian deaths Wednesday, including 15 children, and warned the true numbers were likely much higher.
  • China asked Russia to delay its Ukrainian invasion until after the Olympics, according to a Western intelligence report.

What Happened on Day 7 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times, Wednesday, 2 March 2022: “Russian forces captured their first major city, the southern port of Kherson, Ukrainian officials said. The Pentagon said that Russia’s advance on Kyiv had stalled.” See also, A million people have fled Ukraine as Russia nears takeover of port city, NPR, Jerome Socolovsky and Jonathan Franklin, Wednesday, 2 March 2022: “The number of refugees fleeing across the borders of Ukraine has reached a grim milestone, the U.N. said, as Russia’s siege of key cities across the country extended into Thursday, with Moscow saying it now controls a city in southern Ukraine. The U.N.’s top refugee official said on Wednesday that 1 million people have now fled across the borders of Ukraine since Russian forces invaded a week ago…. The new total of refugees from Ukraine amounts to a little more than 2% of the country’s total population of 44 million. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), around half of the refugees are in Poland, with Hungary, Moldova and Slovakia being the other top destinations, while others have fled to various other European countries.”

The House Committee Investigating the January 6 Attack on the Capitol Lays Out Potential Criminal Charges Against Trump. In a court filing, the panel said there was enough evidence to suggest that the former president might have engaged in a criminal conspiracy as he fought to remain in office. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Alan Feuer, Wednesday, 2 March 2022: “The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol said on Wednesday that there was enough evidence to conclude that former President Donald J. Trump and some of his allies might have conspired to commit fraud and obstruction by misleading Americans about the outcome of the 2020 election and attempting to overturn the result. In a court filing in a civil case in California, the committee’s lawyers for the first time laid out their theory of a potential criminal case against the former president. They said they had accumulated evidence demonstrating that Mr. Trump, the conservative lawyer John Eastman and other allies could potentially be charged with criminal violations including obstructing an official proceeding of Congress and conspiracy to defraud the American people. The filing also said there was evidence that Mr. Trump’s repeated lies that the election had been stolen amounted to common law fraud. The filing disclosed only limited new evidence, and the committee asked the judge in the civil case to review the relevant material behind closed doors. In asserting the potential for criminality, the committee largely relied on the extensive and detailed accounts already made public of the actions Mr. Trump and his allies took to keep him in office after his defeat.” See also, The House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol claims Trump participated in potential crimes to overturn the 2020 election. In a major filing, the House committee says it believes the former president was obstructing Congress and defrauding the US. The Guardian, Hugo Lowell, Wednesday, 2 March 2022: “The House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack said in a major filing on Wednesday that it believed that Donald Trump violated multiple federal laws to overturn the 2020 election, including obstructing Congress and defrauding the United States. The revelations came as part of a filing that intended to force John Eastman, Trump’s former lawyer, to turn over thousands of emails and records since his participation in potential crimes destroyed his arguments for attorney-client privilege protections. House counsel Douglas Letter said in the 61-page filing that the select committee had a basis for concluding Trump violated the law by obstructing or attempting to obstruct an official proceeding and defrauded the United States by interfering with lawful government functions. The former president knew he had not won enough electoral college votes to win the 2020 election, yet nevertheless sought then vice-president Mike Pence to manipulate the results in his favor, the filing said about Trump’s obstruction.” See also, January 6 House select committee alleges Trump and his allies engaged in potential ‘criminal conspiracy’ by trying to block Congress from certifying the 2020 election, The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey, Tom Hamburger, Jacqueline Alemany, and Rosalind S. Helderman, Wednesday, 2 March 2022: “Lawyers for the House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol said in a court filing Wednesday that former president Donald Trump and key allies engaged in potential crimes during their effort to overturn the election: conspiring to defraud the United States and obstructing an official congressional proceeding — the counting of electoral votes. The alleged criminal acts were raised by the committee in a California federal court filing challenging conservative lawyer John Eastman’s refusal to turn over thousands of emails the panel has requested related to his role in trying to persuade Vice President Mike Pence to reject electors from states won by Joe Biden. Eastman has cited attorney-client privilege as a shield against turning over the documents because he has said he was representing Trump at the time. The committee argued in its filing that Eastman’s claim of privilege was potentially voided by the ‘crime/fraud exception’ to the confidentiality usually accorded attorneys and their clients, which holds that communications need not be kept confidential if an attorney is found to be assisting their client in the commission of a crime. They asked the judge deciding whether to release Eastman’s emails to privately review evidence the committee has so far gathered to see if he believes it establishes that Eastman was assisting Trump in criminal acts. ‘The Select Committee also has a good-faith basis for concluding that the President and members of his Campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States,’ according to the filing.” See also, January 6 House select committee alleges Trump and right-wing lawyer were part of ‘criminal conspiracy’ to overturn 2020 election, CNN Politics, Katelyn Polantz and Ryan Nobles, Wednesday, 2 March 2022: “Former President Donald Trump and a right-wing lawyer were part of a ‘criminal conspiracy’ to overturn the 2020 presidential election, the House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot alleges in a court filing Wednesday. The filing is part of an attempt to convince a judge to allow the panel access to emails from lawyer John Eastman, who is claiming attorney-client privilege. The committee said he helped to orchestrate the plot. The filing is the most extensive release to date from the House’s January 6 investigators as they try to obtain Eastman’s emails — and comes well before the House select committee releases its final report on its findings on Trump. House members have also signaled they may make a criminal referral to the Justice Department about Trump, depending on their findings, and the House’s arguments Wednesday could be seen as a preview of a case that could be made by federal prosecutors. In the 61-page court filing on Wednesday, lawyers for the House wrote: ‘Evidence and information available to the Committee establishes a good-faith belief that Mr. Trump and others may have engaged in criminal and/or fraudulent acts, and that Plaintiff’s legal assistance was used in furtherance of those activities.”

Prosecutors Open Arguments Against Defendant in First January 6 Trial. Guy Reffitt recorded himself as he entered the Capitol with zip ties and a pistol. ‘We’re taking the Capitol before the day is over, ripping them out by their hair,’ he said. The New York Times, Wednesday, 2 March 2022: “On the afternoon of Jan. 6, 2021, a man believed by the authorities to be a member of a Texas militia walked from the Ellipse in Washington, where President Donald J. Trump had been speaking about election fraud, to the Capitol. He was wearing what he described as his “full battle rattle”: body armor, a helmet fixed with a camera, a set of plastic hand ties and a .40-caliber pistol at his hip. Over the next several minutes, prosecutors said, the armed man, Guy Wesley Reffitt, not only helped lead a mob up a staircase of the building, but also recorded himself narrating his role in the advance. ‘We’re taking the Capitol before the day is over, ripping them out by their hair,’ Mr. Reffitt said on camera. Then he made a specific threat against the Speaker of the House: ‘I just want to see Nancy Pelosi’s head hitting every step on the way out.’ With a replay of this dramatic scene, prosecutors on Wednesday opened the first criminal trial stemming from the Capitol attack, saying that Mr. Reffitt was at the forefront of the pro-Trump crowd that stormed into the building as lawmakers were certifying the results of the 2020 election.”

Oath Keeper Joshua James pleads guilty to seditious conspiracy and will cooperate with the Justice Department, CNN Politics, Holmes Lybrand, Hannah Rabinowitz, and Katelyn Polantz, Wednesday, 2 March 2022: “An Oath Keeper who served as private security for right-wing figures around January 6 pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy and is cooperating with the Justice Department, becoming the first person charged with seditious conspiracy related to the attack to strike a plea deal. Joshua James, who led the Alabama chapter of the Oath Keepers, a far-right extremist group, also pleaded guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding. He faces up to nine years in prison and up to a $300,000 fine, according to the deal read aloud during Wednesday’s hearing. The development is a major step forward for prosecutors who brought the ambitious case, with some of the most serious charges in the January 6 investigation. Other Capitol riot defendants with ties to the Oath Keepers who did not face sedition charges have already agreed to cooperate.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) records show that Trump’s border wall has been breached more than 3,000 times by smugglers, The Washington Post, Nick Miroff, Wednesday, 2 March 2022: “Mexican smuggling gangs have sawed through new segments of border wall 3,272 times over the past three years, according to unpublished U.S. Customs and Border Protection maintenance records obtained by The Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act. The government spent $2.6 million to repair the breaches during the 2019 to 2021 fiscal years, the CBP records show. While the agency has acknowledged that smugglers are able to hack through the new barriers built by the Trump administration, the maintenance records show damage has been more widespread than previously known, pointing to the structure’s limitations as an impediment to illegal crossings.”

How Fossil-Fuel Companies Are Stonewalling Sarah Bloom Raskin’s Nomination to the Federal Reserve. The industry has donated generously to the campaigns of all twelve Republican members of the Senate Banking Committee. The New Yorker, Jane Mayer, Wednesday, 2 March 2022: “As the American economy faces market turmoil fuelled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the highest inflation rate in forty years, and continuing damage from the covid-19 pandemic, the Federal Reserve System’s board of governors has become a ghost ship. There are multiple vacancies on the panel, and its chairman, Jerome Powell, is awaiting Senate confirmation to a second four-year term. Last month, instead of voting on the confirmation of President Biden’s slate of five nominees to run the world’s most powerful central bank, the Republican members of the Senate Banking Committee staged a boycott. The G.O.P.’s parliamentary maneuver was an almost unheard of act of obstruction. Its aim was to deprive the Senate committee, which is split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, of the quorum necessary for a vote on Biden’s nominees to take place. The Republicans’ goal was to block a single nominee: Sarah Bloom Raskin, Biden’s pick for vice-chair for supervision. Had they met to vote as scheduled, her nomination would likely have survived a party-line tie, which under the Senate’s current rules would have advanced it to the Senate floor for the full body’s consideration. Instead, after the twelve Republicans on the committee failed to show up, the meeting adjourned, and the Senate soon after went into recess. This left not just Bloom Raskin but all five of Biden’s top nominees for the Fed in limbo, including Powell…. A boycott to stop a vote is extraordinary under any circumstances, but experts said they were stunned, given the magnitude of the country’s current economic challenges. ‘It’s an enormous dereliction of duty,’ Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, told me…. Democrats say the situation is all the more confounding because Bloom Raskin is far from an unvetted or untested nominee…. Perhaps because she is married to Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin, a progressive firebrand who represents an area that conservatives have derisively referred to as ‘The Peoples’ Republic of Takoma Park, Maryland,’ opponents have caricatured her as a wild-eyed radical. Yet her credentials and her record in office are consistent with other financial regulators in the U.S., including Powell himself. And she has received scant opposition from the banking community, over which she would become the highest-ranking federal overseer if confirmed. So what, exactly, is the problem? In Stiglitz’s view, ‘It’s very simple: special interests.’ In speeches and op-ed pieces, Bloom Raskin has described climate change as a potential threat to global economic security. Moreover, she’s personally expressed the view that the Fed should have resisted pressure from climate-polluting fossil-fuel companies who wanted pandemic-related bailouts, and instead encouraged a shift to renewable energy sources. Earlier this week, a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that intensifying heat waves, droughts, and floods will affect billions of people, as well as animals and plants, across huge swaths of the planet. Yet Democrats say America’s fossil-fuel industry sees Bloom Raskin as a threat and is distorting her record in order to block her confirmation.”


Thursday, 3 March 2022:


Limited cease-fire reached for civilian evacuations as Russian forces cut off key cities, The Washington Post, David L. Stern, Paulina Firozi, Danielle Paquette, Rachel Pannett, Ellen Francis, Robyn Dixon, María Luisa Paúl, Hannah Knowles, and Meryl Kornfield, Thursday, 3 March 2022: “Ukraine and Russia say they have agreed to temporary local cease-fires to create ‘humanitarian corridors’ for the evacuation of civilians and delivery of vital supplies, as Russian forces encircled major port cities and advanced toward other population centers. The details of the limited cease-fires — which followed a second round of talks Thursday — are still being worked out, officials said. Ukrainian leaders are warning that food, medicine and other essentials are running low in southern cities under siege. In Kherson by the Black Sea, one official warned of disaster within days unless a corridor opened. In coastal Mariupol, near the Russian border, the mayor said residents have ‘no light, water and heat.’ Russian President Vladimir Putin has now sent 90 percent of the forces readied around Ukraine into the country, according to a senior U.S. defense official. Russian troops are moving toward the capital, Kyiv, and the defense official said the invaders show a ‘clear willingness’ to hit civilian targets. More than 1 million people have fled Ukraine, according to the United Nations, an exodus that is expected to become Europe’s worst humanitarian crisis this century. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas cited those harrowing conditions Thursday as he said tens of thousands of Ukrainian nationals already living in America would get temporary protection from deportation.

  • Europe’s largest nuclear power plant caught fire after Russian forces shelled the site in southeast Ukraine, according to Ukrainian officials, raising fears of a catastrophe. But the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog soon said the blaze had not affected ‘essential’ equipment.
  • Ukrainians will also be eligible for ‘temporary protection’ within the European Union for up to three years, depending partly on conditions in Ukraine.
  • The U.S. and Russian militaries have established a special line to communicate with each other through the crisis, two U.S. defense officials said Thursday.
  • A senior French official said a Thursday call between Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron left Macron convinced that ‘the worst is yet to come’ and that Putin aims to control all of Ukraine.
  • The White House on Thursday announced sanctions against dozens of additional Russian elites, oligarchs and their family members.
  • Russian troops seized a key government building in Kherson, the region’s governor said Thursday, and a local journalist told The Washington Post that no Ukrainian government forces have been seen in the city center since early Wednesday.

What Happened on Day 8 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times, Thursday, 3 March 2022: “Russian troops in southeastern Ukraine have seized Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, Ukrainian officials said on Friday, but a fire there that had raised worldwide alarms was extinguished. There had been worries that the fire could spread to nuclear reactors and lead to radiation leaks, but international monitors said Friday morning that there was no immediate sign that radiation had leaked during the battle for the plant. Across Ukraine, Russian forces are pressing ahead, laying siege to cities and trying to control vital ports, and Western officials said Moscow’s forces were targeting civilians and critical infrastructure. Russia’s continuing gains in the south could make it harder for Ukraine’s army to fight in other parts of the country.”

Race, culture, and politics underpin how–or if–refugees are welcomed in Europe, NPR, Laurel Wamsley, Thursday, 3 March 2022: “More than a million Ukrainians have fled to neighboring countries to escape the Russian invasion — and that number could soar to more than 4 million in coming months, the United Nations refugee agency says. More than half have entered Poland, with others going to Hungary, Moldova, Slovakia and Romania — and they have been receiving a warm welcome. Ukrainians arriving in Hungary are coming to a ‘friendly place,’ Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said. ‘We will do everything to provide safe shelter in Poland for everyone who needs it,’ said Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski. The open-arm welcome for those fleeing Ukraine stands in sharp contrast to the treatment of previous waves of refugees from places like Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Just two months earlier, Orbán said Hungary was keeping its restrictive immigration policies: ‘[W]e aren’t going to let anyone in.’ But experts say the differences are not due to racism alone. One factor is cultural: For instance, the long, historic ties between the peoples of Ukraine and Poland. A second factor is political: Terrorism fears over the last two decades have shaped the reception of migrants from countries perceived as security threats.”

New evidence shows Trump was told many times there was no voter fraud, but he kept saying it anyway. the House January 6 panel aims to prove that Trump was acting corruptly by continuing to spread misinformation about the election long after he had reason to know he had legitimately lost. The Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman, Jacqueline Alemany, Josh Dawsey, and Tom Hamburger, Thursday, 3 March 2022: “A data expert for former president Donald Trump’s campaign told him bluntly not long after polls closed in November 2020 that he was definitely going to lose his campaign for reelection. In the weeks that followed, multiple top officials at the Justice Department informed Trump that they had closely examined allegations of fraud that were being circulated by Trump’s close allies — and had found them simply untrue. And in the days leading up to the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, even Trump’s loyal vice president, Mike Pence, repeatedly conveyed to Trump that he did not believe the Constitution gave him the power to overturn the election as he presided over the counting of electoral college votes giving the presidency to Joe Biden. These and other new details were included in a legal brief filed late Wednesday by lawyers for the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol as they began to build a case that Trump was knowingly misleading his followers about the election and pressuring Pence to break the law in the weeks and hours before the assault. According to the panel and others, at least 11 aides and close confidants told Trump directly in the weeks after the election that there was no fraud and no legal way to overturn the result.” See also, House Committee Investigating the January 6 Violent Attack on the Capitol by Trump Supporters Suggests Trump Knew He Lost the Election, Eying Criminal Case. At the core of the theory of a possible criminal case against former President Donald Trump is the argument that he knew he had lost the election and sought to overturn it anyway. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Alan Feuer, Thursday, 3 March 2022: “Shortly after the 2020 election, as ballots were still being counted, the top data expert in President Donald J. Trump’s re-election campaign told him bluntly that he was going to lose. In the weeks that followed, as Mr. Trump continued to insist that he had won, a senior Justice Department official told him repeatedly that his claims of widespread voting fraud were meritless, ultimately warning him that they would ‘hurt the country.’ Those concerns were echoed by the top White House lawyer, who told the president that he would be entering into a ‘murder-suicide pact’ if he continued to pursue extreme plans to try to invalidate the results of the 2020 election. Yet Mr. Trump — time and again — discounted the facts, the data and many of his own advisers as he continued to promote the lie of a stolen election, according to hundreds of pages of exhibits, interview transcripts and email correspondence assembled by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack for a legal filing released late Wednesday. In laying out the account, the panel revealed the basis of what its investigators believe could be a criminal case against Mr. Trump. At its core is the argument that, in repeatedly rejecting the truth that he had lost the 2020 election — including the assertions of his own campaign aides, White House lawyers, two successive attorneys general and federal investigators — Mr. Trump was not just being stubborn or ignorant about his defeat, he was knowingly perpetrating a fraud on the United States. It is a bold claim that could be difficult to back up in court, but in making it, the House committee has compiled an elaborate narrative of Mr. Trump’s extraordinary efforts to cling to power. In it, Mr. Trump emerges as a man unable — or unwilling — to listen to his advisers even as they explain to him that he has lost the election, and his multiple and varied claims to the contrary are not grounded in fact.”

House January 6 committee subpoenas Kimberly Guilfoyle, partner of Donald Trump Jr., The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez and Jacqueline Alemany, Thursday, 3 March 2022: “The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob has issued a subpoena to Kimberly Guilfoyle, the partner of Donald Trump Jr. In a statement, the panel’s chairman, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), said the committee had subpoenaed Guilfoyle to testify because she had ‘backed out of her original commitment to provide a voluntary interview.’ ‘Ms. Guilfoyle met with Donald Trump inside the White House, spoke at the rally that took place before the riot on January 6th, and apparently played a key role organizing and raising funds for that event. The Select Committee is seeking information from her about these and other matters,’ Thompson said.”

‘Traitors Get Shot’: Son Testifies Against His Father in January 6 Trial. Guy Reffitt’s 19-year-old son took the stand against him in federal court in a remarkable tableau that captured how one family was split by the attack on the Capitol. The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Thursday, 3 March 2022: “When an oil-field worker named Guy Wesley Reffitt returned to Texas after taking part in the attack on the Capitol last year, his welcome home was not entirely warm. He bragged to his family about confronting the police outside the building and promised that the violence there was only ‘the beginning,’ according to federal prosecutors. His 18-year-old son pushed back, accusing him of having broken the law. A few days later, Mr. Reffitt realized his son might be right and that the F.B.I. might in fact be on to him. In a burst of anger, he threatened his son and daughter, telling them that they would face his wrath if they sold him out to the authorities. On Thursday, the son, Jackson Reffitt, faced his father from the witness stand in Federal District Court in Washington, testifying against him in a remarkable tableau that captured the painful rupture in one family — and in some ways the nation — caused by the events of Jan. 6, 2021.”

Biden accuses Texas Governor Abbott of ‘government overreach at its worst’ for investigating parents of children transitioning genders, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Thursday, 3 March 2022: “President Biden said Wednesday night that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is carrying out ‘a cynical and dangerous campaign’ by directing state officials to investigate families for child abuse if they allow their children to medically transition genders. ‘This is government overreach at its worst,’ Biden said in a statement. ‘Like so many anti-transgender attacks proliferating in states across the country, the Governor’s actions callously threaten to harm children and their families just to score political points. These actions are terrifying many families in Texas and beyond. And they must stop.’ Biden said his administration is taking several steps to protect transgender children in Texas. Among them was an invitation Wednesday by Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra for families to contact the department’s civil rights office if they were ‘targeted by a child welfare investigation because of this discriminatory gubernatorial order.'”

Florida Lawmakers Vote to Ban Abortions After 15 Weeks. The legislation is modeled after an abortion law in Mississippi that the Supreme Court appears poised to uphold in a ruling expected this summer. The New York Times, Patricia Mazzei and Alexandra Glorioso, Thursday, 3 March 2022: “Florida legislators voted to ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy on Thursday, a move that would severely restrict access to the procedure in a state that for decades has been a refuge for women from across the South. The bill — modeled after a similar abortion ban in Mississippi that the U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to uphold — now heads to the desk of Gov. Ron DeSantis as part of a sweeping push by Republicans to put the state at the forefront of the nation’s culture wars. Other legislation on the verge of passage includes banning instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity in some elementary school grades, and allowing parents to sue public school districts if students believe that their teacher sought to make them feel discomfort about a historical event because of their race, sex or national origin. Impassioned critics have nicknamed that first proposal the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill. Eager proponents have called the second bill the ‘Stop Woke Act.’ Both are expected to pass before the final day of the legislative session on March 11.”

Wisconsin Supreme Court approves congressional map proposed by Democratic governor. The 4-3 ruling is seen as win for Democrats, even though Republicans are likely to maintain their advantage in House seats. NBC News, Shaquille Brewster, Thursday, 3 March 2022: “In a 4-3 ruling, Wisconsin’s Supreme Court on Thursday approved congressional and legislative maps proposed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. ‘Hell yes,’ Evers said in a statement Thursday evening celebrating the court’s decision. He called the new maps ‘a vast improvement from the gerrymandered maps Wisconsin has had for the last decade and the even more gerrymandered Republicans maps that I vetoed last year.’ While the decision is a win for Democrats, the maps are likely to maintain the GOP’s 5-3 congressional advantage and only narrow Republican control of the Legislature, according to the governor’s office…. The maps the court adopted would make it harder for state Republicans to win a legislative supermajority, which they narrowly missed in 2020. A supermajority would allow GOP legislators to override any vetoes by Evers — recently used to block bills to change election laws and ban the teaching of critical race theory.”


Friday, 4 March 2022:


As the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol nears ‘humanitarian catastrophe,’ Russians face void of digital information, The Washington Post, Meryl Kornfield, David L. Stern, Marisa Iati, Danielle Paquette, Adela Suliman, Amy Cheng, María Luisa Paúl, and Karoun Demirjian, Friday, 4 March 2022: “A Ukrainian port city is ‘on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe’ after Russian attacks, its mayor said, while Russia’s isolation grows. ‘We are simply being destroyed,’ said Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko on his Telegram channel, noting that the city has been under ‘merciless bombardment’ from Russian forces over the past five days, not giving enough time between the firing for workers to restore utilities such as electricity and water. Graphic images of the destruction have driven Europeans to protest in their cities’ streets. In the face of an international boycott, Russian authorities sought to stymie outside sources of information, blocking access to Facebook. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a measure into law criminalizing news coverage that accurately portrays the country’s bloody incursion into Ukraine as an ‘invasion,’ leading BBC and major U.S. news networks, including CNN, ABC and CBS, to say they would stop reporting from Russia.

  • Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations denied that his country attacked Europe’s largest nuclear plant, as delegates from other countries condemned the assault.
  • Russia’s communications watchdog announced that it would block access to Facebook, a dramatic step that will cut Russian citizens’ access to information about the war in Ukraine.
  • More than 1 million people have fled Ukraine and at least 331 civilians have been killed, the United Nations said.
  • Officials in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson said Russia is not cooperating after agreeing to ‘humanitarian corridors’ as several cities warned they were running out of supplies.

What Happened on Day 9 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times, Friday, 4 March 2022: “Russia continued its broad offensive in Ukraine …, pummeling cities and towns into rubble, even as it announced a limited cease-fire for the besieged southern city of Mariupol, as well as for a second, smaller city. The Russian targeting of civilian infrastructure has set off a mass exodus of panicked people from cities including Kyiv, the capital, and created increasingly dire conditions for those who remain. About half a million people in Mariupol, a coastal city, were entering their third day without heat, electricity or water…. Since Russian forces surrounded the city two days earlier, it has been largely impossible to bring in medical supplies and other relief. Despite daily bombardments, the local government has refused to surrender.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 4), NPR, NPR Staff, Friday, 4 March 2022: “As Friday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Fighting remains intense in central Ukraine as Russian forces continue to bombard Kyiv in an attempt to take the capital. But their miles-long convoy north of the city still does not appear to be moving, U.S. officials say. In the southern port city of Kherson, Russian troops control much of the city, including key facilities such as broadcast towers. Russian forces captured a Ukrainian nuclear power plant — the largest in Europe. After a massive fire was extinguished, Ukrainian workers continue to operate the facility. No release of radioactive material has been reported. A third round of talks between Ukrainian and Russian delegations is in the works, potentially as soon as this weekend. A new law in Russia threatens up to 15 years in prison for anyone deemed to spread ‘false information’ about the country’s military and its activity. Other penalties target calls for sanctions against Russia and calls for not deploying Russia’s armed forces. Russian authorities blocked access to Facebook, and Twitter is down for many users. Officials also continue to shutter critical media outlets, now including the BBC’s Russian service, independent Meduza and U.S.-funded Radio Liberty. More companies quit Russia. Google stopped selling online advertising in Russia across all services, including search and YouTube. Airbnb suspended operations in Russia and Belarus. Microsoft, Panasonic and Hermès joined the growing list of companies suspending sales in Russia.”

The Roger Stone Tapes. Previously unseen documentary footage shows the longtime Trump adviser working to overturn the 2020 election and, after the January 6 riot, secure pardons for the former president’s supporters. The Washington Post, Dalton Bennett and Jon Swaine, Friday, 4 March 2022: “Roger Stone allowed [Danish] filmmakers to document his activities during extended periods over more than two years. In addition to interviews and moments when Stone spoke directly to the camera, they also captured fly-on-the-wall footage of his actions, candid off-camera conversations from a microphone he wore and views of his iPhone screen as he messaged associates on an encrypted app. Reporters from The Washington Post reviewed more than 20 hours of video filmed for the documentary, ‘A Storm Foretold,’ which is expected to be released later this year. The footage, along with other reporting by The Post, provides the most comprehensive account to date of Stone’s involvement in the former president’s effort to overturn the election and in the rallies in Washington that spilled over into violence on Jan. 6. Stone privately coordinated post-election protests with prominent figures, and in January he communicated by text message with leaders of far-right groups that had been involved in the attack on the Capitol, the footage shows. The filmmakers did not capture conversations between Stone and Trump, but on several occasions, Stone told them or his associates that he remained in contact with the president.” See also, Roger Stone: The story behind the documentary. Danish filmmakers followed Donald Trump’s longest-serving political adviser for extended periods over more than two years. The Washington Post, Jon Swaine and Dalton Bennett, Friday, 4 March 2022.

Senator Lindsey Graham’s apparent call for Putin to be assassinated draws backlash, NPR, Bill Chappell, Friday, 4 March 2022: “Sen. Lindsey Graham’s suggestion that Russians should assassinate President Vladimir Putin has drawn the ire of Republicans and Democrats concerned over the war in Ukraine. ‘Is there a Brutus in Russia? Is there a more successful Colonel Stauffenberg in the Russian military?’ the South Carolina Republican asked in a tweet. Roman Emperor Julius Caesar was assassinated by Brutus and others in the Rome Senate on the Ides of March. Graham was also referring to German Lt. Col. Claus von Stauffenberg, who tried to kill Adolf Hitler in the summer of 1944. ‘The only way this ends is for somebody in Russia to take this guy out. You would be doing your country – and the world – a great service,’ Graham said.”

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration turns over Trump White House visitor logs to the January 6 House committee, Reuters, Patricia Zengerle, Friday, 4 March 2022: “The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration has delivered White House visitor logs from former President Donald Trump’s administration to the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, the committee said on Friday. NARA also turned over records from former Vice President Mike Pence, meeting a March 3 deadline. ‘Yesterday, the Select Committee received additional production of records from the National Archives,’ a House of Representatives Select Committee aide said. ‘This included records that the former President attempted to keep hidden behind claims of privilege.’ Trump had tried to block the release of the visitor logs, but President Joe Biden rejected his claim that they were subject to executive privilege, ‘in light of the urgency’ of the committee’s work and Congress’ ‘compelling need.’ read more Several courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have also ruled against the Republican ex-president’s efforts to block the release of various records to the committee.” read more

Former Attorney General William Barr says Trump was ‘responsible in the broad sense’ for the January 6 violent attack on the Capitol, The Washington Post, John Wagner and Felicia Sonmez, Friday, 4 March 2022: “Former attorney general William P. Barr said in an interview broadcast Friday that he believes that former president Donald Trump is ‘responsible in the broad sense of that word’ for what transpired at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, when a violent mob interrupted Congress’s count of electoral college votes. ‘I do think he was responsible in the broad sense of that word in that it appears that part of the plan was to send this group up to the Hill,’ Barr said in an interview with NBC News. ‘I think the whole idea was to intimidate Congress, and I think that that was wrong.’ Barr’s comments were part of an interview with anchor Lester Holt that the network plans to air in full on Sunday. Excerpts were aired Thursday and Friday morning. During Barr’s tenure at the Justice Department, he was widely viewed as an ally of Trump. But the two had a falling out over Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election, according to Barr, who stepped down in December 2020 and is now promoting a new book.”


Saturday, 5 March 2022:


Putin threatens Ukraine’s ‘statehood’ and likens sanctions to ‘declaration of war,’ The Washington Post, David L. Stern, Marisa Iati, Timothy Bella, Kim Bellware, Danielle Paquette, Amy Cheng, Ellen Francis, and Adela Suliman, Saturday, 5 March 2022: “As Russian forces battered swaths of Ukraine, including a humanitarian ‘safe corridor’ where there was supposed to be a cease-fire deal, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that the nation could lose its sovereignty. In his first extended remarks about the war since the invasion began, Putin said Saturday that international sanctions against Moscow put ‘the future of Ukrainian statehood’ at risk and are ‘a means of fighting against Russia,’ like a ‘declaration of war.’ Ukrainian officials accused Russia of breaching a temporary truce in the southern cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha — meant to allow people to flee the battle zone — less than three hours after both sides were supposed to have ceased fire. Russia’s relentless assault has put parts of Ukraine under siege, with basic necessities undeliverable and Ukrainians prevented from leaving. Besieged areas needed the cease-fire to restore basic services such as electricity, heat and tap water, Ukrainian officials said, and to bring in medical supplies that Russia’s blockades have cut off. The lack of necessities is compounding what local leaders have called a humanitarian ‘catastrophe.’ Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke directly with U.S. lawmakers Saturday, pleading with them to support Ukraine’s call for ‘control of the skies’ to fend off Russian airstrikes.

  • Four Ukrainian cities — Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Mariupol and Sumy — are ‘highly likely’ to have been encircled by Russian forces, Britain’s Defense Ministry said Saturday.
  • WNBA star Brittney Griner has been arrested in Russia on suspicion of illegally bringing drugs into the country after being searched at the airport and found with hash oil in her luggage, according to Russian news agency Tass.
  • The United States and Western allies have grown tight-lipped about how they are delivering military aid to Ukraine, as the country’s airspace has become part of a war zone that no Western nation wants to enter.
  • Following a new Russian law that would imprison those who spread what the Kremlin considers ‘fake’ news about the country’s invasion of Ukraine, independent media outlets are shuttering their operations and Western news organizations are limiting their newsgathering activity.
  • Nearly 1.3 million people have fled the fighting in Ukraine, and at least 351 civilians have been killed, according to U.N. agencies.

What Happened on Day 10 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times, Saturday, 5 March 2022: “Vladimir Putin said any nation that imposes a no-fly zone would be considered an enemy combatant. Russian forces are running into problems in their key objective to take Kyiv, but are making significant inroads in southern Ukraine.

Key Updates:

  • Mariupol residents describe a city becoming ‘unfit for human life.’

  • Ukraine warns of threat to hydroelectric power station.

  • Photographers document Ukraine under attack.

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 5), NPR, Wynne Davis, Saturday, 5 March 2022: “As Saturday comes to a close in Kyiv and Moscow, here is a look at the key developments of the day: Ukraine is asking for more military aid from the U.S. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made the plea during a Zoom call Saturday morning with more than 280 members of Congress. Both Democrats and Republicans have signaled their support. Zelenskyy also asked the U.S. to institute a ban on Russian imports, including oil and gas. A cease-fire failed in less than three hours. Russia agreed to a cease-fire early on Saturday to allow civilians to leave Mariupol and Volnovakha, two cities undergoing heavy shelling. But Ukrainian officials said shelling quickly resumed. Americans should leave Russia immediately, the State Department said. A new travel advisory was issued on Saturday for U.S. citizens in Russia, marking an escalation from just one day prior when the State Department told U.S. citizens to ‘consider’ leaving Russia immediately. The third round of talks will begin on Monday. Ukraine and Russia have agreed to meet again to discuss a potential cease-fire that would allow civilians to evacuate. More than a million people have left already, but it is getting harder to do so as the Russian military has targeted civilian areas. Athletes continue to be impacted. Russian gymnasts and officials have been banned from international competitions by the International Gymnastics Federation. This comes after Russian and Belarusian athletes were banned from the Beijing Paralympics that started on Friday. Other global sports organizations are distancing themselves from Russia.”

How the Manhattan District Attorney’s Investigation Into Donald Trump Unraveled. The criminal investigation into the former president crashed amid a disagreement about the merits of bringing a case. The debate pitted a new district attorney against two veteran prosecutors who had pursued a case against Mr. Trump for years. The New York Times, Ben Protess, William K. Rashbaum, and Jonah E. Bromwich, Saturday, 5 March 2022: “On a late January afternoon, two senior prosecutors stood before the new Manhattan district attorney, hoping to persuade him to criminally charge the former president of the United States. The prosecutors, Mark F. Pomerantz and Carey R. Dunne, detailed their strategy for proving that Donald J. Trump knew his annual financial statements were works of fiction. Time was running out: The grand jury hearing evidence against Mr. Trump was set to expire in the spring. They needed the district attorney, Alvin Bragg, to decide whether to seek charges. But Mr. Bragg and his senior aides, masked and gathered around a conference table on the eighth floor of the district attorney’s office in Lower Manhattan, had serious doubts. They hammered Mr. Pomerantz and Mr. Dunne about whether they could show that Mr. Trump had intended to break the law by inflating the value of his assets in the annual statements, a necessary element to prove the case. The questioning was so intense that as the meeting ended, Mr. Dunne, exasperated, used a lawyerly expression that normally refers to a judge’s fiery questioning: ‘Wow, this was a really hot bench,’ Mr. Dunne said, according to people with knowledge of the meeting. ‘What I’m hearing is you have great concerns.’ The meeting, on Jan. 24, started a series of events that brought the investigation of Mr. Trump to a sudden halt, and late last month prompted Mr. Pomerantz and Mr. Dunne to resign. It also represented a drastic shift: Mr. Bragg’s predecessor, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., had deliberated for months before deciding to move toward an indictment of Mr. Trump. Mr. Bragg, not two months into his tenure, reversed that decision. Mr. Bragg has maintained that the three-year inquiry is continuing. But the reversal, for now, has eliminated one of the gravest legal threats facing the former president. This account of the investigation’s unraveling, drawn from interviews with more than a dozen people knowledgeable about the events, pulls back a curtain on one of the most consequential prosecutorial decisions in U.S. history. Had the district attorney’s office secured an indictment, Mr. Trump would have been the first current or former president to be criminally charged.”


Sunday, 6 March 2022:


Civilian toll mounts in Ukraine as world leaders raise question of war crimes, The Washington Post, David L. Stern, Danielle Paquette, Rachel Pannett, Jennifer Hassan, Paulina Firozi, and Hannah Knowles, Sunday, 6 March 2022: “U.S. officials have seen ‘credible reports’ of intentional Russian attacks on civilians and are documenting actions that could constitute a war crime, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday. ‘We’ve seen very credible reports of deliberate attacks on civilians, which would constitute a war crime,’ Blinken said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union.’ ‘We’ve seen very credible reports about the use of certain weapons.’ A total of 364 civilians have been killed and 759 injured since fighting began on Feb. 24, according to the United Nations’ human rights office. Speaking on a day known as ‘Forgiveness Sunday’ to Orthodox Christians, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared in a video message: ‘We won’t forgive.’ He said promises of ‘humanitarian corridors’ allowing civilians to escape safely have not materialized, and he denounced the killing of a fleeing family in Irpin, a town just outside the capital. In the southern city of Mariupol, local officials said Russian shelling had thwarted their latest attempt to get people out.

  • Two children died ‘in front of my own eyes’ as Russian shelling sent residents running for their lives, the mayor of Irpin said.
  • More than 4,500 protesters were arrested Sunday at antiwar demonstrations across Russia, according to the human rights group OVD-Info.
  • Russian forces struck a Ukrainian military air base, as well as a commercial airport, according to Russian and Ukrainian officials — strikes that could hinder Ukrainian access to airstrips.
  • Russia warned Sunday that foreign countries hosting Ukrainian combat aircraft could be viewed by Moscow as parties to the conflict. The announcement came as Zelensky presses Western allies to send fighter planes to combat Moscow’s invasion.
  • Blinken said Sunday that the United States is discussing a ban on Russian oil with European partners, a potentially crucial step in the ongoing effort to hamper the Russian economy. Some U.S. lawmakers have expressed support for such a move.

What Happened on Day 11 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times, Sunday, 6 March 2022: “Russian shelling imperiled evacuation efforts, with at least three civilians killed in an attack outside Kyiv. Ukrainian forces held off, for the moment, a Russian advance on a key southern city. Key Updates:

  • A Ukrainian family’s dash for safety ends in death.

  • Zelensky says Russia has failed to honor cease-fire agreements.

  • Photos from the fight for Ukraine.

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 6), NPR, NPR Staff, Sunday, 6 March 2022: “As Sunday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: The death toll reached the hundreds. At least 364 Ukrainians have died since Russia invaded Ukraine and at least 759 have been injured, according to the United Nations. The actual toll is believed to be ‘considerably higher.’ Another cease-fire attempt failed. Russian forces broke a cease-fire for the second consecutive day when they opened fire on Mariupol, again forcing the port city to halt evacuations of civilians. Thousands of people were detained for anti-war protests in Russia. Over 4,300 people across 56 cities, including Moscow and St. Petersburg, were detained over protesting President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, according to an independent monitoring group. Western powers are in talks about a ban on Russian oil and gas imports. The U.S. and its allies are having an ‘active discussion’ about banning such imports from Russia, while ensuring there’s enough of an oil supply for the rest of the world. The Biden administration fears what that could mean for gas prices, but an energy imports ban would also deprive Russia of a large source of revenue. TikTok temporarily banned Russian content. The immensely popular video-sharing app is suspending all new content, including livestreams, from being uploaded from Russia. The company says it’s enforcing the ban as it reviews the implications of Russia’s new law that cracks down on independent media.”


Monday, 7 March 2022:


Odessa braces for Russian assault as humanitarian conditions deteriorate, The Washington Post, Karla Adam, Rachel Pannett, Annabelle Timsit, Paulina Firozi, Brittany Shammas, Lateshia Beachum, and Reis Thebault, Monday, 7 March 2022: “The southern Ukrainian city of Odessa was on Monday bracing for a Russian assault as humanitarian conditions across the country continued to deteriorate under Moscow’s increased shelling of civilian areas. The mayor of the strategically important port city told The Washington Post that ‘the aggressor is not far from Odessa,’ with the Kremlin’s forces having already captured the city of Kherson to the east and eight Russian warships looming just outside Ukraine’s territorial waters. Concern mounted as the third round of talks between the two sides ended without a breakthrough. Ukrainian officials said Russia pressed them to give up Crimea and territory in eastern Ukraine as a condition for halting the invasion. However, Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak said they made some progress on organizing local cease-fires and evacuation corridors for women, children and other civilians, who have increasingly come under attack with Russia stepping up indiscriminate shelling.

  • Oil prices reached their highest point in more than a decade on Monday, as the possibility of further disruption to energy markets spurred a global stock market sell-off.
  • Moscow’s proposed evacuation routes to Russia and Belarus are ‘unacceptable,’ Ukraine said after Russia announced six thoroughfares — four of which led to the two nations.
  • At least 27 children have been killed and 42 wounded, UNICEF said. The United Nations says 406 civilians have been killed in the Russian invasion, adding that the actual toll is likely much higher.
  • The Pentagon will send an additional 500 U.S. troops from the United States to Europe to bolster American forces in the eastern part of the continent, a senior U.S. defense official said.
  • Russia did not show up for a hearing at the United Nations’ top court, effectively boycotting Ukrainian efforts to seek an immediate end to the fighting.

What Happened on Day 12 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times, Monday, 7 March 2022: “Ukraine claimed to have shot down two Russian planes over Kyiv, as it continued to hold key cities. A third round of Ukraine-Russia talks raised hope for humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to escape the fighting.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 7), NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 7 March 2022: “As Monday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: The third round of talks between Ukrainian and Russian delegations ended without any breakthroughs, though the parties agreed to meet again. They are continuing to discuss humanitarian corridors through which to evacuate civilians after several cease-fires have failed. Earlier, Kyiv rejected Moscow’s proposal, which would have routed Ukrainian evacuees into Belarus and Russia. The U.S. believes Russia is trying to recruit Syrian fighters. U.S. officials also estimate that Russia has now deployed ‘nearly 100%’ of the combat forces previously positioned near Ukraine’s borders, without signs of more troops moving from other parts of Russia. Hearings on the war began in The Hague. Ukraine asked the U.N.’s International Court of Justice to order a halt to the Russian invasion, accusing Russia of ‘grave and widespread violations of the human rights of Ukrainian people.’ Russia’s delegation did not attend. A second hearing is slated for Tuesday. Russian police arrested almost 5,000 protesters in 65 Russian cities on Sundayaccording to the latest independent tally. The first cases are being filed under Russia’s new law that criminalizes news reporting or public statements contradicting the Kremlin’s version of events in Ukraine. Oil prices surged to a 14-year high. In the U.S., gasoline prices surged past $4 a gallon to near a national record, as the White House and its allies discuss potential restrictions on the purchase of oil from Russia.”

Supreme Court Allows Court-Imposed Voting Maps in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. State courts had ruled that earlier maps for congressional elections had been warped by partisan gerrymandering. Democrats stand to benefit from the justices’ decision. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Monday, 7 March 2022: “The Supreme Court on Monday allowed congressional maps that had been approved by state courts in North Carolina and Pennsylvania to stand, giving Democrats an advantage in this year’s election in two key states. In issuing the orders, the Supreme Court rejected requests by Republicans to restore maps approved by G.O.P.-controlled state legislatures. Those district lines were thrown out and replaced by courts in both states after challenges by Democrats. Under the new court-imposed maps in both states, Democrats are likely to gain more seats than they would have under the legislature-approved versions. But in the North Carolina case, there were signs that at least four of the court’s more conservative justices could later rule that state courts are powerless to change congressional maps adopted by state legislatures. Such a ruling would fundamentally alter how congressional elections are conducted and amplify partisan gerrymandering, allowing the party that controls the legislature to draw voting districts favoring its candidates. But that will not happen before this fall’s election.” See also, Supreme Court stays out of key state rulings on partisan gerrymandering, for now, NPR, Nina Totenberg and Ryan Ellingson, Monday, 7 March 2022: “The U.S. Supreme Court refused on Monday to intervene in redistricting disputes in North Carolina and Pennsylvania ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. In both cases, Republican state legislatures sought to block decisions issued by state supreme courts based on the states’ respective constitutions. Within the last month, state courts in both North Carolina and Pennsylvania drew new congressional district maps after finding that their state legislatures failed to adopt plans that met state constitutional and statutory requirements. Republican-aligned groups then asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the state court decisions and adopt a newly advanced — and some say radical — theory that would bar state supreme courts from ruling on election disputes involving federal offices. On Monday, the court declined both of those challenges, a relief to voting rights advocates but likely only a temporary reprieve, as four of the court’s conservative justices indicated their desire to intervene.”

Alex Jones and Donald Trump: A Fateful Alliance Draws Scrutiny. The Infowars host tormented Sandy Hook families and helped elect President Donald Trump. His role in the January 6 Capitol attack is now of growing interest to congressional investigators. The New York Times, Elizabeth Williamson, Monday, 7 March 2022: “The day President Donald J. Trump urged his supporters to ‘be there, will be wild!’ at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, Alex Jones spread the message to millions. ‘This is the most important call to action on domestic soil since Paul Revere and his ride in 1776,’ Mr. Jones, the Infowars broadcaster, said on his Dec. 19, 2020, show, which airs live online and on a network of radio stations. Mr. Jones, whose lies about the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting fueled years of threats against the 26 victims’ families, urged his listeners to take action. A little more than two weeks later, Mr. Jones joined his followers at the Capitol as a behind-the-scenes organizer — a crucial role in the riot that is under increasing scrutiny by congressional investigators.”

Congress Gives Final Approval to Make Lynching a Hate Crime. The bill’s unanimous passage in the Senate ended more than a century of failed attempts to explicitly criminalize lynching. The New York Times, Emily Cochrane, Monday, 7 March 2022: “The Senate unanimously approved a bill that would make lynching a federal hate crime, explicitly criminalizing a heinous act that has become a symbol of the nation’s history of racial violence. It was a remarkable moment after more than a century of failed attempts. The historic bill carries the name of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old Black boy tortured and murdered in Mississippi in 1955. Under the measure, the crime is punishable by up to 30 years in prison. ‘Hallelujah — it is long overdue,’ said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, who oversaw the legislation’s passage in a sparsely filled chamber Monday evening. He added, ‘That it took so long is a stain, a bitter stain on America.’ Without any senators showing up to object, the bill cleared the Senate without a formal vote. The measure now heads to President Biden’s desk for his signature, having passed the House in late February with only three lawmakers opposed. ‘Although no legislation will reverse the pain and fear felt by those victims, their loved ones and Black communities, this legislation is a necessary step America must take to heal from the racialized violence that has permeated its history,’ Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey and a sponsor of the legislation, said in a statement Monday. Failure to pass such a measure before this year had become a glaring example of the nation’s inadequate response to a crime that has long terrorized Black Americans. The N.A.A.C.P. estimated, based on its records, that Black victims accounted for 72 percent of 4,743 lynchings that occurred between 1882 and 1968.” See also, Senate passes anti-lynching bill and sends federal hate crime legislation to Biden, NPR, Peter Granitz, published on Tuesday, 8 March 2022: “The Senate unanimously passed a bill on Monday that criminalizes lynching and make it punishable by up to 30 years in prison. It sailed through the House of Representatives last month, and President Biden is expected to sign it. While it eased through both chambers of Congress this time with virtually no opposition, the path to passage took more than 100 years and 200 failed attempts. Under the bill, named the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act after the 14-year-old boy from Chicago who was lynched while visiting family in Mississippi, a crime can be prosecuted as a lynching when a hate crime results in a death or injury, said Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., a longtime sponsor of the legislation. ‘Lynching is a longstanding and uniquely American weapon of racial terror that has for decades been used to maintain the white hierarchy,’ Rush said in a statement Monday evening. ‘Unanimous Senate passage of the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act sends a clear and emphatic message that our nation will no longer ignore this shameful chapter of our history and that the full force of the U.S. federal government will always be brought to bear against those who commit this heinous act.’ Unanimous consent in the Senate allows a bill to pass without a roll call, so long as there’s no senator present to object.”

Satellite images show the Amazon rainforest is hurtling toward a ‘tipping point.’ More than half of the rainforest could turn into savanna–threatening wildlife, shifting weather patterns, and fueling climate change. The Washington Post, Sarah Kaplan, Monday, 7 March 2022: “Viewed from space, the Amazon rainforest doesn’t look like an ecosystem on the brink. Clouds still coalesce from the breath of some 390 billion trees. Rivers snake their way through what appears to be a sea of endless green. Yet satellite images taken over the past several decades reveal that more than 75 percent of the rainforest is losing resilience, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change. The vegetation is drier and takes longer to regenerate after a disturbance. Even the most densely forested tracts struggle to bounce back. This widespread weakness offers an early warning sign that the Amazon is nearing its ‘tipping point,’ the study’s authors say. Amid rising temperatures and other human pressures, the ecosystem could suffer sudden and irreversible dieback. More than half of the rainforest could be converted into savanna in a matter of decades — a transition that would imperil biodiversity, shift regional weather patterns and dramatically accelerate climate change. Historically, the Amazon has been one of Earth’s most important ‘carbon sinks,’ pulling billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the air and storing it in vegetation. Researchers fear that this carbon’s sudden release would put humanity’s most ambitious climate goal — limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) — out of reach.” See also, Study Finds the Amazon Rain Forest Is Less Able to Recover From Droughts and Logging. The region is nearing a threshold beyond which its forests may be replaced by grasslands, with huge repercussions for biodiversity and climate change. The New York Times, Henry Fountain, Monday, 7 March 2022: “The Amazon is losing its ability to recover from disturbances like droughts and land-use changes, scientists reported Monday, adding to concern that the rainforest is approaching a critical threshold beyond which much of it will be replaced by grassland, with vast consequences for biodiversity and climate change. The scientists said their research did not pinpoint when this threshold, which they described as a tipping point, might be reached…. Losing the rainforest could result in up to 90 billion tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide getting put back into the atmosphere,… equivalent to several years of global emissions. That would make limiting global warming more difficult. Among previous studies there has been a large degree of uncertainty as to when such a threshold might be reached. But some research has concluded that deforestation, drying and other factors could lead to substantial forest dieback in the Amazon by the end of this century.”


Tuesday, 8 March 2022:


Western countries take aim at Russian oil and gas while companies halt business in Russia, The Washington Post, David L. Stern, Hannah Knowles, Karla Adam, Amy Cheng, Ellen Francis, Miriam Berger, Paulina Firozi, and Reis Thebault, Tuesday, 8 March 2022: “The Biden administration announced Tuesday it will ban imports of oil and natural gas from Russia, in one of the United States’ most far-reaching actions yet to penalize Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine. President Biden acknowledged Americans would see gas prices increase, at a time when average costs have already broken records. The European Commission, meanwhile, presented a plan to cut Russian gas imports by two-thirds this year, and Britain said it will phase out Russian oil. Economic pressure from companies is building, too. Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Starbucks on Tuesday joined the long list of corporations suspending their business in Russia amid mounting public pressure. About 9 percent of McDonald’s’ revenue comes from Russia and Ukraine, according to Bank of America. Efforts to evacuate civilians from war zones had a breakthrough Tuesday when a Ukrainian official said thousands of residents and foreign students were safely bused out of the northeastern Sumy region. But Ukraine also accused Russia of firing on other civilian routes for the fourth day in a row.

  • The United States all but declined an offer from Poland on Tuesday to deliver MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, after Poland seemed to propose that the United States deliver the aircraft.
  • The national average price for a gallon of gasoline reached $4.17 on Tuesday, the highest since summer 2008.
  • As many as 4,000 Russian troops may have died since Feb. 24, a senior U.S. military officer said, as Ukraine puts up a fierce fight.
  • Some 2 million Ukrainians have already fled their country since the start of the invasion, according to the United Nations.
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the cost of proposed Ukraine aid package has now risen to $14 billion, more than double what was initially floated by the chamber’s leaders.

What Happened on Day 13 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times, Tuesday, 8 March 2022: “President Biden banned U.S. imports of Russian oil, and McDonald’s and Coca-Cola suspended operations in Russia. A humanitarian corridor allowed thousands to escape fighting in one Ukrainian city, but many more nationwide remained trapped in miserable conditions.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 8), NPR, NPR Staff, Tuesday, 8 March 2022: “As Tuesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Russia and Ukraine struggle to establish humanitarian corridors to evacuate Ukrainian civilians. Moscow set a new deadline for Ukraine to agree to humanitarian corridors that would route people through Belarus and Russia. Kyiv previously rejected such routes. Over the weekend, similar efforts to arrange safe exits collapsed, with Ukrainian authorities saying Russian troops fired on civilians. More than 2 million Ukrainians have fled their country in the 12 days since Russia launched its attack, according to a tracker from the U.N. refugee agency. That’s about 4% of Ukraine’s population, and at least half of the refugees are children. The vast majority of the refugees have crossed into Poland, which borders Ukraine to the west. Coca-Cola, Pepsi, McDonald’s and Starbucks joined the corporate exodus from Russia in some of the most symbolic exits. Hundreds of companies have suspended operations in the country, where people are rapidly losing access to foreign brands of clothes, makeup, cars, furniture and streaming and banking services. Russia is now the world’s most sanctioned nation. The White House is banning imports of Russian oilwhich accounts for less than 10% of U.S. imports. The United Kingdom and European Union also announced plans to phase out their imports of Russian fuel.”

Biden Bans Oil Imports From Russia, Calling It a “Blow to Putin’s War Machine.’ Officials said President Biden had struggled for days over the move amid deep concerns about accelerating the already rapid rise in the price of gasoline. The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Tuesday, 8 March 2022: “President Biden on Tuesday banned imports of Russian oil, gas and coal in response to what he called President Vladimir V. Putin’s ‘vicious war of choice’ in Ukraine, but warned Americans that the decision to inflict economic pain on Russia would inevitably mean higher gas prices at home. ‘Defending freedom is going to cost,’ Mr. Biden said in televised remarks announcing the ban at the White House. The president’s move immediately shut off a relatively small flow of oil into the United States, but it was quickly followed by a British pledge to phase out imports of Russian oil by the end of the year and a declaration from the European Commission — the executive arm of the European Union, which is heavily dependent on Russian oil and gas — to make itself independent of that supply in the coming years. The impact of the decisions quickly rippled across the global energy market amid fears that the supply of oil would shrink. In the United States, the national average price of a gallon of regular gasoline, which had already surged in recent weeks, reached $4.173, not adjusted for inflation, a new high and an average increase of about 72 cents from only a month ago, according to AAA [American Automobile Association]. ‘If we do not respond to Putin’s assault on global peace and stability today, the cost of freedom and to the American people will be even greater tomorrow,’ Mr. Biden said.” See also, Biden announces ban on Russian energy imports, CNN Politics, Kaitlan Collins, Jeremy Diamond, Kevin Liptak, Phil Mattingly, MJ Lee, and Kate Sullivan, Tuesday, 8 March 2022: “President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced his administration is banning Russian oil, natural gas and coal imports to the US in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a step he warned could lead to a spike in gas prices at home…. Sanctions on Russia’s oil and gas industry had once been viewed as mostly off the table as officials in the United States and Europe worried about a global spike in prices. But pressure had been growing on Biden to act, including from Ukraine’s President and American lawmakers from both parties, as Russia’s onslaught in Ukraine increasingly targets civilians. Biden acknowledged in frank remarks from the White House the step was likely to lead to higher costs for Americans, a potent political issue that is already leading to attacks from Republicans.”

Texas Man Guy Wesley Reffitt Convicted in First January 6 Trial. The guilty verdict against Reffitt came as prosecutors expanded their investigation into the Capitol attack by indicting a former leader of the far-right group the Proud Boys. The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Tuesday, 8 March 2022: “A federal jury on Tuesday swiftly convicted the first accused Jan. 6 rioter to go on trial even as prosecutors announced they had expanded their inquiry by indicting a former leader of the Proud Boys, the far-right nationalist group that played a prominent role in the Capitol attack. After only three hours of deliberations, the jury found the defendant in the trial, Guy Wesley Reffitt, guilty on five counts. They included obstructing Congress’s certification of the 2020 presidential election by helping to lead a pro-Trump mob in an advance against the police that resulted in the first violent breach of the building on Jan. 6, 2021. Mr. Reffitt was also convicted of wearing an illegal pistol on his hip during the attack and of later threatening his teenage son and daughter to keep them from turning him in to the authorities. He faces up to 20 years in prison on the obstruction count alone. The trial, in Federal District Court in Washington, was an important victory for the Justice Department, which has only just begun the marathon process of bringing to trial what could be scores of rioters accused of storming the Capitol or assaulting the police outside it. In particular, prosecutors and defense lawyers had been watching closely to see if the government’s use of a rarely used obstruction charge against Mr. Reffitt would hold up in court, since the same count is at the heart of many of the cases yet to reach trial and has been challenged by numerous defendants. Just hours before Mr. Reffitt was convicted, the Justice Department made clear that the vast investigation is not slowing down, arresting the former Proud Boys leader, Enrique Tarrio, and saying he had been indicted on charges of conspiring with several of his top lieutenants to plan and launch the assault.” See also, In the first January 6 trial, a jury found Capitol riot defendant Guy Reffitt guilty, NPR, Tom Freisbach, Tuesday, 8 March 2022: “A little more than a year after a group of pro-Trump rioters overwhelmed police, stormed the U.S. Capitol and temporarily halted the country’s peaceful transfer of power, a jury has unanimously returned a verdict in the first trial stemming from the events on Jan. 6, 2021: Guilty on all counts. The defendant, 49-year-old Guy Wesley Reffitt of Texas, was found guilty of these five criminal charges: transporting a firearm in furtherance of a civil disorder; obstruction of an official proceeding; entering or remaining in a restricted area or grounds with a firearm; obstructing officers during a civil disorder; and obstruction of justice—hindering communication through force or threat of physical force.” See also, Guy Reffitt guilty on all counts in first Capitol riot trial, The Washington Post, Rachel Weiner and Spencer S. Hsu, Tuesday, 8 March 2022: “The first trial in the Jan. 6 Capitol breach ended with a guilty verdict on all counts, a victory for federal prosecutors handling one of the largest investigations in U.S. history. After three days of testimony and two hours of deliberation, jurors found Guy Reffitt guilty of five felonies — obstruction of an official proceeding, interfering with police in a riot, transporting a firearm for that purpose, armed trespassing and witness tampering.”

Former Proud Boys Leader Enrique Tarrio Indicted in January 6 Investigation. A federal grand jury charged Tarrio with conspiracy in the Capitol attack last year, making him the second leader of a far-right group to face charges in the past several months. The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Tuesday, 8 March 2022: “Enrique Tarrio, the former leader of the Proud Boys, was charged in a federal indictment unsealed on Tuesday with conspiring with other top lieutenants of the far-right nationalist group to disrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election by helping to plan and launch the attack on the Capitol last year. The charges against Mr. Tarrio, filed in Federal District Court in Washington, were another major development in the Jan. 6 investigation and the second time in recent months that an indictment had been brought against a leader of a far-right extremist group that played a prominent role in the attack. In January, prosecutors charged Stewart Rhodes, the founder and leader of the Oath Keepers militia, with seditious conspiracy for what the government has described as a plot to violently disrupt the work of Congress. While Mr. Tarrio’s indictment did not fundamentally alter the government’s portrait of the violence that erupted at the Capitol on Jan. 6 last year, it did serve to fill in details of how one of the most visible far-right groups on the ground that day planned for — and ultimately played a crucial part in — the storming of the building.” See also, Longtime Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio charged with conspiracy in January 6 attack on Capitol. Arrest shows prosecutors are moving beyond the scene of the crime toward anyone who directed or planned such violence. The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu and Devlin Barrett, Tuesday, 8 March 2022: “Henry ‘Enrique’ Tarrio, a longtime leader of the Proud Boys far-right group, was arrested Tuesday on charges that he conspired with followers who attacked Congress last year — a high-profile indictment unsealed the same day Jan. 6 prosecutors won their first trial conviction from a D.C. jury. Tarrio, 38, who lives in Miami, joins Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes as the second leader of a radical group charged in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, attack. Neither man is accused of entering the Capitol that day, and Tarrio wasn’t even in Washington. Their arrests show that prosecutors are moving their sprawling investigation beyond the scene of the crime toward anyone may have who directed or helped plan the violence.”

Inside the January 6 committee’s effort to trace every dollar raised and spent based on Trump’s false election claims. The committee’s ‘green team’ is scrutinizing whether the Trump campaign, its affiliated super PACs, the RNC and protest rally organizers knowingly used false claims to dupe donors. The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey, Jacqueline Alemany, and Tom Hamburger, Tuesday, 8 March 2022: “The House Jan. 6 committee has waged high-profile legal battles with Donald Trump and his closest allies as it tries to uncover every detail of what happened that day and determine what culpability the former president may have for the violent attack on the Capitol. But it has also been focused on another part of its inquiry that panel members said is of equal importance to the success of the investigation — tracing every dollar that was raised and spent on false claims that the election was stolen. Committee investigators have interviewed low-level Trump campaign aides who wrote fundraising pitches, grilled Trump advisers about who may have personally profited from the post-election cash haul and even dialed up the owners of a portable-toilet company to find out who paid them to put toilets on the Ellipse the day of the insurrection. The questioning is part of an effort by the committee’s ‘green team’ to scrutinize whether the Trump campaign, its affiliated super PACs, the Republican National Committee and protest organizers knowingly used false claims that the election was stolen to dupe donors and raise large sums of cash, according to people involved in the probe and witnesses who have appeared before the committee who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the panel’s work.”

Pressing for Evidence, the January 6 Panel Investigating the Violent Attack on the Capitol by Trump Supporters Argues That Trump Committed Fraud. The argument was a response to a lawsuit filed by John Eastman, who is seeking to shield his communications with former President Donald Trump. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Tuesday, 8 March 2022: “The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol on Tuesday laid out its theory for potential criminal charges against former President Donald J. Trump, arguing before a federal judge that he and the conservative lawyer John C. Eastman were involved in a conspiracy to perpetrate a fraud on the American public as part of a plan to overturn the 2020 election. The allegations, which the committee first leveled against the men last week in response to a lawsuit filed by Mr. Eastman, could determine just how deeply the panel can dig into emails, correspondence and other documents of lawyers close to Mr. Trump who have argued that such material should be shielded from scrutiny because of attorney-client privilege. They also form the core of the panel’s strategy for potentially holding Mr. Trump and his allies criminally liable for what happened on Jan. 6, 2021, one that turns on the notion that they knowingly sought to invalidate legitimate election results. ‘We’re talking about an insurrection that sadly came very close to succeeding to overturn a presidential election,’ Douglas N. Letter, the general counsel of the House, told Judge David O. Carter of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, during arguments in Mr. Eastman’s case. The House committee’s argument is a risky one. If Judge Carter were to reject its claims, the inquiry’s legal team would be less likely to win support for a criminal prosecution unless investigators unearthed new evidence. In court on Tuesday, Mr. Letter repeatedly chastised Mr. Eastman for writing a memo that some in both parties have likened to a blueprint for a coup. The document encouraged Vice President Mike Pence to reject electoral votes from swing states won by President Biden, even as Mr. Eastman conceded that the maneuver was likely illegal. ‘Violate the law — and let them sue,’ Mr. Letter said, characterizing Mr. Eastman’s counsel. ‘Boy, that’s not legal advice that I’ve ever given.'”

Florida legislature passes bill prohibiting some classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity, CNN Politics, Devan Cole, Tuesday, 8 March 2022: “Lawmakers in Florida gave final approval Tuesday to a bill that would ban certain instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom, sending the controversial bill to the desk of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has signaled his support for the measure. Florida’s GOP-controlled Senate passed HB 1557, titled the Parental Rights in Education bill, in a 22-17 vote. The state House had approved the bill late last month. Conservatives have argued that the bill is needed in order to give parents greater oversight over what students learn and discuss at school, stressing that LGBTQ-related topics should be left for families to discuss at home. Opponents, however, have dubbed it the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, arguing the ban it creates would negatively impact an already marginalized community. They’ve pointed to data showing that LGBTQ youth reported lower rates of attempting suicide when they had access to LGBTQ-affirming spaces. The bill’s opponents have also decried a part of the legislation that allows parents to bring civil suits against a school district for any potential violation of its rules, arguing it would open educators up to an endless barrage of litigation. The legislation has drawn scrutiny from Democrats in the state and elsewhere, including from President Joe Biden, who vowed last month to protect LGBTQ youth from such measures. If signed by DeSantis, a staunch conservative who has a history of supporting anti-LGBTQ measures in the state, the bill would take effect in July. His office declined CNN’s request for comment on the Senate’s passage Tuesday, instead pointing to remarks he made last week on the legislation.” See also, Florida legislature passes bill to restrict LGBTQ topics in elementary schools, The Washington Post, Tim Craig, Tuesday, 8 March 2022: “Florida state senators on Tuesday approved legislation that regulates school lessons about sexual orientation and gender identity, defying demands from some of their youngest constituents and pushing the state deeper into the nation’s culture battles. The legislation, which Florida Democrats and LGBTQ activists refer to as the ‘don’t say gay’ bill, now advances to Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). In recent days, DeSantis has indicated he is likely to sign the measure, saying it will shield Florida’s youngest students from exposure to sensitive topics in the classroom.”

Congress Approves Legislation to Return the Postal Service to Solvency. The bill, the most sweeping overhaul of the agency in nearly two decades, now heads to President Biden’s desk for his signature. The New York Times, Emily Cochrane, Tuesday, 8 March 2022: “Congress gave final approval on Tuesday to the most sprawling overhaul of the Postal Service in nearly two decades, sending President Biden legislation intended to return the beleaguered agency to solvency and address pandemic-era mail delays. The Senate voted 79 to 19 to approve the measure, which passed the House last month with overwhelming bipartisan support. Mr. Biden was expected to sign the bill, which the agency’s leadership and an array of interest groups support…. The Postal Service, arguably one of the most beloved federal agencies, has been on the brink of insolvency for years, largely because of a 2006 law that requires the agency to fund retiree health care benefits for its employees in advance. In 2020, a slowdown of mail delivery and a series of operational changes before the election prompted renewed scrutiny, and Congress doubled down on efforts to reform the agency’s structure and address its financial woes. The legislation removes the retirement mandate and instead requires retired Postal Service employees to enroll in Medicare when they are eligible, a change that lawmakers and agency officials estimated would save $50 billion over a decade.”


Wednesday, 9 March 2022:


Ukrainian officials say at least 17 injured after Putin bombs maternity hospital, The Washington Post, Paulina Firozi, Karla Adam, David L. Stern, Annabelle Timsit, Rachel Pannett, Hannah Knowles, and Reis Thebault, Wednesday, 9 March 2022: “At least 17 people, including staffers and patients, were injured after a maternity hospital in Mariupol was struck by Russian forces, Ukrainian officials said Wednesday. Images of the aftermath show injured pregnant women being carried from the scene. Videos shared on social media and verified by The Washington Post show damage to a clinic, with windows blown out and medical gear destroyed. Mariupol’s city council said the destruction was ‘colossal,’ and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called it an ‘atrocity.’ ‘What kind of country is this, the Russian Federation, which is afraid of hospitals and maternity hospitals and destroys them?’ Zelensky said in a video address late Wednesday, during which he switched from Ukrainian to Russian, making a direct appeal to a Russian audience. The reported assault occurred after the World Health Organization said it had verified 18 attacks on health facilities in Ukraine. It also came amid a fresh attempt to evacuate civilians Wednesday after Russia and Ukraine announced routes for people to leave hard-hit cities. After accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces of shelling the escape routes four days in a row, Ukrainian officials remained skeptical of the temporary cease-fire announcements. Officials in Izyum, one of the cities set to be evacuated, said Wednesday that efforts to get civilians out were compromised by shelling from Russian forces. Other evacuations appeared to be proceeding.

  • Local officials in the northeastern Sumy region, from which 5,000 people were able to evacuate a day earlier, said people were leaving in private cars and that they planned to load 22 buses with people, prioritizing pregnant women, women with children, older people and people with disabilities.
  • Ukraine’s state-owned grid operator warned that the closed Chernobyl nuclear power plant has been disconnected from the nation’s power grid by Russian forces, potentially jeopardizing the cooling of nuclear fuel still stored at the site. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba demanded a cease-fire with Russia to allow repairs, and another official called it an ‘extremely dangerous situation.’
  • Ukraine’s confirmed civilian casualty count rose Wednesday, the United Nations reported. Since Russia’s invasion began, at least 516 people have been killed, including 37 children, and more than 900 others have been injured. However, the real toll probably is far higher, and accurate figures are impossible to ascertain due to the difficult conditions on the ground.

What Happened on Day 14 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times, Wednesday, 9 March 2022: “Russian forces bombarded Ukrainian cities, prevented hundreds of thousands of civilians from escaping and destroyed a maternity hospital on Wednesday, while the Kremlin accused the United States of waging ‘an economic war’ against Russia. The misery wrought by Russia’s Ukraine invasion on Feb. 24 deepened further in both countries — destruction and deprivation in Ukraine, and the toll of the West’s tightening vise grip on Russia’s economy.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 9), NPR, NPR Staff, Wednesday, 9 March 2022: “As Wednesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: A maternity hospital in besieged Mariupol was hit in what Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called a ‘direct strike’ by Russian forces. In a tweet, Zelenskyy said children were among those under the rubble, and city officials say women in labor were injured. Responding to the news, UNICEF said the war was taking a ‘horrific toll’ on children, noting that at least 37 have been killed and 50 injured. The Chernobyl nuclear site lost power mid-Wednesday, and emergency diesel generators kicked in to power a critical safety system. The reasons remain unclear. Ukrainian energy authorities said combat operations prevented repairs. Nuclear experts say the development is troubling but the risk of a major radioactive leak at the site remains low. Russian forces in the past day made ‘moderate progress’ toward some cities in northeastern and southern Ukraine but continue to face resistance and have not made significant progress toward the capital, Kyiv, according to a senior U.S. defense official. Ukraine and Russia might hold their first cabinet-level meeting since the start of Russia’s invasion, with the countries’ foreign ministers, Dmytro Kuleba of Ukraine and Sergey Lavrov of Russia, expected to meet in Turkey on Thursday. Meanwhile, Vice President Harris is scheduled to meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda after an unusually public disagreement over Poland’s surprise proposal to share fighter jets with Ukraine via a U.S. military base — an idea that the U.S. Defense Department called ‘not tenable.’ Russia formally acknowledged that conscripts were sent to Ukrainecontradicting direct assurances by President Vladimir Putin that only experienced officers and contract soldiers were taking part in combat. A Kremlin spokesperson blamed the conscripts’ presence on insubordination, saying that military prosecutors would investigate and ‘punish’ those who had failed to fulfill Putin’s orders.”

A federal judge will review 111 emails that attorney John Eastman, a key ally in then-President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election, has sought to shield from congressional investigators, Politico, Kyle Cheney, Wednesday, 9 March 2022: “U.S. District Court Judge David Carter determined on Wednesday that the Jan. 6 select committee had raised enough legitimate questions about Eastman’s basis for blocking the documents that he would conduct a page-by-page review and determine whether to disclose them to lawmakers. Eastman has claimed the emails in question — all sent between Jan. 4 and Jan. 7, 2021 — should be protected by attorney-client privilege and attorney work-product privilege. ‘After reading the emails, the Court will determine for each document whether any privilege existed, whether that privilege was waived, and whether any exceptions apply,’ Carter, who sits in the Central District of California, indicated in a four-page order. Carter made no comment on the select committee’s claim that Eastman might have engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Trump to obstruct Congress. Rather, he said he would defer more detailed comment until after he reviews the emails and determines whether to provide them to the select committee. The select committee, in an explosive court filing last week, indicated that Eastman’s privilege claims should be thrown out because he might have engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Trump to obstruct Congress’ counting of electoral votes on Jan. 6, 2021. That, House Counsel Doug Letter argued, should trigger the “crime-fraud” exception to attorney-client privilege.”

Stephen Miller, former senior adviser to Donald Trump, sues to block the January 6 committee’s subpoena for his phone records, CNN Politics, Holmes Lybrand, Katelyn Polantz, and Tierney Sneed, Wednesday, 9 March 2022: “Former White House senior adviser Stephen Miller filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking to block a subpoena for his phone records from the House Select Committee investigating January 6, becoming the latest among dozens of people who have gone to court to protect their information from Capitol Hill investigators. The committee has sought testimony from Miller as well, saying that he spread misinformation around the presidential election and pushed officials to change the results of the election.”

Former Trump Attorney Sidney Powell Has Secretly Been Funding the Legal Defense of the Oath Keepers, BuzzFeed News, Ken Bensinger, Wednesday, 9 March 2022: “As the government’s prosecutions of members of the Oath Keepers — by most measures, the most significant of any to come out of the Jan. 6 insurrection — move toward trial, defense lawyers face a daunting task: overcoming more than 2 terabytes of evidence arrayed against their clients, including countless hours of video footage from within the Capitol itself. Some of those lawyers, it appears, are getting outside help. A nonprofit founded by Sidney Powell — the former attorney for president Donald Trump who has repeatedly attempted to reverse the results of the 2020 election — has been covering the full legal expenses of at least one and potentially multiple defendants in the high-profile case, BuzzFeed News has learned.”

Republicans push for an ‘earthquake in US electoral power.’ Conservatives are promoting the ‘independent legislature’ theory, which would hand vast election powers to Republican legislators in battleground states. Politico, Zach Montellaro, Wednesday, 9 March 2022: “A legal argument lurking in two Supreme Court cases could give Republican legislators in battleground states sweeping control over election procedures, with ramifications that could include power over how states select presidential electors. Republicans from Pennsylvania and North Carolina challenged court-ordered redistricting plans in their states based on the ‘independent legislature’ theory. It’s a reading of the Constitution, stemming from the 2000 election recount in Florida, that argues legislators have ultimate power over elections in their states and that state courts have a limited ability — or even none at all — to check it. The Supreme Court turned away the GOP redistricting challenges on Monday, largely on procedural grounds. But at least four justices embraced the ‘independent legislature’ theory to some degree, which would consolidate power over election administration in key states with GOP-dominated state legislatures, from the ability to draw district lines unchallenged to passing new restrictions on voting. Taken to its extreme, some proponents of the theory argue it would give legislators power to override the choice of presidential electors after voting in their states.” See also, At Least Four Supreme Court Justices Support Legal Theory That Threatens Fair Elections, Talking Points Memo, Kate Riga, Wednesday, 9 March 2022: “On the surface, the Supreme Court’s order in a Republican challenge to North Carolina’s redistricting maps earlier this week was a win for voting rights advocates. The majority refused to stay a congressional map drawn by the North Carolina Supreme Court after voters challenged the legislature’s version that heavily favored GOP candidates. That leaves the state court’s map in place, which is much fairer than the legislature’s concoction. But the dissent authored by Justice Samuel Alito and joined by Justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas, along with, to a lesser degree, a concurrence from Justice Brett Kavanaugh, offer a dark indication as to where the right wing of the bench would like to go. The dissenters say that North Carolina Republicans had the stronger argument and likely would have won on the merits to get the court’s map invalidated. ‘That some of the justices rejected outright state court interpretations of state statutes is, frankly, a power grab by the Supreme Court,’ Carolyn Shapiro, law professor and founder of Chicago-Kent’s Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States, told TPM. ‘It’s an astonishing shift of authority over election law from state courts to federal courts, but primarily to the Supreme Court.'”

Tina Peters, a County Clerk Running as a Republican for Secretary of State of Colorado, Was Indicted Tuesday Evening on 10 Criminal Counts Related to Allegations That She Tampered With Election Equipment After the 2020 Election, The New York Times, Maggie Astor, Wednesday, 9 March 2022: “Tina Peters, a county clerk running as a Republican for secretary of state of Colorado, was indicted Tuesday evening on 10 criminal counts related to allegations that she tampered with election equipment after the 2020 election. The indictment, which the district attorney of Mesa County, Colo., announced on Wednesday, is connected to Ms. Peters’s work as the top county election administrator, a role in which she promoted former President Donald J. Trump’s false claims that the election had been stolen. Because of Ms. Peters’s unusual scheme to interfere with voting machines, state officials ‘could not establish confidence in the integrity or security’ of elections equipment, the indictment said. Ms. Peters’s case is a prominent example of how false theories about election fraud and Republican-led calls for ‘audits’ of the 2020 vote count have created election-security threats involving the integrity of voting machines, software and other election equipment. And in running for secretary of state, Ms. Peters is among a group of brazenly partisan candidates who claim that Mr. Trump may have won the election and who are transforming races around the country for such once little-known offices. A grand jury indicted Ms. Peters on both felony and misdemeanor charges, including counts of attempting to influence a public servant, criminal impersonation, conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation, identity theft, first-degree official misconduct, violation of duty and failing to comply with the secretary of state.”

Biden Restores California’s Power to Set Stringent Tailpipe Rules. The state is expected to write strict auto pollution standards designed to significantly speed the transition to electric vehicles and influence new federal rules. The New York Times, Coral Davenport, Wednesday, 9 March 2022: “The Biden administration on Wednesday restored California’s legal authority to set auto pollution and mileage rules that are tighter than federal standards, a potent climate policy that had been stripped away by former President Donald J. Trump. The return of one of California’s most powerful environmental prerogatives could have a significant impact on the types of cars Americans will drive in the coming decade, the amount of gasoline the nation consumes and its ability to reduce the tailpipe emissions that contribute heavily to climate change. As the most populous state, and with the world’s fifth-largest economy, California has been able to influence automobile makers and set the pace for the rest of the country. Seventeen other states and the District of Columbia have adopted the California rules, turning them into de facto national standards. Twelve other states are following California’s mandate to sell only zero-emissions vehicles after 2035. With that leverage, California’s actions become pivotal to Mr. Biden’s broader push to accelerate the transition away from gasoline-powered vehicles toward electric vehicles, which require no oil and produce no emissions.”


Thursday, 10 March 2022:


A humanitarian crisis in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol deepens; the mayor likened Russia’s attack to ‘Armageddon’ and said Putin’s troops are firing on residential areas, thwarting evacuations, The Washington Post, Gerry Shih, Ellen Francis, Rachel Pannett, Annabelle Timsit, Paulina Firozi, Timothy Bella, Lateshia Beachum, and Hannah Knowles, Thursday, 10 March 2022: “’Every 30 minutes, the city of Mariupol was visited by aviation which worked in residential areas, killing civilians: old people, women, children,’ said the mayor, Vadym Boichenko, a day after a strike tore through a maternity hospital, killing at least three people and injuring 17. Video footage verified by The Washington Post shows residents circling a massive crater they say was left by an explosion. Bodies have piled up on streets. Boichenko said in a video that humanitarian supplies were unable to enter Mariupol for a sixth day Thursday, as a Russian blockade leaves the seaside hub without much water, electricity or heat and impedes communication. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said not one person has been evacuated from Mariupol, even as escape routes open for civilians in other major cities. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said just after midnight local time on Friday that nearly 100,000 people have been evacuated in the past two days, nearly 40,000 of them on Thursday.

  • More than 40 Republican U.S. senators on Thursday called for President Biden to ‘work with Poland and our NATO allies to expedite the transfer of aircraft and air defense systems’ to Ukraine, a day after U.S. officials quashed Poland’s offer to send fighter jets with American help.
  • Vice President Harris said Thursday that the U.S. relationship with Poland and the NATO alliance remains strong and united against Russia, even after the disagreement over aircraft that the United States warned could draw the Western alliance further into war.
  • Companies continued to pull away from Russia. The Walt Disney Co. said it will pause all business there, while Burger King said it is suspending corporate support for hundreds of franchises and Google restricted its cloud services.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin endorsed a plan Thursday to nationalize foreign-owned businesses that flee the country over its invasion of Ukraine, reflecting the Kremlin’s alarm over job losses and other economic pain the exodus is inflicting.

What Happened on Day 15 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine. At least three cities in western and central Ukraine were hit. In besieged Mariupol, bodies are now being buried in trenches. President Biden will call for suspending normal trade relations with Russia. The New York Times, Thursday, 10 March 2022: “Russian forces, battered by a determined Ukrainian resistance, stepped up their aerial bombardment across Ukraine early Friday, targeting locations far from the front lines while continuing to pummel cities already devastated by fighting. The renewed Russian push came as the war was taking a decidedly darker turn, with hundreds of thousands of people now living in primeval conditions in besieged cities as Russian forces try to batter the country into submission.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 10), NPR, NPR Staff, Thursday, 10 March 2022: As Thursday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: No breakthrough came from the highest-level Ukraine-Russia meeting since fighting began. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov reached no significant agreement in Antalya, Turkey, in the countries’ first cabinet-level meeting since the start of the invasion on Feb. 24. The toll of Russia’s attack on a maternity hospital in Mariupol becomes clearer. Ukrainian officials say three people died, including one child, and at least 17 people were wounded in Wednesday’s attack. Russian authorities claim the hospital was used as a paramilitary base. Russia’s Embassy in the U.K. claimed in a tweet that a pregnant beauty blogger ‘played’ an injured victim for photos with ‘realistic makeup.’ Mariupol, meanwhile, remains under siege. These satellite images show the devastation. The U.S. still believes a no-fly zone over Ukraine could result in a larger war. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said either a full or limited no-fly zone would ‘almost certainly’ lead to a direct confrontation between Russia and the U.S. and NATO. Visiting Poland, Vice President Kamala Harris voiced support for an international investigation into war crimes by Russia. Goldman Sachs became the first major Wall Street bank to pull out of Russia. This follows exits by McDonald’s, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Starbucks and hundreds of other foreign companies. Despite concerns from journalists and activists, Google imposed more restrictions on payments from YouTube — among the country’s most popular platforms, and one of the few to evade Kremlin shutdowns so far. The Senate is expected to vote soon on a $13.6 billion emergency aid package for Ukraine that the House of Representatives approved late Wednesday as part of a massive government spending package. Lawmakers more than doubled the amount of aid as the conflict grew.”

2020 Census Undercounted Hispanic, Black, and Native American Residents. The Census Bureau said that the overall population total was accurate but that counts of minorities were skewed. Advocacy groups threatened to go to court. The New York Times, Michael Wines and Maria Cramer, Thursday, 10 March 2022: “Saddled with daunting logistical and political obstacles, the 2020 census seriously undercounted the number of Hispanic, Black and Native American residents even though its overall population count was largely accurate, the Census Bureau said on Thursday. At the same time, the census overcounted white and Asian American residents, the bureau said. In essence, the bureau’s report said, minority groups — mostly concentrated in cities and tribal areas — were underrepresented in census figures, even though the total population count in those areas often was fairly accurate. That could affect those groups’ political clout, and conceivably could sway decisions by businesses and governments over the next decade, from the allocation of city services to locations of stores. Some minority advocacy groups threatened to challenge the results in court, but remedying the undercounts would be difficult if not impossible, experts said.” See also, The 2020 census had big undercounts of Black people, Latinos, and Native Americans, NPR, Hansi Lo Wang, Thursday, 10 March 2022: “The 2020 census continued a longstanding trend of undercounting Black people, Latinos and Native Americans, while overcounting people who identified as white and not Latino, according to estimates from a report the U.S. Census Bureau released Thursday. Latinos — with a net undercount rate of 4.99% — were left out of the 2020 census at more than three times the rate of a decade earlier. Among Native Americans living on reservations (5.64%) and Black people (3.30%), the net undercount rates were numerically higher but not statistically different from the 2010 rates. People who identified as white and not Latino were overcounted at a net rate of 1.64%, almost double the rate in 2010. Asian Americans were also overcounted (2.62%). The bureau said based on its estimates, it’s unclear how well the 2020 tally counted Pacific Islanders.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland says the January 6 investigation won’t end until everyone is held accountable, NPR, Carrie Johnson, Thursday, 10 March 2022: “On his first anniversary as attorney general, Merrick Garland said he’s committed to unraveling the conspiracy behind the storming of the U.S. Capitol, in what he calls ‘the most urgent investigation in the history of the Justice Department.’ Members of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot have asserted that former President Donald Trump could be charged with conspiracy and obstruction for his actions. But Democrats in Congress and even some of Garland’s friends have worried he’ll shy away from the political firestorm that would result from charging a former commander in chief with a crime. ‘We are not avoiding cases that are political or cases that are controversial or sensitive,’ the attorney general said in an exclusive interview with NPR. ‘What we are avoiding is making decisions on a political basis, on a partisan basis.'” See also, Attorney General Merrick Garland says avoiding politically sensitive cases could ‘undermine’ the rule of law, CNN Politics, Tierney Sneed, Thursday, 10 March 2022: “Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday that when it comes to politically sensitive investigations, the Justice Department does ‘not shy away from cases that are controversial or sensitive or political. To do that would undermine an element of the rule of law, which is that we treat like cases alike without regard to the subject matter,’ Garland told reporters in response to a question about the January 6 investigation.”

Emails show Trump lawyer John Eastman knew plan to delay Biden certification was unlawful. Eastman conceded that scheme represented violation of the Electoral Count Act but urged Mike Pence to go ahead anyway, The Guardian, Hugo Lowell, Thursday, 10 March 2022: “Interrupting the certification of Joe Biden’s election win on 6 January last year as part of the scheme to return Donald Trump to office was known to be unlawful by at least one of the former president’s lawyers, according to an email exchange about the potential conspiracy. The former Trump lawyer John Eastman – who helped coordinate the scheme from the Trump ‘war room’ at the Willard hotel in Washington – conceded in an email to counsel for then vice-president Mike Pence, Greg Jacob, that the plan was a violation of the Electoral Count Act. But Eastman then urged Pence to move ahead with the scheme anyway, pressuring the former vice-president’s counsel to consider supporting the effort on the basis that it was only a ‘minor violation’ of the statute that governed the certification procedure. The admission that the scheme was unlawful undercuts arguments by Eastman and the Willard war room team that they believed there was no wrongdoing in seeking to have Pence delay the certification past 6 January – one of the strategies they sought to return Trump to power. It additionally raises the prospect that the other members of the Willard war room – including Trump’s former attorney Rudy Giuliani and Trump’s former strategist Steve Bannon – were also aware that the scheme to delay or stop the certification was unlawful from the start.”

RNC (Republican National Committee) sues January 6 committee over subpoena of data from software vendor Salesforce, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang, Thursday, 10 March 2022: “The Republican National Committee has filed a lawsuit against the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, seeking to block the congressional panel’s subpoena of data from Salesforce, an RNC software vendor. According to a copy of the complaint, the Jan. 6 committee issued a subpoena to Salesforce on Feb. 23, seeking records on performance metrics and analytics related to email campaigns by or on behalf of President Donald Trump, his presidential campaign and the RNC. In its subpoena, the Jan. 6 committee said it needed the Salesforce data to investigate whether and how Trump and the RNC used the software vendor’s platform to disseminate false statements about the 2020 election, citing evidence that many rioters were motivated by those false claims. The RNC’s lawsuit, filed Wednesday, argues that such a request goes beyond the scope of the congressional committee’s subpoena power. The bipartisan House panel is investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob trying to stop the confirmation of Joe Biden’s electoral college win, an attack that resulted in the deaths of one police officer and four other people and injured about 140 members of law enforcement.”

Michael Flynn testifies in closed-door meeting with January 6 committee. Flynn had been subpoenaed by the committee to discuss a White House meeting after the 2020 election. NBC News, Peter Nicholas and Garrett Haake, Thursday, 10 March 2022: “Michael Flynn appeared before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol on Thursday, in response to a subpoena asking him to testify about an Oval Office meeting at which, the panel said, then-President Donald Trump and others discussed seizing voting machines, several people familiar with the matter told NBC News. Flynn did not answer the committee’s questions, exercising his Fifth Amendment right on the advice of counsel, his lead attorney, David Warrington, said in a statement. The committee sent a letter to Flynn in November demanding that he testify about the meeting on Dec. 18, 2020. In the letter, the committee wrote that the participants discussed declaring a national emergency. The plan was part of the effort to spread the false message that the presidential election the previous month was ‘tainted by widespread fraud,’ according to the letter. The committee, composed of seven Democrats and two Republicans, is conducting an exhaustive investigation into all aspects of the assault on the Capitol and efforts to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory.”

Republican Representative Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina calls Zelensky a ‘thug’ and says the Ukrainian government is ‘incredibly evil,’ The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez and Mariana Alfaro, Thursday, 10 March 2022: “Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) recently called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a ‘thug’ and said the Ukrainian government is ‘incredibly evil,’ in remarks that are at odds with the broad bipartisan support for Ukraine among American lawmakers and the public amid Russia’s invasion. ‘Remember that Zelensky is a thug. Remember that the Ukrainian government is incredibly corrupt, and it is incredibly evil, and it has been pushing woke ideologies,’ Cawthorn told supporters at a recent event in North Carolina, according to video published Thursday by Raleigh-based TV station WRAL. Cawthorn, 26, is on his first term in the House and is a vocal supporter of former president Donald Trump, who has recently praised Russian President Vladimir Putin’s handling of the invasion as ‘genius’ and ‘savvy.’ The congressman’s comments were first reported Wednesday night by Republican strategist Karl Rove in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.”


Friday, 11 March 2022:


The Russian military escalated its assault on Ukraine on Friday, bombing new cities in the country’s west and shelling residential areas near Kyiv, with fresh satellite images showing several homes on fire, The Washington Post, David L. Stern, Marisa Iati, Timothy Bella, Lateshia Beachum, Gerry Shih, Adela Suliman, Amy Cheng, and Reis Thebault, Friday, 11 March 2022: “While Russian forces suffer substantial losses, their relentless bombing is creating a mounting humanitarian catastrophe. Nearly 2.5 million people have fled Ukraine during Moscow’s attack, the United Nations said, and neighboring Poland has taken in so many refugees that mayors in its two largest cities warned they can no longer cope with the influx. Yet, many more remain trapped in a number of Ukrainian cities under near-constant bombardment. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of again disrupting the evacuation of civilians, but said 7,144 residents were saved on Friday. ‘And these are 7,144 reasons to try to organize evacuations for Ukrainians from the besieged cities tomorrow and the day after tomorrow,’ Zelensky said in a video address. In response to the crisis, President Biden formally called on Congress to end normal trade relations with Russia and announced a new slate of bans on Russian imports and exports. Biden and leaders from the other Group of Seven nations also plan to announce new economic actions against Russia meant to hold President Vladimir Putin accountable for the invasion.

  • Russia’s prosecutor general is seeking to have the company Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, declared an extremist organization and banned in Russia following reports that Facebook would allow posts calling for violence against Russian forces in Ukraine.
  • Russia accused the United States at the United Nations of supporting a biological weapons program in Ukraine, repeating a long-running campaign of baseless assertions. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations hit back against Russia’s claims, saying Moscow may be laying the groundwork for using biological or chemical weapons in an assassination or military operations.
  • Ukraine’s military claimed that Russia conducted an airstrike in Belarus so it could blame Ukraine for the attack and incite Belarusian forces to fight with Russia.
  • Putin approved recruiting foreign ‘volunteers’ to support the Russian military’s invasion of Ukraine. The country’s defense minister said most applications so far have come from the Middle East.

What Happened on Day 16 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times, Friday, 11 March 2022: “Russian forces opened fire on a cancer hospital in the southern city of Mykolaiv. Vice President Kamala Harris said Americans would have to pay more for gas to punish Russia.” See also, U.S. and Allies Move to Further Isolate Russia From Global Economy. The Biden administration said it would join Europe and other allies in stripping Russia of permanent normal trade relations, another step to inflict economic damage on the country over its invasion of Ukraine. The New York Times, Ana Swanson, Friday, 11 March 2022: “President Biden and other Western leaders moved on Friday to further isolate Russia from the global trading system, saying they would strip the country of normal trade relations and take other steps to sever its links to the world economy in response to President Vladimir V. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The measures, which were announced jointly with the European Union and other Group of 7 countries, would allow countries to impose higher tariffs on Russian goods and would prevent Russia from borrowing funds from multilateral institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Mr. Biden also moved to cut off additional avenues of trade between the United States and Russia, barring lucrative imports like seafood, vodka and certain diamonds, which the White House estimated would cost Russia more than $1 billion in export revenues per year. The United States will also restrict exports to Russia and Belarus of luxury items like high-end watches, vehicles, alcohol, jewelry and apparel. The European Union announced its own set of bans, including barring imports of Russian iron and steel.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 11), NPR, NPR Staff, Friday, 11 March 2022: “As Friday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Russian airstrikes pound Ukraine’s cities, but Russia’s military made no major advances in the past day, according to a senior U.S. defense official. New airstrikes in the west have targeted Ukrainian airfields. The Russian convoy to the northwest of Kyiv has not moved closer to the capital, the official said, noting that some elements of the convoy moved off the road into the tree line and others moved closer to the front. The southern city of Mariupol remains under siege. Russian troops abducted Mayor Ivan Fedorov of Melitopol in southern Ukraine, according to Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which called the incident a war crime. EU leaders support Ukraine’s bid for membership but are not fast-tracking it. The EU application process requires meeting various criteria, plus agreement among all member states. The traditional negotiations process takes years. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly called for Ukraine to be admitted urgently under a ‘new special procedure.’ The U.S. is moving to revoke Russia’s permanent normal trade relations status, as it has done with Cuba and North Korea. This could mean significantly higher duties on U.S. imports from Russia, the vast majority of which have been oil, metals, fertilizer and chemicals. The G-7 and EU are also moving to revoke Russia’s ‘most favored nation’ status. Canada has done so already. Russian authorities called for Facebook parent Meta to be labeled an extremist organization. They plan to restrict access to its Instagram app after the social media giant made an unusual policy exception to temporarily permit some calls for violence against Russian soldiers. Facebook is already banned in Russia.”

Texas Supreme Court Shuts Down Final Challenge to Abortion Law. The ruling says state officials have no authority to enforce the law, which empowers private citizens: ‘We cannot rewrite the statute.’ The New York Times, Kate Zernike and Adam Liptak, Friday, 11 March 2022: “The Texas Supreme Court on Friday effectively shut down a federal challenge to the state’s novel and controversial ban on abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy, closing off what abortion rights advocates said was their last, narrow path to blocking the new law. The decision was the latest in a line of blows to the constitutional right to abortion that has prevailed for five decades. The Texas law, which several states are attempting to copy, puts enforcement in the hands of civilians. It offers the prospect of $10,000 rewards for successful lawsuits against anyone — from an Uber driver to a doctor — who ‘aids or abets’ a woman who gets an abortion once fetal cardiac activity can be detected. It is the most restrictive abortion law in the nation, and flies in the face of the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which prohibits states from banning the procedure before a fetus is viable outside the womb, which is currently about 23 weeks of pregnancy. By empowering everyday people and expressly banning enforcement by state officials, the law, known as S.B. 8, was designed to escape judicial review in federal court. Advocates of abortion rights had asked the Supreme Court to block it even before it took effect last September. The justices repeatedly declined, and said that because state officials were not responsible for enforcing the law it could not be challenged in federal court based on the constitutional protections established by Roe. But the Supreme Court left open the smallest of windows, saying in December that opponents of the law could file suit against Texas medical licensing officials, who might discipline abortion providers who violate the law. On Friday, the justices of the Texas Supreme Court, all Republicans, said that those officials did not, in fact, have any power to enforce the law, ‘either directly or indirectly,’ and so could not be sued.” See also, Texas Supreme Court rules against abortion providers in federal challenge to restrictive state law, The Washington Post, Caroline Kitchener, Friday, 11 March 2022: “The Texas Supreme Court delivered a blow to abortion providers Friday, issuing a decision that effectively ends their federal lawsuit against the state’s restrictive law. In a unanimous decision, the court ruled that state licensing officials do not have the ability to enforce the law banning abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy. This lawsuit was widely seen as the most favorable legal path to blocking the law, which has been in effect since September. ‘We conclude that Texas law does not grant the state-agency executives named as defendants in this case any authority to enforce the Act’s requirements, either directly or indirectly,’ Justice Jeffrey Boyd wrote in the opinion. The Texas law makes no exception for rape or incest, but does allow the procedure for medical emergencies. In an unusual step, the law empowers private citizens to sue anyone who helps facilitate an abortion in Texas after the legal limit, from the doctor who performs the procedure to the Uber driver who takes a patient to a clinic. The law offers $10,000 to anyone who sues successfully.”

Texas Court Halts Abuse Inquiries Into Parents of Transgender Children. A judge said the governor’s order to consider medically accepted treatments for transgender youth as abuse had been improperly adopted and violated the State Constitution. The New York Times, J. David Goodman, Friday, 11 March 2022: “Investigations of parents with transgender children for possible child abuse were temporarily halted across Texas on Friday after a state court ruled that the policy, ordered last month by Gov. Greg Abbott, had been improperly adopted and violated the State Constitution. The injunction, issued by Judge Amy Clark Meachum in Travis County, stemmed from a legal challenge by the parents of a 16-year-old transgender girl. Her family was among the first to be investigated by the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services under Mr. Abbott’s order, which directed state officials to consider medically accepted treatments for transgender youth — including hormones and puberty-suppressing drugs — as abuse. In issuing the ruling, which came after a day of testimony, Judge Meachum said the governor’s actions, and those of the agency, ‘violate separation of powers by impermissibly encroaching into the legislative domain.’ She said there was a ‘substantial likelihood’ that plaintiffs would prevail after a trial on the merits because the governor’s order was ‘unconstitutional.'” See also, A Texas judge blocks the state from investigating parents of transgender youth, NPR, Julián Aguilar, Friday, 11 March 2022: “A Texas state district judge on Friday temporarily blocked a directive by Gov. Greg Abbott to have state authorities investigate gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth as child abuse. The ruling by District Judge Amy Clark Meachum in Travis County came after Abbott’s order led to the investigation of a state employee’s family after their daughter received such care, prompting the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal to sue over the directive. Last month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a non-binding opinion that some ‘sex-change’ procedures and the prescribing of puberty-blockers to certain children is ‘child abuse’ under Texas law. Paxton’s opinion was followed by a directive from Abbott to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services ‘to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of any reported instances of these abusive procedures in the State of Texas.’ Meachum said the plaintiffs would likely succeed after a trial on the merits of the case and ordered that hearing to begin in July. Meachum said the directive exceeded Abbott’s authority under the Texas Constitution and the type of care it targeted never triggered an investigation prior to the directive.”

New clues emerge about the money that might have helped fund the January 6 insurrection, NPR, Claudia Grisales, Friday, 11 March 2022: “Eight months into the investigation of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, the financial story is one of the most closely held parts of the probe. But the House select committee investigating the 2021 attack has shared some clues through its subpoenas and court filings. The latest peek into questions around the money that might have helped fuel the attack arrived with the Republican National Committee’s lawsuit to thwart a subpoena from the committee. The filing reveals that the Democratic-led panel quietly subpoenaed an RNC vendor, San Francisco-based Salesforce, last month. After the suit became public, the committee quickly defended the effort, saying it was looking into a new push led by former President Donald Trump asking for donations after he lost his 2020 bid for reelection. ‘Ever since Watergate, one of the central adages in … congressional investigations of presidential wrongdoing has been follow the money,’  said Norm Eisen, a former House lawyer in Trump’s first impeachment case. ‘The 1/6 committee investigation has been sweeping in all of its dimensions, and this is no exception.’ The committee’s Feb. 23 subpoena of Salesforce emphasized its interest in the company’s hosting of Trump emails that asked for new donations and included false claims of election fraud.”


Saturday, 12 March 2022:


Russian forces widened the scope of their attacks across Ukrainian cities Saturday while devastating civilians at the key southeastern port of Mariupol and taking an inland gateway that leads to the city, The Washington Post, David L. Stern, Gerry Shih, Amy Cheng, Andrew Jeong, Adela Suliman, Ellen Francis, Marisa Iati, and Reis Thebault, Saturday, 12 March 2022: “Footage published by the Associated Press shows Russian tanks repeatedly firing on a large apartment block in Mariupol, the site of what Human Rights Watch has called a humanitarian catastrophe. Satellite images show several high-rises charred and destroyed. Kremlin troops have the city surrounded, and Ukrainian officials have accused them of striking a mosque there. A convoy carrying 90 tons of food and medicine to Mariupol stopped to spend the night in Berdyansk on Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address that night, and was scheduled to arrive Sunday. The southeastern port city has been without much food, water or electricity for days. As Russia’s invasion entered its 17th day, President Biden authorized the United States to send $200 million worth of military equipment and training to Ukraine. Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned U.S. officials that Russia could target Ukrainian convoys carrying Western weapons, raising the stakes of American aid efforts.

  • The governor of Ukraine’s Donetsk region, Pavlo Kyrylenko, confirmed Saturday that Ukrainian soldiers had pulled out of Volnovakha, which is strategically important as an inland gateway to Mariupol. He wrote on Telegram that Volnovakha ‘no longer exists’ after most residents were evacuated and infrastructure was destroyed.
  • About 1,300 Ukrainian troops have been killed by Russian forces since the start of the invasion last month, Zelensky said. He told reporters Saturday that between 500 and 600 Russian troops surrendered Friday.
  • Protesters gathered in Melitopol, a southern port city, in opposition to the alleged abduction of the city’s mayor by Russian forces. Russia has accused the mayor, Ivan Fedorov, of ‘terrorist activities,’ according to the Associated Press.

What Happened on Day 17 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times, Saturday, 12 March 2022: “Russian forces stepped up their campaign of bombardments aimed at devastating Ukraine’s cities and towns on Saturday, as the White House announced it was sending an additional $200 million in arms and equipment to help Ukraine, defying Moscow. Soldiers fought street-by-street battles in a leafy suburb of Kyiv, the nation’s capital, and some residents wept as they dragged belongings across a destroyed bridge, trying to escape the violence. Russian forces detained the mayor of a captured city, an act that prompted hundreds of outraged residents to pour into the streets in protest.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 12), NPR, NPR Staff, Saturday, 12 March 2022: “As Saturday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: The U.S. approved $200 million in new security aid to Ukraine. The funding includes anti-aircraft weapons and small arms to support Ukraine. The new package brings U.S. aid for Ukraine to $1.2 billion. Russian attacks on several cities continue. Fighting carried on outside of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. The ongoing conflict has disrupted the work of humanitarian groups, as Russian forces target health care sites. Ukrainians protested the alleged abduction of a mayor. Some 2,000 people gathered before Melitopol’s city hall to call for the release of Mayor Ivan Fedorov, who was captured by Russians on Friday, officials said. Ukraine’s president directly addressed the mothers of Russian forces. In an overnight video message, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told them not to send their children ‘to fight in a foreign land.’ More sanctions on oligarchs. The Premier League board is ordering Roman Abramovich to give up his ownership of the Chelsea Football Club, following the U.K. government’s move to sanction the Russian businessman.”


Sunday, 13 March 2022:


U.S. officials say Russia asks China for military equipment, The Washington Post, David L. Stern, Ellen Francis, Gerry Shih, Isabelle Khurshudyan, Paulina Firozi, Hannah Knowles, Ellen Nakashima, and Karen DeYoung, Sunday, 13 March 2022: “Russia has turned to China for military equipment and aid in the weeks since it began its invasion of Ukraine, U.S. officials familiar with the matter told The Washington Post. The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, did not describe what kind of weaponry had been requested, or whether they know how China responded. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN that the administration was ‘communicating directly, privately to Beijing, that there will absolutely be consequences’ for any Chinese efforts to assist Russia in evading sanctions. Ukrainian officials said negotiations with Russia will continue Monday. Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said Sunday that Russia is ‘starting to talk constructively’ and predicted ‘some concrete results’ in a matter of days. Russia brought the fighting closer to members of the NATO alliance Sunday as missiles struck a military facility about 15 miles from Polish border, killing at least 35 people and injuring 134. The Yavoriv military range near Lviv, also known as the International Peacekeeping and Security Center, has hosted exercises by NATO troops and Ukrainians for years, with Americans on-site as recently as February.

  • A humanitarian convoy attempting to reach the besieged port city of Mariupol did not leave Berdyansk on Sunday, according to a clergyman accompanying the aid trucks. The Mariupol City Council says 2,187 residents have died in the invasion.
  • Ukrainian officials said an American journalist, Brent Renaud, was fatally shot while reporting outside Kyiv.
  • Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Sunday that no U.S. service members were killed at a military site in western Ukraine when it was attacked. Ukrainian officials have said they were working to ascertain whether foreigners were present Sunday.
  • The power supply has been restored at the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, according to the nation’s energy minister, days after Ukrainian officials said Russian forces disconnected the site from the grid.

What Happened on Day 18 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times, Sunday, 13 March 2022: “Russia launched a barrage of airstrikes on Sunday against a military base in western Ukraine where American troops had trained Ukrainian forces just weeks earlier, bringing the war 11 miles from the border with Poland, where NATO forces are stationed on high alert. Western officials said the attack at NATO’s doorstep was not merely a geographic expansion of the Russian invasion but a shift of tactics in a war many already worried might metastasize into a larger European conflict.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 13), NPR, NPR Staff, Sunday, 13 March 2022: “With Sunday closing in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Russia steps up its deadly assaults in western Ukraine. A Russian attack on a Ukrainian military site located some 15 miles from the Polish border brought the war dangerously close to NATO territory, a day after Moscow warned that Western military shipments to Ukraine were ‘legitimate targets.’ The attack left least 35 people dead and wounded more than 100. The civilian death toll is rising in Ukraine. Close to 600 people have died since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly three weeks ago, according to the United Nations’ latest count, with more than 1,000 injured. The actual number of casualties is likely far higher. The pope pleaded for an end to the invasion, calling it a massacre. In a somber Vatican City address, Pope Francis urged people to take in refugees from Ukraine. More than 2.5 million people have already fled the country since the invasion, according to the U.N.”

Leaked Kremlin Memo to Russian Media: It Is ‘Essential’ to Feature Tucker Carlson. The Russian government has pressed outlets to highlight the Fox host’s Putin-helping broadcasts. Mother Jones, David Corn, Sunday, 13 March 2022: “On March 3, as Russian military forces bombed Ukrainian cities as part of Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of his neighbor, the Kremlin sent out talking points to state-friendly media outlets with a request: Use more Tucker Carlson. ‘It is essential to use as much as possible fragments of broadcasts of the popular Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who sharply criticizes the actions of the United States [and] NATO, their negative role in unleashing the conflict in Ukraine, [and] the defiantly provocative behavior from the leadership of the Western countries and NATO towards the Russian Federation and towards President Putin, personally,’ advises the 12-page document written in Russian. It sums up Carlson’s position: ‘Russia is only protecting its interests and security.’ The memo includes a quote from Carlson: ‘And how would the US behave if such a situation developed in neighboring Mexico or Canada?'”


Monday, 14 March 2022:


Russia-Ukraine talks on hold as crisis grows; Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to address U.S. Congress on Wednesday, The Washington Post, David L. Stern, Kareem Fahim, Rachel Pannett, Jennifer Hassan Paulina Firozi, Lateshia Beachum, Kim Bellware, Hannah Knowles, and Teis Thebault, Monday, 14 March 2022: “Negotiations between Ukraine and Russia are on hold until Tuesday, after the talks resumed following recent attacks on a military facility 15 miles from the border of NATO member Poland that threatened to widen the war. Unrelenting fighting has obstructed efforts to provide relief to besieged Ukrainian cities, including the port of Mariupol. In the capital, officials said a residential building in Kyiv’s Obolon district was struck by Russian shelling, forcing residents to flee as firefighters tried to extinguish the flames and rescue those trapped inside. Ukrainian officials had projected a more optimistic tone for the talks than on previous, fruitless occasions. But early Monday evening, Mykhailo Podolyak, a Ukrainian negotiator and presidential adviser, said on Twitter that the talks were on a ‘technical pause.’ The long-anticipated convoy of cars that would evacuate trapped Mariupol residents and deliver crucial food and medicine to the besieged city was also stalled Monday, with Ukrainian officials accusing Russian troops of repeatedly violating a cease-fire agreement. After reports from U.S. officials that an increasingly isolated Russia has asked China for military equipment and aid — an allegation both countries denied — the White House warned Beijing that there would be ‘significant consequences’ for violating sanctions against Moscow. National security adviser Jake Sullivan issued a direct warning to his Chinese counterpart during a seven-hour meeting in Rome on Monday and expressed ‘deep concerns about China’s alignment with Russia at this time.’

What Happened on Day 19 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine. Russian and Ukrainian representatives held talks, as did officials from the U.S. and China, but there were no breakthroughs. Hundreds of people escaped the southern city of Mariupol, though many thousands remained trapped. The New York Times, Monday, 14 March 2022: “Diplomatic activity quickened on multiple fronts Monday as Russia’s war on Ukraine entered an uncertain new phase, with President Vladimir V. Putin’s forces widening their bombardment of Kyiv and other cities, hundreds of civilians escaping the devastated port of Mariupol, and the United States warning China over its deepening alignment with an isolated Russia. There were no breakthroughs, either at the negotiating tables or on the battlefield. But as the human cost of the war continued to mount, the flurry of developments suggested that people were groping for a way out of the crisis — or, failing that, for ways to prevent it from mutating into a wider proxy war.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 14), NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 14 March 2022: “As Monday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: A fourth round of talks between Ukraine and Russia concluded without a breakthrough. Negotiations are expected to resume Tuesday — also by video. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration said Russia is escalating attacks in the western part of the country. The U.S. is warning China not to help Russia. U.S. and Chinese officials met for seven hours in Rome to discuss Ukraine and other issues. State Department spokesman Ned Price said the U.S. is watching China closely and warned ‘any such country that would seek to attempt to bail Russia out of this economic, financial morass will be met with consequences.’ Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will deliver an address to the U.S. Congress this week. The Ukrainian leader is scheduled to speak to American lawmakers via Zoom on Wednesday morning U.S. Eastern time. Ukraine is seeking more help from Western countries to beat back the Russian invasion. Ukraine continues to receive weapons from the U.S. and NATO. A senior U.S. defense official said Russia’s weekend airstrikes against a Ukrainian military base near Poland, a NATO member, have had no impact on efforts to assist Ukraine. The United Nations also announced that it would allocate $40 million in additional funds to Ukraine.”

Document in January 6 Case Shows Plan to Storm Government Buildings. New details from evidence cited in the indictment of Enrique Tarrio, the former head of the far-right Proud Boys, reveal a plan with similarities to what unfolded at the Capitol. The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Monday, 14 March 2022: “A document found by federal prosecutors in the possession of a far-right leader contained a detailed plan to surveil and storm government buildings around the Capitol on Jan. 6 last year, people familiar with the document said on Monday. The document, titled ‘1776 Returns,’ was cited by prosecutors last week in charging the far-right leader, Enrique Tarrio, the former head of the Proud Boys extremist group, with conspiracy. The indictment of Mr. Tarrio described the document in general terms, but the people familiar with it added substantial new details about the scope and complexity of the plan it set out for directing an effort to occupy six House and Senate office buildings and the Supreme Court last Jan. 6.”

Russian oligarch Andrey Muraviev indicted in political contribution scheme linked to illegal donors to Trump PAC, CNBC, Dan Mangan, Monday, 14 March 2022: “A Russian oligarch linked to men previously charged with making an illegal donation to a political action committee set up for former President Donald Trump was himself indicted by a federal grand jury in New York for using those men to funnel contributions to other politicians, authorities revealed Monday. The oligarch, Andrey Muraviev, already was publicly known to have been the source of political donations made on his behalf by Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, former associates of Trump’s ex-lawyer Rudy Giuliani, for the purposes of obtaining licenses for retail cannabis and marijuana businesses.”

Democratic Group Says Trump Is Breaking Campaign Law by Not Declaring for 2024. The complaint to the Federal Election Commission accuses Donald Trump of improperly using his existing political committees to advance a presidential run. The New York Times, Shane Goldmacher, Monday, 14 March 2022: “A Democratic super PAC said it is filing a formal complaint with the Federal Election Commission on Monday accusing Donald J. Trump of violating campaign finance law by spending political funds on a 2024 presidential bid without formally declaring himself a candidate. The complaint uses Mr. Trump’s own words about a 2024 run — ‘I know what I’m going to do, but we’re not supposed to be talking about it yet from the standpoint of campaign finance laws,’ he said in the fall — to accuse him of improperly using his existing political committees to advance a presidential run. Federal rules require those who raise or spend more than $5,000 in support of a presidential campaign to register with the Federal Election Commission. Mr. Trump has repeatedly teased that he plans to run for president again, saying at the Conservative Political Action Conference last month, ‘We did it twice and we’ll do it again.’ But though he formally filed for re-election the day of his inauguration in 2017, Mr. Trump has not done so for 2024. Such a filing would set off restrictions on how he could raise and spend campaign money, including his existing war chest.”


Tuesday, 15 March 2022:


Biden will go to Europe next week for NATO summit; European leaders travel to Kyiv, The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, Paulina Firozi, Paulina Villegas, Brittany Shammas, Kareem Fahim, Rachel Pannett, Jennifer Hassan, and Reis Thebault, Tuesday, 15 March 2022: “President Biden will travel to Europe next week for a NATO summit on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the White House said Tuesday. Biden’s participation in the March 24 summit at NATO headquarters was announced as the heads of three governments in the European Union — the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia — traveled to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Their visit is meant to ‘confirm the unequivocal support of the entire European Union for the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine,’ the Czech prime minister said in a Facebook post. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister said about 20,000 people have been evacuated from the port city of Mariupol, where officials said their efforts to establish a ‘humanitarian corridor’ were thwarted until early this week. The Washington Post cannot independently verify the number of evacuations. Conditions in Mariupol — home to 400,000 people — grew dire amid a Russian blockade, with food and water dwindling and bodies going to mass graves.

  • As many as 55 Ukrainian children become refugees every minute, joining the more than 3 million people who have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion. Here are some of their stories.
  • While Moscow has gained control of southern cities such as Kherson and Melitopol, it is struggling to take over other hubs, including Mariupol, Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Sumy. A curfew took effect in Kyiv, the capital, after a missile attack on an apartment building killed at least four people.
  • Russia President Vladimir Putin said negotiations with Ukraine remain at an impasse, telling a European Council leader that Kyiv ‘is not showing a serious commitment to finding mutually acceptable solutions,’ according to the Kremlin’s readout.
  • Pierre Zakrzewski, a cameraman for Fox News, was killed Monday alongside a Ukrainian colleague, Oleksandra Kuvshynova, while reporting outside Kyiv, according to statements from Fox News and Ukrainian officials.
  • Zelensky will virtually address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday morning in an attempt to rally more American support.

What Happened on Day 20 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times, Tuesday, 15 March 2022: “President Volodymyr Zelensky is set to address Congress on Wednesday. NATO will discuss stepping up defenses. Mr. Zelensky urged more leaders to visit Kyiv after three prime ministers came to the capital…. Three European leaders staged a defiant show of support for Ukraine on Tuesday, traveling to its besieged capital, Kyiv, even as a relentless Russian artillery bombardment left apartment towers in the city ablaze, forcing terrified residents to flee into the street with only the clothes on their backs. The dramatic visit by the prime ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia, which unfolded in tight secrecy as they crossed the Ukrainian border by train after dawn, was a strikingly personal gesture. But it caught other European leaders off guard, angering some and baring uncomfortable divisions in how best to demonstrate Western solidarity with Ukraine.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 15), NPR, NPR Staff, Tuesday, 15 March 2022: “As Tuesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Three European Union prime ministers became the first foreign leaders to travel to Kyiv since Russia’s invasion began. Leaders of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia arrived by train for a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to demonstrate the bloc’s ‘unequivocal support’ for Ukrainian independence. U.S. President Biden will travel to NATO’s headquarters in Brussels on March 24 for a summit on Ukraine. Kyiv braces for stepped-up bombardments as attacks increase on the city’s residential targets. A senior U.S. defense official says Russian forces have not appreciably advanced on the capital in the past day, but the Kremlin is believed to be ‘considering their resupply and manning options.’ More than 3 million people have fled Ukraine since the war began, in one of the world’s worst refugee crises, the United Nations says. The number of refugees arriving in Poland — 1.8 million — matches the population of the capital city, Warsaw. Russian state-TV staffer who interrupted a newscast with an anti-war poster appeared in court. Marina Ovsyannikova was arrested quickly after she burst onto the live set with a sign reading, ‘No War. … Don’t believe propaganda.’ For now, she faces a fine for a charge of organizing an uncoordinated event. Two members of a Fox News team were killed outside Kyiv. Veteran video journalist Pierre Zakrzewski and Ukrainian journalist Oleksandra Kuvshynova died after their vehicle was struck by incoming fire. Their colleague, correspondent Benjamin Hall, remains hospitalized in Ukraine.”

Inside Cheryobyl, 200 Exhausted Staff Toil Round the Clock at Russian Gunpoint. Trapped since their shift 3 weeks ago, the Ukrainians keeping the abandoned nuclear plant safe are ill-fed, stressed, and desperate for relief. The Wall Street Journal, Joe Parkinson and Drew Hinshaw, Tuesday, 15 March 2022: “Since Feb. 23, Chernobyl’s technicians and support staff have been working nonstop. After arriving at 9 p.m. for a single night shift to monitor electrical transmission levels and the temperature inside the plant’s gigantic sarcophagus housing radioactive waste, they are approaching 500 hours on the job—snatching sleep on chairs in front of beeping machinery and on piles of clothes next to workstations. Their diet has dwindled to porridge and canned food, prepared by a 70-year-old cook who at one point collapsed from exhaustion. Their phones have been confiscated and they are trailed by Russian soldiers through the nuclear plant’s labyrinth of reinforced-concrete corridors. For weeks, the world’s nuclear energy regulators have been trying to understand what is happening inside the Chernobyl complex, where the condition of the facility and its crew has been shrouded by competing Ukrainian and Russian narratives.”

Sarah Bloom Raskin Withdraws Her Nomination to the Federal Reserve Board. Biden’s nominee had publicly encouraged measures to mitigate climate change, including a transition to cleaner energy, which triggered a backlash from America’s powerful oil, gas, and coal industries. The New Yorker, Jane Mayer, Tuesday, 15 March 2022: “On Tuesday, in the face of what she described as ‘relentless attacks by special interests’ who oppose her frank acknowledgment that climate change could pose a threat to economic stability, Sarah Bloom Raskin submitted a letter to President Joe Biden withdrawing as his nominee to become the vice-chair for supervision of the Federal Reserve Board. For weeks, Raskin noted, the Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee ‘held hostage’ not only her nomination but those of Biden’s four other picks to run the Fed, including the reappointment of its chair, Jerome Powell. In commentary last September, Bloom Raskin suggested that regulators should ‘ask themselves how their existing instruments can be used to incentivize a rapid, orderly, and just transition away from high-emission and biodiversity-destroying investments.’ She was merely echoing the position taken by top central bankers and economists all over the world. But her expressed hope of encouraging a potential transition to cleaner energy triggered a backlash from America’s powerful oil, gas, and coal industries. Her withdrawal will likely enable the Senate’s confirmation of the rest of Biden’s slate of nominees to the Fed, at a time of roaring inflation and mounting perils abroad. But it dooms the most powerful central bank in the world to a state of willful blindness regarding the looming chaos that scientists predict climate change will unleash. Bloom Raskin’s fate was sealed on Monday, when Joe Manchin, the Democratic senator from West Virginia, signalled that he would oppose her confirmation because she ‘failed to satisfactorily address my concerns about the critical importance of financing an all-of-the-above energy policy to meet our nation’s critical energy needs.’ Manchin’s family fortune is largely derived from coal, and he has taken more money from fossil-fuel interests than any other senator during the current cycle. Every Republican member of the Senate Banking Committee has also taken money from fossil-fuel interests, cumulatively accepting more than eight million dollars during their political careers from the producers of the carbon emissions that are helping to cause climate change. Given Democrats’ single-vote advantage in the Senate, Manchin’s opposition has all but killed the Bloom Raskin nomination, relegating her to having to find a Republican vote, which seemed especially unlikely after Susan Collins, of Maine, also signalled her opposition on Monday.”


Wednesday, 16 March 2022:


Biden announces new aid after Zelensky’s emotional plea to Congress, The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, Paulina Firozi, Kareem Fahim, Annabelle Timsit, Rachel Pannett, Adela Suliman, Jennifer Hassan, Paulina Villegas, and Lateshia Beachum, Wednesday, 16 March 2022: “President Biden on Wednesday said he will send $800 million more in security assistance to Ukraine and called Russian President Vladimir Putin a ‘war criminal’ for the first time publicly, on the same day Ukraine’s president made an emotional address to U.S. lawmakers. ‘We’re going to continue to have their backs as they fight for their freedom and democracy,’ Biden said in announcing the new aid, which will include drones and antiaircraft systems. Zelensky had urged the U.S. to ‘do more’ and called for a ‘humanitarian no-fly zone’ — a measure that has little bipartisan support in Congress and that American officials fear could lead to broader war with a nuclear-armed superpower. Zelensky showed graphic scenes of civilian casualties as he appealed to Biden to ‘be the leader of the world.’ Ukrainian officials on Wednesday said they were struggling to assess the toll of an airstrike on a theater in the besieged port city of Mariupol, a cultural site where hundreds of residents have recently sought shelter.

What Happened on Day 21 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times, Wednesday, 16 March 2022: Rescue workers began pulling some survivors from the wreckage of a theater in Mariupol where hundreds, including children, were believed to be sheltering. Ukrainian air defenses claimed to shoot down Russian planes and missiles over Kyiv…. Ukrainian forces carried out counter-offensives against Russian positions on Wednesday, seeking to inflict what one official called ‘maximum losses,’ even as the invading Russian military stepped up its lethal attacks on cities. In Mariupol, an airstrike destroyed a theater where about 1,000 people had taken shelter, according to city and regional administrators, and photos and videos posted online showed the burning wreckage of the building.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 16), NPR, NPR Staff, Wednesday, 16 March 2022: “As Wednesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: A theater sheltering civilians was bombed in besieged Mariupol, Ukrainian officials say. Russia denies the airstrike. Mariupol’s city council shared images of a smoldering building, saying hundreds of residents had taken refuge inside and the number of casualties was not yet known. Elsewhere in southern Ukraine, Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov, captured by Russian troops last week, has been freed. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed U.S. Congresscalling on it ‘to do more.’ Specifically, Zelenskyy continues to push for a no-fly zone over Ukraine, which most U.S. lawmakers and the Biden administration do not back. President Biden, meanwhile, approved $800 million more in security assistance to Ukraine and vowed to send more weapons. He also called Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘a war criminal.’ A top Ukrainian negotiator says Ukraine and Russia might be moving closer to a possible cease-fire. Some Russian officials have also hinted that the two sides may be closer to a deal, but Putin has not signaled a readiness to pull back forces. The United Nations’ top court in The Hague has ordered Russia to halt its military operation in Ukraine. The International Court of Justice said evidence did not support the Kremlin’s justification for the attack. Its rulings are binding, but countries have ignored them in the past. Russia is facing a debt-payment deadline that could mean a historic sovereign default. The country needs to pay $117 million in interest payments on two bonds that are denominated in dollars, but Russia has lost access to much of its foreign reserves.”

Invoking America’s Darkest Days, Zelensky Pleads for More U.S. Aid. President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine called for a no-fly zone and more weapons to combat Russia’s assault and implored President Biden to be ‘the leader of peace.’ The New York Times, Catie Edmondson and Michael D. Shear, Wednesday, 16 March 2022: “President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine invoked the memory of America’s darkest days on Wednesday as he pleaded for more military aid to combat Russia’s ‘inhumane destruction’ of his country, directly challenging President Biden and members of Congress to help by showing a wrenching video of the carnage in Ukraine’s cities. Appearing before Congress by video link from Kyiv, Mr. Zelensky likened Russia’s three-week onslaught in Ukraine to Japan’s World War II air assault on Pearl Harbor, when ‘your sky was black from the planes attacking you,’ and to Sept. 11, when ‘innocent people were attacked, attacked from the air.’ Dressed in an olive green T-shirt and seated next to a Ukrainian flag, he urged the United States and its allies to fulfill a moral duty by imposing a no-fly zone over his country to prevent Russian attacks from the air. ‘I call on you to do more,’ Mr. Zelensky said, describing the conflict raging in Ukraine as an assault on the world’s civilized nations. Speaking directly to Mr. Biden, he added: ‘I wish you to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace.'” See also, Annotated Transcript: Zelensky’s Speech to Congress. President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine addressed a joint meeting of the House and Senate to press his case for more aid to Ukraine amid devastating attacks by Russia. The New York Times, Catie Edmondson, Wednesday, 16 March 2022.

‘Why? Why? Why? Ukraine’s Mariupol descends into despair. Associated Press, Mstyslav Chernov, Evgeniy Maloletka, and Lori Hinnant, Wednesday, 16 March 2022: “The bodies of the children all lie here, dumped into this narrow trench hastily dug into the frozen earth of Mariupol to the constant drumbeat of shelling. There’s 18-month-old Kirill, whose shrapnel wound to the head proved too much for his little toddler’s body. There’s 16-year-old Iliya, whose legs were blown up in an explosion during a soccer game at a school field. There’s the girl no older than 6 who wore the pajamas with cartoon unicorns, among the first of Mariupol’s children to die from a Russian shell. They are stacked together with dozens of others in this mass grave on the outskirts of the city. A man covered in a bright blue tarp, weighed down by stones at the crumbling curb. A woman wrapped in a red and gold bedsheet, her legs neatly bound at the ankles with a scrap of white fabric. Workers toss the bodies in as fast as they can, because the less time they spend in the open, the better their own chances of survival. ‘The only thing (I want) is for this to be finished,’ raged worker Volodymyr Bykovskyi, pulling crinkling black body bags from a truck. ‘Damn them all, those people who started this!'”

Appellate court rules Biden can consider climate damage in policymaking. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit stayed a Louisiana federal judge’s order blocking the federal government from calculating the cost of climate change. The Washington Post, Anna Phillips, Wednesday, 16 March 2022: “An appeals court on Wednesday lifted a ban blocking the federal government from factoring damage from rising greenhouse gas emissions into its decisions, offering a temporary reprieve for President Biden’s plans to tackle climate change. The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit stayed an order issued last month by a U.S. District Court judge in Louisiana that prevented agencies from considering the harm climate change causes, known as the ‘social cost of carbon.’ This figure is used across the federal government in rulemaking, from issuing new drilling permits to assessing the growing potential for damage such as crop losses and flood risks. The decision means that, at least until there’s a ruling on the case’s merits, the Biden administration can continue to consider the economic cost of climate change as it writes new rules, and strengthen existing ones, that could inch the country closer to Biden’s goal of cutting emissions in half by the end of the decade compared with 2005 levels. With sweeping climate legislation stalled in Congress, the administration is counting on these regulations to meet its emissions reduction targets.”


Thursday, 17 March 2022:


U.S. citizen killed in Chernihiv; strike near Kharkiv leaves at least 23 dead, The Washington Post, Paulina Firozi, Kareem Fahim, Rachel Pannett, Amy Cheng, Annabelle Timsit, Lateshia Beachum, Paulina Villegas, John Hudson, Hannah Knowles, and Reis Thebault, Thursday, 17 March 2022: “A U.S. citizen was killed in Ukraine on Thursday, the State Department confirmed, after Ukrainian police first reported that an American and several others died when Russian troops shelled the city of Chernihiv, roughly 90 miles north of Kyiv. The man was identified by family and friends as James Whitney Hill and he had traveled to Ukraine in December for his partner’s medical treatment. Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged the death but did not release further details, and the total number of people killed in the attack was still unclear late Thursday, local authorities said. The artillery fire struck a residential area in the city center, according to the head of the Chernihiv regional police. Meanwhile near Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, Russian artillery strikes hit a school and cultural center, killing at least 23 people and injuring 26, local officials said. The two high-profile attacks on civilian areas unfolded one day after a Russian airstrike demolished a theater in the port city of Mariupol while hundreds sheltered inside. Officials on Thursday said some had survived, but they still didn’t know how many were killed or injured. Mariupol has for weeks been the site of a relentless assault and conditions there have deteriorated into a humanitarian catastrophe. The theater strike marked ‘another tragedy, in our already mangled Mariupol, of which there is already practically nothing left,’ the city’s mayor said in a video message.

  • Washington Post journalists in Kharkiv witnessed evidence of cluster bombs being used in attacks on the city, which has been subjected to a daily barrage of Russian rockets and missiles. The morgue there is overflowing.
  • Ukrainian officials announced nine humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to flee besieged cities Thursday, as well as plans to deliver aid to places in need — a day after they said escape routes were being targeted by Russian forces.
  • The U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to strip Russia and Belarus of key trade preferences, a move the Senate is expected to ratify in the coming days. It could be the last significant Ukraine-related matter to pass Congress for months.
  • The Pentagon will expand the size and scope of weaponry being rushed to Ukraine, the Biden administration said, including for the first time armed drones capable of inflicting significant damage on Russian ground units.
  • Britain’s Defense Ministry said Thursday morning that Russia’s invasion has ‘largely stalled on all fronts’ and that Russian forces have used up more sophisticated weapons than planned and are now ‘resorting to the use of older, less precise weapons.’

What Happened on Day 22 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine. The suffering in Ukraine’s cities shows no sign of ending, even as Western officials say Russia’s offensive has stalled. The New York Times, Thursday, 17 March 2022: “A day after a Russian strike reduced to rubble a theater in southern Ukraine where hundreds of people had been huddling for shelter, rescuers wading through the debris — even as Russian shells kept falling — began pulling out survivors one by one. ‘Adults and children are emerging from there alive,’ Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman, Lyudmila Denisova, reported early Thursday as the rescue effort continued at the Drama Theater in Mariupol, a southern port city under siege by Russian forces.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 17), NPR, NPR Staff, Thursday, 17 March 2022: “As Thursday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: The bomb shelter beneath the Mariupol theater withstood Wednesday’s airstrikeand rescue teams began to pull out survivors. The number of casualties remains unclear. Russia denies conducting the strike on the civilian shelter. Failed cease-fires keep disrupting evacuations from the besieged city, but 15 large buses managed to leave Mariupol on Wednesday. The U.S. is working with allies on potentially delivering more effective air defense systems to Ukrainea senior Pentagon official says. This followed a public offer from Slovakia’s Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad to send the S-300 air defense system if Slovakia is guaranteed a replacement. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered a scathing address to Germany’s parliamentsaying the country was ‘dragging [its] feet on Ukraine’s admission to the EU.’ The U.N. Security Council holds an emergency meeting to discuss the war in Ukraine and respond to Russia’s military aggression. President Biden will speak with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Friday. The U.S. believes China may be considering military help for Russia, said Secretary of State Antony Blinken. He also said Russia may be setting the stage for a chemical weapon attack to blame on Ukraine. The State Department separately confirmed that a U.S. citizen was killed in Ukraine, without disclosing the person’s identity. A Russian court has extended the detention of basketball star Brittney Griner until late Mayaccording to state-owned news agency TASS. Griner was arrested at a Moscow-area airport for allegedly transporting vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage.”

Trump White House aide was secret author of report used to push ‘big lie.’ Report on Dominion voting machines produced after 2020 election was not the work of volunteer in Trump’s post-election legal team. The Guardian, Hugo Lowell, Thursday, 17 March 2022: “Weeks after the 2020 election, at least one Trump White House aide was named as secretly producing a report that alleged Donald Trump lost to Joe Biden because of Dominion Voting Systems – research that formed the basis of the former president’s wider efforts to overturn the election. The Dominion report, subtitled ‘OVERVIEW 12/2/20 – History, Executives, Vote Manipulation Ability and Design, Foreign Ties,’ was initially prepared so that it could be sent to legislatures in states where the Trump White House was trying to have Biden’s win reversed. But top Trump officials would also use the research that stemmed from the White House aide-produced report to weigh other options to return Trump to the presidency, including having the former president sign off on executive orders to authorize sweeping emergency powers. The previously unreported involvement of the Trump White House aide in the preparation of the Dominion report raises the extraordinary situation of at least one administration official being among the original sources of Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The publicly available version of the Dominion report, which first surfaced in early December 2020 on the conservative outlet the Gateway Pundit, names on the cover and in metadata as its author Katherine Friess, a volunteer on the Trump post-election legal team. But the Dominion report was in fact produced by the senior Trump White House policy aide Joanna Miller, according to the original version of the document reviewed by the Guardian and a source familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.”


Friday, 18 March 2022:


Ukrainian officials said Russian missiles struck an aircraft repair facility near an airport in Lviv. Biden warns China against supporting Russia. The Washington Post, Marisa Iati, Lateshia Beachum, Miriam Berger, Amy Cheng, Andrew Jeong, and Adela Suliman, Friday, 18 March 2022: “Ukrainian officials said Friday that Russian missiles struck an aircraft repair facility near an airport in Lviv — a western city that has been a relatively safe haven — sowing fears of new fronts opening as President Biden warns China against supporting Russia’s escalating attack. Biden told his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, on Friday that China would face serious consequences if it provided military or economic support to Moscow, the White House said. But in a statement after the two-hour call, China did not mention any actions that it might take to promote peace in Ukraine. As Russia expanded its efforts, Ukrainian officials said roughly 1,300 people remained trapped in the basement of a theater struck Wednesday in the southern city of Mariupol. In the absence of major territorial advances, Russia is increasingly relying on sieges and unguided ‘dumb’ bombs to wear down cities and civilians.

  • The United Nations has confirmed 816 civilian deaths, including the deaths of 59 children, while warning that the real tolls are almost certainly far higher.
  • The mounting death toll has forced President Volodymyr Zelensky to consider concessions to Russia in order to bring an end to the devastating conflict, said U.S. and European officials.
  • Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Bulgaria said they would expel a total of 20 Russian diplomats, in a sign of worsening relations between Russia and former Soviet and allied states.
  • Russia called a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to accuse the United States of conducting a biological weapons program in Ukraine — a claim that The Washington Post’s Fact Checker ruled ‘disinformation.’
  • French President Emmanuel Macron expressed ‘extreme concern’ to Russian President Vladimir Putin about the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Mariupol.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall in Russia and Ukraine, giving readers unlimited digital access to our comprehensive coverage.

What Happened on Day 23 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine. Russia Targets Western Ukraine as Biden Warns Xi Not to Aid Moscow. The New York Times, Friday, 18 March 2022: “Russian forces extended their bombardments into a relatively unscathed part of western Ukraine on Friday, striking a warplane repair plant about 50 miles from the Polish border, as President Biden warned President Xi Jinping of China not to provide military aid to Russia amid a scramble of diplomatic efforts to end the violence engulfing Ukraine. During a nearly two-hour video call, Mr. Biden warned Mr. Xi, a close ally of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, that there would be ‘implications and consequences if China provides material support to Russia as it conducts brutal attacks against Ukrainian cities and civilians,’ according to the White House.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 18), NPR, NPR Staff, Friday, 18 March 2022: “As Friday draws to a close in Kyiv, Ukraine, and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Russian missiles hit a plant on Lviv’s outskirts in western Ukraine, an area that has served as a relative safe haven. The strike targeted a repair facility for fighter jets. Ukrainian officials said missiles were launched from the Black Sea. On Lviv’s historic square, 109 empty strollers were lined up in a visual installation, representing children killed in the war. At least 130 people have been pulled from the Mariupol theater that was hit earlier this week by a Russian airstrike. Hundreds more remain under the rubble as rescue crews work to find them, Ukrainian officials said. The United Nations says nearly a quarter of Ukraine’s population is now displaced by the war. On top of the 3.2 million Ukrainians who have fled the country, another 6.5 million people have been displaced within Ukraine, according to the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration. President Biden spoke with Chinese leader Xi Jinping about the implications for Beijing if it decides to provide material assistance to Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. The White House has not publicly described those implications. Russian President Vladimir Putin made a rare public appearance at a stadium in Moscow, packed with thousands of flag-waving people and banners reading ‘For Russia’ and ‘For a World without Nazism.’ He praised Russian fighters in what he calls the ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine, saying the effort had united the country.”

Mail Ballot Rejections Surge in Texas, With Signs of a Race Gap. A new Republican voting law led to the sharp rise in rejected ballots in the state’s recent primary election. An analysis shows that Black areas of Houston disproportionately had votes thrown out. The New York Times, Nick Corasaniti, Friday, 18 March 2022: “More than 18,000 voters in Texas’ most populous counties had their mail-in ballots rejected in the state’s primary election this month, according to a review of election data by The New York Times, a surge in thrown-out votes that disproportionately affected Black people in the state’s largest county and revealed the impact of new voting regulations passed by Republicans last year. In Harris County, which includes Houston and is the state’s most populous county, areas with large Black populations were 44 percent more likely to have ballots rejected than heavily white areas, according to a review of census survey data and election results by the Harris County election administrator’s office. The analysis also found that Black residents made up the largest racial group in six of the nine ZIP codes with the most ballot rejections in the county. The thousands of ballot rejections, and the racial disparity in rejections in Harris County, provide the clearest evidence yet that the major voting law passed last year by the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature has prevented significant numbers of people from voting. The rejection rate in the state’s most populous counties was roughly 15 percent. By comparison, during the 2020 general election, nearly one million absentee ballots were cast statewide and just under 9,000 were thrown out, a rejection rate of roughly 1 percent.”


Saturday, 19 March 2022:


Ukrainian forces appeared to be losing their grip Saturday on Mariupol, with Russian forces advancing farther into parts of the besieged southern port city, The Washington Post, Amy Cheng, Andrew Jeong, Ellen Francis, Adela Suliman, Miriam Berger, Marisa Iati, Paulina Firozi, and Kim Bellware, Saturday, 19 March 2022: “Fierce fighting for control of the strategically important city [of Mariupol] continued to hinder search-and-rescue efforts for hundreds of civilians believed to be trapped beneath the rubble of a theater after Russia bombed it Wednesday. In the southern city of Mykolaiv, at least 40 were killed after a Russian bomb on Friday struck the barracks of a military facility, according to journalists who documented the scene after the attack. Visuals verified by The Washington Post show a building collapsing, and other images show Ukrainian forces searching the rubble for survivors — at least one person was pulled from the wreckage alive. While the death toll rises, other major population centers, including Kyiv and Kharkiv, remain in Ukrainian hands, and the Pentagon assessed that Russia’s troops were ‘stalled across the country.’ Meanwhile, 6,623 people made it through eight humanitarian corridors in Ukraine on Saturday, said Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk.

  • Satellite imagery collected Saturday morning shows the extent of the damage at the Mariupol Drama Theater, which was hit by a Russian airstrike Wednesday while more than a thousand people sheltered inside.
  • Four U.S. service members were killed Friday night when a Marine Corps aircraft crashed during a NATO exercise in Norway, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said on Twitter.
  • Ukraine’s top prosecutor accused Russian forces of abducting a Ukrainian journalist reporting on military operations in the country’s eastern and southern regions.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall in Russia and Ukraine, giving readers unlimited digital access to our comprehensive coverage.

What Happened on Day 24 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times, Saturday, 19 March 2022: “Russian forces made significant gains in Ukraine on Saturday, advancing into the besieged port of Mariupol, destroying an underground weapons depot in the west and leaving a marine barracks in ruins following one of the deadliest rocket strikes on Ukraine’s military in the nearly month-old war. As the fighting raged, Ukraine faced a worsening humanitarian crisis, and military losses mounted on both sides. A senior Ukrainian military official said on Saturday that the strike on the barracks, which happened Friday in the southern city of Mykolaiv, had killed more than 40 marines.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 19), NPR, NPR Staff, Saturday, 19 March 2022: “As Saturday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Ukraine accused Russian forces of blocking humanitarian aid. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russian forces are preventing food and medicine from reaching besieged cities like Mariupol, where he says tens of thousands of people remain trapped. UNICEF warns child refugees are more likely to become victims of human trafficking. The group said the 1.5 million children who have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion are at high risk of being ‘separated from their families, exploited, and trafficked,’ and urged regional governments to step up child protection measures. Russia struck a munitions warehouse in western Ukraine. Russia’s defense ministry says it used a hypersonic missile to strike the warehouse on Friday. Ukrainian officials did confirm the strike but did not specify what type of missile was used. If confirmed, it would be the first time such a weapon was used in the conflict. Russians on the International Space Station wore the colors of Ukraine. It’s unclear what message three Russian cosmonauts were trying to send, if any, when they boarded the spacecraft wearing yellow and blue spacesuits that also bore the Russian flag. The colors of the Ukrainian flag are often worn to protest Russia’s invasion of that country, but when asked about the suits, a cosmonaut said the crew ‘accumulated a lot of yellow material so we needed to use it.'”


Sunday, 20 March 2022:


Russia tells Mariupol to surrender, but Ukraine’s deputy prime minister is defiant, The Washington Post, Loveday Morris, Siobhán O’Grady, Brittany Shammas, Kim Bellware, Miriam Berger, Jennifer Hassan, Rachel Pannett, Hannah Knowles, and Reis Thebault, Sunday, 20 March 2022: “Russian forces are now present in all civilian neighborhoods in Ukraine’s strategic port city of Mariupol, where the battle for control has descended into house-to-house guerrilla warfare, Ukrainian officials said. Late Sunday, Moscow issued Mariupol authorities an ultimatum: Surrender and flee the city, or risk further bombardment and face a ‘military tribunal.’ Ukraine’s deputy prime minister said the country’s leaders would not surrender, but the heavy fighting has complicated rescue efforts — especially at a school that Ukrainian officials say Russian jets bombed Sunday. About 400 people had been sheltering at Art School No. 12, but with communication sparse, there is simply ‘no information’ on how many might be trapped, Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko said. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu indicated Sunday that talks between Kyiv and Moscow are progressing, despite the ongoing attacks. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated his readiness to negotiate with Russia to end the 25-day-long war, warning Sunday that if a diplomatic solution isn’t reached, it could lead to ‘a third world war.’ Zelensky’s remarks came amid growing concern that the Russian military will double down on siege tactics and mass shelling — as it has in Mariupol — in its efforts to take metropolitan areas.

  • A senior Biden administration official on Sunday ruled out any U.S. military participation in a proposed NATO peacekeeping mission in Ukraine, as heads of state prepare for a planned alliance summit this week.
  • More than 3.3 million Ukrainians — nearly 1 in 13 — have fled the country since Russia invaded on Feb. 24, according to the United Nations refugee agency.
  • At least 900 civilians, including 75 children, have been killed in Ukraine since Russia invaded on Feb. 24, the United Nations human rights office in Ukraine said Sunday. The figure is an estimate; the agency said the actual toll is much higher.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall in Russia and Ukraine, giving readers unlimited digital access to our comprehensive coverage.

What Happened on Day 25 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times, Sunday, 20 March 2022: “Ukraine rejected Russia’s demand that soldiers defending the embattled southern port of Mariupol surrender at dawn on Monday, even as a powerful blast rocked the capital Kyiv and reduced a sprawling shopping mall to rubble. After nearly a month of fighting, the war has reached a stalemate, with Russia turning to deadlier and blunter methods, including targeting civilians. A New York Times reporter saw six dead bodies at the mall in Kyiv covered in plastic as rescue workers battled fires and pulled more victims from the wreckage on Monday morning.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 20), NPR, NPR Staff, Sunday, 20 March 2022: “As Sunday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Russia bombed an art school sheltering about 400 people. Russian military forces struck the school in the besieged city of Mariupol, Ukrainian officials said. Ongoing shelling in the southeastern port city has prevented civilians from safely evacuating. According to the UN, more than 900 civilians have died since the invasion started. Slovenia’s prime minister tells NPR he will send his country’s ambassador or chargé d’affaires back to Ukraine as a show of support. Prime Minister Janez Janša also wants the European Union to offer Ukraine a fast-track membership. ‘This is not time as usual, but there is a war going on,’ he said. Australia is banning the export of some types of ore to Russia. The restrictions are designed to curb Russia’s ability to produce aluminum — a key component in the making of ammunition. Russia relies on Australia for 20% of its alumina needs. Ukraine urged Israel for more support. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pleaded for Israel to do more to help Ukraine In a speech to Israeli lawmakers, he also drew comparisons between the Russian invasion and the Holocaust. Zelenskyy asked why Israel — which is mediating Russia-Ukraine talks — won’t give Ukraine weapons or impose sanctions on Russia. He criticized Israel’s limits on accepting non-Jewish Ukrainian refugees. President Biden is headed to Europe. The focus of the trip is to rally the world in support of Ukrainians and against Russia’s invasion, the White House said, but there are no plans for Biden to visit the country itself.”

Ashley Biden’s Diary Was Shown at Trump Fund-Raiser. Weeks Later, Project Veritas Called Her. The right-wing group’s deceptive call to the president’s daughter a month before Election Day is among the new details that show how the organization worked to expose personal information about the Biden family. The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt and Adam Goldman, Sunday, 20 March 2022: “A month before the 2020 election, Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s daughter, Ashley, received a call from a man offering help. Striking a friendly tone, the man said that he had found a diary that he believed belonged to Ms. Biden and that he wanted to return it to her. Ms. Biden had in fact kept a diary the previous year as she recovered from addiction and had stored it and some other belongings at a friend’s home in Florida where she had been living until a few months earlier. The diary’s highly personal contents, if publicly disclosed, could prove an embarrassment or a distraction to her father at a critical moment in the campaign. She agreed with the caller to send someone to retrieve the diary the next day. But Ms. Biden was not dealing with a good Samaritan. The man on the other end of the phone worked for Project Veritas, a conservative group that had become a favorite of President Donald J. Trump, according to interviews with people familiar with the sequence of events. From a conference room at the group’s headquarters in Westchester County, N.Y., surrounded by other top members of the group, the caller was seeking to trick Ms. Biden into confirming the authenticity of the diary, which Project Veritas was about to purchase from two intermediaries for $40,000. The caller did not identify himself as being affiliated with Project Veritas, according to accounts from two people with knowledge of the conversation. By the end of the call, several of the group’s operatives who had either listened in, heard recordings of the call or been told of it believed that Ms. Biden had said more than enough to confirm that it was hers. The new details of Project Veritas’s effort to establish that the diary was Ms. Biden’s are elements of a still-emerging story about how Trump supporters and a group known for its undercover sting operations worked to expose personal information about the Biden family at a crucial stage of the 2020 campaign. Drawn from interviews, court filings and other documents, the new information adds further texture to what is known about an episode that has led to a criminal investigation of Project Veritas by federal prosecutors who have suggested they have evidence that the group was complicit in stealing Ms. Biden’s property and in transporting stolen goods across state lines. And by showing that Project Veritas employed deception rather than traditional journalistic techniques in the way it approached Ms. Biden — the caller identified himself with a fake name — the new accounts could further complicate the organization’s assertions in court filings that it should be treated as a publisher and granted First Amendment protections. Project Veritas regularly carries out undercover stings, surveillance operations and ambush interviews, mostly against liberal groups and journalists.”


Monday, 21 March 2022:


Zelensky rejects Russian ultimatums; strike on Kyiv mall kills 8, The Washington Post, Siobhán O’ Grady, David L. Stern, Paulina Firozi, Miriam Berger, Annabelle Timsit, Jonathan Edwards, Kim Bellware, and Reis Thebault, Monday, 21 March 2022: “President Volodymyr Zelensky remained defiant Monday, saying he would never agree to an ultimatum from Russia or surrender Ukraine’s cities, even as the Kremlin continued its bombardment of the capital, the coast and elsewhere. As Moscow sought its first strategic victory in a war that appears to be approaching a stalemate in many places, it issued a warning to leaders in Mariupol: flee, or face further attacks. Ukrainian officials rejected the demands, and the fate of the southeastern port city is uncertain. In remarks published by a Ukrainian public TV channel, Zelensky said the country ‘cannot fulfill ultimatums.’ In Kyiv, an attack on a shopping mall late Sunday reduced much of the area to rubble, killing at least eight people and leaving civilians on edge. The capital remains one of Moscow’s primary targets. Military experts have warned that the Kremlin could turn to progressively deadlier siege tactics and missile strikes in civilian areas to compensate for its lack of battlefield progress in the three-week war. With diplomatic efforts making minimal advances, the war’s human toll continues to climb.

  • Ukrainian officials said seven of the eight humanitarian corridors for Ukrainians fleeing violence operated successfully Monday, allowing just over 8,000 people to evacuate, most from Mariupol and the Kyiv region.Ukraine has accused Moscow of forcing some evacuees into Russian-controlled areas and of attacking civilian convoys, assertions that Russia rejects.
  • Ukrainians have grown more confident in their country’s ability to repel Russia’s invasion, according to a new poll that found 91 percent of Ukrainian respondents believe Ukraine will emerge victorious from the war.
  • In a video posted Monday, Zelensky made a direct appeal to the German people, asking for further restrictions against Russia and support for Ukraine’s bid for European Union membership.
  • The White House is urging U.S. businesses to increase their cybersecurity capabilities, citing intelligence that the Russian government is exploring options for potential attacks.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine, providing unlimited digital access to our coverage. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel for updates and exclusive video.

What Happened on Day 26 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times, Monday, 21 March 2022: “A NATO summit is expected to discuss how to respond if Moscow turns to chemical, biological, cyber, or nuclear weapons…. Strikes on cities across Ukraine left a patchwork of death and destruction on Monday, including one that blasted a once-bustling shopping mall in Kyiv into a smoldering ruin with one of the most powerful explosions to hit the city since Russia’s war on Ukraine began. In the besieged and ravaged southern port of Mariupol, residents braced for renewed attacks after the Ukrainian government rejected a Russian ultimatum to surrender the city.”Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 21), NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 21 March 2021: “As Monday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Kyiv is going under a curfew from Monday night to Wednesday morning, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said. The new restriction comes after Russian attacks hit a shopping center, several apartment buildings and later a French-owned home improvement store. Russian troops have stepped up artillery shelling but have not notably advanced, according to a senior U.S. defense official. Russian forces still have close to 90% of their combat power available, the official said, but they continue to face numerous logistics issues. Ukraine rejected Russia’s calls to surrender the strategic southern port city of Mariupol, which Russian forces have besieged and encircled. Russia had offered an ultimatum: If Mariupol surrendered, Russia would let civilians leave and humanitarian aid enter. The European Union’s last remaining diplomat in Mariupol has returned to Greece. A Russian court banned Facebook and Instagram for ‘extremist’ activities. The ruling for parent company Meta excluded its messaging platform WhatsApp, and the full scale of the impact remains unclear. Russia’s Foreign Ministry summoned U.S. Ambassador John Sullivan to say that President Biden’s recent rhetoric on Russia was pushing the two countries’ relationship to the brink of collapse. Biden last week called Russian President Vladimir Putin a ‘war criminal.'”

Ketanji Brown Jackson pledges independence and neutrality in Supreme Court confirmation hearing, The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim, Ann E. Marimow, and Aaron C. Davis, Monday, 21 March 2022: “Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson on Monday promised she would be an independent jurist who will decide cases ‘without fear or favor’ — emphasizing her neutrality on the bench in hopes of heading off the expected criticism from Republicans that she has been a judicial activist. Jackson, who will be the first Black woman on the Supreme Court if confirmed, spent her official introduction before the Senate Judiciary Committee detailing her approach as a judge, describing it as narrowly focused on resolving the issues before her. She has been a federal judge for nine years, both on the trial court and now on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. ‘I know that my role as a judge is a limited one — that the Constitution empowers me only to decide cases and controversies that are properly presented. And I know that my judicial role is further constrained by careful adherence to precedent,’ Jackson said. In anticipation of questions from Republicans about her judicial philosophy and rulings against the Trump administration, Jackson emphasized that she decides cases from a ‘neutral posture.’ ‘I evaluate the facts, and I interpret and apply the law to the facts of the case before me, without fear or favor, consistent with my judicial oath,’ she said.” See also, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmation hearings: What happened Monday, NPR, Barbara Sprunt, Monday, 21 March 2022: “Day 1 of the confirmation hearing of Ketanji Brown Jackson, the federal judge President Biden nominated to fill Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s seat when he retires this summer, has concluded. It was, as presiding Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., put it ‘in a way … the easiest day,’ as it consisted of opening statements from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Jackson herself. Jackson faces a long line of questioning from senators on Tuesday. Here are some highlights from Monday’s hearing: The historic nature of Jackson’s nomination was not lost among the bipartisan panel. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J, said Jackson’s nomination ‘breaks an artificially confining mold of our past and opens up a more promising, potential-filled future for us all as Americans.’ Booker also shared a story of Jackson’s daughter, who wrote to former President Barack Obama to recommend her mother for a job: Supreme Court justice.” See also, Day 1 Highlights of Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings: Ketanji Brown Jackson Vows ‘Neutral Stance’ if Confirmed to the Supreme Court, The New York Times, Monday, 21 March 2022: “Senators acknowledged the historic nomination of the first Black woman to the Supreme Court in their opening remarks and hinted at lines of inquiry for their coming questions. In her own remarks, Judge Jackson promised to make litigants feel heard.

  • Jackson vows in her opening remarks to be an independent judge who knows her ‘limited role.’

  • Senators acknowledge Jackson’s historic nomination even as some reopen Kavanaugh grievances.

  • As Republicans prepare to grill Jackson, they are re-litigating Kavanaugh’s confirmation battle.

  • A day of excitement for Jackson’s supporters as history unfolds on Capitol Hill.

  • Jackson has passed the Senate’s confirmation test three times before.

  • Jackson’s work as a public defender is a Republican target.

  • Republicans are claiming misleadingly that Jackson was uncommonly lenient on sex offenders.

U.S. judge rules against Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis who denied same-sex marriage licenses, Reuters, Monday, 21 March 2022: “A U.S. judge ruled that a former county clerk from Kentucky knowingly violated the rights of same-sex couples by denying them marriage licenses in 2015, clearing the way for a jury trial seeking damages against her. The ruling from U.S. District Judge David Bunning on Friday also denied a request for immunity from former Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis. Davis thrust herself into the center of the U.S. culture wars on the issue of LGBTQ rights by denying the licenses in 2015, citing her religious beliefs. She briefly went to jail for contempt of court over her refusal and a deputy clerk in the eastern Kentucky county issued the licenses.”

Texas once again is temporarily blocked from investigating gender-affirming care as child abuse. The temporary injunction was issued as part of a lawsuit brought on behalf of parents being investigated by child welfare workers for letting their transgender teenager access gender-affirming health care. The Texas Tribune, Emily Hernandez, Monday, 21 March 2022: “A Texas appeals court on Monday reinstated a temporary injunction blocking Texas from investigating parents for child abuse if they allow their transgender children to receive gender-affirming care. The Texas 3rd Court of Appeals issued the order as part of a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal on behalf of the parents of a transgender teenager who were being investigated by child welfare workers. ‘Having reviewed the record, we conclude that reinstating the temporary injunction is necessary to maintain the status quo and preserve the rights of all parties,’ three appellate justices wrote. Last month, Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a nonbinding legal opinion arguing that some gender-affirming care for minors could be considered child abuse. Four days after the opinion published, Gov. Greg Abbott directed the Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate parents facilitating gender-affirming care for their kids.”


Tuesday, 22 March 2022:


Pentagon official says Russia is now shelling Mariupol from the sea; Biden to announce new sanctions against Russia, The Washington Post, David L. Stern, Karoun Demirjian, Paulina Firozi, Miriam Berger, Amy Cheng, Adela Suliman, and Reis Thebault, Tuesday, 22 March 2022: “Russian forces have started shelling Mariupol from the sea, according to a senior Pentagon official — a new development in the continued attacks on a city that’s seen some of the worst bombardment since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine. There were up to seven Russian warships in the Sea of Azov, according to a count from the official, who said the city is key to the Russian attempt to take over the region. With the invasion nearing the one-month mark, British defense officials say Russian forces are making ‘limited progress’ in other areas with ‘most forces largely stalled in place.’ Analysts say Moscow’s tactics may become more aggressive as it seeks to compensate for its military’s initial missteps. The Kremlin’s spokesperson on Tuesday refused to rule out the possibility that Russia would use nuclear weapons in the war, telling CNN that Moscow would consider it in the event of an ‘existential threat for our country,’ without elaborating on what that might be. The White House said President Biden will announce new sanctions against Russia on Thursday, after summits with European leaders in Brussels. Biden’s trip to the headquarters of NATO and the European Union comes as Western leaders seek to project unity during the increasingly brutal war.

  • Roughly 6,000 people were evacuated from Mariupol on Tuesday, officials said, but 100,000 more remain trapped there. The effort to save civilians has taken on new urgency since Ukrainian leaders refused Moscow’s demand that the city surrender.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said talks are underway for two potential state visits from high-level dignitaries: Pope Francis, who has repeatedly expressed his support for Ukraine, and the Greek foreign minister, who offered to lead a humanitarian mission to Mariupol. A papal visit is far from certain, but Zelensky said he expects Greece’s Nikos Dendias to travel there ‘in the coming days.’
  • At least 82,525 square kilometers (31,863 square miles) of land in Ukraine could be laced with dangerous explosive devices, according to the Ukrainian Sappers’ Association, a national demining nonprofit.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine, providing unlimited digital access to our coverage. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel for updates and exclusive video.

What Happened on Day 27 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times, Tuesday, 22 March 2022: “As he heads to Europe President Biden will press U.S. allies to help impose even more aggressive sanctions on Russia…. Ukrainian forces pressed to thwart the Russian invasion, mounting counteroffensives on multiple fronts and retaking a town outside of Kyiv on Tuesday, while the more heavily armed Russians, unable so far to gain a decisive upper hand, tried to pound Ukraine’s cities and people into submission. As the fighting seesawed around Kyiv, Ukrainian military officials said their forces had prevailed in Makariv, a key crossroads on the western approaches to the city, while in the south of the country they sought to reclaim the Kherson region. The southern port of Mariupol still endured a brutal siege, however, with the government saying that some 100,000 civilians remained trapped in that ruined city with little food, water, power or heat.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 22), NPR, NPR Staff, Tuesday, 22 March 2022: “As Tuesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Russia’s push to capture the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol now includes long-range shelling from naval ships in the Sea of Azov, according to a senior U.S. defense official. Intense fighting continues inside the city, too. If Russian troops took control of Mariupol, they would hold most of the stretch between the Donbas region in the east and Crimea in the south. President Biden and other Western leaders are prepared to announce new economic sanctions on Russia this week, according to the White House. Biden plans to travel to Brussels, to meet NATO leaders, G-7 leaders and the European Council on Thursday. Japan is protesting Russia’s decision to pull out of stalled talks for a peace treaty to formally end hostilities in World War II. Russia’s move came after Japan’s new sanctions. The two countries have a long-running dispute over four islands, known as the Southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan. A Moscow court sentenced jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny to nine additional years in high-security prison. Navalny was convicted on charges of fraud and contempt of court in a trial held at the prison where he’s already serving a 2 1/2-year sentence. Navalny and his supporters argue his case has long been politically motivated. Russian Nobel Peace Prize winner Dmitry Muratov will auction off his medal to raise money for Ukrainian refugees. Muratov, one of last year’s winners, is the editor-in-chief of the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, known for its investigative reporting. The war keeps reverberating through the world of sports. A top Ukrainian boxer — two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasiliy Lomachenko — turned down a title match abroad to stay with his family and defend Ukraine. Russian chess grandmaster Sergey Karjakin was suspended over his comments about the war in Ukraine. And Russia’s soccer team has been effectively banned from the World Cup.”

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on Tuesday Pushed Back on Republican Attacks on Her Record, Defending Her Work Representing Terrorism Detainees and Sentencing Child Sex Abusers as She Presented Herself as a Firm Believer in Judicial Restraint Fit To Be Confirmed to a Seat on the Supreme court, The New York Times, Carl Hulse and Katie Rogers, Tuesday, 22 March 2022: “Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on Tuesday pushed back on Republican attacks on her record, defending her work representing terrorism detainees and sentencing child sex abusers as she presented herself as a firm believer in judicial restraint fit to be confirmed to a seat on the Supreme Court. Under intense questioning from senators in a daylong hearing on her nomination, Judge Jackson said repeatedly that she understood the narrow role that judges played in American government and refused to be drawn into political fights such as whether seats should be added to the Supreme Court…. While Republicans had initially been wary of the optics of attacking the first Black woman to be put forward for the Supreme Court, some G.O.P. members of the panel — particularly those with presidential ambitions — assailed Judge Jackson’s record in a series of tense exchanges in which they implied that she was soft on crime, particularly when it came to child sexual abuse, and an extremist on matters of race. Seeing an opening to score political points if not block her confirmation, they hit on midterm campaign themes that have become rallying cries for conservatives and their hard-right base, returning often to the subject of pedophilia, the central false allegation against Democrats that underlies the pro-Trump conspiracy theory QAnon.” See also, Day 2 Highlights: Ketanji Brown Jackson Takes Senators’ Questions. Democrats spent the day praising her, and Republicans grilled her on topics including abortion and sentences she gave in sexual assault cases. The New York Times, Tuesday, 22 March 2022. See also, Ketanji Brown Jackson declares herself a modest jurist and defends her record against Republican criticism, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes and Ann E. Marimow, Tuesday, 22 March 2022: “Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on Tuesday portrayed herself as a modest ‘stay in my lane’ jurist during a marathon day of questioning in her Supreme Court confirmation hearing, at times appearing exasperated that Republican senators repeatedly questioned slices of her legal and judicial career concerning Guantánamo Bay detainees and sentencing child pornography defendants. The second day of her historic confirmation proceedings — President Biden chose the 51-year-old Jackson to be the first Black woman on the nation’s highest court — alternated between celebratory bouquets from Democratic senators and suggestions from Republicans that she was soft on crime and focused on leftist theories of racial recrimination.” See also, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmation hearings: What happened Tuesday, NPR, Barbara Sprunt, Tuesday, 22 March 2022: “Day 2 of the confirmation hearing of Ketanji Brown Jackson, the federal judge President Biden nominated to fill the seat of retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, has concluded. The nature of Tuesday’s hearing was vastly different than what Jackson faced on Monday, when 22 senators gave their opening statements before she introduced herself to the committee. Here are some highlights from Tuesday’s hearing: Sen. Josh Hawley distorted Jackson’s sentencing record in cases related to child pornography, painting her as sympathetic to offenders. His line of questioning tied into conspiracy theories that have been debunked by experts. The White House called his rhetoric an embarrassing QAnon-signaling smear. Jackson pushed back at his claims, noting that judges have to determine how to sentence defendants consistent with the requirements that Congress has set forward. ‘Sentencing is a discretionary act of a judge, but it’s not a numbers game,’ she said. Prompted by Sen. Cory Booker, Jackson spoke of the role of her family, offering a reprieve from some of the more testy exchanges between senators. Jackson credited her grandparents as the ‘hardest working people I’ve ever known’ and said she thinks of them in this historic moment. She also reflected on the tough balancing act of motherhood and career, saying ‘It’s a lot of early mornings and late nights and what that means is there will be hearings during your daughter’s recitals. There’ll be emergencies on birthdays that you have to handle.’… Sen. Dick Durbin fact checked Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, after Cornyn asked Jackson why she called former President George W. Bush and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ‘war criminals.’ Jackson said she didn’t remember using the term. Over a lunch break, Durbin researched the matter and later told the hearing Jackson never made those remarks. Sen. Ted Cruz attempted to link Jackson with critical race theory, despite her repeated statements that the academic approach (used predominantly in law schools) ‘doesn’t come up in my work as a judge.’ Cruz alleged Georgetown Day School, where Jackson serves on the board of trustees, is ‘overflowing’ with the theory and brought children’s books as props. Jackson told the Texas Republican that the board doesn’t control curricula. Jackson defended herself against claims she is soft on sentencing child pornography defendants. She said she takes these crimes extremely seriously as a judge and as a mother and called on Congress to change laws on sex abuse materials to stay current in the digital era. Republican Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, among others, have painted Jackson as a judge who metes out lenient sentences for those convicted of possessing and distributing child pornography. ‘Congress tells judges what we’re supposed to do when we sentence and what I’d say is that Congress has to determine how it wishes for judges to handle these cases,’ Jackson said. She also defended her record as a public defender for Guantanamo Bay detaineesnoting that public defenders ‘don’t get to pick their clients.’ Jackson added ‘We’re entitled to be treated fairly. That’s what makes our system the best in the world. That’s what makes us exemplary.'” See also, Judging a Judge on Race and Crime, Republicans Plan to Their Base and Fringe. Grilling Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman nominated to the Supreme Court, conservative senators painted her as a jurist who had coddled criminals and embraced ‘woke’ education. The New York Times, Jonathan Weisman and Jazmine Ulloa, Tuesday, 22 March 2022: “After all of the entreaties from top Republicans to show respect at Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearings, Senator Ted Cruz on Tuesday afternoon chose to grill the first Black woman nominated for the Supreme Court on her views on critical race theory and insinuate that she was soft on child sexual abuse. The message from the Texas Republican seemed clear: A Black woman vying for a lifetime appointment on the highest court in the land would, Mr. Cruz suggested, coddle criminals, go easy on pedophiles and subject white people to the view that they were, by nature, oppressors. The attack, the most dramatic of several launched from inside and outside the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing room, contained barely coded appeals to racism and clear nods to the fringes of the conservative world. Two other Republican senators, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, had already signaled they would go after Judge Jackson by accusing her of having a soft spot for criminals, especially pedophiles, and an allegiance to ‘woke’ racialized education. Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, also pressed the issue on Tuesday night. None of those issues were connected to cases coming before the Supreme Court — or to cases ever decided by the court. They were amplified outside the chamber by institutional Republicans and the conservative media. Fox News ran a headline reading ‘Ketanji Brown Jackson serves on board of school that promotes critical race theory,’ and the Republican National Committee shared a GIF on Twitter showing the judge’s picture with her initials, ‘KBJ,’ crossed out and replaced by ‘CRT.'”

Putin spokesman refuses to rule out use of nuclear weapons if Russia is faced with an ‘existential threat,’ CNN World, Luke McGee and Claire Calzonetti, Tuesday, 22 March 2022: “Russian President Vladimir Putin’s chief spokesman has conceded that Russia has yet to achieve any of its military goals in Ukraine and refused to deny that Moscow could resort to the use of nuclear weapons. In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday, Dmitry Peskov repeatedly refused to rule out that Russia would consider using nuclear weapons against what Moscow saw as an ‘existential threat.’ When asked under what conditions Putin would use Russia’s nuclear capability, Peskov replied, ‘if it is an existential threat for our country, then it can be.’ The United States condemned Peskov’s ‘dangerous’ comments. ‘It’s not the way a responsible nuclear power should act,’ Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters on Tuesday. Putin has previously hinted at using nuclear weapons against nations that he saw as a threat to Russia. Back in February, the Russian President said in a televised statement, ‘No matter who tries to stand in our way or all the more so create threats for our country and our people, they must know that Russia will respond immediately, and the consequences will be such as you have never seen in your entire history.'”


Wednesday, 23 March 2022:


U.S. finds Russian forces have committed war crimes; Biden arrives in Brussels, The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, Reis Thebault, Paulina Firozi, Ellen Francis, Rachel Pannett, Adela Suliman, Missy Ryan, and David L. Stern, Wednesday, 23 March 2022: “The U.S. government has determined that members of Russia’s military committed war crimes in Ukraine, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday, as President Biden arrived in Brussels for a trip meant to bolster the NATO alliance. Blinken said that assessment is based in part on U.S. intelligence and pointed to the suffering of civilians in Mariupol, a key port city that Russian forces cut off early in their invasion and then bombarded. Biden and other leaders are expected to announce an initiative to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian energy by directing natural gas shipments to the region. National security adviser Jake Sullivan said new sanctions against political leaders and oligarchs will also be unveiled Thursday. The president landed in Europe as NATO policymakers are split over how to prevent Russia from escalating its war.

  • Moscow has been rejecting attempts by the U.S. defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to speak with their Russian counterparts, raising fears of a miscalculation or accident, the Pentagon said.
  • Ukrainian officials said they retook Makariv, a key gateway for Russian forces to potentially surround and seize the capital. But the city remains contested.
  • Russian forces appear to be pouring new energy into an offensive against Ukrainian forces from the eastern provinces under separatist control.
  • At the request of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the United States has not sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich; Zelensky thinks the billionaire may be helpful in negotiating a peace deal, an official familiar with the matter said.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine, providing unlimited digital access to our coverage. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel for updates and exclusive video.

What Happened on Day 28 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times, Wednesday, 23 March 2022: “NATO announced a doubling of its military presence near Ukraine on Wednesday and said the alliance would help the country prepare for possible chemical, biological and even nuclear threats from the Russian invaders, which would be a once-unthinkable expansion in the month-old war. The announcement by Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary general, came hours before President Biden landed in Europe for an extraordinary strategy session with the alliance, created in 1949 to contain the Soviet Union. The warnings underscored the urgency of efforts to prevent the conflict from spreading beyond Ukraine’s borders and entangling NATO in a direct fight with Russia.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 23), NPR, NPR Staff, Wednesday, 23 March 2022: “As Wednesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Thursday will mark one month since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. Thousands more people were able to escape cities under attack this week, but many remain trapped as humanitarian corridors keep failing. Intense fighting continues over several key places, including the capital of Kyiv and the port city of Mariupol. The U.S. government assessed that members of Russian forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine by hitting civilian targets. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the conclusion was based on a ‘careful review’ of information from public and intelligence sources. He said the attacks have resulted in nearly 5,000 civilian causalities. Leaders of NATO and the G-7 prepare for an emergency summit. President Biden and European allies plan to announce new sanctions for Russia and new humanitarian aid for Ukraine. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Germany would not heed calls for NATO peacekeepers to enter the war in Ukraine. Poland is expelling 45 Russian diplomats as suspected spies. Russia will sell its natural gas to ‘unfriendly’ countries in rubles only. President Vladimir Putin said the country will stop accepting euros and dollars from European or American gas buyers. The move appeared to be an attempt to prop up Russia’s flagging currency. Nestlé will limit its sales in Russia after criticism from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The Swiss conglomerate said it will remain in Russia only with essential products, such as infant food and hospital nutrition.”

Ketanji Brown Jackson Survives a Final Bruising Day of Questions. Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee pummeled the first Black woman nominated to the Supreme Court for a second day over her sentencing record on child sex crimes. The New York Times, Carl Hulse and Jonathan Weisman, Wednesday, 23 March 2022: “Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson emerged on Wednesday from two grueling days of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee having weathered escalating Republican attacks on her record but leaving Democrats confident that she would become the first Black woman on the Supreme Court. Questioning of President Biden’s nominee by Republicans grew increasingly hostile as they stepped up their criticism of what they portrayed as a pattern of leniency in her sentencing of child sex abusers and tried to paint her as a liberal on issues of race, gender, guns and abortion rights. Despite early pledges from Republican leaders that the process would be marked by decorum and respect, the hearings were a bruising affair for the Senate, no less bitter or partisan than their immediate predecessors. Even Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska, vented his exasperation at ‘the jackassery we see around here’ of ‘people mugging’ for the cameras…. [T]he heart of the Republicans’ attack was child sex crimes, a fraught, deeply uncomfortable subject that speaks to all Americans but carries special weight with the conservative fringe, fed on a diet of false QAnon conspiracy theories that hold that a cabal of pedophiles rule Washington…. Democrats sought to rebut the claims that Judge Jackson’s sentencing history was extreme, noting that it fell in the mainstream of federal judges. Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, called the Republican assault ‘an attempt to distract from your broad support, your deep record, your outstanding intellectual and legal credentials.'” See also, Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings Day 3 Highlights: Senators Finish Questioning Ketanji Brown Jackson, The New York Times, Wednesday, 23 March 2022.

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson says she would recuse herself from Harvard affirmative action case, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, John Wagner, Amy B Wang, Mariana Alfaro, and Eugene Scott, Wednesday, 23 March 2022: “Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Biden’s nominee to the Supreme Court, said Wednesday that if confirmed, she would recuse herself from a case examining Harvard University’s admissions policies. Jackson, whose term on Harvard’s Board of Overseers expires this spring, previously had not said publicly what she would do. Jackson’s statement came as she testified for nearly 10 hours before the Senate Judiciary Committee, with several Republicans sharply criticizing her as too lenient in her sentencing as a federal trial judge. Jackson countered that it was unfair to solely focus on a subset of cases and emphasized that she had handed down tough sentences. Later, as Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), the only Black senator on the panel, came to her defense and praised her, Jackson became visibly emotional. ‘You have earned this spot. You are worthy. You are a great American,’ Booker told Jackson, who if confirmed would be the first Black woman on the court in its 233-year history. Proceedings on Thursday, the final day of hearings, will feature outside witnesses.

  • Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) pressed Jackson on whether she had been too lenient with sentencing in child pornography cases but repeatedly interrupted her before she could give an answer. Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) eventually intervened.
  • Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) asked Jackson to talk about her brother, a former police officer in Baltimore, after Republicans sought to portray Jackson as soft on crime.
  • Durbin rebuffed a request from all but one Republican senator on the committee for all presentencing reports from the child pornography cases Jackson handled as a judge.
  • Jackson, 51, has been nominated by Biden to replace Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who is retiring. Breyer, 83, the high court’s oldest justice, has been a reliable liberal vote.

Republicans turn Ketanji Brown Jackson hearing into a political circus, The Guardian, Ed Pilkington, published on Thursday, 24 March 2022: “At 2:54pm on the second day of Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearings that will determine whether she takes a seat on the US supreme court, the solemn proceedings took a nosedive into farce. Ted Cruz, the Republican senator from Texas, turned theatrically to an outsized blow-up of a children’s book, Antiracist Baby by Ibram X Kendi. Pointing to a cartoon from its pages of an infant in diapers taking their first walk, he asked Jackson: ‘Do you agree with this book … that babies are racist?’ ‘Senator,’ Jackson began with a sigh. And then she paused for seven full seconds, which in the august setting of the Senate judiciary committee hearing felt like a year. For the one and only time in the 13 hours of questioning that Jackson endured that day, the nominee appeared flummoxed. Or was it flabbergasted? Here she was, aged 51, with almost a decade’s experience as a federal judge behind her and, if confirmed, the history-making distinction of becoming the first Black woman to sit on the nation’s highest court ahead of her. And she was being asked whether babies were racist? ‘I don’t believe that any child should be made to feel as though they are racist or not valued, or less than, that they are victims, oppressors,’ she said eventually. When Cruz refused to drop the subject she gave a more direct answer. ‘I have not reviewed any of those books,’ she said. ‘They don’t come up in my work as a judge, which I’m respectfully here to address.'”

Mark F. Pomerantz, Prosecutor Who Resigned, Says Trump Is Guilty of ‘Numerous’ Felonies. Pomerantz, who had investigated the former president, left after the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, halted an effort to seek an indictment. The New York Times, William K. Rashbaum, Ben Protess, and Jonah E. Bromwich, Wednesday, 23 March 2022: “One of the senior Manhattan prosecutors who investigated Donald J. Trump believed that the former president was ‘guilty of numerous felony violations’ and that it was ‘a grave failure of justice’ not to hold him accountable, according to a copy of his resignation letter. The prosecutor, Mark F. Pomerantz, submitted his resignation last month after the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, abruptly stopped pursuing an indictment of Mr. Trump. Mr. Pomerantz, 70, a prominent former federal prosecutor and white-collar defense lawyer who came out of retirement to work on the Trump investigation, resigned on the same day as Carey R. Dunne, another senior prosecutor leading the inquiry. Mr. Pomerantz’s Feb. 23 letter, obtained by The New York Times, offers a personal account of his decision to resign and for the first time states explicitly his belief that the office could have convicted the former president. Mr. Bragg’s decision was ‘contrary to the public interest,’ he wrote.” See also, Mark Pomerantz, one of the prosecutors who resigned over stalled Trump investigation, says Trump committed felonies, The Washington Post, Shayna Jacobs, Josh Dawsey, and Jonathan O’Connell, Wednesday, 23 March 2022: “A veteran prosecutor who resigned from a special appointment to the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation into Donald Trump’s finances and business practices said the former president personally committed felonies and should be charged promptly. The comments were made in Mark Pomerantz’s Feb. 23 resignation letter as he and Carey Dunne, another top investigator on the team probing Trump and the family-run Trump Organization, abruptly left the office after people familiar with the matter said District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) appeared uninterested in pursuing a case. ‘The team that has been investigating Mr. Trump harbors no doubt about whether he committed crimes — he did,’ Pomerantz’s letter said, according to a copy obtained by The Washington Post. The New York Times first reported on the contents of Pomerantz’s letter. Pomerantz added that Trump lied to banks and other relevant parties committing ‘numerous felony violations’ through his practice of filing bogus Statements of Financial Condition. Investigators under the district attorney and the New York attorney general spent years working to determine if Trump and the Trump Organization tried to decrease tax liability by falsely minimizing asset values while trying to obtain favorable loan rates using other fake estimates. Pomerantz said he and his counterparts in the probe determined Trump broke New York law and that a criminal case against him was viable.”

House Republican Mo Brooks of Alabama Says Trump Asked Him to Illegally ‘Rescind’ 2020 Election. Brooks, who was involved in Trump’s efforts to challenge the election, made the charge after Trump took back his endorsement. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Shane Goldmacher, Wednesday, 23 March 2022: “Representative Mo Brooks, an Alabama Republican who was deeply involved in former President Donald J. Trump’s effort to use Congress to upend the 2020 election and stay in office, claimed on Wednesday that the former president had asked him repeatedly in the months since to illegally ‘rescind’ the election, remove President Biden and force a new special election. Mr. Brooks made the extraordinary charge as the two onetime allies were engaged in a bitter political feud, and it was not immediately clear how their falling out related to the accusation. But the account from the Alabama congressman, who played a central role in challenging electoral votes for Mr. Biden on Jan. 6, 2021, suggested that Mr. Trump has continued his efforts to overturn his defeat and be reinstated. It marked the first time a lawmaker who was involved in Mr. Trump’s attempts to invalidate his election defeat has said that Mr. Trump asked for actions that, were they possible, would violate federal law. His statement came after Mr. Trump withdrew his endorsement of Mr. Brooks in the Republican primary for Alabama’s Senate seat, undercutting the congressman’s already slim chances in a crowded intraparty race.”

Supreme Court Sides With Republicans in Case on Wisconsin Redistricting. The justices sent a case on legislative maps back to a state court for another look, but they refused a request to block the state’s congressional maps. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Wednesday, 23 March 2022: “The Supreme Court sided with Wisconsin’s Republican-led Legislature on Wednesday in a dispute over competing voting maps for the state’s legislative districts. The justices’ unsigned decision reversed a ruling from the Wisconsin Supreme Court that had selected the map drawn by Gov. Tony Evers over other proposals, and it sent the case back to the state court for another look. The majority said the state court had not considered carefully enough whether the Voting Rights Act, a federal law that protects minority voting power, required the addition of a seventh assembly district in which Black voters made up a majority. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justice Elena Kagan, dissented, saying that ‘the court’s action today is unprecedented.’ She added that ‘the court today faults the State Supreme Court for its failure to comply with an obligation that, under existing precedent, is hazy at best.'” See also, Black voters suffer another significant loss in the Supreme Court. The justices are concerned that Wisconsin’s legislative maps may give too much political power to Black people. Vox, Ian Millhiser, Wednesday, 23 March 2022: “On Wednesday, as the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the first Black woman nominated to the Supreme Court, the incumbent justices handed down a decision undermining the right of Black people to participate equally in America’s elections. The Court’s decision in Wisconsin Legislature v. Wisconsin Elections Commission strikes down state legislative maps selected by the Wisconsin Supreme Court after the state’s Republican legislature and Democratic governor were unable to agree upon which maps the state should use. The maps that the state court adopted were proposed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, but Evers was also constrained by criteria, laid out by the GOP-controlled state supreme court, that favor Republicans. These maps apply to the state legislature. The Court’s decision does not touch the state’s congressional maps. The Court relied on a confusing array of legal doctrines governing racial gerrymanders, but one key, inflammatory assumption appears to undergird the decision: That legislative maps with fewer Black-majority districts are often preferred to those that give more power to Black voters.”


Thursday, 24 March 2022:


Biden expresses support for expelling Russia from G-20; U.S. to accept 100,000 refugees, The Washington Post, Tyler Pager, Paulina Firozi, Reis Thebault, Hannah Knowles, Nick Miroff, Ellen Francis, Rachel Pannett, and Adela Suliman, Thursday, 24 March 2022: “President Biden voiced support for expelling Russia from the Group of 20, remarks he made in Brussels on Thursday as he announced that the United States will take in 100,000 Ukrainian refugees and will commit more than $1 billion in humanitarian assistance for those affected by Russia’s continued invasion in Ukraine. As the war reached the one-month mark, Biden joined leaders from the Group of Seven nations and the European Union in projecting a unified front against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine while announcing additional measures to isolate the Kremlin. New sanctions will target more than 400 Russian individuals and entities, including lawmakers and defense companies. The G-7 leaders also warned Russian President Vladimir Putin against using chemical or nuclear weapons. A decision to boot Russia from the G-20, an assembly of the world’s largest economies, would be up to its member nations. If they object, Biden suggested inviting Ukraine to observe the group’s October summit. Putin is planning to attend the meeting, a Russian diplomat said.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke to NATO leaders via videoconference Thursday, urging the alliance to provide Ukraine with unrestricted military help.
  • The war has forced more than 3.6 million people to flee Ukraine. French President Emmanuel Macron warned of an ‘unprecedented food crisis’ and urged emergency action.
  • White House officials are exploring a dramatic escalation of the administration’s sanctions on Russia.
  • Ukraine and Russia carried out their first ‘full-fledged’ military prisoner exchange Thursday, said Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk.
  • The Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel for updates.

A month into the Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 24), NPR, NPR Staff, Thursday, 24 March 2022: “It has been one month since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. As Thursday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are its key developments: Russian troops have been unable to advance on the capital of Kyiv. To the east, Ukrainian forces pushed back some Russian soldiers; to the northwest, Russian forces are digging in to defensive positions, according to the Pentagon. In southern Ukraine, Russian troops had overrun Kherson and Melitopol, but face civilian protests. The key port city of Mariupol remains under siege. Russia’s military continues to rely on artillery and bombs, including long-range attacks from ships. The war has displaced more than half of Ukraine’s children and a quarter of the overall Ukrainian population. Some 2.5 million children have had to relocate inside Ukraine, and more than 1.8 million more have crossed into other countries as refugees, according to UNICEF. Almost 3.7 million people have fled Ukraine, according to the U.N. refugee agency. The United States pledged to accept up to 100,000 Ukrainians and other displaced people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine. NATO and G-7 allies held an emergency meeting to discuss troop presence in Eastern Europe, more weapons for Ukraine and Russian sanctions. President Biden told reporters that allies would respond ‘in kind’ if Russia uses chemical weapons against Ukraine, without further details. He also said Russia should be ejected from the G-20. Russia and Ukraine exchanged 10 prisoners of war each, according to Ukrainian officials, who called it the first full-fledged swap of the conflict. The countries also exchanged captured civilian sailors.”

Counteroffensive in Ukraine Shifts Dynamic of War, The New York Times, Thursday, 24 March 2022: “President Biden and leaders of more than 30 nations convened Thursday to demonstrate united opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, announcing new economic sanctions, aid for refugees, deployment of additional forces to Eastern Europe and grim preparations in case Russia uses chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. But the historic gathering of world leaders in a series of three summits on Thursday underscored how the United States and its allies have in some ways reached their self-imposed limits in crafting a united global response to the largest European conflict in more than a half-century. While they are sharpening the tools they are using against Russia, they appear to have few new ones to reach for. Mr. Biden and the allies have moved with unexpected speed and authority over the past four weeks, rallying much of the world against President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.”

Confirmation hearings for Jackson conclude after testimony from outside witnesses, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Amy B Wang, Mariana Alfaro, Eugene Scott, and Felicia Sonmez, Thursday, 24 March 2022: “The fourth and final day of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson concluded Thursday after the Senate Judiciary Committee heard from an array of outside witnesses, including representatives of the American Bar Association, who said President Biden’s nominee would bring ‘impeccable’ credentials to the job. Witnesses invited by Democrats highlighted Jackson’s temperament and the historic nature of her nomination. She would be the first Black woman on the court in its 233-year history. Those invited by Republicans questioned Jackson’s judicial philosophy and whether she would try to use her position to remake the court system. The ABA representatives said they said found no evidence to support repeated criticism from Republican senators that Jackson was lenient in her sentencing as a federal trial court judge.

  • The committee is expected to vote April 4 on the nomination of Jackson, who currently sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
  • If Democrats stick together, Jackson could be confirmed by the full Senate without any Republican support in the evenly divided chamber, with Vice President Harris casting a deciding vote. Former senator Doug Jones (D-Ala.) said Thursday that he is hopeful Jackson’s nomination will attract some GOP support.
  • Jackson, 51, has been nominated by Biden to replace Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who is retiring. Breyer, 83, the high court’s oldest justice, has been a reliable liberal vote.

The Respectful Supreme Court Hearing That Wasn’t. Republicans’ hostile interrogation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and relentless re-litigating of past Supreme Court feuds marred a historic moment. The New York Times, Carl Hulse, Thursday, 24 March 2022: “The Republican manhandling of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson this week was convincing evidence that the Senate’s Supreme Court confirmation process is irredeemably broken. The aggressively hostile interrogation of Judge Jackson, featuring political dog-whistling and relentless re-litigating of Supreme Court feuds of the past, marred what could have been not only a reset for the Senate, but a significant national moment in seeing the first Black woman ascend to the pinnacle of American jurisprudence with strong support. Instead it was an escalation of what has come before it in recent years: toxic partisanship, bitter attacks and nasty questioning full of innuendo about the supposed character failings of a nominee who will likely carry the scars across the street to the high court. ‘Do you believe child predators are misunderstood?’ Senator Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, asked in one of the many loaded queries aimed at defining Judge Jackson as some sort of pedophile enabler, despite years of lauded service on the bench. ‘Could you fairly judge a Catholic?’ asked Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, one of Judge Jackson’s main antagonists despite the fact that he had voted to promote her to a highly influential appellate court just last year, one of only three Republicans to do so. ‘Do you agree with this book that is being taught with kids that the babies are racist?’ asked Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, who also took it upon himself to lecture Judge Jackson, whose parents had attended segregated schools, about the teachings of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. She was questioned about the definition of ‘woman,’ at a time when transgender rights are a hot-button issue, and grilled repeatedly about her views of antiracism and critical race theory. If there were any Supreme Court confirmation that could have gone differently, it was this one. Judge Jackson is a historic nominee, rated as highly qualified even by her critics. She has been vetted and confirmed three times by the Judiciary Committee and the Senate, the last time less than a year ago for the appeals court post. Her approval would not change the ideological makeup of the court, lowering the stakes of her confirmation considerably.”

The history behind the Langston Hughes poem used in the Ketanji Brown Jackson hearing, NPR, Andrew Limbong, Thursday, 24 March 2022:

“O, let America be America again–

The land that never has been yet—

And yet must be—the land where every man is free.”

That line comes from Langston Hughes’ poem ‘Let America Be America Again,’ first published in Esquire in 1936. It’s a long poem (which you can read in full here), that captures the wide swath of feelings from members of the under class begging America to fulfill its stated promises. It was deeply relevant then, and still is today — as evidenced by Sen. Cory Booker yesterday quoting the poem in support of Supreme Court nominee Kentaji Brown Jackson during her second day of confirmation hearings. The poem is a clear-eyed look at America’s treatment people who were Black, Indigenous, poor, and who were ‘Tangled in that ancient endless chain/ Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!'”

Texts show Virginia Thomas urged White House chief to pursue unrelenting efforts to overturn the 2020 election. In messages to Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in the weeks after Election Day, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas called Biden’s victory ‘the greatest Heist of our History’ and told him that President Donald Trump should not concede. The Washington Post, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, Thursday, 24 March 2022: “Virginia Thomas, a conservative activist married to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, repeatedly pressed White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to pursue unrelenting efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in a series of urgent text exchanges in the critical weeks after the vote, according to copies of the messages obtained by The Washington Post and CBS News. The messages — 29 in all — reveal an extraordinary pipeline between Virginia Thomas, who goes by Ginni, and President Donald Trump’s top aide during a period when Trump and his allies were vowing to go to the Supreme Court in an effort to negate the election results. On Nov. 10, after news organizations had projected Joe Biden the winner based on state vote totals, Thomas wrote to Meadows: ‘Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!!…You are the leader, with him, who is standing for America’s constitutional governance at the precipice. The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History.’ When Meadows wrote to Thomas on Nov. 24, the White House chief of staff invoked God to describe the effort to overturn the election. ‘This is a fight of good versus evil,’ Meadows wrote. ‘Evil always looks like the victor until the King of Kings triumphs. Do not grow weary in well doing. The fight continues. I have staked my career on it. Well at least my time in DC on it.’… The messages, which do not directly reference Justice Thomas or the Supreme Court, show for the first time how Ginni Thomas used her access to Trump’s inner circle to promote and seek to guide the president’s strategy to overturn the election results — and how receptive and grateful Meadows said he was to receive her advice. Among Thomas’s stated goals in the messages was for lawyer Sidney Powell, who promoted incendiary and unsupported claims about the election, to be ‘the lead and the face’ of Trump’s legal team.” See also, Texts Show Ginni Thomas Pressed Trump’s Chief of Staff to Overturn 2020 Vote. The messages between Ms. Thomas and Mark Meadows are the first evidence that she directly advised the White House in efforts to reverse the election results. The New York Times, Danny Hakim, Luke Broadwater, and Jo Becker, Thursday, 24 March 2022: “In the weeks between the 2020 presidential election and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, sent a barrage of text messages imploring President Donald J. Trump’s chief of staff to take steps to overturn the vote, according to a person with knowledge of the texts. In one message sent in the days after the election, she urged the chief of staff, Mark Meadows, to ‘release the Kraken and save us from the left taking America down,’ invoking a slogan popular on the right that refers to a web of conspiracy theories that Trump supporters believed would overturn the election. In another, she wrote: ‘I can’t see Americans swallowing the obvious fraud. Just going with one more thing with no frickin consequences.’ She added: ‘We just cave to people wanting Biden to be anointed? Many of us can’t continue the GOP charade.’ The contents of the texts were reported earlier by The Washington Post and CBS News. They were among about 9,000 pages of documents that Mr. Meadows turned over to the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack. The texts detailed Mr. Meadows’s interactions with Republican politicians as they planned strategies to try to keep Mr. Trump in office in the weeks before the riot. The committee obtained 29 texts between Ms. Thomas and Mr. Meadows — 28 exchanged between Nov. 4 and Nov. 24, and one written on Jan. 10. The text messages, most of which were written by Ms. Thomas, represent the first evidence that she was directly advising the White House as it sought to overturn the election. In fact, in her efforts to keep Mr. Trump in power, Ms. Thomas effectively toggled between like-minded members of the executive and legislative branches, even as her husband, who sits atop the judiciary branch that is supposed to serve as a check on the other branches of government, heard election-related cases.” See also, First on CNN: January 6 committee has text messages between Ginni Thomas and Mark Meadows, CNN Politics, Ryan Nobles, Annie Grayer, Zachary Cohen, and Jamie Gangel, Thursday, 24 March 2022: “The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 riot has in its possession more than two dozen text messages, 29 in total, between former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Virginia ‘Ginni’ Thomas, a conservative activist and the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, according to multiple sources familiar with the messages…. CNN first reported that the text messages were in the committee’s possession. The Washington Post first described their content.”

Trump sues Hillary Clinton and others over 2016 election he won, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez and Matt Zapotosky, Thursday, 24 March 2022: “Former president Donald Trump on Thursday filed a lawsuit against former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee and others, alleging that they ‘maliciously conspired to weave a false narrative’ that his campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential race. Trump claims that he incurred expenses of more than $24 million in defending himself against the accusations. He is seeking damages of three times that amount in the lawsuit, which comes more than five years after he defeated Clinton in the November 2016 election. ‘Acting in concert, the Defendants maliciously conspired to weave a false narrative that their Republican opponent, Donald Trump, was colluding with a hostile foreign sovereignty,’ the lawsuit states. ‘The actions taken in furtherance of their scheme — falsifying evidence, deceiving law enforcement, and exploiting access to highly-sensitive data sources — are so outrageous, subversive and incendiary that even the events of Watergate pale in comparison.’… Despite Trump’s repeated claims that he was exonerated by former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III after a two-year investigation, Mueller in 2019 said only that his team had made no determination on ‘collusion’ and that it had not found sufficient evidence to charge any member of Trump’s campaign with criminal conspiracy. Several Trump associates pleaded guilty to charges related to the 2016 campaign and Russia, including federal conspiracy or lying to the FBI. And a 2020 report by the Senate Intelligence Committee portrayed Trump’s 2016 campaign as posing counterintelligence risks through its significant contacts with Russia and seeming determination to conceal the full extent of its conduct.” See also, Trump’s lawsuit against Clinton and 47 others is a predictable mess, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Thursday, 24 March 2022: “From the very beginning of Donald Trump’s lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and a smattering of nearly 50 others, it becomes abundantly clear what this is about — and it’s not about winning a legal judgment. ‘In the run-up to the 2016 Presidential Election, Hillary Clinton and her cohorts orchestrated an unthinkable plot — one that shocks the conscience and is an affront to this nation’s democracy,’ the lawsuit, filed March 24, begins. It soon adds that the alleged plot was ‘so outrageous, subversive and incendiary that even the events of Watergate pale in comparison.’ In other words: This is a press release. What the lawsuit lacks in subtlety, though, it more than makes up for in false claims, errors and dubious inferences.” See also, Trump sues Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and others, alleging conspiracy to link his campaign to Russia, CNN Politics, Marshall Cohen and Katelyn Polantz, Thursday, 24 March 2022: “Former President Donald Trump filed a sprawling federal lawsuit on Thursday against Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee and 26 other people and entities that he claims conspired to undermine his 2016 campaign by falsely tying him to Russia. The lawsuit names a wide cast of characters that Trump has accused for years of orchestrating a ‘deep state’ conspiracy against him — including former FBI Director James Comey and other FBI officials, the retired British spy Christopher Steele and his associates, and a handful of Clinton campaign advisers.”

Study by Researchers at Stanford University Suggests Methane Leaks in New Mexico Far Exceed Current Estimates. An analysis found leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from the Permian Basin were many times higher than government estimates, The New York Times, Maggie Astor, Thursday, 24 March 2022: “Startlingly large amounts of methane are leaking from wells and pipelines in New Mexico, according to a new analysis of aerial data, suggesting that the oil and gas industry may be contributing more to climate change than was previously known. The study, by researchers at Stanford University, estimates that oil and gas operations in New Mexico’s Permian Basin are releasing 194 metric tons per hour of methane, a planet-warming gas many times more potent than carbon dioxide. That is more than six times as much as the latest estimate from the Environmental Protection Agency.”


Friday, 25 March 2022:


Russia shows signs of changing course; Biden to meet Ukrainian refugees, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Meryl Kornfield, Tyler Pager, Mary Ilyushina, David Stern, Jennifer Hassan, Amy Cheng, Julian Mark, Miriam Berger, and Lateshia Beachum, Friday, 25 March 2022: “Russia has showed signs of changing course in its invasion, favoring shoring up its holdings in the eastern territories over trying to seize the capital with ground forces. Russian defense ministry official Sergey Rudskoy claimed Friday that ‘the main goal’ of the Russian operation is ‘the liberation of Donbas’ — referring to an area of eastern Ukraine that has been partially controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces since 2014. The Pentagon confirmed Russian forces are halting ground operations toward Kyiv and have ramped up attacks in eastern Ukraine. President Biden is expected to give ‘a major address’ in Warsaw on Saturday about the significance of the war, national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Friday. Biden will also meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda as well as Ukrainian refugees and American humanitarian aid volunteers.

Russia Says Focus Is Shifting Away From Kyiv, Toward Eastern Ukraine, The New York Times, Friday, 25 March 2022: “Russia signaled a possible recalibration of its war aims in Ukraine on Friday as the Kremlin faced spreading global ostracism for the brutal invasion, hardened Western economic punishments and a determined Ukrainian resistance that appeared to be making some gains on the ground. A statement by Russia’s Defense Ministry said the goals of the ‘first stage of the operation’ had been ‘mainly accomplished,’ with Ukraine’s combat capabilities ‘significantly reduced,’ and that it would now focus on securing Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, where Russia-backed separatists have been fighting for eight years. The Defense Ministry statement was ambiguous about further possible Russian territorial ambitions in Ukraine, where its ground forces have been mostly stymied by the unexpectedly strong Ukrainian military response. But on a day when President Biden was visiting U.S. soldiers in Poland near the Ukrainian border, the statement suggested the possibility that the Russians were looking for a way to salvage some kind of achievement before the costs of the war they launched a month ago became impossibly onerous. While Russia ‘does not exclude’ that its forces will storm major Ukrainian cities such as Chernihiv, Mykolaiv and the capital, Kyiv, the Defense Ministry statement said that taking them over was not the primary objective.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 25), NPR, NPR Staff, Friday, 25 March 2022: “As Friday draws to an end in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: The Russian military is stepping its up air and ground attacks in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, according to a senior U.S. defense official, but the official said the Russians have not made any significant advances so far. The Russian Defense Ministry said it is focusing on the Donbas. Pro-Russian forces have controlled parts of this region since 2014, but Ukraine’s troops have maintained their hold on part of it. President Biden visited Poland Friday, reassuring a vulnerable ally. He has been traveling along NATO’s eastern flank, including a stop in a Polish town only 60 miles from the Ukrainian border. He met with U.S. troops stationed near Poland’s border with Ukraine and with Polish President Andrzej Duda. Ukraine says that Moscow’s negotiating positions have become more ‘appropriate’ as the Russian military advance has stalled in some places. Ukraine’s foreign minister repeated calls for more sanctions on Russia and more military aid to Ukraine to help convince Moscow to start moving past ultimatums. Russia has demanded that Ukraine recognize Crimea as part of Russia, and Luhansk and Donetsk as independent states. In Kyiv, Russia has apparently halted its ground offensive. Russian forces are digging in and showing no signs of trying to advance on the capital. Ukrainian forces say they’ve regained most of suburban Irpin. Biden and the European Commission president announced a new task force to find ways to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas by next winter. Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin has long used energy to coerce and manipulate its neighbors. ‘He’s used the profits to drive his war machine,’ Biden said.”

Justice Thomas Ruled on Election Cases. Should His Wife’s Texts Have Stopped Him? The nature of the text messages was enough to require recusal, legal experts said. But the Supreme Court has traditionally left such decisions to the discretion of the justice in question. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Friday, 25 March 2022: “The disclosure that Virginia Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, had sent a barrage of text messages to the Trump White House urging efforts to overturn the 2020 election brought into sharp focus the conflict of interest her political activism has created — and the lack of a clear-cut remedy. It is one thing, experts in legal ethics said on Friday, for the spouse of a Supreme Court justice to express political views, even ones shot through with wild conspiracy theories. That may not by itself require the justice’s recusal from cases touching on those views. But the text messages from Ms. Thomas, a longtime conservative activist who goes by Ginni, revealed something quite different and deeply troubling, experts said. The messages from Ms. Thomas to Mark Meadows, President Donald J. Trump’s chief of staff, sent during and just after the fraught weeks between the 2020 presidential election and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, demonstrated that she was an active participant in shaping the legal effort to overturn the election.” See also, Legal Scholars Are Shocked by Ginni Thomas’s ‘Stop the Steal’ Texts. Several experts say that Thomas’s husband, the Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, must recuse himself from any case related to the 2020 election. The texts don’t just indicate Ginni Thomas’s efforts to scheme with high-level Trump Administration figures; they expose her belief in baseless conspiracy theories.  The New Yorker, Jane Mayer, Friday 25 March 2022: “Several of the country’s most respected legal scholars say that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas must immediately recuse himself from any cases relating to the 2020 election and its aftermath, now that it has been revealed that his wife, Virginia (Ginni) Thomas, colluded extensively with a top White House adviser about overturning Joe Biden’s defeat of then President Donald Trump. On March 24th, the Washington Post and CBS News revealed that they had obtained copies of twenty-nine text messages between Ginni Thomas and Mark Meadows, the Trump White House chief of staff, in which she militated relentlessly for invalidating the results of the Presidential election, which she described as an ‘obvious fraud.’ It was necessary, she told Meadows, to ‘release the Kraken and save us from the left taking America down.’ Ginni Thomas’s texts to Meadows also refer to conversations that she’d had with ‘Jared’—possibly Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who also served as a senior adviser to the Administration. (‘Just forwarded to yr gmail an email I sent Jared this am.’)”

‘Can’t Cope’: Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Suffers 6th Mass Bleaching Event. This year offers a disturbing first: mass bleaching in a year of La Niña. The grim milestone points to the continued threat of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. The New York Times, Damien Cave, Friday, 25 March 2022: “A wide stretch of the Great Barrier Reef has been hit by a sixth mass bleaching event, the marine park’s authority said on Friday, an alarming milestone for the coral wonder that points to the continued threat of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. Government scientists who used helicopters and small planes to survey 750 separate reefs across hundreds of miles last week found severe bleaching among 60 percent of the corals. Bleaching events have now occurred in four of the past seven years, with 2022 offering a disturbing first — a mass bleaching in a year of La Niña, when more rain and cooler temperatures were supposed to provide a moment of respite for sensitive corals to recover. ‘We’re seeing that coral reefs can’t cope with the current rate of warming and the frequency of climate change,’ said Dr. Neal Cantin, a coral biologist who led one of the teams observing the state of the reef. ‘We need to slow down that warming rate as fast as possible.’ Coral bleaching is often called a climate change warning system, a canary in the coal mine of a struggling earth. It indicates that corals are under intense stress from the waters around them, which have been growing steadily warmer. Last year, scientists recorded the hottest year on record for the world’s oceans — for the sixth year in a row.”


Saturday, 26 March 2022:


Biden says Putin ‘cannot remain in power’; White House walks back the remark, The Washington Post, Tyler Pager, Amy Cheng, Miriam Berger, Jennifer Hassan, Marisa Iati, Ashley Parker, and Kim Bellware, Saturday, 26 March 2022: “President Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘cannot remain in power’ in a forceful speech Saturday wrapping up a trip to Europe meant to bolster NATO’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The president’s remark initially seemed to suggest support for regime change — something the Biden administration has taken pains to avoid — though the White House later said Biden only meant Putin should not be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region. ‘That’s not for Biden to decide,’ Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to state media. ‘The president of Russia is elected by Russians.’ Biden’s words capped a fiery speech in which he called Putin a ‘dictator,’ warning him not to encroach on NATO territory and urging Ukrainians to steel themselves for a long battle. He framed the Kremlin’s invasion as the ‘test of all time’ for democracy. His trip came as fierce fighting continued in Ukraine. Officials in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv reported several powerful explosions on Saturday, and a large plume of smoke could be seen billowing in the air.

  • Speaking by video to the Doha Forum in Qatar on Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described the destruction in the port city of Mariupol, comparing it to ‘what we all saw in Aleppo’ — a reference to the northern Syrian city battered by Syrian and Russian forces during the civil war in Syria.
  • The Pentagon said Friday that Russia has halted ground operations aimed at Kyiv and is instead focusing attacks on the eastern Donbas region. The move is seen as a sign that Moscow might be paring back its ambitions for the invasion. A U.S. military think tank, however, expressed skepticism that Russia’s war aims have changed.
  • For weeks, the Ukrainian city of Chernihiv north of the capital has been under near-constant Russian attack, almost entirely cut off from power, water, food and gas amid constant artillery fire. One resident has shared with The Washington Post the daily struggles that he and others face.
  • American teacher Tyler Jacob has been released from Russian custody and reunited with his wife and daughter. He was detained 10 days ago at a checkpoint in Crimea as he was seeking evacuation to Turkey.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel for updates.

Here’s What Happened on Day 31 of the War in Ukraine. The White House tried to clarify President Biden’s comments in Poland. Mr. Biden was not calling for regime change in Russia; instead he meant that Vladimir V. Putin ‘cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors.’ The New York Times, Saturday, 26 March 2022: “President Biden delivered a forceful denunciation of Vladimir V. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine on Saturday, declaring ‘for God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,’ as he cast the war as the latest front in a decades-long battle between the forces of democracy and oppression. Ending a three-day diplomatic trip to Europe with a fiery speech outside a centuries-old castle in Warsaw, Mr. Biden described the Russian invasion of Ukraine as the ‘test of all time’ in a post-World War II struggle between democracy and autocracy, ‘between liberty and repression, between a rules-based order and one governed by brute force. In this battle, we need to be cleareyed,’ Mr. Biden said in front of a crowd waving Polish, Ukrainian and American flags. ‘This battle will not be won in days or months, either. We need to steel ourselves for the long fight ahead.’ Mr. Biden used the speech to bolster a key NATO ally on Ukraine’s western border that has served as a conduit for Western arms and has absorbed more than 2 million refugees fleeing the violence, more than any other country in Europe. And he sought to prepare the public, at home and abroad, for a grinding conflict that could drag on for weeks, months or longer. Just hours before the event, missiles struck the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, about 50 miles from the Polish border, extending Russia’s monthlong assault on major cities and civilian populations — and undercutting Russian statements a day earlier suggesting Moscow might be scaling back its goals in the war.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 26), NPR, NPR Staff, Saturday, 26 March 2022: “As Saturday draws to an end in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Russian forces attacked the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Saturday evening local time, just one day after its military announced it would refocus its strategy on the eastern part of Ukraine. Lviv officials say there were three powerful explosions. President Biden met with Ukraine’s defense minister, Oleksii Reznikov, and its foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, in Warsaw, Poland, as the U.S. continues to show support for the besieged nation one month after Russia’s invasion. The meeting happened before Biden gave a major speech in Warsaw. President Biden also spent part of his visit to Poland meeting with Ukrainian refugees who have been displaced in the last month by the invasion. Russian forces are being met with Ukrainian protesters in the cities they invade. Across the border in Poland, protestors also gathered in the streets to protest in support of Ukraine.”


Sunday, 27 March 2022:


Zelensky open to Ukrainian ‘neutrality’ and negotiations over Donbas, The Washington Post, Miriam Berger, Rick Noack, John Hudson, Adela Suliman, Rachel Pannett, Paulina Firozi, Brittany Shammas, and Hannah Knowles, Sunday, 27 March 2022: “As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drags on with little progress in negotiations, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a new interview that he is open to a compromise involving Ukrainian ‘neutrality”’and guarantees for his country’s security. But Zelensky suggested the Ukrainian people would need to vote on such compromises, and he called on Russia to remove its forces beforehand in a lengthy interview with Russian journalists published Sunday. ‘A referendum is impossible when there is the presence of troops,’ he said, adding that any result from an occupied country would be ‘illegitimate.’ Ukraine voted in 2014 to drop its ‘neutral’ status and seek NATO membership after Russia attacked and annexed Crimea. But Zelensky said recently that joining NATO appears impossible, with the Kremlin viewing any expansion of the Western alliance as a threat. Zelensky acknowledged in the new interview that Moscow would not liberate all contested territory and suggested further negotiations over ‘the complex issue of Donbas,’ the eastern Ukrainian region where pro-Russian separatists have fought for years. In a video posted later to Telegram, Zelensky said, ‘We are looking for peace, really. Without delay.’

  • Russia’s communications regulator warned Russian media not to publish the interview with the Ukrainian president and said it will investigate outlets that conducted it. ‘They destroyed freedom of speech in their state,’ Zelensky responded in a video address.
  • President Biden said Sunday that he is not advocating regime change in Moscow, echoing aides who have scrambled to clarify Biden’s unscripted comment a day earlier that Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘cannot remain in power.’ French President Emmanuel Macron warned against ‘escalation of words and actions’ after Biden’s comments drew worldwide attention.
  • The head of Ukraine’s military intelligence accused Russia on Sunday of trying to divide his country in two — ‘to create North and South Korea in Ukraine’ — with the eastern part controlled by Russia.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel for updates.

Here’s What Happened on Day 32 of the War in Ukraine, The New York Times, Sunday, 27 March 2022: “Russian forces redoubled attacks on strategic targets across Ukraine on Sunday, with fierce fighting reported around the capital, Kyiv, amid signs that the besieged city of Mariupol was close to falling. As the conflict moved into its second month, Russian forces have largely failed in their first aim to take the largest cities and have narrowed immediate targets to the sieges of the southern port city of Mariupol and the strategically placed city of Chernihiv in the north. Air raid sirens rang out in Kyiv during the day, but otherwise the city remained calm, lending some credence to the Russian Defense Ministry’s recent assertion that it was turning its focus away from Kyiv to concentrate on the eastern front. Some Russian units were withdrawing to Belarus in the north to regroup and re-equip, according to the Ukrainian military, but heavy Russian artillery attacks continued around Chernihiv, northeast of Kyiv.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 27), NPR, NPR Staff, Sunday, 27 March 2022: “As Sunday draws to an end in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Ukraine called on the West to send tanks and planes to support the fight against Russia. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy slammed the U.S. and other Western allies for what he called a ‘ping-pong about who and how should hand over jets’ as Ukraine fends off Russia’s deadly missile attacks. A day earlier, Russians carried out multiple attacks on the western city of Lviv, reportedly leaving at least five people wounded. Two humanitarian routes opened, purportedly allowing civilians to flee some of Ukraine’s hardest-hit areas, including the besieged city of Mariupol, according to Ukraine’s deputy prime minister. U.S. officials continued to clarify President Biden’s words that Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘cannot remain in power.’ Secretary of State Antony Blinken sought to downplay remarks made by Biden a day earlier, telling reporters in Jerusalem that the U.S. has no plans to unseat the Russian leader. The Ukraine separatist region of Luhansk will hold a vote to join Russia. The head of the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic — one of two breakaway Ukrainian regions that Russia has supported militarily since 2014 — expects local residents will decide to join Russia in an annexation referendum he says will happen soon. Russian forces allegedly damaged another Holocaust memorial in Ukraine. Russian invaders fired on Drobitsky Yar, a memorial site outside of Kharkiv, said Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense. Some 15,000 Jewish people were killed there during the Holocaust.”

How Joe Manchin Aided Coal, and Earned Millions. At every step of his political career, Joe Manchin helped a West Virginia power plant that is the sole customer of his private coal business. Along the way, he blocked ambitious climate action. The New York Times, Christopher Flavelle and Julie Tate, Sunday, 27 March 2022: “While the fact that Mr. Manchin owns a coal business is well-known, an examination by The New York Times offers a more detailed portrait of the degree to which Mr. Manchin’s business has been interwoven with his official actions. He created his business while a state lawmaker in anticipation of the Grant Town plant, which has been the sole customer for his gob for the past 20 years, according to federal data. At key moments over the years, Mr. Manchin used his political influence to benefit the plant. He urged a state official to approve its air pollution permit, pushed fellow lawmakers to support a tax credit that helped the plant, and worked behind the scenes to facilitate a rate increase that drove up revenue for the plant — and electricity costs for West Virginians. Records show that several energy companies have held ownership stakes in the power plant, major corporations with interests far beyond West Virginia. At various points, those corporations have sought to influence the Senate, including legislation before committees on which Mr. Manchin sat, creating what ethics experts describe as a conflict of interest. As the pivotal vote in an evenly split Senate, Mr. Manchin has blocked legislation that would speed the country’s transition to wind, solar and other clean energy and away from coal, oil and gas, the burning of which is dangerously heating the planet. With the war in Ukraine and resulting calls to boycott Russian gas, Mr. Manchin has joined Republicans to press for more American gas and oil production to fill the gap on the world market. But as the Grant Town plant continues to burn coal and pay dividends to Mr. Manchin, it has harmed West Virginians economically, costing them hundreds of millions of dollars in excess electricity fees. That’s because gob is a less efficient power source than regular coal.”

North Carolina Republican Representative Madison Cawthorn said in an interview this week that he thought sexual perversion was rife in Washington, DC, revealing that he had been invited to an orgy by people he ‘looked up to’ and witnessed prominent figures consuming drugs right in front of him, Business Insider, Cheryl Teh, Sunday, 27 March 2022: “Rep. Madison Cawthorn said he was invited to an orgy by people he ‘looked up to’ in Washington. He said the Netflix drama ‘House of Cards’ wasn’t too far off the mark in depicting life in DC. Cawthorn also claimed he witnessed prominent figures doing cocaine in front of him.”


Monday, 28 March 2022:


Ukraine hopes for cease-fire as Istanbul hosts new talks, The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, Paulina Firozi, Annabelle Timsit, Miriam Berger, Rachel Pannett, Julian Mark, and Dan Lamothe, Monday, 28 Mach 2022: “Ukrainian officials say they are hoping at most for a cease-fire agreement as they enter a new round of in-person negotiations with Russia set to begin in Istanbul on Tuesday. Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba said his country will focus most immediately on ‘humanitarian’ issues and seek a halt to the fighting, according to Ukrainian media. He said Ukraine will not trade ‘people, land or sovereignty,’ though Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has recently signaled openness to negotiations over long-disputed territory in the east and a potential renunciation of his country’s aspirations to join NATO. Western authorities and military experts say Russian forces were unprepared for Ukraine’s fierce resistance, which has raised pressure for a diplomatic solution to a war that could drag on in stalemate. But Kremlin officials dampened hopes of a breakthrough Monday, accusing Ukraine of only pretending to negotiate.

  • President Biden said Monday that he was expressing ‘moral outrage’ rather than telegraphing a dramatic policy shift when he said over the weekend that Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘cannot remain in power.’
  • Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich and members of Ukraine’s negotiating delegation fell ill after meetings in early March and came to suspect that they were poisoned, according to an associate of Abramovich.
  • About 3.8 million Ukrainians have sought refuge in the European Union since the Russian invasion, half of whom are children, E.U. officials said.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel for updates.

Here’s What Happened on Day 33 of the War in Ukraine, The New York Times, Monday, 29 March 2022: “President Biden on Monday stood by his comment that Vladimir V. Putin should be removed as president of Russia, but said it was a personal expression of his outrage and not a change in American policy aimed at seeking to topple Mr. Putin from office. ‘I was expressing the moral outrage I felt toward this man,’ Mr. Biden told reporters, rejecting criticism that he misspoke. He said no one should have thought his comments were meant to be calling for Mr. Putin’s ouster…. The president’s assertion that regime change was not on the agenda came as fighting raged across Ukraine on Monday in the war’s fifth week, with Ukrainian forces appearing to make gains in the northeast, and Russia continuing its unrelenting assault against the southern port city of Mariupol, which was desperately trying to fend off a takeover. In recent days, the Russian military has signaled that it might be taming its territorial ambitions by focusing on cementing control of eastern Ukraine. But the fighting on Monday across multiple battlefronts suggested a more dynamic and volatile situation. The mayor of Irpin, one of the most fiercely contested towns in the battle for the suburbs surrounding Kyiv, said Ukraine’s army had pushed Russian forces from the town in what would be a significant victory for Ukraine if its soldiers gain and retain control.

Here are some other major developments:

  • A video analyzed by The Times shows soldiers who are likely Ukrainian beating and shooting prisoners from the Russian military. The footage shows five of the prisoners tied up and lying on the ground. Three other captives are shot in their legs. The incident raised questions about whether the Geneva Conventions, which set out the rules for the humane treatment of prisoners of war, had been violated.

  • Schools in Kyiv reopened online on Monday, the city’s authorities said. Teachers were encouraged to give light workloads to students.

  • Novaya Gazeta, the Russian newspaper that helped define fearless journalism in the post-Soviet era and whose editor shared the Nobel Peace Prize last year, suspended publication on Monday, leaving Russia without any major media outlets critical of the Kremlin.

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 28), NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 29 March 2022: “As Monday draws to an end in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Ukrainian officials warn that Russia could try to split the country in two, calling it ‘a Korean scenario.’ The U.S. Defense Department reports more Russian ‘ground activity’ against Ukrainian forces in the Donbas region, assessing that Moscow is ‘prioritizing’ the eastern region. Russian forces are trying to gain full control of Ukraine’s southern coast and link up with territory they’ve held in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region for years. Ukrainian military officials say they are now launching counteroffensives. Ukrainian officials said they wouldn’t open humanitarian corridors for civilians Monday, saying intelligence reports warned of Russian provocations along routes. A new round of in-person cease-fire talks is slated to begin Tuesday. Envoys from Ukraine and Russia are planning to meet in Istanbul. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told independent Russian journalists that Ukraine was prepared to discuss a neutral status as part of a peace deal, subject to a referendum vote and including third-party security guarantees. Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich and Ukrainian peace negotiators were reportedly sickened this month. The Wall Street Journal and investigative outlet Bellingcat reported they experienced symptoms consistent with suspected poisoning, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter. Reuters later cited an unnamed U.S. official saying the causes were likely ‘environmental.’ One of Russia’s last major independent news outlets, Novaya Gazeta, suspended publication after a new warning from the country’s media regulator. The newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Dmitry Muratov, was awarded last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, and he plans to auction off the medal to raise money for donations to Ukrainian refugees.”

Federal Judge David O. Carter Finds Trump Most Likely Committed Crimes Over 2020 Election. ‘The illegality of the plan was obvious,’ the judge wrote in a civil case. Separately, the January 6 panel voted to recommend contempt of Congress charges for two former Trump aides, Peter Navarro, a former White House adviser, and Dan Scavino Jr., a former deputy chief of staff. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Alan Feuer, and Maggie Haberman, Monday, 28 March 2022: “A federal judge ruled on Monday that former President Donald J. Trump and a lawyer who had advised him on how to overturn the 2020 election most likely had committed felonies, including obstructing the work of Congress and conspiring to defraud the United States. The judge’s comments in the civil case of the lawyer, John Eastman, marked a significant breakthrough for the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The committee, which is weighing making a criminal referral to the Justice Department, had used a filing in the case to lay out the crimes it believed Mr. Trump might have committed. Mr. Trump has not been charged with any crime, and the judge’s ruling had no immediate, practical legal effect on him. But it essentially ratified the committee’s argument that Mr. Trump’s efforts to block Congress from certifying Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s Electoral College victory could well rise to the level of a criminal conspiracy. ‘The illegality of the plan was obvious,’ wrote Judge David O. Carter of the Central District of California. ‘Our nation was founded on the peaceful transition of power, epitomized by George Washington laying down his sword to make way for democratic elections. Ignoring this history, President Trump vigorously campaigned for the vice president to single-handedly determine the results of the 2020 election.’ The actions taken by Mr. Trump and Mr. Eastman, Judge Carter found, amounted to ‘a coup in search of a legal theory.’ The Justice Department has been conducting a wide-ranging investigation of the Capitol assault but has given no public indication that it is considering a criminal case against Mr. Trump. A criminal referral from the House committee could increase pressure on Attorney General Merrick B. Garland to do so.” See also, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter says Trump ‘more likely than not’ committed crime in trying to block Biden win. The ruling could boost pressure on the Justice Department to investigate Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky and John Wagner, Monday, 29 March 2022: “A federal judge said Monday that then-President Donald Trump ‘more likely than not’ committed federal crimes in trying to obstruct the congressional count of electoral college votes on Jan. 6, 2021 — an assertion that is likely to increase public pressure on the Justice Department to investigate the former commander in chief. The determination from U.S. District Judge David O. Carter came in a ruling addressing scores of sensitive emails that Trump ally and conservative lawyer John Eastman had resisted turning over to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot and related efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election result. Eastman wrote key legal memos aimed at denying Democrat Joe Biden’s victory. The judge was assessing whether Eastman’s communications were protected by attorney-client privilege and was analyzing in part whether Eastman, Trump and others had consulted about the commission of a crime. ‘Based on the evidence, the Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021,’ wrote Carter, who is based in California and has jurisdiction because that is where Eastman filed the case.” See also, U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter says Trump ‘likely’ committed crime trying to stay in power, NPR, Tom Dreisbach, Monday, 28 March 2022: “In a remarkable 44-page ruling, a federal judge found it was ‘more likely than not’ that former President Donald Trump violated the law and ‘corruptly attempted to obstruct Congress in his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results. The court’s finding is narrowly focused on a set of documents sought by the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, and does not have direct legal consequences for Trump himself. The finding could be rejected on appeal, or be contradicted by other judges hearing cases related to the Capitol riot. Still, the ruling is consistent with a legal theory advanced by the House Select Committee investigating Jan. 6 that Trump and others may have broken the law in their attempts to overturn the election. ‘It’s enormously significant,’ said Jonathan Shaub, an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law. ‘This is a thorough judicial analysis that, I think, it’s difficult to sort of just brush aside, and it will give the committee’s statements that there have been crimes some credibility.’ Shaub noted that the charge of obstruction of an official proceeding, which the judge found Trump ‘likely’ committed, has been brought against many Jan. 6 riot defendants.”

January 6 House select committee backs contempt charges for two former Trump aides, former trade and manufacturing director Peter Navarro and former communications chief Daniel Scavino Jr., The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany and Amy B Wang, Monday, 28 March 2022: “The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol voted Monday night to hold two former Trump aides in criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with the committee’s subpoenas. The committee voted unanimously to recommend the charges against former trade and manufacturing director Peter Navarro and former communications chief Daniel Scavino Jr. The House will soon vote on whether to refer Navarro and Scavino to the Justice Department for prosecution. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), a vice chair of the committee, called Navarro and Scavino key witnesses and rejected their claims of executive privilege as the committee has moved to a ‘critical stage of this investigation.’ Cheney said during the hearing that the committee has questions about Scavino’s work doing social media for the former president — specifically about ‘his interactions with an online forum called “The Donald,” and with QAnon, a bizarre and dangerous cult.'”

Republican Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida Signs Bill That Opponents Call ‘Don’t Say Gay.’ The law has drawn criticism from the White House, Disney employees, and Hollywood. The governor has dismissed opponents as ‘woke.’ The New York Times, Patricia Mazzei, Monday, 28 March 2022: “Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida signed legislation on Monday that prohibits classroom instruction and discussion about sexual orientation and gender identity in some elementary school grades, a law that opponents have called ‘Don’t Say Gay.’… The law, titled ‘Parental Rights in Education,’ has drawn national criticism from L.G.B.T.Q. organizations that fear it will have a chilling effect among teachers and young students. Workers at Disney, one of the state’s major employers and corporate political donors, staged walkouts in protest after the bill passed the Legislature, even after the company’s chief executive had apologized to employees for not taking a stronger stand against the legislation and paused contributions to political campaigns. On Monday, Disney released a statement condemning the new law and urging lawmakers to repeal it or the courts to strike it down.”

Inside Ted Cruz’s last-ditch battle to keep Trump in power, The Washington Post, Michael Kranish, Monday, 28 March 2022: “Sen. Ted Cruz was dining near the Capitol on the evening of Dec. 8, 2020, when he received an urgent call from President Donald Trump. A lawsuit had just been filed at the Supreme Court designed to overturn the election Trump had lost, and the president wanted help from the Texas Republican. ‘Would you be willing to argue the case?’ Trump asked Cruz, as the senator later recalled it. ‘Sure, I’d be happy to’ if the court granted a hearing, Cruz said he responded. The call was just one step in a collaboration that for two months turned the once-bitter political enemies into close allies in the effort to keep Trump in the White House based on the president’s false claims about a stolen election. By Cruz’s own account, he was ‘leading the charge’ to prevent the certification of Joe Biden as president. An examination by The Washington Post of Cruz’s actions between Election Day and Jan. 6, 2021, shows just how deeply he was involved, working directly with Trump to concoct a plan that came closer than widely realized to keeping him in power. As Cruz went to extraordinary lengths to court Trump’s base and lay the groundwork for his own potential 2024 presidential bid, he also alienated close allies and longtime friends who accused him of abandoning his principles. Now, Cruz’s efforts are of interest to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, in particular whether Cruz was in contact with Trump lawyer John Eastman, a conservative attorney who has been his friend for decades and who wrote key legal memos aimed at denying Biden’s victory.”

The House’s January 6 select committee vented frustration with the Justice Department on Monday for not criminally charging former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows for contempt of Congress and not taking other steps to support their investigation, Politico, Kyle Cheney, Nicholas Wu, and Josh Gerstein, Monday, 28 March 2022: “As the panel teed up two more criminal referrals — this time seeking contempt charges against former Trump aides Dan Scavino and Peter Navarro — members repeatedly urged the Justice Department to take more-aggressive action. The full House is likely to vote to send both of those referrals to the department later this week. ‘The Department of Justice has a duty to act on this referral and others that we have sent,’ said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). ‘Without enforcement of congressional subpoenas, there is no oversight, and without oversight, no accountability — for the former president, or any other president, past, present, or future. Without enforcement of its lawful process, Congress ceases to be a co-equal branch of government.’ Schiff’s comments were echoed by several other members of the panel and reflected a veiled frustration about the department’s silence on Meadows, whom the House voted to hold in contempt in December. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said the Justice Department should ‘not apply any doctrine of immunity that might block Congress from fully uncovering and addressing the causes of the January 6th attack.’ Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) said that the select committee was doing its job and that ‘the Department of Justice needs to do theirs.'” See also, January 6 House select committee sends message to the Department of Justice as it recommends criminal contempt charges for 2 more Trump advisers: Do your job, CNN Politics, Annie Grayer, Zachary Cohen, Ryan Nobles, and Whitney Wild, Monday, 28 March 2022: “Members of the House select committee investigating the insurrection at the US Capitol voiced their frustration with Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice on Monday, as they voted unanimously to recommend two former advisers to former President Donald Trump be referred to the department on criminal contempt of Congress charges. The message to Garland and DOJ, which has still not said whether it will pursue criminal charges against former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows for defying a congressional subpoena, was clear: Do your job.”


Tuesday, 29 March 2022:


Biden is skeptical of Russia’s pledge to ‘drastically reduce’ assault on Ukraine, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Hannah Knowles, Paulina Firozi, Marisa Iati, Mary Illyushina, Annabelle Timsit, Rachel Pannett, Miriam Berger, and Adela Suliman, Tuesday, 29 March 2022: “President Biden and top U.S. officials said Tuesday that they were skeptical of Russia’s vow to curtail its military assault on Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, and the northern city of Chernihiv, ending the day with a note of caution after hours of peace talks between the two sides appeared to make some headway and Moscow said it would ‘drastically reduce’ its attacks in the two key regions. ‘I don’t read anything into it until I see what their actions are,’ Biden said of Russia’s pledge. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby echoed this stance, saying that ‘nobody should be fooling’ themselves by believing the Kremlin’s claim. Kirby confirmed an assessment by a top U.S. general that a small number of Russian troops had moved away from Kyiv but said officials believe it is ‘a repositioning, not a real withdrawal.’ A major offensive in other parts of Ukraine is still possible, he said. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said late Tuesday that news from the negotiations was ‘positive’ but that Kyiv has ‘no reason to trust’ Moscow’s assurances. ‘These signals do not silence the explosion of Russian shells,’ he said. During the peace talks, which took place in Istanbul, Ukrainian representatives outlined a proposal that included an agreement by their country to drop its bid to join NATO and a 15-year timeline for negotiations with Russia over the status of Crimea. Still, as diplomats met in Turkey, the fighting continued in Ukraine.

  • Vladimir Medinsky, an adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, appeared to suggest that Putin and Zelensky could meet in person if a peace agreement were signed.
  • Evacuations from the devastated southern city of Mariupol resumed Tuesday, one day after they were halted across the country due to security concerns. More than 1,600 escaped Mariupol and a nearby region, officials said.
  • The governor of Mykolaiv said a missile struck a local government building. Ukraine’s emergency services said that seven people died and 22 were injured in the attack, and that a search-and-rescue operation is ongoing.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel for updates.

Here’s What Happened on Day 34 of the War in Ukraine, The New York Times, Tuesday, 29 March 2022: “The first signs of significant progress in peace talks between Russia and Ukraine emerged on Tuesday, but there was no hint of an imminent end to the suffering, with Russia appearing determined to capture more territory in eastern Ukraine and officials predicting that weeks of further negotiation were needed. After three hours of talks in Istanbul, Ukrainian officials said their country was ready to declare itself permanently neutral — forsaking the prospect of joining NATO, a key Russian demand — and discuss Russian territorial claims in exchange for ‘security guarantees’ from a group of other nations. An aide to Ukraine’s president called the Russian delegation ‘constructive,’ while Russia said it would ‘drastically’ scale back its military activity around Kyiv to ‘increase mutual trust.’ Russia’s statement that it will de-escalate the fighting around Kyiv — even as it keeps pounding other parts of Ukraine — may be little more than putting a positive gloss on its military being stymied in its attempts to seize or encircle the capital. In recent days, Ukrainian counteroffensives around the city have forced back Russian forces in some of the fiercest street battles of the war, though they remain within striking distance of Kyiv. Now, Russian officials said, the goal will be to take more territory in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, where Russia has installed two separatist statelets that President Vladimir V. Putin recognized last month as independent, but that no other nation has formally acknowledged. Western officials and security analysts cautioned against taking at face value Russia’s statements about its aims in Kyiv or elsewhere.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 29), NPR, NPR Staff, Tuesday, 29 March 2022: “As Tuesday draws to an end in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Peace talks between Russia and Ukraine appeared to deliver tentative signs of progress. Delegations met in Istanbul face to face for the first time in weeks. No further meetings were expected Wednesday. Russia said it would ‘significantly’ scale back its military activity around Kyiv and Chernihiv in northern Ukraine. Russian officials called it trust-building ‘de-escalation’ and later specified this did not mean a cease-fire. Russian negotiators also suggested direct talks between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents, Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelenskyy, could take place once both sides agree to a draft peace deal — sooner than they had said before. Ukraine delivered a proposal for accepting a neutral and nonnuclear status, including a plan to host no foreign military bases. Ukraine’s key demand was for other countries to provide legally binding security guarantees to the country. The proposal also opened the door to concessions on Russian-controlled Crimea in the south and Donbas in the east, such as 15 years to negotiate the status of the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. U.S. leaders cast doubt on Russia’s vow to scale back its military campaign in northern Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russian forces might be moving to reposition and regroup for attacks elsewhere in Ukraine, after its forces stalled near Kyiv in recent weeks. Russian military leaders signaled a shift of focus toward maintaining a hold over the eastern Donbas region.”

Internal White House records from the day of the attack on the U.S. Capitol that were turned over to the House select committee show a gap in President Donald Trump’s phone logs of 7 hours and 37 minutes, including the period when the building was being violently assaulted, according to documents obtained by the Washington Post and CBS News, The Washington Post, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, Tuesday, 29 March 2022: “The lack of an official White House notation of any calls placed to or by Trump for 457 minutes on Jan. 6, 2021 — from 11:17 a.m. to 6:54 p.m. — means the committee has no record of his phone conversations as his supporters descended on the Capitol, battled overwhelmed police and forcibly entered the building, prompting lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence to flee for safety. The 11 pages of records, which consist of the president’s official daily diary and the White House switchboard call logs, were turned over by the National Archives earlier this year to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. The records show that Trump was active on the phone for part of the day, documenting conversations that he had with at least eight people in the morning and 11 people that evening. The seven-hour gap also stands in stark contrast to the extensive public reporting about phone conversations he had with allies during the attack, such as a call Trump made to Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) — seeking to talk to Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) — and a phone conversation he had with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).” See also, Three big takeaways from Trump’s missing January 6 phone logs, The Washington Post, Greg Sargent, Tuesday, 29 March 2022. See also, White House records turned over to House select committee show 7-hour 37-minute gap in Trump phone log on January 6, CBS News, Tuesday, 29 March 2022.

New Focus on How a Trump Tweet Incited Far-Right Groups Ahead of Their Violent Attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Federal prosecutors and congressional investigators are documenting how Trump’s ‘Be there, will be wild!’ post became a catalyst for militants before the Capitol assault. The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Michael S. Schmidt, and Luke Broadwater, Tuesday, 29 March 2022: “Federal prosecutors and congressional investigators have gathered growing evidence of how a tweet by President Donald J. Trump less than three weeks before Jan. 6, 2021, served as a crucial call to action for extremist groups that played a central role in storming the Capitol. Mr. Trump’s Twitter post in the early hours of Dec. 19, 2020, was the first time he publicly urged supporters to come to Washington on the day Congress was scheduled to certify the Electoral College results showing Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the winner of the presidential vote. His message — which concluded with, ‘Be there, will be wild!’ — has long been seen as instrumental in drawing the crowds that attended a pro-Trump rally on the Ellipse on Jan. 6 and then marched to the Capitol. But the Justice Department’s criminal investigation of the riot and the parallel inquiry by the House select committee have increasingly shown how Mr. Trump’s post was a powerful catalyst, particularly for far-right militants who believed he was facing his final chance to reverse defeat and whose role in fomenting the violence has come under intense scrutiny. Extremist groups almost immediately celebrated Mr. Trump’s Twitter message, which they widely interpreted as an invitation to descend on the city in force. Responding to the president’s words, the groups sprang into action, court filings and interviews by the House committee show: Extremists began to set up encrypted communications channels, acquire protective gear and, in one case, prepare heavily armed ‘quick reaction forces’ to be staged outside Washington. They also began to whip up their members with a drumbeat of bellicose language, with their private messaging channels increasingly characterized by what one called an ‘apocalyptic tone.’ Directly after Mr. Trump’s tweet was posted, the Capitol Police began to see a spike in right-wing threats against members of Congress. Prosecutors have included examples in at least five criminal cases of extremists reacting within days — often hours — to Mr. Trump’s post.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James Says Trump Must Testify About ‘Misleading’ Asset Valuations, Bloomberg, Erik Larson, Tuesday, 29 March 2022: “Former President Donald Trump’s attempt to dodge a sworn deposition in New York’s probe of potentially ‘misleading’ asset valuations at his sprawling real-estate company should be rejected, the state’s top law enforcement officer told an appeals court. An order requiring Trump’s testimony should be upheld because the state has already uncovered evidence that the Trump Organization used faulty valuations on financial statements to get loans, insurance coverage and tax deductions ‘on terms more favorable than the true facts warranted,’ New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a Monday night court filing. ‘The investigation has uncovered significant evidence potentially indicating that, for more than a decade, these financial statements relied on misleading asset valuations and other misrepresentations to secure economic benefits,’ James said in the filing. The depositions are necessary to determine if fraud occurred ‘and who may be responsible for any such fraud,’ she added.” See also, New York Attorney General says ‘significant’ evidence suggests Trump Organization misstated asset values for more than a decade, CNBC, Dan Mangan, Tuesday, 29 March 2022: “The New York attorney general’s office has ‘uncovered significant evidence’ suggesting that financial statements by the Trump Organization relied on misleading valuations of its real estate assets for more than a decade, the office said in a court filing Tuesday. Those potentially misleading valuations ‘and other misrepresentations’ were used by the company owned by ex-President Donald Trump ‘to secure economic benefits — including loans, insurance coverage, and tax deductions — on terms more favorable than the true facts warranted,’ the filing alleged. The claims by Attorney General Letitia James were made in response to an appeal by the Trump Organization and Donald Trump of last month’s order by a Manhattan state court judge directing Trump and two of his adult children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, to submit to interviews by James’ investigators.”

Trump asks Putin to release any information he might have on Hunter Biden. Both Democrats and Republicans have criticized Trump for calling Putin a ‘genius’ for his bloody military campaign in Ukraine. NBC News, Zoë Richards, Tuesday, 29 March 2022: “Amid widespread criticism of his praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin, former President Donald Trump publicly called on Putin on Tuesday to release any dirt he might have on Hunter Biden, the president’s son. Trump, in an interview with Just the News, seized on an unsubstantiated claim about Biden’s obtaining a hefty payment from Elena Baturina, the former wife of the late former mayor of Moscow, and asked Putin to provide details. ‘She gave him $3.5 million, so now I would think Putin would know the answer to that. I think he should release it,’ Trump said. ‘I think we should know that answer.’ Trump was referring to information from a partisan Senate report published just weeks before the 2020 election, which also focused on Biden’s role on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma. Hunter Biden’s legal team told NBC News in 2020 that Biden had ‘no interest’ in that firm that received the money, so ‘the claim he was paid $3.5 million was false.’In October 2020, Putin said he was unaware of any business ties between Biden and Baturina. The request of Putin, who has been widely condemned for launching an unprovoked and deadly invasion in Ukraine, was reminiscent of Trump’s asking the Russian government during the 2016 presidential campaign to find and release any emails belonging to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, his Democratic rival.”

Democrats in Congress ask Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from January 6 cases, The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany, Tuesday, 29 March 2022: “A group of House and Senate Democrats sent a letter to the Supreme Court on Monday requesting that Justice Clarence Thomas recuse himself from any future cases involving the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol or efforts to overturn the 2020 election, along with a ‘written explanation for his failure to recuse himself’ in previous cases on those subjects. The letter, spearheaded by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), follows The Washington Post’s reporting on repeated efforts by conservative activist Virginia ‘Ginni’ Thomas, the Supreme Court justice’s wife, to pressure White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to pursue various avenues to overturn the 2020 election. In the letter, the lawmakers argue that ‘given the recent disclosures about Ms. Thomas’s efforts to overturn the election and her specific communications with White House officials about doing so, Justice Thomas’s participation in cases involving the 2020 election and the January 6th attack is exceedingly difficult to reconcile with federal ethics requirements,’ according to a copy of the letter provided to The Post. The letter outlines Ginni Thomas’s extensive role as an activist, her position as a board member for a conservative political group involved in the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement and her direct communication with the White House about strategies to overturn the results of the 2020 election as examples of ethical entanglements for her husband. Thomas was the only justice to dissent in a January decision to reject former president Donald Trump’s request to block documents from being released to the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.”

Biden Signs Bill to Make Lynching a Federal Crime. His signature ended more than 100 years of failed efforts by the federal government to specifically outlaw lynching. The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Tuesday, 29 March 2022: “President Biden on Tuesday signed a bill making lynching a federal crime, for the first time explicitly criminalizing an act that had come to symbolize the grim history of racism in the United States. ‘Lynching was pure terror to enforce the lie that not everyone, not everyone belongs in America, not everyone is created equal,’ Mr. Biden said, speaking to civil rights leaders and others in the Rose Garden of the White House. Moments after Mr. Biden signed the law — named for Emmett Till, the Black boy who was murdered in Mississippi in 1955 — he described the atrocity that he said was carried out against 4,400 Blacks between 1877 and 1950. ‘Terror, to systematically undermine hard, hard fought civil rights. Terror, not just in the dark of the night, but in broad daylight. Innocent men, women and children hung by nooses from trees,’ he said. ‘Bodies burned and drowned and castrated. Their crimes? Trying to vote, trying to go to school, to try and own a business or preach the gospel.’ The president’s signature ended more than 100 years of failed efforts by the federal government to specifically outlaw lynching. The bill, which makes lynching punishable by up to 30 years in prison, was passed by the House in February with only three lawmakers opposed, and passed the Senate without objection on Monday.” See also, Lynching is now a federal hate crime after more than a century of blocked efforts, NPR, Eric McDaniel and Elena Moore, Tuesday, 29 March 2022: “After multiple failed attempts across twelve decades, there is now a federal law that designates lynching as a hate crime. In a Tuesday ceremony at the White House, President Biden signed the Emmett Till Antilynching Act into law. ‘Racial hate isn’t an old problem. It’s a persistent problem,’ Biden said. ‘Hate never goes away, it only hides under the rocks. If it gets a little bit of oxygen, it comes roaring back out, screaming. What stops it? All of us.’ Under the legislation, perpetrators can receive up to 30 years in prison when a conspiracy to commit a hate crime results in death or serious bodily injury. Vice President Kamala Harris said that lynching is ‘not a relic of the past. Racial acts of terror still occur in our nation. And when they do, we must all have the courage to name them and hold the perpetrators to account,’ she said. The measure is named for Emmett Till, a 14-year-old boy who was abducted, tortured and killed in 1955 after the Black teenager was accused of whistling at and grabbing Carolyn Bryant, a white woman, while visiting relatives in Mississippi. Roy Bryant, Carolyn Bryant’s husband, and J.W. Milam, Roy Bryant’s half brother, were tried for Emmett’s murder and were quickly acquitted by an all-white jury. The men later admitted in a magazine interview to murdering Emmett. Carolyn Bryant told an historian 50 years after the crime that Emmett had never put his hands on her.”


Wednesday, 30 March 2022:


Russian troop movement could mean further attacks in other parts of Ukraine, Pentagon says, The Washington Post, Annabelle Timsit, Amy Cheng, Rachel Pannett, Adela Suliman, Ellen Francis, Paulina Firozi, Paulina Villegas, Meryl Kornfield, Reis Thebault, and Alex Horton, Wednesday, 30 March 2022: “The assault on Ukrainian cities continued Wednesday, despite Moscow’s pledge to reduce military activity, while at the same time roughly 20 percent of Russia’s troops near Kyiv appeared to be moving away from the capital, the Pentagon said, a possible precursor to further attacks in other parts of the country. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian promises of a drawdown were just ‘words,’ and his forces are preparing for renewed strikes in the Donbas region, the hotly contested territory in eastern Ukraine bordering Russia. The U.S. Defense Department’s latest intelligence assessment supports Zelensky’s suspicion. Officials say Russia intends to ‘refit these troops, resupply them and probably employ them elsewhere in Ukraine,’ spokesman John Kirby said. Some of the personnel have crossed into Belarus, he said. As Russian troops seemed to shift tactics, U.S. intelligence reports indicated that President Vladimir Putin was being misinformed by his military, with an American official describing ‘persistent tension’ between Putin and the Russian Defense Ministry’s leadership.

  • The United States will provide the Ukrainian government $500 million in direct budgetary aid, President Biden told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
  • More than 4 million people have fled Ukraine, the United Nations said — nearly 10 percent of the prewar population.
  • A narrow majority of Americans said it would be a ‘good idea’ to send troops to NATO ally countries in Eastern Europe, a poll from the Economist/YouGov found.
  • The Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel for updates.

What Happened on Day 35 of the War in Ukraine, The New York Times, Wednesday, 30 March 2022: “Belying its claims of de-escalation, Russia increased bomb and artillery attacks in Ukraine on Wednesday and sent conflicting signals about the prospects for peace, suggesting new tensions in the Kremlin hierarchy about the course of the war. The contradictory messaging came as a newly declassified U.S. intelligence assessment suggested that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had been misinformed about the war’s trajectory by subordinates, who were fearful of his reaction to the Russian military’s struggles and setbacks. The intelligence, according to multiple American officials, showed Mr. Putin’s isolation and what appeared to be growing tension between him and the Ministry of Defense, including with his defense minister, Sergei K. Shoigu, who was once among the most trusted members of the Kremlin inner circle and had been rumored to be a possible successor one day to Mr. Putin. It was not clear whether the release of the declassified intelligence was intended to sow anxiety within Mr. Putin’s circle as part of a broader information battle between the United States and Russia over Ukraine, the source of the worst tensions between the two nuclear powers since the Cold War. Nor was it clear if the intelligence was accurate. But American intelligence officials have proved right so far in their assessments of Mr. Putin’s intentions toward Ukraine, beginning with the Russian troop buildup along its borders last year that culminated in the Feb. 24 invasion. White House officials said that they had released the intelligence to share what they said was a ‘full understanding’ of how Mr. Putin had miscalculated.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 30), NPR, NPR Staff, Wednesday, 30 March 2022: “As Wednesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Despite Russia’s pledge to reduce attacks, areas of Kyiv and Chernihiv are still getting shelled, local officials said. The Pentagon said about a fifth of Russian forces around Kyiv have been moving north from the Ukrainian capital toward Belarus, but they are believed to be en route to resupply and regroup for potential deployments elsewhere in Ukraine. The British defense ministry said Russia’s public refocus on eastern regions put new pressure on its military’s strained logistics. The number of Ukrainians fleeing abroad has topped 4 million, according to the U.N. refugee agency. More than half have gone to neighboring Poland, with others fleeing to nearby Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Slovakia and other countries. Some 350,000 have fled to Russia, the U.N. estimates. Officials in besieged Mariupol accused the Russian military of forcibly deporting thousands of city residents to Russia. Germany and Austria triggered the first stage of their natural gas emergency plans. Germany called on people and businesses to conserve the resource in preparation for a possible shortage. Russia supplies about half of Germany’s natural gas and has said it will start demanding payments only in rubles, which Germany and other G-7 countries have rejected. Poland said it will ban all imports of Russian gas, oil and coal by the end of the year. The White House claimed it has information that Russian President Vladimir Putin feels misled by the Russian military. A spokesperson declined to share evidence but said the U.S. believes Putin is being misinformed by advisers on the status of the military campaign and the sanctions’ impact on Russia’s economy.

Justice Department Widens January 6 Inquiry to Range of Pro-Trump Figures. Federal prosecutors have been seeking documents and testimony about the fake electors scheme and the planning for the rally just before the storming of the Capitol. The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Katie Benner, and Maggie Haberman, Wednesday, 30 March 2022: “Federal prosecutors have substantially widened their Jan. 6 investigation to examine the possible culpability of a broad range of figures involved in former President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, people familiar with the inquiry said on Wednesday. The investigation now encompasses the possible involvement of other government officials in Mr. Trump’s attempts to obstruct the certification of President Biden’s Electoral College victory and the push by some Trump allies to promote slates of fake electors, they said. Prosecutors are also asking about planning for the rallies that preceded the assault on the Capitol, including the rally on the Ellipse on Jan. 6 of last year, just before a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol. The federal investigation initially focused largely on the rioters who had entered the Capitol, an effort that has led to more than 700 arrests. But the Justice Department appears to have moved into a new phase, seeking information about people more closely tied to Mr. Trump. This development comes amid growing political pressure on Attorney General Merrick B. Garland to move more aggressively on the case.” See also, Justice Department expands January 6 investigation to look at rally preparation and financing. Subpoena requests seek information about the planning for the gathering outside the White House that preceded the violent attack on the Capitol. The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Josh Dawsey, Jacqueline Alemany, and Spencer S. Hsu, Wednesday, 30 March 2022: “The criminal investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol has expanded to examine the preparations for the rally that preceded the riot, as the Justice Department aims to determine the full extent of any conspiracy to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s election victory, according to people familiar with the matter. In the past two months, a federal grand jury in Washington has issued subpoena requests to some officials in former president Donald Trump’s orbit who assisted in planning, funding and executing the Jan. 6 rally, said the people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. The development shows the degree to which the Justice Department investigation — which already involves more defendants than any other criminal prosecution in the nation’s history — has moved further beyond the storming of the Capitol to examine events preceding the attack. The events of Jan. 6, 2021, are a legally fraught puzzle for federal investigators. Prosecutors and FBI agents must distinguish between constitutionally protected First Amendment activity, such as speech and assembly, and the alleged conspiracy to obstruct Congress or other potential crimes connected to fundraising and organizing leading up to Jan. 6. The task is also complicated by the proximity of those two very different types of activities — speech and violence — that occurred within hours of each other and less than a mile apart.” See also, Federal prosecutors expand criminal investigation into January 6, examining rally planning and fake electors, CNN Politics, Katelyn Polantz, Zachary Cohen, Paula Reid, and Whitney Wild, published on Thursday, 31 March 2022: “Federal criminal investigators have expanded the January 6 investigation to gather information about fundraising and organizing for the political rally held immediately before Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol, as well as the effort to subvert the Electoral College vote count, multiple sources tell CNN. Subpoenas have been issued by a grand jury in Washington in recent weeks, seeking information on the rally and on the alternate slates of fake electors for former President Donald Trump in swing states he lost, sources said, marking a significant development in the probe. Until recently, prosecutors were almost exclusively bringing cases against alleged rioters and some members of extremist groups accused of conspiring to disrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election. An expanded inquiry into the rally and fake electors represents a new stage of the investigation that looks into a more well-connected political circle.”

Trump used White House phone for call on January 6 that was not on official log. Trump’s call to Republican Senator Mike Lee should have been reflected in the presidential call log on the day of the Capitol attack but wasn’t. The Guardian, Hugo Lowell, Wednesday, 30 March 2022: “Donald Trump used an official White House phone to place at least one call during the Capitol attack on January 6 last year that should have been reflected in the internal presidential call log from that day but was not, according to two sources familiar with the matter. The former president called the phone of a Republican senator, Mike Lee, with a number recorded as 202-395-0000, a placeholder number that shows up when a call is incoming from a number of White House department phones, the sources said. The number corresponds to an official White House phone and the call was placed by Donald Trump himself, which means the call should have been recorded in the internal presidential call log that was turned over to the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack. Trump’s call to Lee was reported at the time, as well as its omission from the call log, by the Washington Post and CBS. But the origin of the call as coming from an official White House phone, which has not been previously reported, raises the prospect of tampering or deletion by Trump White House officials. It also appears to mark perhaps the most serious violation of the Presidential Records Act – the statute that mandates preservation of White House records pertaining to a president’s official duties – by the Trump White House concerning January 6 records to date.”

Legal ethics experts agree: Justice Thomas must recuse in insurrection cases, NPR, Nina Totenberg, Wednesday, 30 March 2022: “Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, Ginni, find themselves increasingly in the eye of an ethics storm over her repeated texts urging then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to take steps to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. Those texts have raised questions about what Justice Thomas knew about his wife’s activities, and when he knew it. Each day seems to bring another piece of bad news for the couple — from reports that the House Jan. 6 committee intends to invite Ginni Thomas to testify, to Monday’s decision by a federal judge in California finding that it is ‘more likely than not’ that former President Donald Trump violated the law and ‘corruptly attempted to obstruct’ Congress in his attempts to overturn the 2020 election. The decision came in a dispute between pro-Trump attorney John Eastman and the Jan. 6 committee, which was seeking a discrete set of documents. Eastman asserted that the documents were protected by attorney-client privilege, but U.S. District Judge David Carter largely rejected those arguments, ruling that Eastman must turn over 101 of the disputed 111 documents. The ruling could well end up before the Supreme Court, providing yet another instance in which Justice Thomas will have to face a recusal decision…. The modern day code of judicial conduct assumes that married couples have separate careers and opinions. Legal ethics experts have long taken the view that while Ginni Thomas is an outspoken conservative activist, her husband is able to act as an independent judge on matters that come before the court, even matters that may touch on subjects of interest to Ginni Thomas. But in the aftermath of the 2020 election, while Ginni Thomas was actively strategizing with the White House chief of staff on overturning the election results, Justice Thomas repeatedly participated in cases that came to the court directly or indirectly involving those election results. One of these was the court’s decision in January, requiring that Trump’s White House records be turned over to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Only one justice disagreed: Clarence Thomas. Ginni Thomas’s newly released texts and her husband’s failure to recuse himself in the congressional subpoena case have pulled the couple into an ethics vortex.”

According to three US officials, the Biden administration is planning to end Trump-era pandemic restrictions on the US-Mexico border by May 23 that have largely blocked migrants from entering the US, CNN Politics, Priscilla Alvarez, Kaitlan Collins, Kevin Liptak, and Brenda Goodman, Wednesday, 30 March 2022: “The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is finalizing its assessment of the public health authority, known as Title 42, according to CDC spokeswoman Kathleen Conley, and is expected to announce a decision this week on whether to repeal, modify or extend the authority. The Biden administration has been under mounting pressure from Democrats and immigrant advocates to end the public health authority, which critics say was never justified by science and puts migrants in harm’s way. Former President Donald Trump invoked the authority at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, a move that was immediately met with skepticism by immigrant advocates, public health experts, and even officials within the administration who believed it to be driven by political motivations. Yet the Biden administration continued to lean on Title 42 despite objections from its allies.”


Thursday, 31 March 2022:


European leaders reject Putin’s demand to buy gas in rubles, The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, Reis Thebault, Paulina Villegas, Kim Bellware, Amy Cheng, Brittany Shammas, and Adela Suliman, Thursday, 31 March 2022: “European leaders on Thursday rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s demand that ‘unfriendly countries’ pay for natural gas in rubles, an apparent bid to help stabilize the Russian currency amid sanctions over the war in Ukraine. The once-plummeting ruble is already rebounding, buoyed in part by oil and gas exports — despite Western countries’ moves to halt or reduce their use of Russian energy. President Biden on Thursday announced an unprecedented release of 1 million barrels of oil a day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, an effort to curb rising gas prices, for which Biden has blamed Putin. Meanwhile, Britain, France, Germany, the Czech Republic and others have balked at Putin’s new decree on gas purchases, set to take effect Friday. Leaders of the Group of Seven major economies agreed earlier this week that they would defy Moscow and continue paying in euros or dollars.

  • Officials and aid workers say they are preparing to evacuate more civilians from the port city of Mariupol on Friday.
  • Ukrainian and Russian negotiators are set to resume talks online Friday, head Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia said.
  • The Russian general some call the ‘Butcher of Mariupol’ earned a reputation for brutality in Syria.
  • A Ukrainian official said Russian soldiers are withdrawing from the ‘main part’ of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant site.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel for updates.

What Happened on Day 36 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times, Thursday, 31 March 2022: “Facing deeper isolation by the day over the Ukraine war, Russia seemed to slightly recalibrate its stance Thursday, allowing greater humanitarian access to the devastated port city of Mariupol and apparently retreating from a payment confrontation with European gas customers. But Western officials said they saw little evidence to support Russia’s claims that it was greatly reducing its military presence around Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, and fighting continued unabated in areas around the city on Thursday. In Dnipro, the central city that has become a hub for humanitarian aid to other parts of Ukraine, a Russian attack overnight destroyed an oil terminal, a local official said.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 31), NPR, NPR Staff, Thursday, 31 March 2022: “As Thursday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: A large humanitarian convoy set out for besieged Mariupol in southern Ukraine. The convoy of 45 buses will try to bring supplies and evacuate some residents, Ukrainian officials said. By the Mariupol mayor’s estimates, tens of thousands remain trapped in the city, encircled for weeks by Russian forces and lacking food, water and power. The International Committee of the Red Cross said it might begin evacuations Friday, but needs security guarantees from troops on the ground. Russian troops appear to be moving away from the Chernobyl nuclear power planta senior U.S. defense official said. The move is seen as part of the broader pullback of troops from the area around Kyiv and other parts of northern Ukraine. The International Atomic Energy Agency said Russian forces also formally returned control of the Chernobyl site to Ukrainian authorities. Ukraine and Russia are expected to resume peace talks over video on Friday, Ukraine’s lead negotiator said. The U.S. Treasury Department imposed new sanctions on Russian tech companies and illicit procurement networks that are used to evade sanctions. The agency said more sanctions are on the way, targeting sectors critical to Russia’s military. As gas prices surge, in part because of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the U.S. is also planning the largest-ever release from its emergency oil stash. Russia will begin enforcing ruble payments for its natural gas exports on Friday. This plan had pushed European gas prices surging as the region depends on Russian gas. The Kremlin’s decree on Thursday said exports will be halted if ruble payments aren’t made, but it also laid out how foreign buyers might continue current contracts by converting euros and dollars to rubles in a Russian bank.”

Judge Rules Parts of Florida Voting Law Are Unconstitutional. The ruling against a major Republican election law, issued by a federal judge in Tallahassee, is likely to be overturned either by a higher appeals court or the U.S. Supreme Court. The New York Times, Reid J. Epstein, Patricia Mazzei, and Nick Corasaniti, Thursday, 31 March 2022: “A federal judge in Florida ruled on Thursday that sections of the state’s year-old election law were unconstitutional and racially motivated, and barred the state from making similar changes to its laws in the next decade without the approval of the federal government. The sharply worded 288-page order, issued by Judge Mark E. Walker of the Federal District Court in Tallahassee, was the first time a federal court had struck down major elements of the wave of voting laws enacted by Republicans since the 2020 election. Finding a pattern of racial bias, Walker in his ruling relied on a little-used legal provision to impose unusual federal restrictions on how a state legislates. ‘For the past 20 years, the majority in the Florida Legislature has attacked the voting rights of its Black constituents,’ Walker wrote in the decision, which frequently quoted the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Walker argued that the attacks were ‘part of a cynical effort to suppress turnout among their opponents’ supporters. That, the law does not permit.’ Judge Walker’s decision is certain to be appealed and is likely to be overturned either by the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, which tends to lean conservative, or the Supreme Court, which has sharply limited the federal government’s power to intervene in state election law.” See also, Judge strikes down Florida election-law changes made by Republicans, The Washington Post, Lori Rozsa, Thursday, 31 March 2022: “Saying that ‘Florida has a grotesque history of racial discrimination,’ a federal district judge struck down most of a controversial election law passed in the state last year, and said the state can’t make any major changes to election regulations for the next 10 years unless a judge clears them first. U.S. District Judge Mark Walker agreed with voters who sued the state that the bill ‘runs roughshod over the right to vote, unnecessarily making voting harder for all eligible Floridians, unduly burdening disabled voters, and intentionally targeting minority voters — all to improve the electoral prospects of the party in power.’ Walker said that for the next decade, changes to voting laws that affect third-party registration efforts, drop boxes or ‘line warming’ — in which volunteers offer water or chairs to people waiting in line to vote — must be approved first by the court. ‘Florida has repeatedly, recently, and persistently acted to deny Black Floridians access to the franchise,’ Walker wrote. ‘This Court also finds that preclearance would prevent future violations.’ Voting rights activists hailed the ruling as a ‘landmark decision,’ while Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) dismissed it as ‘performative partisanship.'”

New York judge strikes down Democratic-drawn maps, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Thursday, 31 March 2022: “A New York judge on Thursday struck down the state’s new congressional and legislative maps as defying a voter-backed constitutional amendment that aimed to end partisan gerrymandering, dealing a blow to Democrats hoping to hold onto their fragile majority in the House this November. State Supreme Court Judge Patrick McAllister in Steuben County ordered the state legislature to draw bipartisan maps by April 11 or the court will appoint an independent map drawer to do it. The state will appeal the decision, triggering an automatic stay until the state appeals court takes it up. New York Democrats drew a new congressional map with boundaries that could gain their party as many as three new seats, a crucial advantage at a time when the House majority will come down to just a handful of wins. The judge’s order was the latest redistricting disappointment Democrats have faced in recent weeks after what had been several initial legal wins. A Maryland judge invalidated a Democratic-drawn congressional map, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out Wisconsin court-approved legislative maps that added a new majority-Black district, and an Ohio map that heavily favored Republicans, thrown out by the state Supreme Court, is now expected to remain in place for 2022.”

She Took the White House Photos. Trump Moved to Take the Profit. The New York Times, Eric Lipton and Maggie Haberman, Thursday, 31 March 2022: “As President Donald J. Trump’s tenure came to an end, the chief White House photographer, who had traveled the world with him and spent countless hours inside the White House snapping pictures, notified Mr. Trump’s aides that she intended to publish a book collecting some of her most memorable images. This was hardly a radical idea: Official photographers from every White House since President Ronald Reagan’s have published their own books. Barack Obama and George W. Bush were so supportive that they wrote forewords for them. But like so much else involving Mr. Trump, the plan by his chief photographer, Shealah Craighead, did not follow this bipartisan norm. First, aides to Mr. Trump asked her for a cut of her book advance payment, in exchange for his writing a foreword and helping promote the book, according to former associates of Mr. Trump. Then Mr. Trump’s team asked Ms. Craighead to hold off on her book project to allow the former president to take Ms. Craighead’s photos and those of other White House staff photographers and publish his own book, which is now selling for as much as $230 a copy.”

Jared Kushner provided ‘helpful’ details to the January 6 committee, a panel member says, NPR, Claudia Grisales and Deirdre Walsh, Thursday, 31 March 2022: “Former President Trump senior adviser Jared Kushner provided ‘helpful’ information to the Democratic-led House panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, a member of the panel said. Kushner, married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, who was also a senior adviser, is the most high profile member of Trump’s inner circle known to have appeared before the committee. He voluntarily appeared for a remote interview that started at 10 a.m. and lasted at least into the early afternoon hours, several sources familiar with the committee’s work said.”






Even though the Trump administration is no longer in office, I am continuing to post summaries of the daily political news and major stories relating to this tragic and dangerous period in US history. I will try to focus on the differences between the Trump administration and the Biden administration and on the ongoing toxic residual effects of the Trump administration and Republicans. I usually post throughout the day and let the news settle for a day or so before posting.

I created Muckraker Farm in 2014 as a place to post muckraking (investigative) journalism going back to the 19th century. Recently I have been able to make time to return to this original project. You can find these muckraking pieces under the Home Page link at the top of this site. Thanks for reading!