Aftermath of the Trump Administration, April 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!


For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.


Friday, 1 April 2022:


Thousands trapped in Mariupol after evacuation effort stalls, The Washington Post, Dalton Bennett, Hannah Knowles, Adela Suliman, Ellen Francis, Kim Bellware, Miriam Berger, and Andrew Jeong, Friday, 1 April 2022: “A major evacuation effort stalled Friday after the Red Cross said it was unable to reach the port city of Mariupol, where Ukrainian authorities said thousands escaped but have estimated as many as 100,000 people remained trapped in grim conditions. The International Committee of the Red Cross said it would try to reach Mariupol again this weekend after conditions Friday ‘made it impossible to proceed’ with a major humanitarian mission. The ICRC had readied a nine-person team to help evacuate civilians as the Kremlin declared a cease-fire in the city. Shelling destroyed much of Mariupol as a weeks-long Russian blockade severed the city from the outside world, raising alarms about dwindling resources.

  • Russia accused Ukraine on Friday of attacking a fuel depot in the Russian city of Belgorod in what appeared to be Ukraine’s first airstrike on Russian soil since the invasion.
  • Oil prices fell Friday after member nations of the International Energy Agency authorized the release of emergency oil reserves, joining with the United States.
  • The U.S. Air Force canceled a scheduled test of an intercontinental ballistic missile earlier this month to avoid the potential for escalated tensions with Russia, the service said.
  • 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 37 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine. The New York Times, Friday, 1 April 2022: “The most ambitious effort yet to evacuate desperate civilians from Ukraine’s devastated port of Mariupol, besieged by Russian forces for weeks, was upended by disruptions Friday, with thousands of residents managing to flee but many more still stuck after the Red Cross judged the exodus too dangerous. The suspended Red Cross evacuation in Mariupol, a city that has come to symbolize the horrors of the war in Ukraine, was among several developments painting a mixed picture on Friday as one of the biggest armed conflicts to convulse Europe in decades rumbled into its sixth week. New signs emerged that Russian forces, stymied by their own botched planning and fierce Ukrainian resistance, were retreating from areas outside of Kyiv, the capital, and moving north. Ukrainians asserted that they had retaken control of more than two dozen suburban towns and hamlets. Ukrainian helicopter gunships struck an oil terminal inside Russia, Russian officials said — which, if confirmed, would be the first known Ukrainian airstrike in Russian territory since the Feb. 24 invasion. Such an attack would be both embarrassing and potentially provocative to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in his troubled military campaign to subjugate Ukraine. Ukrainian officials gave conflicting accounts on whether Ukraine was responsible.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 1), NPR, NPR Staff, Friday, 1 April 2022: “As Friday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Russian officials said that Ukrainian helicopters struck an oil depot in the Russian city of Belgorod, about 20 miles from the border with Ukraine. Ukraine refused to confirm or deny the report. It is the first time Russia has reported a Ukrainian airstrike on Russian soil. Russian troops leaving Chernobyl likely suffered radiation exposure, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said. The ministry said Russian forces have fully withdrawn from the area of the former nuclear power plant. The International Atomic Energy Agency said it has not yet been able to confirm reports of Russian forces receiving high doses of radiation. A humanitarian relief team that was planning to evacuate civilians Friday from Mariupol was unable to reach the besieged Ukrainian city. They will try again Saturday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said. Officials from Russia and Ukraine met for another day of talks about a potential cease-fireas fighting continued in Ukraine. The Ukrainian president’s office said 86 of the country’s service members were freed in the Zaporizhzhia region as part of a prisoner swap with Russia, although the number of Russians released was not disclosed, The Associated Press reported. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has stripped two generals of their military rankcalling them ‘traitors’ and ‘antiheroes.’ Both were intelligence officers in the Security Service of Ukraine. One was the former chief of the agency’s main department of internal security. The other was the former head of the agency’s office in the Kherson region — Kherson being one of the few big Ukrainian cities that has fallen to Russian forces.

Continue reading Aftermath of the Trump Administration, April 2022:

The U.S. is ending its pandemic border rules. It could mean a surge in migration. NPR, Laurel Wamsley, Friday, 1 April 2022: “The Biden administration is moving to end sweeping pandemic border restrictions known as Title 42 on May 23. The official announcement came Friday in an order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The spread of COVID-19 by migrants apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border has ‘ceased to be a serious danger to the public health,’ CDC Director Rochelle Walensky wrote. Since March 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has used the controversial public health order to quickly expel migrants at the border due to health concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.”


Saturday, 2 April 2022:


As Russia pulls back from Kyiv, grim scenes emerge, The Washington Post, Adela Suliman, Amy Cheng, David L. Stern, Ellen Francis, Andrew Jeong, Paulina Firozi, and Lateshia Beachum, Saturday, 2 April 2022: “A high-ranking Ukrainian official said the entire Kyiv region was no longer under Russian control Saturday, as signs mounted that Moscow’s troops were pulling back from cities and towns across the capital region. And as the forces withdraw, those on the ground describe a grim scene that’s been left behind.Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Anna Malyar said the nation’s armed forces were back in control of all of Kyiv oblast, and Britain’s Defense Ministry confirmed that local forces were  steadily regaining control. President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia’s withdrawal in the north was ‘slow but noticeable.’ In Bucha, a town near Kyiv, local officials and reporters say there are mass graves and bodies scattered in the streets. An adviser to the president urged Ukrainians to prepare for ‘difficult fights’ ahead in Mariupol and in southern and eastern parts of Ukraine, where evacuation efforts were still underway. The Red Cross said Saturday it had not yet reached the hard-hit port city where 100,000 are trapped.

  • Four people were ‘injured and severely burned’ when Russian forces fired mortars at protesters in a city near Zaporizhzhia, according to Ukraine’s human rights ombudswoman.
  • The death toll from a missile strike on a main government building in the city of Mykolaiv this week has risen to 36, the governor of the southern Ukrainian region said.
  • Ukrainian photojournalist Maksym Levin was found dead on the northern outskirts of Kyiv, the country’s prosecutor general said Saturday. He is at least the sixth journalist killed covering Russia’s war on Ukraine.
  • 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 38 of the War in Ukraine, The New York Times, Saturday, 2 April 2022: “The Russian forces that were intent on overwhelming Kyiv at the war’s start with tanks and artillery retreated under fire across a broad front on Saturday, leaving behind them dead soldiers and burned vehicles, according to witnesses, Ukrainian officials, satellite images and military analysts. The withdrawal suggested the possibility of a major turn in the six-week war — the collapse, at least for now, of Russia’s initial attempt to seize Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, and the end of its hopes for the quick subjugation of the nation. Moscow has described the withdrawal as a tactical move to regroup and reposition its forces for a major push in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. While there are early indications that the military is following through on that plan, analysts say it cannot obscure the magnitude of the defeat.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 2), NPR, NPR Staff, Saturday, 2 April 2022: “As Saturday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Russian forces appear to be withdrawing in the area around Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, as they turn their attention and firepower further to the south and east. But southwestern parts of Ukraine remain on high alert. Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko tells NPR the city is destroyed. He says compromise with Russia is difficult right now, unless Russian forces leave the country. But he says everyone is still hopeful for a diplomatic solution. Ukraine and Russia conducted their largest prisoner swap thus far, with 86 soldiers on each side going home. Now, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is saying he’s willing to exchange all Russian prisoners of war — if Russia agrees to stop abducting civilian children. A Ukrainian photojournalist who had been missing since March 13 was found dead in a village north of Kyiv. Maks Levin, 40, was killed with two gunshots, allegedly fired by the Russian military. An investigation into his death has been launched. Russia’s top space official says the future of the country’s partnership with the U.S., Canada, Europe and Japan on the International Space Station is in jeopardy if sanctions from the West are not lifted. Dmitry Rogozin, director of Russian space agency Roscosmos, said he considers the current state of affairs unacceptable.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland Faces Growing Pressure as January 6 Investigation Widens, The New York Times, Katie Benner, Katie Rogers, and Michael S. Schmidt, Saturday, 2 April 2022: “Immediately after Merrick B. Garland was sworn in as attorney general in March of last year, he summoned top Justice Department officials and the F.B.I. director to his office. He wanted a detailed briefing on the case that will, in all likelihood, come to define his legacy: the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. Even though hundreds of people had already been charged, Mr. Garland asked to go over the indictments in detail, according to two people familiar with the meeting. What were the charges? What evidence did they have? How had they built such a sprawling investigation, involving all 50 states, so fast? What was the plan now? The attorney general’s deliberative approach has come to frustrate Democratic allies of the White House and, at times, President Biden himself. As recently as late last year, Mr. Biden confided to his inner circle that he believed former President Donald J. Trump was a threat to democracy and should be prosecuted, according to two people familiar with his comments. And while the president has never communicated his frustrations directly to Mr. Garland, he has said privately that he wanted Mr. Garland to act less like a ponderous judge and more like a prosecutor who is willing to take decisive action over the events of Jan. 6. Speaking to reporters on Friday, Mr. Garland said that he and the career prosecutors working on the case felt only the pressure ‘to do the right thing,’ which meant that they ‘follow the facts and the law wherever they may lead.'”

Trump’s presidential diarist tells January 6 committee White House officials provided less detail about his activities days before the violent attack on the Capitol, CNN Politics, Zachary Cohen, Jamie Gangel, Ryan Nobles, Annie Grayer, and Paula Reid, Saturday, 2 April 2022: “Just days before the US Capitol riot, White House officials started providing fewer details about then-President Donald Trump‘s calls and visits, the person in charge of compiling those activities for the official record told the House select committee investigating January 6, 2021, according to two sources with knowledge of the probe. The committee interviewed Trump’s presidential diarist roughly two weeks ago. That interview has not been previously reported, nor has the testimony describing a noticeable drop-off in information provided by Oval Office staff leading up to January 6. Other witnesses also have told the panel there was significantly less information being shared with those involved in White House record-keeping during the same time period, according to three sources familiar with the investigation. One source described how White House record-keepers appeared to be ‘iced out’ in the days leading up to January 6.” See also, What is Trump hiding? The Capitol riot-sized hole in the White House call log. A mysterious gap of 7 hours 37 minutes in phone records for 6 January 2021 coincides with the insurrection in Washington DC. The Guardian, Ed Pilkington, Saturday, 2 April 2022: “At 2.26pm on 6 January last year, Donald Trump picked up a White House phone and placed a call to Mike Lee, the Republican senator from Utah. The communication came at a very significant moment. Thirty-seven minutes earlier, a riot had been declared by Washington DC police. Minutes after that the then vice-president, Mike Pence, was rushed out of the Senate chamber, where he had been presiding over Congress’s certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election, and put into hiding. Fifteen minutes before Trump made the call his supporters, exhorted by the sitting president to ‘fight like hell’ against what he falsely claimed was a rigged election, broke through a window in the south front of the Capitol and entered the heart of American democracy. The January 6 insurrection was under way. Yet when you look for recorded details of Trump’s 2.26pm call which was made, as Hugo Lowell of the Guardian revealed, on an official White House landline, they are nowhere to be found. The Lee call was one of an unknown number that Trump made during a mysterious gap of 7 hours 37 minutes that exists in the call logs – precisely the timeframe of the Capitol attack. Those missing call logs, disclosed by the Washington Post and CBS News, raise several burning questions – how did the records disappear? who carried out the excising? – but none more urgent than this: what was Trump trying to hide?”


Sunday, 3 April 2022:


World leaders condemn atrocities alleged in Bucha, Ukraine, The Washington Post, Isabelle Khurshudyan, Rachel Pannett, Miriam Berger, Annabelle Timsit, Jennifer Hassan, Brittany Shammas, Paulina Villegas, and Hannah Knowles, Sunday, 3 April 2022: “World leaders on Sunday condemned the killing of civilians in a suburb of the Ukrainian capital, calling for new sanctions and investigations of alleged war crimes as outrage grew. Russian forces’ withdrawal from the Kyiv region — which a NATO leader framed Sunday as a chance for Moscow to regroup rather than a true retreat — has further revealed the devastation wrought by the Russian invasion. Video verified by The Washington Post showed bodies on the streets of Bucha, a suburb northwest of Kyiv, while journalists with The Post and other news organizations found some corpses whose hands had been bound. Ukraine’s prosecutor general said a task force has found more than 400 bodies of civilians in the Kyiv region. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called images of the dead from Bucha ‘a punch to the gut’ as the United States considers additional sanctions. German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said the European Union should discuss banning Russian gas imports, a step that German leaders had opposed because of its economic repercussions. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address that Russia’s actions amounted to genocide. Ukraine ‘does not blame the West,’ Zelensky said, but he criticized ‘the indecisiveness that set us on the path’ to the violence in Bucha and other cities.

  • Russia said its missiles hit an oil refinery and fuel storage facilities in Odesa on Sunday, the first strike on the strategic Black Sea city’s downtown.
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross said Sunday that its team had ‘yet to reach’ the port city of Mariupol, where conditions have been deteriorating for weeks.
  • Human Rights Watch released a report describing crimes against civilians in occupied areas and said witnesses recounted the ‘summary execution’ of seven people.
  • Russian officials denied harming civilians in Bucha and attempted to discredit extensive reporting documenting a strike on a Mariupol maternity hospital.
  • 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 39 of the War in Ukraine. The devastating toll of the war became clearer as Russian forces withdrew from around Kyiv. World leaders promised more sanctions. The New York Times, Sunday, 3 April 2022: “Growing evidence of atrocities against civilians has brought home the horrific toll of the war in Ukraine, prompting world leaders on Sunday to threaten even harsher sanctions, including a lockout of Russia’s vital gas industry, a step some had been loath to take. In Bucha, a newly liberated suburb northwest of the capital, residents were still finding bodies in yards and roadways days after Russian troops withdrew. A man in a bright blue fleece lay hunched over the steering wheel of a crushed car at an intersection in the center of town. Another man lay on his back beside the road, a large bullet hole in the back of his head and his green bicycle toppled beside him. But it was the discovery of corpses with their wrists bound, images of which quickly proliferated online, that sparked the most international outrage. ‘The Russian authorities will have to answer for these crimes,’ said France’s president, Emmanuel Macron. Poland’s prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, called the actions of the Russian army in Bucha and other towns around Kyiv ‘acts of genocide.’ And António Guterres, the United Nations secretary general, expressing ‘shock’ over the images of dead civilians, said: ‘It is essential that an independent investigation leads to effective accountability.’ Even as Moscow’s troops pulled away from Kyiv, Russia continued to batter Ukraine’s southern coastline with airstrikes on infrastructure Sunday. It has described the withdrawal as a tactical move to regroup its forces for a major push in the Donbas region in the east and south.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 3), NPR, NPR Staff, Sunday, 3 April 2022: “As Sunday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Ukrainian forces retaking control over the Kyiv region are reporting horrors from the ground. They include bodies of men who were apparently killed execution-style, some with their hands tied behind their backs. Ukrainian officials are urging third-party organizations such as the International Criminal Court to send investigators, and Human Rights Watch says it has documented several cases of apparent war crimes committed by Russian troops. Russia’s defense ministry has denied the accusations. At least 11 mayors have been kidnapped by Russian forces, according to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk. The mayors are from six regions, including Kyiv, Kherson and Donetsk. Vereshchuk said at least one mayor had been killed. Russia’s lead negotiator says talks with Ukraine will resume on Monday, but in its current state, the draft for an agreement doesn’t warrant a meeting between the countries’ presidents. The disagreement on a potential summit comes after negotiators from both sides recently said their counterparts were showing a willingness to agree to the other side’s demands. Lithuania has become the first country in the EU to immediately ban fuel imports from Russia. President Gitanas Nauseda heralded the decision and urged other nations to follow suit. Lithuania plans to immediately replace Russian fuel with liquefied natural gas from other countries.”


Monday, 4 April 2022:


Biden calls for Putin ‘war-crimes trial’ as world leaders issue fresh rebukes, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Paulina Firozi, Hannah Knowles, Miriam Berger, Rachel Pannett, Jennifer Hassan, Annabelle Timsit, and Brittany Shammas, Monday, 4 April 2022: “Leaders in the United States and Europe issued fresh denunciations of Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, saying images of brutality in a suburb of Kyiv are additional evidence that Moscow has committed war crimes in Ukraine. President Biden repeated his assertion that Putin is a ‘war criminal’ and called for further evidence-gathering to prepare for a war-crimes trial. ‘This guy is brutal, and what’s happening in Bucha is outrageous, and everyone’s seen it,’ Biden told reporters Monday. The Pentagon said photos and video from Bucha showing mass graves and bodies on the streets reinforced the accusation that Russian forces are responsible for war crimes. Biden said he’s seeking more sanctions — comments echoed by French President Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s defense minister. More European leaders said they would support an embargo on Russian oil and coal, but the issue remains thorny for the European Union, and the bloc is set to discuss it this week.

  • Russia is ‘revising its war aims’ to focus its offensive operations in eastern and southern Ukraine, U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross said a team helping with evacuation efforts was stopped about 12 miles west of Mariupol.
  • In interviews with The Washington Post in recent days, residents recounted how they were terrorized by their new Russian overlords.
  • Russian officials denied harming civilians in Bucha. The U.N. Security Council is scheduled to discuss the situation in Ukraine on Tuesday.
  • 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 40 of the War in Ukraine, The New York Times, Monday, 4 April 2022: “The images of dead Ukrainians, some with their hands tied and others haphazardly buried in pits, spurred shocked Western leaders on Monday to promise even tougher sanctions against Russia, including possibly on energy, as the Kremlin dug in and showed signs of preparing a new assault. The growing evidence that Russian soldiers killed scores of civilians in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, leaving their bodies behind as they withdrew, prompted President Biden to call for President Vladimir V. Putin to face a ‘war crime trial.’ Germany and France expelled a total of 75 Russian diplomats, and President Emmanuel Macron of France said the European Union should consider sanctions against Russian coal and oil. ‘This guy is brutal,’ Mr. Biden said of Mr. Putin. ‘And what’s happening in Bucha is outrageous, and everyone’s seen it.'”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 4), NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 4 April 2022: “As Monday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Images and reports of horrors from the Ukrainian town of Bucha, outside the capital, Kyiv, prompted new allegations of Russian war crimes. Photos of mass graves and devastation drew global condemnation against Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. According to Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova, local officials found the bodies of 410 civilians in the Kyiv region. Russia claims these images and reports are fake. The Kremlin is calling allegations of atrocities carried out by Russian forces around Kyiv a ‘provocation’ by the West. President Biden said the U.S. would seek more sanctions on Russia and said of Putin: ‘He is a war criminal.’ He noted that more evidence would need to be gathered to hold a war crime trial. About two-thirds of the Russian forces arrayed outside Kyiv have now pulled back, a senior U.S. Defense Department official said. They have headed north toward Belarus, the official said, and some have crossed over. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations wants Russia removed from the U.N. Human Rights CouncilAmbassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield called Russian participation a ‘farce’ and said Russia should not have a position of authority on the council. She said she will bring the matter before the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday and expects the General Assembly to take up the issue as early as Thursday.”

Stopping Climate Change Is Doable, but Time Is Short, U.N. Panel Warns. A major new scientific report offers a road map for how countries can limit global warming, but warns that the margin for error is vanishingly small. The New York Times, Brad Plumer and Raymond Zhong, Monday, 4 April 2022: “Nations need to move away much faster from fossil fuels to retain any hope of preventing a perilous future on an overheated planet, according to a major new report on climate change released on Monday, although they have made some progress because of the falling costs of clean energy. The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of experts convened by the United Nations, warns that unless countries drastically accelerate efforts over the next few years to slash their emissions from coal, oil and natural gas, the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, will likely be out of reach by the end of this decade. That’s the threshold beyond which scientists say the dangers of global warming — including worsening floods, droughts, wildfires and ecosystem collapse — grow considerably. Humans have already heated the planet by an average of 1.1 degrees Celsius since the 19th century, largely by burning fossil fuels for energy. But the task is daunting: Holding warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius would require nations to collectively reduce their planet-warming emissions roughly 43 percent by 2030 and to stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere altogether by the early 2050s, the report found. By contrast, current policies by governments are only expected to reduce global emissions by a few percentage points this decade. Last year, fossil fuel emissions worldwide rebounded to near-record highs after a brief dip as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.” See also, U.N. report shows the world is running out of options to hit climate goals. With the world on track to blaze past its climate goals, only immediate, sweeping societal transformation can stave off catastrophic warming. The Washington Post, Sarah Kaplan and Brady Dennis, Monday, 4 April 2022: “The world is on track to blaze past a crucial climate target within eight years, some of the planet’s top researchers, economists and social scientists said in a sober assessment Monday. Whether humanity can change course after decades of inaction is largely a question of collective resolve, according to the latest report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Governments, businesses and individuals must summon the willpower to transform economies, embrace new habits and leave behind the age of fossil fuels — or face the catastrophic consequences of unchecked climate change. ‘The science has been ever more consistent and ever more clear,’ Inger Andersen, executive director of the U.N. Environment Program, said in an interview. What’s needed now is ‘political courage,’ she added. ‘That is what it will take — the ability to look beyond current interests.’ Human carbon pollution has already pushed the planet into unprecedented territory, ravaging ecosystems, raising sea levels and exposing millions of people to new weather extremes. At the current rate of emissions, the world will burn through its remaining ‘carbon budget’ by 2030 — putting the ambitious goal of keeping warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) irrevocably out of reach. It is still technically possible, and even economically viable, for nations to curb carbon pollution on the scale that’s required, according to the United Nations-assembled panel of 278 top climate experts. However, the report’s authors write, it ‘cannot be achieved through incremental change.'”

House select committee scores two big wins as it inches closer to Trump’s inner circle in its investigation of the violent January 6 attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters, The Guardian, Hugo Lowell, Monday, 4 April 2022: “The House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack is moving to capitalize on new momentum as it embarks on its final push to complete the roughly one hundred remaining depositions and conclude the evidence-gathering phase of the inquiry. The panel has scored two major wins in recent days: more than six hours of testimony from Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, and a conclusion by a federal judge that the former president likely committed felonies to overturn the 2020 election. Members on the select committee believe Kushner’s cooperation might prompt other Trump officials to assist the investigation as the panel inches closer to Trump’s inner circle and the former president himself, according to sources familiar with the matter. The panel has also been buoyed by the federal court ruling that said Trump ‘more likely than not violated the law’ over 6 January, reaffirming the purpose of the investigation and making it harder for Trump’s allies to defy the inquiry, the sources said. And members on the select committee believe that opening contempt of Congress proceedings against the Trump aides Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino for ignoring their subpoenas, will reinforce the message that the panel will punish non-compliance, the sources said.”


Tuesday, 5 April 2022:


U.S. plans new sanctions as Zelensky calls for special tribunal, The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, Reis Thebault, Paulina Firozi, Marisa Iati, John Hudson, Ellen Francis, Amy Cheng, and Adela Suliman, Tuesday, 5 April 2022: “International outrage over alleged war crimes in a Kyiv suburb is deepening Moscow’s isolation, as the European Commission proposes a ban on Russian coal and the United States plans a new package of sanctions. The United States has already escalated financial measures against Russia amid reports of atrocities against civilians in Bucha, a suburb of the Ukrainian capital. On Wednesday, the Biden administration will announce more penalties, including a ban on all new investment in Russia, according to a person familiar with the matter. Tuesday’s meeting of the United Nations Security Council also underscored the Kremlin’s pariah status as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian leaders and soldiers should face a special tribunal. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield urged nations to suspend Russia’s membership in the U.N. Human Rights Council, a move that would require a two-thirds vote by the 193-member General Assembly.

What Happened on Day 41 of the War in Ukraine. ‘Now the world can see what Russia did in Bucha,’ President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said of the slaughter of civilians, during a fiery speech to the U.N. Security Council in which he showed a graphic video of the aftermath. The New York Times, Tuesday, 5 April 2022: “With evidence mounting of atrocities in the Kyiv suburbs, and Russian forces preparing for a new offensive farther east, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine delivered a scathing speech to the United Nations on Tuesday, accusing Russia of a litany of horrors and questioning whether a world body that takes no action to stop a war serves any purpose. Speaking via video link to the U.N. Security Council, he compared Russian forces to the Islamic State, called for a Nuremberg-like war crimes tribunal and vented his bitter frustration, knowing that the council — where Russia is one of five permanent members with veto power — would do nothing but talk. ‘Where is the security that the Security Council needs to guarantee?’ Mr. Zelensky said, raising the question of whether Russia deserved to keep its seat on the council. ‘Are you ready to close the U.N.? Do you think that the time of international law is gone? If your answer is no, then you need to act immediately.’ The chamber fell silent as a short video provided by Mr. Zelensky’s government played, showing some of the hundreds of corpses found strewn around the city of Bucha, northwest of Kyiv, after Russian forces retreated last week — bloated, charred bodies of civilians, including children. Some victims, their hands bound, had been shot in the head. Mr. Zelensky said that in Bucha, ‘they killed entire families, adults and children, and they tried to burn the bodies.’ Civilians ‘were crushed by tanks while sitting in their cars in the middle of the road,’ he added, asserting that ‘women were raped and killed in front of their children; their tongues were pulled out.'”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 5), NPR, NPR Staff, Tuesday, 5 April 2022: “As Tuesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the United Nations Security Council. He demanded the council hold Russia — which is a permanent Security Council member — and its leader Vladimir Putin accountable for alleged war crimes in Ukraine. He urged Russia’s removal from the Security Council. If not, he said, the Security Council should ‘dissolve’ itself. Zelenskyy described the situation in Bucha, outside Kyiv, where bodies were found in the streets and in mass graves after the withdrawal of Russian forces. Zelenskyy accused Russian troops of killing entire families and of torture, among other horrors. Russia has denied reports of atrocities, and its U.N. ambassador accused Western countries of ‘fueling anti-Russian hysteria.’ Humanitarian aid was turned away before reaching Mariupol — again. Officials say it’s still not safe to enter, but an evacuation corridor has been set up so residents will be able to leave using their own transport. Many are bracing for what aid teams may find after they’re admitted to the besieged city. European countries stepped up their expulsions of Russian diplomatsFrance, Germany, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Italy are among those ejecting dozens of Russian diplomats. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock declared 40 Russian diplomats ‘undesirable’ and described their work as a threat to ‘those who are seeking our protection.’ Seizures of Russian oligarchs’ riches continue. Spanish officials seized a luxury yacht in Mallorca, owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, at the request of the U.S. Justice Department. It was the first coordinated seizure under the department’s Task Force KleptoCapture.”

Justice Department Investigation of January 6 Confronts Sprawling Cast of Characters. The wide net being cast by prosecutors as they move beyond charging rioters could encompass scores of potential witnesses from inside and outside of government. The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Luke Broadwaer, and Maggie Haberman, Tuesday, 5 April 2022: “Among the challenges facing the federal grand jury recently empaneled to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is the sheer number of people who might have information relevant to its inquiry. According to a subpoena issued by the grand jury, prosecutors are asking for records about people who organized or spoke at several pro-Trump rallies after the election. They presumably include two events in Washington in November and December 2020 that preceded the gathering on the Ellipse near the White House on Jan. 6, 2021, where President Donald J. Trump told the crowd to descend on the Capitol. The subpoena is also seeking records about anyone who provided security at those events and about those who were deemed to be ‘V.I.P. attendees.’ Moreover, it requests information about any members of the executive and legislative branches who may have taken part in planning or executing the rallies, or tried to ‘obstruct, influence, impede or delay’ the certification of the presidential election. Each of these broad categories could involve dozens of individuals. Taken together, the total number of potential witnesses — or at some point, targets — sought after by the grand jury could easily reach into the hundreds. The investigation appears to be in its early stages and there is no way of knowing at this point where it may go, what crimes it might identify or who it may ultimately focus on. Many people of interest to investigators might be called only as witnesses. One possible road map — at least in terms of who the grand jury may still want to hear from — is the parallel probe by the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack, which has already interviewed hundreds of witnesses, including, on Tuesday, Ivanka Trump, the former president’s daughter and adviser.”

Ivanka Trump Testifies to House Select Committee Investigating the January 6 Violent Attack on the Capitol by Trump Supporters, The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Tuesday, 5 April 2022: “Ivanka Trump, former President Donald J. Trump’s eldest daughter, who served as one of his senior advisers, testified for about eight hours on Tuesday before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, according to people familiar with the matter. It was not immediately clear how revelatory her testimony was for the committee, but those familiar with the interview said Ms. Trump did not seek to invoke any privilege — such as executive privilege or the Fifth Amendment, as other witnesses have done — and broadly, if not garrulously, answered the panel’s questions. Ms. Trump was one of several aides who tried to persuade the president to call off the violence that ultimately injured more than 150 police officers and sent lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence fleeing for safety, according to evidence gathered by the committee. She is not known to have been associated with the more extreme supporters of the former president who spread lies about widespread fraud after the 2020 election and planned efforts to try to keep him in power. Her testimony came days after her husband, Jared Kushner, who was also a top adviser to Mr. Trump, sat for an interview and provided what one member of the panel described as ‘valuable’ and ‘helpful’ information.” See also, Ivanka Trump testified for 8 hours before House select committee investigating the January 6 violent attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters, CNBC, Dan Mangan, Tuesday, 5 April 2022: “Ivanka Trump testified for around eight hours Tuesday to the select House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot that began after her father, former President Donald Trump, spent weeks falsely claiming he was being deprived of a second White House term because of widespread ballot fraud. Ivanka’s testimony, which was conducted via a remote video hookup, ended around 6 p.m. ET. ‘She’s answering questions,’ said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the committee’s chairman, earlier about Ivanka, who served as senior White House advisor during her father’s presidency. She was in the West Wing on the day of the riot.”

January 6 House select committee obtains emails that former Trump attorney John Eastman sought to keep secret, CNN Politics, Katelyn Polantz and Paul LeBlanc, Tuesday, 5 April 2022: “The House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol has obtained a cache of emails that right-wing lawyer John Eastman had sought to keep secret. The 101 emails — exchanged between January 4 and January 7, 2021 — were released to the committee after Judge David Carter ruled that Eastman had not made a sufficient claim to attorney-client privilege. One email, a draft memo for Rudy Giuliani, was obtained by the committee because the judge decided it was potentially being used to plan a crime. The memo recommended that then-Vice President Mike Pence reject some states’ electors during the January 6 congressional meeting.”

Oklahoma lawmakers approve bill to make performing an abortion illegal, The Washington Post, Caroline Kitchener, Tuesday, 5 April 2022: “The Oklahoma House on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly for a Republican bill that would make performing an abortion illegal and punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The vote was 70 to 14 after lawmakers added it to the agenda Monday night, catching some by surprise. There was little discussion or debate. The bill, which passed the Senate last year, would make performing an abortion a felony. Anyone convicted would face up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. The measure heads to Gov. Kevin Stitt (R), who has signaled his openness to signing antiabortion legislation into law. The law makes an exception if the life of the mother is in danger.” See also, Oklahoma Lawmakers Approve Near-Total Ban on Abortion. The measure is part of a wave of stringent abortion restrictions enacted by legislators in Republican-led states. The New York Times, Michael Levenson, Tuesday, 5 April 2022: “Lawmakers in Oklahoma on Tuesday approved a near-total ban on abortion, making it the latest Republican-led state to forge ahead with stringent abortion legislation as the Supreme Court weighs a case that could overturn Roe v. Wade later this year. The measure, Senate Bill 612, would make performing an abortion ‘except to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency’ a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $100,000. The Oklahoma House voted 70 to 14 to send the bill, which passed the Senate last year, to Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican whose office responded by noting that Mr. Stitt vowed in September to sign ‘every piece of pro-life legislation’ that came to his desk.”

E.P.A. (Environmental Protection Agency) to Propose Restrictions on Asbestos. The agency aims to ban the manufacturing and import of a type of asbestos that is used in brake pads, gaskets, and other automotive products and is linked to cancer.The New York Times, Lisa Friedman, Tuesday 5 April 2022: “The Biden administration said it intends to ban one form of asbestos, the first time the federal government has moved to significantly restrict the toxic industrial material since 1989. Under the regulation proposed Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency would prohibit the use, manufacture and import of chrysotile asbestos, a type of asbestos that has been linked to lung cancer and mesothelioma. Chrysotile is the only raw form of asbestos known to be currently imported, processed or distributed for use in the United States. Known as ‘white asbestos,’ it is used in roofing materials, textiles and cement as well as gaskets, clutches, brake pads and other automotive parts. It would still be legal to import other types of asbestos but companies are required to notify the E.P.A. before importing any product known to contain asbestos fibers, and the agency has the authority to deny those imports. Health advocates who have been battling for decades to prohibit all forms of asbestos called the E.P.A.’s decision insufficient. They note that asbestos is linked to an estimated 40,000 deaths annually in the United States. More than 60 countries and territories have banned asbestos. The proposed rule marks a sharp contrast with the Trump administration, which fought legislation that would ban asbestos and imposed a policy that E.P.A.’s own scientists said left loopholes for industries to continue its use. Former President Donald J. Trump inaccurately declared asbestos ‘100 percent safe’ in his 1997 book, ‘The Art of the Comeback,’ and claimed the movement to remove asbestos ‘was led by the mob, because it was often mob-related companies that would do the asbestos removal.'”


Wednesday, 6 April 2022:


Ukrainian officials begin urging evacuations amid reports of new attacks in east, The Washington Post, Ellen Francis, Andrew Jeong, Paulina Firozi, Kim Bellware, Lateshia Beachum, Meryl Kornfield, Reis Thebault, and Bryan Pietsch, Wednesday, 6 April 2022: “Officials in Ukraine began urging people living in the eastern part of the country to evacuate Wednesday as new attacks on civilians were reported in areas where Russia is expected to step up offensives after withdrawing from Kyiv. A 10-story building in Severodonetsk caught on fire amid mass shelling and at least five civilians died in the Donetsk region, local officials said. In a television broadcast, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said, ‘You have to evacuate, if this is possible. And this is possible.’ The attacks came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky demanded a tougher E.U. response Wednesday and criticized leaders who ‘still think war crimes are not as horrific as financial losses.’ The Biden administration announced new sanctions that will target two of Russia’s largest banks and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s adult daughters. NATO foreign ministers are gathering in Brussels for discussions on Ukraine.

  • The U.S. Justice Department has indicted Konstantin Malofeyev, the first criminal charges against an oligarch since the invasion of Ukraine began.
  • The Red Cross said it was ‘impossible to enter’ the southern port of Mariupol after its team tried over five days to reach thousands of people trapped in the devastated city.
  • Greece and Norway said Wednesday that they would expel Russian diplomats, and Moscow vowed to retaliate — the latest sign of a tit-for-tat downgrading of diplomatic relations between Russia and its European neighbors.
  • The Kremlin described the withdrawal of troops from around Kyiv as ‘a gesture of goodwill’ for negotiations, while its forces shifted to eastern Ukraine, where officials reported intensifying attacks.
  • 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 42 of the War in Ukraine. Civilians are leaving eastern Ukraine amid warnings of escalating fighting there. The Justice Department charges a Russian oligarch with violating U.S. sanctions, and the Pentagon trains Ukrainian soldiers to use armed drones against Russian forces. The New York Times, Wednesday, 6 April 2022: “Spurred by reports of Russian atrocities outside Ukraine’s capital, and alarmed at signs that Russia’s invasion force is about to escalate assaults in eastern Ukraine, many civilians in that region are fleeing while they can, officials said Wednesday. ‘The cities of the Luhansk region are in ruins,’ warned one eastern governor. ‘Thousands of residents have not yet left. Get out of the way!’ The exodus accelerated as Western nations moved to provide more weapons to Ukraine’s military and further ostracize Russia economically with new sanctions, including restrictions on its leading banks and on the assets of President Vladimir V. Putin’s children. The new sanctions are a response to outrage and revulsion over the atrocities, including executions and torture, that appear to have been carried out by Russian forces before they retreated from areas outside Kyiv in the past few weeks. Russia has denied responsibility, saying the atrocities were fabricated or were committed by the Ukrainians themselves. The European Union also was weighing a ban on coal from Russia, the leading provider of fossil-fuel energy to Europe, and Russia appeared to move closer to default on its foreign debt because of U.S. currency restrictions.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 6), NPR, NPR Staff, Wednesday, 6 April 2022: “As Wednesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: All Russian ground forces have left the areas near Kyiv, Kharkiv and Chernihiv in northern Ukraineaccording to the U.S. military. Ukrainian forces have been moving in and clearing mines left behind by the Russian troops, a senior U.S. defense official said. The Russian units are regrouping in Russia or Belarus, north of Ukraine. The Pentagon believes they will likely be sent back to Ukraine, into the eastern part of the country, where Russia is now focused. More than 500 people were evacuated from the besieged city of Mariupol, after days of failed attempts. The International Committee of the Red Cross was able to escort a convoy of buses and private cars to Zaporizhzhia. Thousands of civilians are still believed to be in the city. The U.S., European Union and Group of Seven nations are enacting new sanctions on Russia. The sanctions target top Russian officials and family members, including Putin’s adult children, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s wife and daughter, former President and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. The U.S. is also imposing full blocking sanctions on Sberbank and Alfa Bank, two of Russia’s top banks. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Brussels to meet with G-7 and NATO foreign ministers. They are expected to discuss Ukraine’s need of more weapons and potential additional punitive actions against Russia. Blinken announced another $100 million of military aid for Ukraine, bringing the U.S. total to $1.7 billion since Russia invaded in February. The Justice Department is helping investigate possible war crimes by Russia in Ukraine, meeting with Europol, Eurojust and a French prosecutor. The Justice Department has also charged a Russian oligarch with violation of sanctions, in the first such indictment since the invasion began.”

Supreme Court Reinstated an Environmental Regulation from the Trump Administration that Restricted the Role States Play in Enforcing the Clean Water Act, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Wednesday, 6 April 2022: “The Supreme Court on Wednesday reinstated an environmental regulation from the Trump administration that restricted the role states play in enforcing the Clean Water Act. The court’s brief, unsigned order gave no reasons, which is typical when the justices act on an emergency application. Four justices dissented, saying the majority had used a case on what critics call the court’s shadow docket to issue a significant ruling without adequate consideration. Writing for the dissenters, Justice Elena Kagan said the court should have allowed the appeal to proceed in the ordinary course. ‘The applicants have given us no good reason to think that in the remaining time needed to decide the appeal, they will suffer irreparable harm,’ she wrote. ‘By nonetheless granting relief, the court goes astray.'” See also, Chief Justice John Roberts joins liberals in criticizing ‘shadow docket’ pollution ruling. In a first, Roberts agrees conservatives’ ruling marked an abuse of the court’s emergency powers. The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Wednesday, 6 April 2022: “Conservatives on the Supreme Court on Wednesday reinstated for now a Trump-era environmental rule that limited the ability of states to block projects that could pollute rivers and streams, a decision more notable because Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined liberals in calling it an abuse of the court’s emergency powers. The five members of the court who granted the request from Louisiana, other states and the oil and gas industry did not explain their reasoning, which is common in emergency requests at the court. But Justice Elena Kagan, dissenting along with Roberts and Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, said her conservative colleagues were turning what critics have called the court’s ‘shadow docket’ into something it was never intended to be. The majority’s order ‘renders the Court’s emergency docket not for emergencies at all,’ Kagan wrote. ‘The docket becomes only another place for merits determinations — except made without full briefing and argument.'” See also, The Supreme Court’s Attack on the Clean Water Act Was Too Extreme for John Roberts. Five justices used the shadow docket to revive a Trump-era pro-pollution rule. Not even the chief justice could go along with them. Slate, Mark Joseph Stern, Wednesday, 6 April 2022: “On Wednesday, the Supreme Court issued a 5–4 shadow docket order reviving a Trump-era ruling that radically limited the ability of states and tribes to restrict projects, like pipelines, that will damage the environment. With their decision, the majority upended decades of settled law recognizing states’ authority to protect their own waters without bothering to issue a single sentence of reasoning. Just two days earlier, Justice Amy Coney Barrett once again declared that the Supreme Court is not political during a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Foundation. Americans concerned that a particular ruling was ‘purely results-driven,’ she said, should ‘read the opinion.’ A close reading, Barrett asserted, would help the public decide if the ruling is ‘designed to impose the policy preferences of the majority’ or an honest effort to ‘determine what the Constitution and precedent requires.’ But those upset by Wednesday’s decision, which strayed so far from all known law that even Chief Justice John Roberts was driven to dissent, cannot ‘read the opinion’—because there is none. If that logic-free attack on the Clean Water Act is not a ‘purely results-driven’ attempt to ‘impose the policy preferences of the majority,’ it’s hard to see what is.”

House voted to hold former White House adviser Peter Navarro and former Trump communications director Daniel Scavino Jr. in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas related to the investigation into the violent January 6 attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters, The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany, Felicia Sonmez, Matt Zapotosky, and Josh Dawsey, Wednesday, 6 April 2022: “The House voted Wednesday to hold two former aides to President Donald Trump in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas related to the investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. The 220-to-203 vote results in criminal referrals to the Justice Department, which will decide whether to charge former trade and manufacturing director Peter Navarro and former White House communications chief Daniel Scavino Jr. with misdemeanors that can result in up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. During Wednesday’s floor debate, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, said Navarro and Scavino ‘must be held accountable for their defiance of the law.’ ‘Even if you do it on your own time, trying to overturn an election is still trying to overturn an election,’ Thompson said, adding: ‘This kind of cynical behavior as we investigate a violent insurrection is just despicable. It can’t stand. Dan Scavino and Peter Navarro must be held accountable for their abuses of the public trust.'”

Judge deals blow to Steve Bannon’s legal defense in coming trial. The former Trump adviser is charged with two counts of contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions from the House committee investigating the January 6 riot. NBC News, Pete Williams and Daniel Barnes, Wednesday, 6 April 2022: “Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon cannot argue at his trial that he is not guilty of contempt of Congress because he was following the advice of his lawyer, a federal judge ruled Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols said such a defense is not available in a contempt of Congress case, dealing Bannon’s defense a major setback. He faces trial in July. ‘It’s a serious blow, because he doesn’t have another good defense,’ said Joyce Vance, a former federal prosecutor. ‘He’ll now have to make a decision about whether to proceed to trial or try to cut some kind of deal.’ A federal grand jury indicted Bannon in November on two counts of contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot. One count accused him of refusing to appear for a deposition, and the other was for declining to produce documents requested by the committee. If he is convicted, Bannon, who is 68, could be sentenced to a year behind bars and a fine of up to $100,000.”

Trump-appointed judge rules migrant families separated at border can’t sue Trump officials. But the judge declined to dismiss a lawsuit seeking monetary damages for families affected by the Trump administration’s family separation policies. NBC News, Julia Ainsley, Wednesday, 6 April 2022: “A federal judge in Arizona ruled late Tuesday that Trump administration officials involved in the 2017-18 policies that separated thousands of immigrant families at the southern border cannot be sued over those policies.  At the same time, the judge, a Trump appointee, denied the federal government’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit seeking damages for families affected by the policies. The Biden administration has yet to take action against the officials or investigate the Trump administration’s application of what it called ‘zero tolerance,’ although as a presidential candidate, Joe Biden called the separations ‘criminal.’ The Justice Department had been in negotiations with lawyers representing separated migrant families, but after word got out that the payments could be as high as $450,000 and Biden denied the figure at a news conference, the talks broke down. Now, plaintiffs’ attorneys will be able to conduct discovery and move forward with seeking payment for the families.”


Thursday, 7 April 2022:


Russia suspended from U.N. Human Rights Council; European Union approves coal phaseout, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Meryl Kornfield, Kim Bellware, Paulina Firozi, Ellen Francis, Karoun Demirjian, Missy Ryan, and Bryan Pietsch, Thursday, 7 April 2022: “World leaders stepped up efforts to isolate Russia in response to mounting evidence of war crimes in Ukraine, with the United Nations voting Thursday to suspend the Russian delegation from the Human Rights Council and the European Union approving a plan to phase out imports of Russian coal. The coal ban, which will take full effect mid-August, is the fifth sanctions package against Russia to be adopted by the E.U. Though Ukrainian leaders have urged Western allies to do more to stem the flow of money to Russia, Thursday’s vote applies only to coal and does not ban other Russian energy imports, like natural gas and oil. Global outrage has grown since the brutal slaying of civilians in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha was revealed after Russian forces withdrew. Ukrainians in the country’s east have been urged to flee as Russian forces shift and regroup. Late Thursday, airstrikes disrupted a railway evacuation route in the separatist-held Donetsk province.

What Happened on Day 43 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times, Thursday, 7 April 2022: “Western nations on Thursday escalated their pressure on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, with the European Union approving a ban on Russian coal and the United States moving to strip Russia’s trading privileges and prohibit its energy sales in the American market. The new punishments came as the United Nations General Assembly took a symbolically important vote to penalize Russia by suspending it from the Human Rights Council, the 47-member U.N. body that can investigate rights abuses. Western diplomats called the suspension a barometer of global outrage over the war and the growing evidence of atrocities committed by Russian forces. That evidence includes newly revealed radio transmissions intercepted by German intelligence in which Russian forces discussed carrying out indiscriminate killings north of Kyiv, the capital, according to two officials briefed on an intelligence report. Russia has denied any responsibility for atrocities. Together, the steps announced Thursday represented a significant increase in efforts led by Western nations to isolate and inflict greater economic pain on Russia as its troops regroup for a wave of attacks in eastern Ukraine, prompting urgent calls by Ukrainian officials for civilians there to flee…. But the Western penalties were unlikely to persuade Russia to stop the war, and they revealed how the allies were trying to minimize their own economic pain and prevent themselves from becoming entangled in a direct armed conflict with Moscow.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 7), NPR, NPR Staff, Thursday, 7 April 2022: “As Thursday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Ukrainian officials are urging residents of the eastern regions of Donestsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv to evacuate immediately. Russian troops have now withdrawn from the northern cities of Kyiv and Chernihiv, but are believed to be regrouping for a potential new attack in the east, where Moscow has recognized self-proclaimed separatist republics. As U.S. and European allies met in Brussels, Ukraine pushed for more military aid. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba described his agenda in meetings with NATO foreign ministers as ‘weapons, weapons and weapons.’ The U.N. General Assembly voted to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council. The resolution cited reports of ‘gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights’ in Ukraine. The tally was 93 in favor and 24 against, with 58 abstentions. China voted no, and India was among those abstaining. Russia’s top diplomat accused Ukraine of backpedaling on a draft peace deal — a comment that Ukraine dismissed as propaganda. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a video address that Kyiv was changing demands related to Crimea, among other things. Ukraine’s top negotiator noted that Lavrov was not on the negotiating team. Lavrov also spoke of ‘savage behavior’ by Ukrainian forces, in an apparent nod at a graphic video posted this week that appeared to show Ukrainian soldiers killing at least one injured Russian prisoner-of-war. Pink Floyd announced the release of its first new music in 28 years, to raise money for UkrainiansThe new single, ‘Hey Hey Rise Up,’ includes vocals from Andriy Khlyvnyuk of the Ukrainian band Boombox, who interrupted his music tour in the U.S. to join a territorial defense unit in Ukraine.”

Supreme Court Highlights: Senate Confirms Ketanji Brown Jackson. The 53-47 vote elevated the first Black woman to the pinnacle of the judicial branch as senators erupted in cheers. Three Republicans joined Democrats in supporting President Biden’s nominee. The New York Times, Thursday, 7 April 2022:

  • The Senate confirms Jackson, elevating the first Black woman to the Supreme Court.

  • Confirmed but on the sidelines: Judge Jackson is now a justice in waiting.

  • Jackson will transform the Supreme Court but will have little power to halt its rightward march in marquee cases.

  • Harris presided as Jackson was confirmed, but no Black women had a vote.

  • ‘A face that looks like mine’: Black women in law welcome Jackson’s confirmation with pride.

  • Republicans attack Jackson over court ‘packing.’ But whether to expand the court is up to Congress, not judges.

  • With three crossing party lines, Jackson’s nomination vote parallels Gorsuch’s.

The Senate confirms Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, NPR, Eric McDaniel, Thursday, 7 April 2022: “The Senate has voted 53 to 47 to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the 116th Supreme Court justice. When sworn in this summer, Jackson will be the first Black woman to serve on the nation’s high court. ‘This is one of the great moments of American history,’ Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said before the vote. ‘Today we are taking a giant, bold and important step on the well-trodden path to fulfilling our country’s founding promise. This is a great moment for Judge Jackson but it is an even greater moment for America as we rise to a more perfect union.’ President Biden called the vote a ‘historic moment’ for the nation. ‘We’ve taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America,’ Biden posted on Twitter with an image of him taking a selfie with Jackson.” See also, Senate confirms Ketanji Brown Jackson as first Black woman on Supreme Court. Jackson won support from all Democrats and a handful of Republicans. She will be sworn in when Justice Stephen G. Breyer retires this summer. The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis and Seung Min Kim, Thursday, 7 April 2022: “The Senate voted Thursday to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, felling one of the most significant remaining racial barriers in American government and sending the first Democratic nominee to the high court in 12 years. Jackson, a daughter of schoolteachers who has risen steadily through America’s elite legal ranks, will become the first Black woman to sit on the court and only the eighth who is not a White man. She will replace Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer after the Supreme Court’s term ends in late June or early July. Thursday’s 53-to-47 vote represented the culmination of a six-week whirlwind confirmation process for the 51-year-old federal appeals judge.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James Seeks to Hold Trump in Contempt. James has been conducting a civil investigation into former President Donald Trump’s family business. The New York Times, Jonah E. Bromwich and William K. Rashbaum, Thursday, 7 April 2022: “The New York State attorney general, Letitia James, filed a motion on Thursday asking a judge to hold Donald J. Trump in contempt for failing to turn over documents in her civil investigation into his business activities. The request by lawyers in Ms. James’s office, which was filed in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, said that the former president had declined to turn over documents that the attorney general had sought in eight requests. The filing also asked the judge to fine Mr. Trump $10,000 a day until he turns over the materials…. The State Supreme Court Justice overseeing the legal dispute over the documents, Arthur F. Engoron, will rule on whether to hold Mr. Trump in contempt and whether to assess any possible fines. The motion is the latest legal skirmish in Ms. James’s civil investigation into Mr. Trump and his family business. Recently, Justice Engoron ordered Mr. Trump and two of his other adult children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., to submit to questioning by the attorney general’s office. Lawyers for the Trump family have appealed that decision. Because Ms. James’s investigation is civil, it can lead to a lawsuit but not criminal charges. She has said in other court papers that her office had obtained evidence showing that Mr. Trump’s family business, the Trump Organization, had engaged in ‘fraudulent or misleading’ practices. The attorney general’s office is also involved in a criminal investigation into Mr. Trump that is focused on some of the same conduct and is being conducted by the Manhattan district attorney’s office. The two senior prosecutors leading that investigation resigned in February after a disagreement with the district attorney, Alvin Bragg, about whether to continue a grand jury presentation concerning Mr. Trump. Mr. Bragg’s office has said that the investigation is ongoing.” See also, New York Attorney General Letitia James asks judge to hold Trump in contempt for not providing records, The Washington Post, Shayna Jacobs, Thursday, 7 April 2022: “New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) has asked a Manhattan judge to hold former president Donald Trump in contempt of court for failing to provide records that he was ordered to turn over in February as part of her long-running civil probe into the practices of Trump’s family business. James said in a statement that the former president has ignored New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron’s ‘crystal clear’ order that he ‘comply with our subpoena and turn over relevant documents to my office.’ Engoron’s February order also required Trump and two of his adult children to sit for depositions in the civil probe, but that matter is pending before an appellate court. ‘Instead of obeying a court order, Mr. Trump is trying to evade it. We are seeking the court’s immediate intervention because no one is above the law,’ James said Thursday. She asked Engoron in a court filing to fine Trump $10,000 a day for his continued noncompliance, But she did not seek to have him jailed. James also asked for her office to be compensated for Trump’s ‘disobedience in the form of an award of [the AG’s] costs and fees in connection with filing this motion.'”

Criminal Investigation of Trump Continues, While New York Attorney General Letitia James Seeks Contempt in Civil Case. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg remarks on criminal inquiry for first time since senior prosecutors resigned earlier this year. Wall Street Journal, Corrine Ramey, Thursday, 7 April 2022: “Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said Thursday that his office’s criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump, his company and its leadership continues, despite the resignation earlier this year of two senior prosecutors. The team working on the investigation was going through documents, interviewing witnesses and ‘exploring evidence not previously explored,’ Mr. Bragg said in a statement. He said while the law required secrecy during the investigation, he would ultimately tell the public whether it concluded without charges or with an indictment.” See also, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg says criminal investigation into Trump and his company continues as prosecutors review new evidence, CNN Politics, Kara Scannell, Thursday, 7 April 2022: “The Manhattan district attorney said Thursday the criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump and his company is continuing with prosecutors reviewing new evidence, dismissing speculation that the case was closed following the high-profile departure of two senior prosecutors. ‘We are every day following up on new evidence that we’ve secured,’ Alvin Bragg Jr. told CNN in an interview. ‘Investigations are not linear so we are following the leads in front of us. That’s what we’re doing. … The investigation is very much ongoing.’ The comments from Bragg, a former federal prosecutor and assistant New York attorney general, are aimed at ending speculation that he has shut down the long-running investigation and comes six weeks after the prosecutors departed and Trump’s lawyers all but declared victory. Bragg said he wanted the public to understand that he’s restrained from discussing ‘the meat’ of the investigation but he said when it’s over he will inform the public about his conclusion — whether it’s an indictment or closing the case without charges.” See also, Under Fire, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg Defends Handling of Trump Investigation. Bragg, in his first public comments about the inquiry into the former president, insisted his office was continuing to pursue the matter but provided few additional details. The New York Times, Jonah E. Bromwich, William K. Rashbaum, and Ben Protess, Thursday, 7 April 2022: “The Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, publicly discussed his office’s investigation into Donald J. Trump for the first time on Thursday, insisting that the inquiry has continued despite the recent resignations of two senior prosecutors who had been leading it. Mr. Bragg said in an interview that his office had recently questioned new witnesses about Mr. Trump and reviewed additional documents, both previously unreported steps in the inquiry. But citing grand jury secrecy rules, Mr. Bragg declined to provide details on the new steps in the investigation, which has focused on whether Mr. Trump committed a crime in inflating the value of his hotels, golf clubs and other properties. And it remains unclear whether Mr. Bragg and his prosecutors have found a productive new route in the investigation, which has already spanned more than three years. For Mr. Bragg, a series of interviews on Thursday as well as the release of a lengthy formal statement represent an attempt to quell the intense criticism he has faced over his handling of the high-stakes investigation into the former president. In December, Mr. Bragg’s predecessor, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., directed the two senior prosecutors leading the inquiry, Mark F. Pomerantz and Carey R. Dunne, to present evidence to a grand jury with the goal of seeking an indictment of Mr. Trump. Mr. Bragg, two months into his tenure, halted that presentation after disagreeing with Mr. Pomerantz and Mr. Dunne on the strength of the case. Their subsequent resignations led to public criticism of Mr. Bragg, particularly after The New York Times published a copy of Mr. Pomerantz’s resignation letter, in which he said he 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. In the letter, Mr. Pomerantz also said that the investigation had been ‘suspended indefinitely.'”

Department of Justice plans to investigate boxes of records taken to Trump’s Mar-A-Lago, The Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky and Jacqueline Alemany, Thursday, 7 April 2022: “The Justice Department has begun taking steps to investigate former president Donald Trump’s removal of presidential records to Mar-a-Lago — some of which were labeled ‘top secret,’ people familiar with the matter said. The people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter, said the probe remained in the very early stages. It’s not yet clear if Justice Department officials have begun reviewing the materials in the boxes or seeking to interview those who might have seen them or been involved in assembling and moving them. The department is facing increasing political pressure to disclose its plans in the case. On Thursday, House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) accused the Justice Department of obstructing her committee’s investigation into the 15 boxes of records Trump took to his estate in Palm Beach, Fla. In a letter addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Maloney alleges that the Justice Department is ‘interfering’ with the investigation by preventing the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) from handing over a detailed inventory of the contents of the recovered boxes. If the department is planning an investigation, that might explain why it would not want lawmakers getting an inventory of the materials.” See also, Justice Department is investigating the handling of White House records taken to Mar-a-Lago after Trump left office, CNN Politics, Evan Perez and Zachary Cohen, Thursday, 7 April 2022: “The Justice Department has begun investigating the handling of 15 boxes of White House records, including classified information, taken to Mar-a-Lago after former President Donald Trump left office, a source familiar with the matter tells CNN. This comes as the Justice Department is blocking the National Archives from sharing details on the boxes with Congress, which has launched its own investigation. In a letter that the House Oversight Committee disclosed on Thursday, Archives General Counsel Gary Stern said the agency was unable to respond to the panel’s request for more information, based on the Archives’ ‘consultation’ with the Justice Department. After receiving the March 28 letter from the National Archives, also known as NARA, House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from New York, reached out to Attorney General Merrick Garland requesting additional information as to why the Justice Department is preventing the Archives from cooperating with the panel.” See also, Justice Department is investigating Trump’s possible mishandling of government secrets, NPR, Carrie Johnson, Thursday, 7 April 2022: “The Justice Department is conducting an investigation that’s in ‘very early stages’ into possible mishandling of government secrets by former President Donald Trump, a source familiar with the matter told NPR, after top-secret papers were found at his Florida property, Mar-a-Lago. The matter had already been under investigation by the House Oversight Committee, whose chairwoman, Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., is pushing for more answers and access to information. Word of the Justice probe does not come as a surprise to former Justice Department officials like David Laufman, who told NPR in February that ‘it would be a gross departure from a long line of precedent to not even initiate an investigation.’ Legal experts have debated whether the former president, who held the power to classify and declassify government secrets, might face legal jeopardy. Even if Trump is insulated from liability, people who helped pack and transport the documents may not be, the experts said. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) said earlier this year that it had retrieved 15 boxes of White House records and other items stored at Trump’s Florida property and representatives of the former president were searching for any additional records that, by law, should have been turned over to the National Archives when Trump left office in January 2021.” See also, F.B.I. Is Preparing to Investigate How Classified Material Went to Trump’s Home. Federal authorities want to know more about how sensitive national security information came to be in 15 boxes of documents and mementos sent to Mar-a-Lago from the White House. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Adam Goldman, Thursday, 7 April 2022: “Federal authorities are in the preliminary stages of investigating the handling of classified material found at former President Donald J. Trump’s Florida home after he left office, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday. The effort, led by the F.B.I., stems from the discovery of classified information in 15 boxes that contained documents, mementos, gifts and letters that had been taken from the White House at the end of Mr. Trump’s term in apparent violation of the requirements for turning over all presidential records to the National Archives. The development was reported earlier by The Washington Post.”

The House select committee investigating the January 6 violent attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters dials up focus on social media’s role in the insurrection, The Washington Post, Christiano Lima with research by Aaron Schaffer, Thursday, 7 April 2022: “The House committee investigating Jan. 6 is ratcheting up its inquiry into the role social media played in the attack on the Capitol, canvassing experts for research on the matter and hiring a new analyst to help lead the effort, people familiar with the matter told The Technology 202. In recent months, the panel has asked an array of top social media researchers and experts on misinformation and online extremism to submit briefs and official statements analyzing how the attack unfolded on platforms and looking into the role of key instigators, according to three people with knowledge of the outreach who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private talks. The panel has also recently brought on a prominent disinformation scholar, Dean Jackson of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, as a lead analyst — a signal that it is beefing up its social media expertise, according to one of the people and a review of Jackson’s LinkedIn page. The previously unreported moves are the latest indication that social media is a significant focus for the committee as it wraps up its highly watched probe.”


Friday, 8 April 2022: 


At least 50 killed in airstrike on Kramatorsk train station, The Washington Post, Dalton Bennett, Dan Lamothe, Kim Bellware, Marisa Iati, Andrew Jeong, Julian Mark, Miriam Berger, Adela Suliman, and Meryl Kornfield, Friday, 8 April 2022: “At least 50 people were killed and 98 injured Friday at the Kramatorsk train station in eastern Ukraine, according to Ukrainian officials, in what they said was a Russian missile attack while evacuees were waiting to escape an expected Russian onslaught in the region. A missile fragment found near the train station was inscribed with the words ‘for the children,’ in Russian. ‘There were people everywhere. Torn-off limbs, flesh, bone, pieces of people everywhere,’ said Yelena Khalenmonva, who heard the blasts from inside the station. The Pentagon said that in recent days, the Russian military has put thousands of additional troops into eastern Ukraine. On the fight ahead in the Donbas, a senior U.S. defense official said, ‘This will be a knife fight. This could be very ugly and very bloody.’

What Happened on Day 44 of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times, Friday, 8 April 2022: “One moment, they were packed onto the platforms at the Kramatorsk train station, hundreds of women, children and old people, heeding the pleas of Ukrainian officials imploring them to flee ahead of a feared Russian onslaught. The next moment, death rained from the air. At least 50 people were killed and many more wounded in a missile assault on Friday morning that left bodies and luggage scattered on the ground and turned the Kramatorsk station into the site of another atrocity in the six-week-old war. ‘There are just children!’ one woman cried in a video from the aftermath. The missile struck as officials in Kramatorsk and other cities in eastern Ukraine had been warning civilians to leave before Russian forces mount what is expected to be a major push into the region, where their troops have been regrouping after withdrawing from areas around Kyiv, the capital. President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said that Russia had hit the station with what he identified as a Tochka-U short-range ballistic missile as ‘thousands of peaceful Ukrainians were waiting to be evacuated.'”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 8), NPR, NPR Staff, Friday, 8 April 2022: “As Friday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: At least 50 people, including five children, died in a missile strike on a train station in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, according to Ukrainian officials who accused Russia of attacking a key evacuation hub. Gruesome images showed carnage at the station, where officials said 98 people were injured, including 16 children. Thousands had crowded for trains after authorities urged civilians in eastern Ukraine to evacuate ahead of anticipated new Russian attacks on the region. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russian forces hit the railway station with a missile known as Tochka-U. The Russian Ministry of Defense denied involvement in the attack, calling reports of its responsibility ‘a provocation.’ The Kremlin backed its defense ministry’s claim. The Pentagon said the Russians did fire a missile — an SS-21 short-range ballistic missile — that hit the train station. Slovakia sent an S-300 mobile anti-aircraft system to Ukraine to bolster its defenses against Russian airstrikes. In exchange, the United States will place a Patriot missile defense system in Slovakia as backfill. The Ukrainian military already has a supply of the S-300 systems, but has lost a number of them during the war. The European Union formalized sweeping new sanctions against Russia, adding bans on imports of coal, wood, fertilizer and various other products, as well as bans on Russian transportation and vessels. The United Kingdom also followed in U.S. footsteps by adding sanctions on two adult daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the daughter of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The latest round of U.S. sanctions targeted Russian shipbuilding and diamond-mining giants. Global food prices have hit their highest levels ever recorded, driven up by the war. International prices for a food basket tracked by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization rose by 13% in March compared to February, and were 34% higher than in March 2021. Russia and Ukraine are major exporters of wheat and maize; Ukraine is a leading exporter of sunflower oil.”

Ketanji Brown Jackson notes the progress she represents in her journey to the Supreme Court, NPR, Eric McDaniel, Friday, 8 April 2022: “Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson proclaimed the progress her confirmation to the Supreme Court represents and offered her gratitude to the many people who she said helped her along the way at an event on the White House South Lawn on Friday. ‘It has taken 232 years and 115 prior appointments for a Black woman to be selected to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States, but we’ve made it! We’ve made it — all of us,’ Jackson said. ‘I have dedicated my career to public service because I love this country and our Constitution and the rights that make us free,’ Jackson also said. Quoting poet Maya Angelou, Jackson said, ‘I am the dream and the hope of the slave. In my family, it took just one generation to go from segregation to the Supreme Court of the United States,’ she added, also offering a tearful tribute to her daughters. Jackson also thanked Democratic Senate leaders and numerous White House staff involved in her confirmation process.”

Pro-Trump Rally Planner Ali Alexander Is Cooperating in Justice Department’s January 6 Inquiry. Alexander, who was a key figure in the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement, said he had received a grand jury subpoena and would assist the expanding investigation. The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Friday, 8 April 2022: “Ali Alexander, a prominent organizer of pro-Trump events after the 2020 election, has agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department’s investigation of the attack on the Capitol last year, the first high-profile political figure known to have offered assistance to the government’s newly expanded criminal inquiry. Speaking through a lawyer, Mr. Alexander said on Friday that he had recently received a subpoena from a federal grand jury that is seeking information on several broad categories of people connected to pro-Trump rallies that took place in Washington after the election. In a statement from the lawyer, Mr. Alexander said he was taking ‘a cooperative posture’ with the Justice Department’s investigation but did not know what useful information he could give. He also disavowed anyone who took part in or planned violence on Jan. 6. While it remains unclear what Mr. Alexander might tell the grand jury, he was intimately involved in the sprawling effort to mount political protests challenging the results of the election, and had contacts with other organizers, extremist groups, members of Congress and, according to the House committee investigating Jan. 6, White House officials during the period after Election Day.”

CNN Exclusive: ‘We control them all’: Donald Trump Jr. texted Meadows ideas for overturning 2020 election before it was called, CNN Politics, Ryan Nobles, Zachary Cohen, and Annie Grayer, Friday, 8 April 2022: “Two days after the 2020 presidential election, as votes were still being tallied, Donald Trump’s eldest son texted then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows that ‘we have operational control’ to ensure his father would get a second term, with Republican majorities in the US Senate and swing state legislatures, CNN has learned. In the text, which has not been previously reported, Donald Trump Jr. lays out ideas for keeping his father in power by subverting the Electoral College process, according to the message reviewed by CNN. The text is among records obtained by the House select committee investigating January 6, 2021. ‘It’s very simple,’ Trump Jr. texted to Meadows on November 5, adding later in the same missive: ‘We have multiple paths We control them all.’… Immediately before his text to Meadows describing multiple paths for challenging the election, Trump Jr. texted Meadows the following: ‘This is what we need to do please read it and please get it to everyone that needs to see it because I’m not sure we’re doing it.’ The November 5 text message outlines a strategy that is nearly identical to what allies of the former President attempted to carry out in the months that followed. Trump Jr. makes specific reference to filing lawsuits and advocating recounts to prevent certain swing states from certifying their results, as well as having a handful of Republican state houses put forward slates of fake ‘Trump electors.'” See also, Text From Donald Trump Jr. Set Out Strategies to Fight Election Outcome. In a message two days after Election Day 2020, the president’s son conveyed a range of ideas for keeping his father in office. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Friday, 8 April 2022: “Former President Donald J. Trump’s eldest son sent the White House chief of staff a text message two days after Election Day in 2020 that laid out strategies for declaring his father the winner regardless of the electoral outcome, people familiar with the exchange said on Friday. The text, which was reported earlier by CNN, was sent two days before Joseph R. Biden Jr. was declared the winner of the election. The recipient, Mark Meadows, turned a cache of his text messages over to the House committee investigating the events leading up to the deadly riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as the Electoral College results in Mr. Biden’s favor were being certified. ‘It’s very simple,’ Donald Trump Jr. wrote to Mr. Meadows on Nov. 5, 2020. He wrote at another point, ‘We have multiple paths We control them all.’ The message went on to lay out a variety of options that Mr. Trump or his allies ultimately employed in trying to overturn the results of the election, from legal challenges to promoting alternative slates of electors to focusing efforts on the statutory date of Jan. 6 for certification of the Electoral College results.”

Proud Boys leader Charles Donohoe admits plan to storm Capitol and will testify against others. Donohoe pleaded guilty to conspiracy and acknowledged the intention to stop the electoral college vote. The Washington Post, Tom Jackman and Spencer S. Hsu, Friday, 8 April 2022: “A North Carolina man who was one of the leaders of the far-right Proud Boys as they assaulted the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, pleaded guilty Friday to two felony counts with a minimum sentence of nearly six years in prison and agreed to cooperate against other defendants in hopes of getting a lighter sentence. Court records filed Friday show he has provided numerous insights into the group’s plans and intention to disrupt the electoral vote confirmation. Prosecutors have now secured convictions and the cooperation of defendants in probes into two groups, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, accused of planning violence on Jan. 6. In addition to the plea by Proud Boys member Charles Donohoe and an earlier plea by another defendant, an Alabama member of the Oath Keepers pleaded guilty last month to seditious conspiracy, admitting to taking part in a plan developed by group founder Stewart Rhodes to oppose by force the inauguration of President Biden, including taking part in the Capitol breach.”

Capitol attack investigators zero in on far-right Oath Keepers and Proud Boys. House select committee appears to believe militias coordinated to physically stop certification of Joe Biden’s election victory on 6 January last year. The Guardian, Hugo Lowell, Friday, 8 April 2022: “The House select committee investigating January 6 appears to believe the Capitol attack included a coordinated assault perpetrated by the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys militia groups that sought to physically stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory. The panel’s working theory – which has not been previously reported though the justice department has indicted some militia group leaders – crystallized this week after obtaining evidence of the coordination in testimony and non-public video, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Counsel on the select committee’s ‘gold team’ examining Donald Trump, the ‘red team’ examining January 6 rally organizers, and the ‘purple team’ examining the militia groups, are now expected to use the findings to inform the direction for the remainder of the investigation, the sources said. The panel has amassed deep evidence about the connections between the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys in recent weeks after it obtained hours of non-public footage of the leaders of the militia groups in Washington ahead of the Capitol attack, the sources said. And the select committee has also now heard testimony from award-winning documentary film-maker Nick Quested on Wednesday about contacts between the militia group leaders, far-right political operatives and the Save America rally organizers, the sources said.”

Trump Officials Failed to Provide Accounting of Foreign Gifts. The State Department could not compile a list of gifts for 2020, making it difficult to determine whether officials did anything improper. The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt, Friday, 8 April 2022: “The Trump administration left office without providing the State Department with an accounting of the gifts former President Donald J. Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials received from foreign governments in 2020, the department disclosed late Friday. The department said that as a result, it could not fully account for the gifts officials received, the latest example to emerge in recent months of how the Trump administration’s flouting of laws and norms about the day-to-day operations of government now makes it harder to determine whether anything improper took place. ‘It’s flagrant and it looks terrible,’ said Richard W. Painter, the former top ethics lawyer for George W. Bush’s administration. ‘Either it was really stupid or really corrupt.’ Under federal law, each government department and agency is legally required to submit a list to the State Department of gifts over $415 its officials received from foreign governments. The measure is intended to ensure that foreign governments do not gain undue influence over American officials. Departing White Houses typically provide the State Department with a list of the gifts officials receive before, or shortly after, they leave office to ensure they have followed the law.”

Alabama governor signs bill criminalizing transgender health care for minors. Alabama is the third state in the country to pass a restriction on gender-affirming care for minors, though it’s the first to include criminal penalties. NBC News, Associated Press and Jo Yurcaba, Friday, 8 April 2022: “Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed two bills Friday that target transgender young people and classroom discussion of LGBTQ identities. One of the bills makes it a felony for medical professionals to provide gender-affirming medical care people under 19. Her signature makes Alabama the third state in the country to pass a measure restricting transition-related care, though it is the first state to impose criminal penalties. Ivey said in a statement that she signed the bill because she believes that ‘if the Good Lord made you a boy, you are a boy, and if he made you a girl, you are a girl.’ ‘We should especially protect our children from these radical, life-altering drugs and surgeries when they are at such a vulnerable stage in life,’ she said in a statement. Major medical organizations — including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association — oppose restrictions on gender-affirming care for minors and say they go against best practice standards and will harm the wellbeing of trans youth. Ivey also signed another bill that will bar transgender students from using sex-segregated school facilities that align with their gender identities and will prohibit classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in grades K-5 — adopting language used in a bill recently signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that critics have dubbed the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.”


Saturday, 9 April 2022:


U.K. Bolsters Ukrainians; General Alexander Dvornikov appointed to oversee the invasion of Ukraine; Dvornikov commanded Russian forces in Syria, The Washington Post, David L. Stern, Miriam Berger, Andrew Jeong, Adela Suliman, Lateshia Beachum, and Claire Parker, Saturday, 9 April 2022: “European leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, visited Kyiv and announced the reopening of embassies in the capital Saturday in a diplomatic show of support a day after a devastating attack at a Ukrainian rail station. Ukrainians were still trying to flee the eastern part of the nation, but the governor of the Luhansk region said that ‘far fewer people’ were willing to evacuate after at least 52 people were killed and 98 injured in the attack on the Kramatorsk station. Johnson pledged 120 more armored vehicles and new anti-ship missiles during his visit to Kyiv and was photographed while walking the city’s streets alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The head of the E.U. delegation in Ukraine announced his return to Kyiv by sharing a photograph of the European flag flying once again in the capital. Russia has now tapped Gen. Alexander Dvornikov to oversee the invasion, a senior U.S. official confirmed to The Washington Post. Dvornikov commanded Russian forces in Syria and will oversee a war effort plagued by significant casualties and poor logistics.

  • Dvornikov’s appointment marks the first time a single commander has taken control of the entire Ukraine operation, a senior U.S. official said Saturday. Moscow has been trying to bring some coherence to what military experts describe as a chaotically executed operation so far that has taken the lives of seven generals.
  • About 176 children have died and more than 324 have been injured since the war began in Ukraine, the country’s prosecutor general said Saturday. Five children were among the dead and 16 were injured in Friday’s strike at a train station.
  • Ukraine’s stubborn resistance has prevented Russia from establishing a land corridor linking Crimea to the eastern Donbas region, the British Defense Ministry said in a Saturday intelligence update. Britain said the Kremlin continues to focus on eastern and southern Ukraine and that Russian air activity is expected to increase in the area.
  • 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 45 of the War in Ukraine, The New York Times, Saturday, 9 April 2022: “Russia reorganized the command of its flagging offensive in Ukraine on Saturday, selecting for the mission a general accused of ordering strikes on civilian neighborhoods in Syria, as Western nations poured more weapons into the country in anticipation of a renewed Russian assault in the east. The appointment of the general, Aleksandr V. Dvornikov, as the top battlefield commander came as Britain announced that it was sending missiles that target aircraft, tanks and even ships, and as Slovakia handed the Ukrainian military a long-range S-300 air defense system, with the blessing of the United States. In another show of support for Ukraine, Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain made a surprise visit on Saturday to Kyiv, the capital, where he met with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, and discussed a ‘new package of financial and military aid,’ the British government said. Mr. Zelensky called on other Western leaders to similarly provide military aide to Ukraine and impose further sanctions on Russia.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 9), NPR, NPR Staff, Saturday, 9 April 2022: “As Saturday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Ukrainian officials say that Russian troops are regrouping and that they will soon launch a full-scale attack in the eastern part of the country. The train station in Kramatorsk remains closed after a missile strike on Friday, but other stations are open and evacuations have resumed. The government says the Russian military is increasing shelling, so it wants to get civilians out. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the Kramatorsk train station attack as one of ‘many other Russian war crimes.’ At least 52 people were killed when a Russian missile hit the station, where thousands of people were trying to evacuate, according to Ukrainian officials. ‘The missile strike on Kramatorsk must be one of the charges at the tribunal, which is bound to happen,’ Zelenskyy wrote on Facebook. Russia has denied any involvement in the attack. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a surprise trip to Ukraine and met with Zelenskyy. The visit is intended to be a show of solidarity with Ukraine, according to The Associated Press. The meeting follows an announcement from the United Kingdom that it was sending more military aid to Ukraine, amounting to £100 million (about $130 million). Russia has shut down the offices of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and several other international organizations. The move followed Thursday’s vote by the United Nations General Assembly to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council over ‘gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights’ in Ukraine. The executive board of the International Monetary Fund has approved an account for Ukraine that would allow countries to donate aid. The creation of the account came at the request of several member countries. Canada has proposed up to 1 billion Canadian dollars (nearly $800 million) in its federal budget for the account, according to the IMF.”


Sunday, 10 April 2022:


Exodus from Ukraine swells to more than 4.5 million as battle lines shift, The Washington Post, Annabelle Timsit, Bryan Pietsch, Miriam Berger, Jennifer Hassan, Paulina Firozi, Brittany Shammas, Lateshia Beachum, and Hannah Knowles, Sunday, 10 April 2022: “Russian strikes destroyed an airport and damaged several civilian targets, including a school, on Sunday, Ukrainian authorities said, as people continued to flee eastern Ukraine, joining an exodus that now numbers more than 4.5 million refugees. Russia’s offensive is proceeding on two primary fronts, according to Ukrainian officials, after forces shifted initial efforts to take Kyiv: against the southeastern port city of Mariupol and in Ukraine’s far east, especially the contested Luhansk region. The governor of the eastern Donetsk region said more people should be evacuating in anticipation of potential attacks. Satellite images released by Maxar, a U.S. space technology firm, show that an eight-mile convoy of Russian military vehicles made its way through eastern Ukraine on Friday, heading south from the town of Velykyi Burluk. The refocus to the east, away from the largest cities, could prove a challenge for Ukraine’s beleaguered forces and an advantage for Russian troops, who Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted last week are more skilled at fighting in rural terrain.

  • For only the second time since Russian forces seized the site in late February, staffers at the Chernobyl plant were able to leave and rotate shifts.
  • Ukraine has opened 5,600 war crimes cases since Russia’s invasion, top prosecutor Iryna Venediktova said Sunday, but the country will face an uphill battle getting Russian officials to court.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday that he spoke to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz about sanctions against Russia and Germany’s financial and military support for Ukraine. The two ’emphasized that all perpetrators of war crimes must be identified and punished,’ Zelensky said. The Post’s Isaac Stanley-Becker explains why the war in Ukraine is a test for the German leader.
  • 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 46 of the War in Ukraine, The New York Times, Sunday, 10 April 2022: “Russian forces attacked civilian areas in eastern Ukraine on Sunday as terrified residents joined an exodus of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing westward, heeding warnings by authorities that Russian troops were massing for a major assault. On Sunday morning, two residential buildings and a school were hit in the city of Sievierodonetsk, in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine, though no casualties were reported. And a barrage of Russian strikes rained down on the airport in Dnipro, a city in east-central Ukraine, wounding five Ukrainian rescue workers, a local official said. Analysts predict Russian troops, refocusing on the east after being thwarted in the capital, will carry out a major offensive stretching from Dnipro to Izium, a city almost 150 miles northeast where fighting has already been heavy, U.S. military officials said Sunday. Satellite images showed hundreds of military vehicles moving through the town of Velykyi Burluk toward Izium on Friday. The authorities have urged Ukrainians in the east to flee — but the road to safety, too, is fraught with peril.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 10), NPR, NPR Staff, Sunday, 10 April 2022: “As Sunday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: new Russian general has been tapped to take over the faltering invasion of Ukraine, a U.S. official has told NPR. Alexander Dvornikov, 60, was previously in charge of the southern section of the war. It comes as Russia is expected to open a new offensive in the country’s east after pulling forces out of the Kyiv region. large military convoy that stretched at least eight miles was seen traveling through northeastern Ukraine. The imagery collected by the company Maxar Technologies on Friday shows hundreds of military vehicles. A researcher with the Institute for the Study of War says the convoy consists of Russian forces. Ukraine’s top prosecutor says she’s uncovered 5,600 cases of alleged war crimes and has a list of 500 suspects. In an interview with Sky News, Iryna Venediktova said authorities had ample evidence to back up their claims. ‘Almost every region in Ukraine was bombed,’ she said. ‘We have a lot of concrete facts in every region, in every city.’ NATO is planning to shore up the military might along its eastern flank to guard against any future Russian aggression. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced the move in an interview with the Telegraph. The current small ‘tripwire’ military presence will be replaced with a force strong enough to repel a Russian invasion. The U.K. says Russia, prompted by ‘mounting losses,’ is looking to add to the ranks of its military with people discharged from military service since 2012. The British Ministry of Defence also claims Moscow is attempting to recruit fighters from the ‘unrecognised Transnistria region of Moldova.'”

The House Select Committee Investigating the Violent January 6 Attack on the Capitol by Trump Supporters Has Evidence for Criminal Referral of Trump, but Splits on Sending It. Despite concluding that it has enough evidence, the committee is concerned that making a referral to the Justice Department would backfire by politicizing the investigation into the Capitol riot. The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt and Luke Broadwater, Sunday, 10 April 2022: “The leaders of the House committee investigating the Capitol attack have grown divided over whether to make a criminal referral to the Justice Department of former President Donald J. Trump, even though they have concluded that they have enough evidence to do so, people involved in the discussions said. The debate centers on whether making a referral — a largely symbolic act — would backfire by politically tainting the Justice Department’s expanding investigation into the Jan. 6 assault and what led up to it. Since last summer, a team of former federal prosecutors working for the committee has focused on documenting the attack and the preceding efforts by Mr. Trump and his allies to reverse his defeat in the 2020 election. The panel plans to issue a detailed report on its findings, but in recent months it has regularly signaled that it was also weighing a criminal referral that would pressure Attorney General Merrick B. Garland to open a criminal investigation into Mr. Trump. Despite concluding that they have enough evidence to refer Mr. Trump for obstructing a congressional proceeding and conspiring to defraud the American people, some on the committee are questioning whether there is any need to make a referral. The Justice Department appears to be ramping up a wide-ranging investigation, and making a referral could saddle a criminal case with further partisan baggage at a time when Mr. Trump is openly flirting with running again in 2024. The committee’s vice chairwoman, Representative Liz Cheney, said on CNN on Sunday that the committee had not reached a final decision about making referrals and downplayed any divisions on the committee, but acknowledged there was significant evidence of criminality. ‘I think that it is absolutely the case, it’s absolutely clear that what President Trump was doing, what a number of people around him were doing, that they knew it was unlawful. They did it anyway,’ said Ms. Cheney, a Wyoming Republican.” See also, Representative Liz Cheney says ‘it is absolutely clear that what President Trump was doing … was unlawful,’ CNN Politics, Daniella Diaz, Sunday, 10 April 2022: “Rep. Liz Cheney said Sunday that the House select committee investigating the January 6th insurrection has ‘not made a decision’ on criminal referrals to the Department of Justice, but she added it was ‘absolutely clear’ that former President Donald Trump and a number of people around him knew their actions were ‘unlawful’ but ‘did it anyway.’ ‘I think what we have seen is a massive and well-organized and well-planned effort that used multiple tools to try to overturn an election,’ the Wyoming Republican told CNN’s Jake Tapper on ‘State of the Union.’ Cheney, who serves on the committee, also pushed back on a Sunday New York Times article which said the committee is split on whether to refer Trump for criminal contempt, saying ‘There’s not really a dispute on the committee.'” See also, Representative Liz Cheney says the January 6 House committee has enough evidence to refer Trump for criminal charges, NBC News, Christina Zhao, Sunday, 10 April 2022: “The House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol has enough evidence to refer President Donald Trump for criminal charges, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said Sunday. ‘It’s absolutely clear that what President Trump was doing — what a number of people around him were doing — that they knew it was unlawful. They did it anyway,’ Cheney, the vice chair and one of two Republicans on the committee, said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ when host Jake Tapper asked her whether the panel had enough evidence to make a criminal referral for Trump. Cheney said the panel has not made a decision about moving forward with the referral. The New York Times reported that the committee has concluded that it has enough evidence to make a criminal referral but that its leaders were divided over whether to do so. ‘I think what we have seen is a massive and well-organized and well-planned effort that used multiple tools to try to overturn an election,’ Cheney said. The committee has ‘got a tremendous amount of testimony and documents that I think very, very clearly demonstrate the extent of the planning and the organization and the objective.’ She added: ‘The objective was absolutely to try to stop the kind of electoral votes, to try to interfere with that official proceeding. And it’s absolutely clear that they knew what they were doing was wrong.’ She referred to a ruling in a civil suit involving the committee last month, in which a federal judge found that based on evidence, Trump most likely ‘attempted to obstruct the joint session of Congress’ on the day of the attack, which would be a crime. ‘The illegality of the plan was obvious,’ U.S. District Judge David Carter wrote of Trump and lawyer John Eastman’s plan to have then-Vice President Mike Pence determine the results of the 2020 election. ‘Every American — and certainly the president of the United States — knows that in a democracy, leaders are elected, not installed. With a plan this “BOLD,” President Trump knowingly tried to subvert this fundamental principle.'”

Before Giving Billions to Jared Kushner, Saudi Investment Fund Had Big Doubts, The New York Times, David D. Kirkpatrick and Kate Kelly, Sunday, 10 April 2022: “Six months after leaving the White House, Jared Kushner secured a $2 billion investment from a fund led by the Saudi crown prince, a close ally during the Trump administration, despite objections from the fund’s advisers about the merits of the deal. A panel that screens investments for the main Saudi sovereign wealth fund cited concerns about the proposed deal with Mr. Kushner’s newly formed private equity firm, Affinity Partners, previously undisclosed documents show. Those objections included: ‘the inexperience of the Affinity Fund management’; the possibility that the kingdom would be responsible for ‘the bulk of the investment and risk’; due diligence on the fledgling firm’s operations that found them ‘unsatisfactory in all aspects’; a proposed asset management fee that ‘seems excessive’; and ‘public relations risks’ from Mr. Kushner’s prior role as a senior adviser to his father-in-law, former President Donald J. Trump, according to minutes of the panel’s meeting last June 30. But days later the full board of the $620 billion Public Investment Fund — led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler and a beneficiary of Mr. Kushner’s support when he worked as a White House adviser — overruled the panel. Ethics experts say that such a deal creates the appearance of potential payback for Mr. Kushner’s actions in the White House — or of a bid for future favor if Mr. Trump seeks and wins another presidential term in 2024. Mr. Kushner played a leading role inside the Trump administration defending Crown Prince Mohammed after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that he had approved the 2018 killing and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi columnist for The Washington Post and resident of Virginia who had criticized the kingdom’s rulers.”

Maryland Lawmakers Expand Abortion Access, Overriding Governor’s Veto. The new law allows trained medical professionals other than physicians to perform abortions and requires insurance providers to cover more costs. The New York Times, Giulia Heyward, Sunday, 10 April 2022: “Maryland is joining 14 other states in allowing trained medical professionals other than physicians to perform abortions. That change is part of a bill expanding abortion rights that was passed Saturday by state lawmakers, overriding the veto of Gov. Larry Hogan. Under the new law, which will take effect July 1, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and trained physician assistants will be able to perform abortions. The law will also require most insurance providers in the state to cover the cost of an abortion, at no cost to the resident, and directs the state to invest $3.5 million a year into abortion-care training.”

Not just Florida. More than a dozen states propose so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bills, NPR, Dustin Jones and Jonathan Franklin, Sunday, 10 April 2022: “First FloridaThen Alabama. Now, lawmakers in Ohio and Louisiana are considering legislation that mimics the Florida law. And Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he’ll make a similar bill a top priority at the next session. Across the United States, at least a dozen states are considering new legislation that in several ways will mirror Florida’s new controversial law, referred to by some opponents as ‘Don’t Say Gay.’ The specific details regarding the bills vary between states. But overall, they seek to prohibit schools from using a curriculum or discussing topics of gender identity or sexual orientation. ‘The institutionalization of these bills is an overt form of structural transphobia and homophobia, and it goes against all public health evidence in creating a safe and supportive environment for transgender, nonbinary, queer, gay and lesbian youths and teachers to thrive,’ Arjee Restar, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington, told NPR. Restar, a social epidemiologist and health equity advocate, said the controversial bills will limit all youths to live to their fullest potential, adding ‘there should be no room for transphobia and homophobia — especially in the classroom.'”

Murder charges to be dropped for Texas woman arrested over abortion. the district attorney’s office overseeing the case said this was ‘not a criminal matter.’ The Washington Post, Caroline Kitchener, Sunday, 10 April 2022: “The district attorney’s office in a Texas border county said Sunday it intended to dismiss the case against Lizelle Herrera, a 26-year-old who was arrested on murder charges after what authorities said was a ‘self-induced abortion.’ The case had confounded activists on both sides of the abortion debate because, although Texas has taken measures to restrict access to abortion, it was not clear which legal statute Herrera was alleged to have violated. Texas law also explicitly exempts a woman from a criminal homicide charge for aborting her pregnancy. In a statement made to the Associated Press last week, the Starr County Sheriff’s Office merely stated that Herrera was charged after ‘intentionally and knowingly causing the death of an individual by self-induced abortion.'”


Monday, 11 April 2022:


Russian convoy heads toward eastern Ukraine as new Mariupol death toll emerges, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Paulina Firozi, Hannah Knowles, Kim Bellware, Annabelle Timsit, Bryan Pietsch, Miriam Berger, Jennifer Hassan, and Julian Duplain, Monday, 11 April 2022: “An eight-mile convoy of Russian troops heading toward Ukraine’s Donbas region is the latest evidence that Moscow is preparing for a large-scale attack on the country’s east, while staggering fatality figures that emerged from Mariupol on Monday underscored the devastating effect of Russia’s siege tactics. The long line of Russian vehicles, visible in satellite images, looks to be part of an effort to reinforce and resupply the Kremlin’s forces in the area, a Pentagon official said. The offensive, which analysts have forecast for days, has not yet begun, but the shift represents a new phase of the war after Russia failed to capture Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital. Donbas — a large swath of the country’s easternmost territory, stretching from the Luhansk oblast south to Mariupol — has been the site of fierce fighting. Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting the Ukrainian military there since 2014, and Mariupol emerged as an epicenter of violence early in Russia’s invasion in late February. The city’s mayor said Monday that more than 10,000 civilians have been killed in recent weeks, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky estimated a toll of ‘tens of thousands.’

What Happened on Day 47 of the War in Ukraine, The New York Times, Monday, 11 April 2022: “Austria’s chancellor visited President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Monday — the first Western leader to see him in person since the Ukraine invasion — and said he came away feeling not only pessimistic about peace prospects but fearing that Mr. Putin intended to drastically intensify the brutality of the war. Describing Mr. Putin as dismissive of atrocities in Ukraine, the visiting chancellor, Karl Nehammer, said it was clear that Russian forces were mobilizing for a large-scale assault in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region, the next phase of a war now in its seventh week. ‘The battle being threatened cannot be underestimated in its violence,’ Mr. Nehammer said in a news conference after the 75-minute meeting at Mr. Putin’s residence outside Moscow that the visitor described as blunt and direct. The Austrian chancellor said he had told the Russian president that as long as people were dying in Ukraine, ‘the sanctions against Russia will stay in place and will be toughened further.’ The Kremlin, playing down the meeting’s significance in a terse statement, said only that it was ‘not long by the standards of recent times.’ Even as Mr. Nehammer was visiting, Russian forces were bombarding Ukrainian cities and towns, and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said ‘tens of thousands are dead’ in Mariupol, the besieged southern city that has been the scene of the most intense destruction of the war.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 11), NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 11 April 2022: “As Monday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that thousands of Russian troops are massing for a new offensive in eastern Ukraine — an assessment backed by Western governments. A senior American defense official says the U.S. continues to see signs of Russian command-and-control elements, support battalions, infantry and helicopters moving into the Donbas region from just across the border in Russia. Ukrainian officials say at least 1,200 civilians have been killed in the Kyiv area. Recovery efforts continue in the suburbs, cities and towns outside the capital. Bodies have been found in basements and manholes and being recovered from destroyed buildings and homes. Austria’s Chancellor Karl Nehammer met in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the first face-to-face exchange between Putin and a Western leader since Russia invaded Ukraine. As a nonaligned European country, Austria has traditionally played a unique role between NATO member states and Russia. ‘This is not a friendly visit,’ said Nehammer in a statement. ‘My most important message to Putin was that this war must finally end, because in a war there are only losers on both sides.’ The Kremlin did not comment. Russia’s war could shrink the Ukrainian economy by 45% this year, the World Bank warns. Sanctions imposed on Russia are expected to cut its output by 11.2%, economists say. Emerging and developing countries in this region already had been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, a World Bank report notes. Russia’s Defense Ministry accused the U.S. of aiding Ukraine in what Russia said were efforts to fake atrocities against civilians and place the blame on Russian forces. Faced with a growing body of evidence that Russian forces carried out summary executions of Ukrainian civilians near Kyiv and other cities, Russia continues to dismiss the atrocities as fakes or ‘provocations.’ In Monday’s statement, the ministry said: ‘The United States, which has many years of experience in organizing provocations with human victims, continues its campaign to create and promote false evidence.’ It did not provide evidence to back up its claims. A Russian woman who interrupted a live news broadcast to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been hired as a freelance reporter by Germany’s Welt media group. Marina Ovsyannikova was an editor at Russia’s state Channel One when she jumped onto the set holding a sign that denounced the war and Kremlin propaganda promoting it. She was detained and fined for doing so. ‘At a crucial moment, Marina Ovsyannikova had the courage to confront Russian viewers with an unembellished view of reality,’ said Ulf Poschardt, Welt’s editor-in-chief in a statement. Ovsyannikova will cover Russia and Ukraine.”

Biden Names Former Federal Prosecutor to Lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (A.T.F.). The president nominated Steven M. Dettelbach to run the troubled agency, seven months after withdrawing his previous pick. The New York Times, Glenn Thrush and Katie Benner, Monday, 11 April 2022: “President Biden nominated a former federal prosecutor, Steven M. Dettelbach, on Monday to run the embattled Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — part of a renewed effort to combat gun violence and jump-start a stalled gun control agenda. Mr. Biden, facing pressure from gun safety groups to take bolder action, also announced completion of a rule to ban the unregulated online sale of ‘ghost guns,’ untraceable firearm components without serial numbers that are often sold in ready-to-assemble kits. Yet the president was visibly frustrated as he spoke in the Rose Garden during an appearance with victims of shootings and their families. He acknowledged that his core agenda — renewing the ban on assault weapons and instituting universal background checks on gun buyers — has been blocked by Congress, forcing him to take more modest actions.” See also, Biden takes action against ‘ghost guns’ and names former U.S. attorney Steve Dettelbach to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), The Washington Post, Cleve R. Wootson Jr. and Annie Linskey, Monday, 11 April 2022: “President Biden on Monday used a Rose Garden ceremony to announce a crackdown on guns that can be made from kits and to introduce his new pick to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, two initiatives intended to show he wants to stem crime as gun violence continues to surge. The twin moves, which come as Republicans have been attacking Democrats on crime, were long anticipated and were cheered Monday by gun control advocates. But they are far short of what many of them have hoped for with the Biden administration and Congress controlled by Democrats.”

‘This Was Trump Pulling a Putin.’ Amid the current crisis, Fiona Hill and other former advisers are connecting President Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine to January 6. And they’re ready to talk. The New York Times, Robert Draper, Monday 11 April 2022: “The relationship between the Trump campaign, and then the Trump administration, and Russia would have implications not just for the United States but, eventually, for Ukraine as well. The litany of Trump-Russia intersections remains remarkable: Citizen Trump’s business pursuits in Moscow, which continued throughout his candidacy. Candidate Trump’s abiding affinity for Putin. The incident in which the Trump campaign’s national security director, J.D. Gordon, watered down language in the 2016 Republican Party platform pledging to provide Ukraine with ‘lethal defense weapons’ to combat Russian interference — and did so the same week Gordon dined with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, at an event. Trump’s longtime political consigliere Roger Stone’s reaching out to WikiLeaks through an intermediary and requesting ‘the pending emails,’ an apparent reference to the Clinton campaign emails pirated by Russia, which the site had started to post. Trump’s chiming in: ‘Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.’ The meeting in the Seychelles islands between Erik Prince (the founder of the military contractor Blackwater and a Trump-campaign supporter whose sister Betsy DeVos would become Trump’s secretary of education) and the head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund in an effort to facilitate a back-channel dialogue between the two countries before Trump’s inauguration. The former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort’s consistent lying to federal investigators about his own secretive dealings with the Russian political consultant and intelligence operative Konstantin V. Kilimnik, with whom he shared Trump campaign polling. Trump’s two-hour meeting with Putin in Helsinki in the summer of 2018, unattended by staff. Trump’s public declaration, at a joint news conference in Helsinki, that he was more inclined to believe Putin than the U.S. intelligence team when it came to Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. The dissemination by Trump and his allies in 2019 of the Russian propaganda that it was Ukraine that meddled in the 2016 election, in support of the Clinton campaign. Trump’s pardoning of Manafort and Stone in December 2020. And most recently, on March 29, Trump’s saying yet again that Putin ‘should release’ dirt on a political opponent — this time President Biden, who, Trump asserted without evidence, had received, along with his son Hunter Biden, $3.5 million from the wife of Moscow’s former mayor.”

U.S. Weighs Shift to Support the International Criminal Court in The Hague as It Investigates Russian Atrocities. The government is hamstrung from helping the world’s war-crimes court by two laws and a policy aimed at barring it from charging Americans. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Monday, 11 April 2022: “The Biden administration is vigorously debating how much the United States can or should assist an investigation into Russian atrocities in Ukraine by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, according to officials familiar with internal deliberations. The Biden team strongly wants to see President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and others in his military chain of command held to account. And many are said to consider the court — which was created by a global treaty two decades ago as a venue for prosecuting war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide — the body most capable of achieving that. But laws from 1999 and 2002, enacted by a Congress wary that the court might investigate Americans, limit the government’s ability to provide support. And the United States has long objected to any exercise of jurisdiction by the court over citizens of countries that are not part of the treaty that created it — like the United States, but also Russia. The internal debate, described by senior administration officials and others familiar with the matter on the condition of anonymity, has been partly shaped by a previously undisclosed 2010 memo by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. Obtained by The New York Times, the memo interprets the scope and limits of permissible cooperation with the court. LIMITS OF THE LAW: Read the Justice Department opinion on laws restricting American support for the International Criminal Court.”

Distraught over orders to investigate trans kids’ families, Texas child welfare workers are resigning. Other investigators don’t want to follow an order they believe harms families but worry about the impact of a mass employee exodus on the state’s most vulnerable children. The Texas Tribune, Eleanor Klibanoff, Monday, 11 April 2022: “Morgan Davis, a transgender man, joined Texas’ child welfare agency as an investigator to be the advocate he never had growing up. Less than a year later, one of the first cases under Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to investigate parents of transgender children landed on his desk. His supervisors in the Travis County office of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services offered to reassign the case, but maybe, he thought, he was the right person for the job. ‘If somebody was going to do it, I’m glad it was me,’ Davis said. He hoped it would be reassuring to the family to see a transgender man at the helm of the investigation. But the family’s lawyer didn’t see it that way. ‘I know your intentions are good. But by walking in that door, as a representative for the state, you are saying in a sense that you condone this, that you agree with it,’ Davis said. ‘It hit me like a thunderbolt. It’s true,’ he said. ‘By me being there, for even a split second, a child could think they’ve done something wrong.’ Davis resigned shortly after. Since the directive went into effect, each member of his four-person unit has put in their notice as well. While the attorney general’s office has gone to great lengths to defend the governor’s directive in court, the agency responsible for carrying out the investigations has been roiled by resistance and resignations as employees struggle with ethical questions they’ve never faced before. More than half a dozen child abuse investigators told The Texas Tribune that they either have resigned or are actively job hunting as a result of the directive.”


Tuesday, 12 April 2022:


As Putin insists war will continue, Biden describes invasion as ‘genocide,’ The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Paulina Firozi, Marisa Iati, Amy Cheng, Jennifer Hassan, Adela Suliman, and Annabelle Timsit, Tuesday, 12 April 2021: “Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed Tuesday that his invasion of Ukraine is going as planned and vowed to continue the war, while President Biden seemed to suggest that Moscow’s military operation amounted to ‘genocide’ — the first time he has publicly used that label. Putin, speaking at a rare news conference, said that negotiations with Ukraine had reached an ‘impasse’ and that it is unclear when the war will end. It will continue, he said, until the Kremlin fulfills its goals in the Donbas region, the eastern part of Ukraine where analysts and officials expect a vigorous new Russian offensive. Biden has in recent weeks resisted the term ‘genocide,’ instead referring to reported atrocities in Ukraine as ‘war crimes.’ But on Tuesday, Biden said that ‘it’s become clearer and clearer that Putin is trying to wipe out the idea of being Ukrainian.’

  • The Biden administration is poised to dramatically expand the scope of weapons it is providing Ukraine, U.S. officials said. The new aid package could be worth $750 million.
  • Putin’s trusted Ukrainian ally, oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, was recaptured by Ukraine’s internal security service after weeks in hiding, according to the presidential administration.
  • Russian authorities arrested Vladimir Kara-Murza, a prominent critic of the Kremlin who has written columns for The Washington Post.
  • The United States, Britain and Australia said they were monitoring unconfirmed reports that Russia may have used chemical weapons during its siege of Mariupol.
  • miles-long convoy of Russian military vehicles pressing south from the Russia-Ukraine border is 37 miles north of the Ukrainian town of Izyum, the Pentagon said.
  • 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 48 of the War in Ukraine. Russia is pouring troops and equipment into eastern Ukraine, presaging a bloody new chapter in the conflict. The U.S., Britain, and Australia said they were investigating an unconfirmed report that Russia had deployed a chemical agent, after a handful of people in Mariupol fell ill. The New York Times, Tuesday, 12 April 2022: “President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said on Tuesday that peace talks with Ukraine had reached a ‘dead end’ and he falsely called the evidence of Russian atrocities in a Kyiv suburb ‘fake,’ using his first extended remarks about the war in nearly a month to insist that Russia would persist in its invasion. Speaking at a news conference at a newly built spaceport in Russia’s Far East, Mr. Putin said that Ukraine’s negotiating position at the talks, last held in Istanbul two weeks ago, was unacceptable. He pledged that Russia’s ‘military operation will continue until its full completion.’ But the operation’s goals, he said, centered on the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russia separatists have been fighting since 2014. It was the first time that Mr. Putin himself had effectively defined a more limited aim for the war, focusing on control of the Donbas — and not all of Ukraine, which Mr. Putin and his subordinates have said should not even be an independent country.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 12), NPR, NPR Staff, Tuesday, 12 April 2022: “As Tuesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: More than 1,800 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began on Feb. 24, according to the Office of the U.N High Commissioner for Human Rights. The group has also documented nearly 2,500 injured civilians, though it says actual figures for civilian casualties are likely to be ‘considerably higher.’ A Russian convoy continues moving south toward the town of Izium in eastern Ukrainewhich has already been surrounded by heavy fighting, according to the Pentagon. The convoy is believed to be part of Russia’s efforts to reposition troops in advance of a major offensive in eastern Ukraine in the coming days. This follows the retreat of Russian troops from Kyiv and other northern cities, leaving tens of thousands of mines in their wake, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Ukrainian authorities arrested fugitive oligarch and pro-Russian opposition politician Viktor Medvedchuk. Zelenskyy shared a photo of handcuffed Medvedchuk, who’d been under house arrest facing accusations of treason but escaped in February. Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered his first extended remarks about Ukraine since Russian forces withdrew from northern Ukraine. He blamed Kyiv for derailing peace talks and said Russia would meet its ‘noble’ and ‘necessary’ objectives of protecting Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine as well Russians at home from a hostile West. Earlier, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer offered a pessimistic report from his meeting with Putin, saying he struggled to get the Russian leader to agree to guarantee humanitarian corridors, let alone a cease-fire. Western officials are calling for Russian authorities to release the detained opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza. The activist, who’s been critical of the invasion of Ukraine, was arrested near his Moscow home and sentenced to 15 days in jail on the charge of disobeying a police order. Kara-Murza in 2015 and 2017 fell ill in incidents of suspected poisoning. He’d been close friends with murdered anti-Kremlin politician Boris Nemtsov.”

In Conference Call Before the January 6 Violent Attack on the Capitol by Trump Supporters, a Onetime Aide to Roger J. Stone Jr. Told Trump Backers to Make Lawmakers Meeting to Finalize the 2020 Election Results Feel That ‘People Are Breathing Down Their Necks,’ The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Tuesday, 12 April 2022: “One week before an angry mob stormed the Capitol, a communications expert named Jason Sullivan, a onetime aide to Roger J. Stone Jr., joined a conference call with a group of President Donald J. Trump’s supporters and made an urgent plea. After assuring his listeners that the 2020 election had been stolen, Mr. Sullivan told them that they had to go to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021 — the day that Congress was to meet to finalize the electoral count — and ‘descend on the Capitol,’ according to a recording of the call obtained by The New York Times. While Mr. Sullivan claimed that he was ‘not inciting violence or any kind of riots,’ he urged those on the call to make their presence felt at the Capitol in a way that would intimidate members of Congress, telling the group that they had to ensure that lawmakers inside the building ‘understand that people are breathing down their necks.’ He also pledged that Mr. Trump was going to take action on his own; the president, he said, was going to impose a form of martial law on Jan. 6 and would not be leaving office. ‘Biden will never be in that White House,’ Mr. Sullivan declared. ‘That’s my promise to each and every one of you.'”

Oklahoma governor signs near-total ban on abortion into law, CNN Politics, Paul LeBlanc and Veronica Stracqualursi, Tuesday, 12 April 2022: “Oklahoma Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday signed a bill into law that makes performing an abortion illegal in the state, with an exception only in the case of a medical emergency. ‘As governor, I represent all 4 million Oklahomans and they overwhelmingly support protecting life in the state of Oklahoma. We want Oklahoma to be the most pro-life state in the country. We want to outlaw abortion in the state of Oklahoma,’ the governor said. Senate Bill 612, which cleared the state Senate last year and the House earlier this month, makes performing an abortion or attempting to perform one a felony punishable by a maximum fine of $100,000 or a maximum of 10 years in state prison, or both. The law does not provide exceptions in cases of rape and incest. Under the measure, the woman would not be criminally charged or convicted for the death of her ‘unborn child.’ The legislation does not prohibit the use, sale, prescription or administration of contraceptives.” See also, Oklahoma governor signs a bill to criminalize most abortions, NPR, Joe Hernandez, Tuesday, 12 April 2022: “Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed a bill that would make performing an abortion a felony except in the case of a medical emergency. Officials acknowledge the measure is destined for a court challenge. ‘We want Oklahoma to be the most pro-life state in the country,’ Stitt said at a Tuesday morning bill signing. ‘We want to outlaw abortion in the state of Oklahoma.’ It’s the latest conservative jurisdiction to enact a new restriction on abortion, as Republican-led states across the country push to limit reproductive rights. The recent wave of bills restricting abortion comes as the country awaits the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in a landmark reproductive rights case. Some legal experts predict the conservative court could weaken or even overturn the constitutional right to an abortion in the first two trimesters of pregnancy guaranteed in Roe v. Wade. ‘The only person who should have the power to decide whether you need an abortion is you — no matter where you live, or how much money you make,’ Tamya Cox-Touré, executive director of the ACLU of Oklahoma, said in a statement after the bill was passed. ‘But Oklahoma is facing an abortion access crisis that poses an immediate threat to our community’s health and reproductive freedom.'”

What’s Happening With Abortion Legislation in States Across the Country. A cascade of restrictive abortion legislation is being proposed in Republican-led states. The New York Times, Sophie Kasakove, Tuesday, 12 April 2022: “Near-total abortion bans have been introduced in 30 states this year, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights. Bans have passed at least one legislative chamber in seven states: Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming, Florida, Kentucky, Oklahoma and West Virginia. They have been enacted in four of those states: Oklahoma, Arizona, Idaho and Wyoming. ‘What we’re seeing right now is the buildup of decades where state legislatures have been adopting restriction after restriction, and now they’re moving to adopt ban after ban,’ said Elizabeth Nash, state policy analyst for the Guttmacher Institute. She said the legislation reflected the efforts of increasingly conservative state legislatures moving to take advantage of rightward shifts in the courts. Several states already have so-called trigger bans, which will make abortion illegal if Roe is overturned or scaled back. All of the legislation proposed so far is likely to be enacted, Ms. Nash said. But some efforts may face court challenges: In Idaho, for example, an abortion ban modeled on that of Texas was set to take effect on April 22, but was temporarily blocked by the Idaho Supreme Court on Friday. Planned Parenthood said on Tuesday that it would ‘challenge any abortion ban enacted in Oklahoma.'”


Wednesday, 13 April 2022:


Western leaders pledge more military support as Russian troops reposition in the eastern part of Ukraine, The Washington Post, Paulina Firozi, Reis Thebault, Brittany Shammas, Bryan Pietsch, Jennifer Hassan, Adela Suliman, Amy Cheng, and Andrew Jeong, Wednesday, 13 April 2022: “The United States and the European Union on Wednesday both pledged additional military equipment for Ukraine as that nation braces for a Russian offensive attack in the east that could be more challenging than earlier battles near Kyiv. President Biden said he told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that he is authorizing $800 million more in security assistance, including weapons and ammunition. Earlier Wednesday, the European Council said it agreed to 500 million euros ($544 million) in additional support for Ukrainian forces. The fresh vows for support come as world leaders reacted to Biden’s comment that Russia is carrying out a ‘genocide’ in Ukraine — with French President Emmanuel Macron warning against ‘an escalation of rhetoric’ and a Kremlin spokesman calling it ‘unacceptable.’

  • Biden’s off-the-cuff ‘genocide’ comment marked the latest example of the tension between his often-emotional response to Putin’s brutal war and the international implications of a president’s words.
  • Russia acknowledged that a key missile cruiser in its Black Sea Fleet had suffered significant damage as Ukrainian authorities claimed credit for immobilizing the ship.
  • Finland will launch an immediate debate on joining NATO, as the country reconsiders its longtime stance outside the Western military alliance following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan called Ukraine a ‘crime scene’ during a visit to Bucha.
  • The risk is growing that the conflict in Ukraine will tip a fragile global economy into a slump.
  • 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 49 of the War in Ukraine. Outside Kyiv, the authorities exhumed bodies in communal graves, as Russia troops appeared to be massing for a new offensive in the country’s east. A report says ‘clear patterns’ of Russian rights abuses are found in Ukraine. The New York Times, Wednesday, 13 April 2022: “Investigators from almost a dozen countries combed bombed-out towns and freshly dug graves in Ukraine on Wednesday for evidence of war crimes, and a wide-ranging investigation by an international security organization detailed what it said were “clear patterns” of human rights violations by Russian forces. Some of the atrocities may constitute war crimes, said investigators from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, who examined myriad reports of rapes, abductions and attacks on civilian targets, as well as the use of banned munitions. On Wednesday, civilians were still bearing much of the brunt of the seven-week-old invasion as Russian forces, massing for an assault in the east, bombarded Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, striking an apartment building. In an hourlong phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s leader, President Biden said the United States, already a major provider of defensive armaments to Ukraine, would send an additional $800 million in military and other security aid. The package will include ‘new capabilities tailored to the wider assault we expect Russia to launch in eastern Ukraine,’ Mr. Biden said in a statement. American officials said Wednesday that the United States, in helping Ukraine prepare for such an assault, had increased the flow of intelligence to Ukraine’s government about Russian forces in eastern Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia seized from Ukraine eight years ago. The administration also is considering whether to send a high-level official to Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, in the days ahead as a sign of support for the country, according to a person familiar with the internal discussions. War crimes claims are famously difficult to investigate, and still harder to prosecute. It’s rare for national leaders to be charged, and even rarer for them to end up in the defendant’s chair. But the war in Ukraine may prove different, some experts say, and momentum has been building to hold the Kremlin leadership responsible.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 13), NPR, NPR Staff, Wednesday, 13 April 2022: “As Wednesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Russia continues to build up its military for the expected offensive in eastern Ukraine, including ground troops, artillery systems and helicopters. The Pentagon says Russian forces are gathering on the Russian side of the border and moving into Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, where Moscow has recognized two self-proclaimed separatist republics. Earlier, Russia’s defense ministry said more than 1,000 Ukrainian marines surrendered in the port of besieged Mariupol. Ukrainian officials said a brigade of its marines in the area successfully completed a maneuver to reconnect with other Ukrainian forces. Neither claim has been independently verified. Mariupol remains contested, the Pentagon said. The U.S. is sending another $800 million worth of weapons systems and other security assistance to Ukraine. This includes artillery systems, artillery rounds, armored personnel carriers and additional helicopters. To date, the U.S. has sent over $2 billion worth of military assistance to Ukraine. The Kremlin decried as ‘unacceptable’ President Biden’s comment that Russian President Vladimir Putin is committing genocide in Ukraine. The U.S. historically has rarely used the word genocide, a violation of international law that is harder to prove than war crimes or crimes against humanity, as it requires evidence of intent. Biden had escalated his rhetoric in a Tuesday speech, as he blamed the Russian invasion for higher gas prices. A National Security Council representative said the shift in rhetoric from previously accusing Russia of atrocities and war crimes did not indicate a shift in the U.S. response. The presidents of Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have traveled to Kyiv. They are the latest European leaders to visit Ukraine with a message of political support and military assistance. Earlier, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson toured Kyiv with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Economists warn Russia is on the verge of defaulting on its foreign debt for the first time since the Bolshevik Revolution more than a century ago. The country has blown past two payment deadlines on bonds sold to foreign investors, which it was supposed to pay in dollars. Citing severe sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its allies, Russia made the payments in rubles.”

North Carolina Drops Mark Meadows, a Former Chief of Staff in the Trump White House, From Voter Roll Amid Fraud Inquiry. The state is investigating whether Mr. Meadows cast a legal vote in 2020, after reports questioned if he lived at the address listed on his voter registration. The New York Times, Azi Paybarah, Wednesday, 13 April 2022: “Mark Meadows, a former chief of staff in the Trump White House, has been removed from the voter rolls in North Carolina as officials investigate whether he fraudulently registered to vote and cast a ballot in the state during the 2020 presidential election, according to a local election official. Mr. Meadows, who helped amplify former President Donald J. Trump’s false claims of voter fraud, was ‘administratively removed’ from the poll book by the Macon County Board of Elections on Monday ‘after documentation indicated he lived in Virginia and last voted in the 2021 election there,’ Patrick Gannon, a spokesman for the North Carolina Board of Elections, said in a statement. Mr. Meadows represented North Carolina in Congress until March 2020, when he went to work in the White House. Months later, Mr. Meadows and his wife, Debra, registered to vote using the address of a modest, three-bedroom mobile home with a rusted roof in Scaly Mountain, N.C. On the voter registration application that Mr. Meadows submitted on Sept. 19, 2020, he stated that he intended to move into the home the following day. And in November, he voted absentee by mail from that address, according to state records. Last month, a report in The New Yorker cast doubt on whether Mr. Meadows had ever lived — or even spent the night — at the home.” See also, Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows removed from North Carolina voter rolls amid fraud investigation, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang, Wednesday, 13 April 2022: “Mark Meadows, a former top Trump aide, has been removed from the voter rolls in North Carolina as the state investigates allegations that he committed voter fraud in the 2020 election, election officials said Wednesday. Meadows, who served two terms as a congressman from North Carolina before becoming President Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff, has helped promote Trump’s baseless claims that widespread voter fraud delivered the presidency to Joe Biden. But his withering rhetoric about potential voter fraud has clashed with reports in recent weeks that Meadows registered to vote in 2020 using the address of a North Carolina mobile home he never stayed in. Those reports prompted North Carolina state investigators to launch a probe last month into Meadows’s voter registration. On Monday, Macon County officials ‘administratively removed the voter registration of Mark Meadows … after documentation indicated he lived in Virginia and last voted in the 2021 election there,’ North Carolina State Board of Elections spokesman Patrick Gannon said in a statement Wednesday.”

Biden White House waives executive privilege for more Trump records, The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany, Wednesday, 13 April 2022: “President Biden has authorized the National Archives and Records Administration to hand over a new tranche of Trump White House documents to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. In a letter released Wednesday by the archives, Biden declined to assert executive privilege over the records — the latest batch sought by the committee after the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s bid to block such releases. The new letter is in line with the Biden administration’s decision to err on the side of disclosure, given the gravity of the events in the Jan. 6 attack. The archives has already turned over hundreds of pages of documents to the committee.”

Two Trump White House Lawyers Meet with January 6 Investigators. Pat A. Cipollone, the former White House counsel, and Patrick F. Philbin, who was his deputy, met separately with the panel after the former president authorized them to do so. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Luke Broadwater, Wednesday, 13 April 2022: “Two of former President Donald J. Trump’s top White House lawyers met on Wednesday with the House committee investigating the Capitol attack, after Mr. Trump authorized them to engage with the panel, according to a person familiar with the matter. Pat A. Cipollone, the former White House counsel, and Patrick F. Philbin, who was his deputy, met separately with the panel, two people familiar with the sessions said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the meetings. It was not immediately clear how much information Mr. Cipollone and Mr. Philbin had provided to the committee or what they said, but they were present for key moments in the buildup to the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, including pivotal conversations and meetings in which Mr. Trump discussed using the powers of his office to try to overturn the election. Their cooperation, which was reported earlier by Politico, added to the more than two dozen White House officials who agreed to take the committee’s questions. The two were not under oath and their interviews were not transcribed, but the men could return for formal interviews or deposition later, one of the people said, describing it as a typical process as investigators determine who they want to question.”

Blaming Trump, January 6 Suspect Dustin Thompson Says He Fell Down a ‘Rabbit Hole’ of Lies. Thompson, an unemployed exterminator from Ohio, was the first defendant tried in the Capitol attack to offer a Trump-made-me-do-it defense before a jury. The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Wednesday, 13 April 2022: “Dustin Thompson’s trip down what he called ‘the rabbit hole’ of election misinformation began eight months before a single vote was cast in 2020. It ended inside the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, where he was part of the mob of Trump supporters that stormed inside during Congress’s counting of electoral votes in the worst attack on the building since the War of 1812. An exterminator from Columbus, Ohio, Mr. Thompson, 38, was laid off in March 2020, at the start of the pandemic. Alone at home with his new wife, he began spending long days on the internet, steeping himself in conspiracy theories about the upcoming vote. As the election approached, he said, he fully believed that if Donald J. Trump ended up losing, it would only be because the voting had been rigged, as the president had been warning publicly for months. Even after Joseph R. Biden Jr. was declared the winner, Mr. Thompson could not accept that it was true. All of this, he told a jury at his criminal trial on Wednesday, led him to Washington on Jan. 6 for a Stop the Steal rally, where he and a friend listened to Mr. Trump give an incendiary speech near the White House. In an hour on the witness stand, Mr. Thompson blamed Mr. Trump for what eventually occurred, saying that he had been answering the president’s call to go to the Capitol and ‘fight like hell’ when he joined the throng swarming into the building and made off with a bottle of bourbon and a coat rack. ‘If the president’s giving you almost an order to do something,’ he said, ‘I felt obligated to do that.’ Mr. Thompson’s story is not unusual. At several points during the Justice Department’s vast investigation of the Capitol attack, many people charged with crimes have sought to blame Mr. Trump in various ways for their actions, mostly at pretrial bail hearings or at sentencings after pleading guilty. But Mr. Thompson is the first defendant to attempt the argument at trial in front of a jury. In making his case, he offered a window into the toxic and relentless flood of conspiracy theories and lies, stoked by Mr. Trump, that helped give rise to the riot.” Update: Ohio Man Who Used a Trump-Made-Me-Do-It Defense for Storming the Capitol on January 6 Is Found Guilty. Thompson was convicted on all six charges against him. The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Thursday, 14 April 2022: “An Ohio man who claimed that Donald J. Trump was legally responsible for his decision to break into the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and make off with a bottle of bourbon and a coat rack was convicted on Thursday in the first trial connected to the riot to feature a defense that blamed the former president. The defendant, Dustin Thompson, an unemployed exterminator from Columbus, based his entire trial defense on the argument that he had merely been following orders from Mr. Trump last year when he walked up to the Capitol after the former president’s speech, broke into the building with a pro-Trump mob and stole the items from the Senate parliamentarian’s office…. Though jurors were apparently not swayed by the claim that Mr. Trump had been responsible for Mr. Thompson’s actions, Judge Walton suggested after the jury was dismissed that he believed the relentless flood of conspiracy theories and lies stoked by the former president had helped give rise to the riot, and continued to pose a danger. ‘I think our democracy is in trouble,’ he said, ‘because unfortunately we have charlatans like our former president who, in my view, doesn’t care about democracy but only about power.'”

Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland expects ‘crimes that have not yet been alleged’ in House select committee’s January 6 report, The Washington Post, John Wagner and Mariana Alfaro, Wednesday, 13 April 2022: “Today, in a Post Politics Now interview, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said that the House select committee probing the Jan. 6 insurrection will issue a report that will be ‘profuse in setting forth crimes that have not yet been alleged’ and that the panel, on which he sits, is planning public hearings in May and June. The aim, Raskin said, is ‘to prevent coups and insurrections going forward.'”

Republican Governor Ron DeSantis to push through new Florida map that will bring big Republican gains. Leaders in the Republican-controlled Legislature have already signaled they would accept whatever proposal the governor offered to them. Politico, Gary Fineout, Wednesday, 13 April 2022: “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, in a move that will likely trigger a huge legal fight, is pushing ahead with a new congressional map for his state that could allow Republicans to pick up an additional four seats this year. The DeSantis administration formally submitted its plan Wednesday to the GOP-controlled Legislature where leaders in that chamber have already signaled they would accept whatever proposal was offered to them. Legislators are scheduled to hold a three-and-a-half day special session next week to adopt a new map after the governor vetoed a previous plan.”


Thursday, 14 April 2022:


Russian warship sinks off Ukrainian coast; Mariupol faces key battles, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Meryl Kornfield, Andrew Jeong, Amy Cheng, Bryan Pietsch, Annabelle Timsit, Adela Suliman, Dan Lamothe, and Kim Bellware, Thursday, 14 April 2022: “The flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet sank after an explosion ‘seriously damaged’ the vessel as it floated off the coast of Ukraine, Russia said Thursday, with Moscow and Kyiv offering competing claims about the cause of the destruction. Ukraine claimed it struck the ship, called the Moskva, with a Neptune missile — a move that could boost Ukrainian troop morale as Russia’s invasion stretches into its 50th day. Russia contends a fire detonated ammunition onboard the flagship. A U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive development, backed Ukraine’s version of events, confirming the strike without verifying the specific weapons system used. Meanwhile, the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, said Russian forces ‘will likely capture Mariupol in the coming week.’ The port city has been the site of heavy Russian shelling for weeks and is key to Moscow’s strategic goals.

  • The top U.S. commander in Europe and his staff are developing training for Ukrainian forces that will teach the soldiers about an array of sophisticated weapons, an official said.
  • Russia warned Finland and Sweden that if they join NATO, Moscow will reinforce the Baltic Sea region, including by deploying nuclear weapons.
  • Two Republicans, Sen. Steve Daines (Mont.) and Rep. Victoria Spartz (Ind.), visited Kyiv on Thursday, the first U.S. lawmakers to travel to Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion.
  • Russia is accusing Ukraine’s military of striking residential buildings in a Russian village, leaving seven people injured.
  • Two children injured last week when Russian forces bombed a train station in Kramatorsk have died, raising the death toll from the attack to 59, Ukrainian officials said.
  • 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 50 of the War in Ukraine, The New York Times, Thursday, 14 April 2022: “Russia’s faltering war against Ukraine suffered a pair of setbacks Thursday when the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet sank after a catastrophic explosion and fire, as the European Union moved closer to an embargo on Russian oil imports. Ukraine claimed to have struck the vessel, the guided missile cruiser Moskva, with two of its own Neptune missiles, while Russia said the blast was caused by ammunition aboard the ship. If confirmed, the missile attack would be a serious blow to Russia, both militarily and symbolically — proof that its ships can no longer operate with impunity, and another damaging blow to morale. It would also give a lift to Ukrainian hopes, while demonstrating the defenders’ homegrown technological capacity and exposing an embarrassing weakness in the Russian navy’s antimissile defenses. Moscow also faces the possible loss of European markets in fossil fuels, which are providing billions of dollars a month to support its war effort. The European Union has long resisted calls to reduce its energy dependency on Russia, but officials revealed on Thursday that an oil embargo is in the works and is likely to be adopted in the coming weeks. That comes on top of a previously announced ban on imports of Russian coal. Taken together, the steps are bound to raise fuel and electricity prices in Europe, potentially disrupting the economy and provoking a political backlash. Ukraine continues to brace for a Russian offensive in the eastern Donbas region — where Moscow has said it will focus its war efforts after its failure to capture the capital, Kyiv — while Russian forces squeeze the shrinking pocket of resistance in the ruined southern port of Mariupol. The devastation rained there has offered a dire warning of what may befall other cities in the event of a prolonged Russian siege, prompting a mass exodus of civilians from the Donbas.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 14), NPR, NPR Staff, Thursday, 14 April 2022: “As Thursday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: The Russian missile cruiser Moskva, operating in the Black Sea, has sunk, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry. It said the ship was being towed in stormy weather after the vessel was damaged and its crew evacuated. Russian officials had said a fire broke out on board and caused munitions to explode. The Ukrainian military claimed they attacked the vessel. Neither account has been independently confirmed. Ukrainian officials say the Moskva was the Russian warship in the famous Snake Island incident, in which Ukrainian border guards profanely refused to surrender. Those men initially were believed to have been killed, but were later released in a prisoner swap. Russia accused Ukrainian forces of striking Russian residential buildings near the Ukrainian border, saying Ukrainian helicopters fired on a town in the Bryansk region. Separately, the governor of the border region of Belgorod said Ukraine had fired on a local village — the second attack on the area that Russia has blamed on Ukraine this month. Previously, Russia’s Defense Ministry said that continued cross-border attacks could prompt retaliatory Russian strikes on key command centers in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. Ukrainian officials accused Russia of plots to ‘whip up anti-Ukrainian hysteria.’ A senior U.S. official may travel to Kyiv soon to show solidarity with Ukraine. President Biden told reporters his administration was ‘making that decision now,’ but did not confirm any further specifics. This potential trip would follow recent visits to Ukraine by the British prime minister and the presidents of Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Russian authorities continue crackdowns on anti-war protesters, extending arrests to silent and stealthy demonstrations. An artist in St. Petersburg allegedly replaced price tags at a local supermarket with anti-war notes and now faces up to 10 years in prison on charges of spreading ‘knowingly false information’ about the Russian armed forces. Her lawyer said a shopper reported the woman to the police.”

Republican Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida Signed Into Law a Ban on Most Abortions After 15 Weeks of Pregnancy, The New York Times, Sophie Kasakove, Thursday, 14 April 2022: “Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida on Thursday signed into law a ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, severely restricting access to the procedure in a state that has long been a refuge for women from across the South. The new law, which takes effect on July 1, is modeled after a similar abortion ban in Mississippi that the U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to uphold. It contains exceptions only in cases where an abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother or prevent serious injury or if the fetus has a fatal abnormality.” See also, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida signs bill banning abortions after 15 weeks, The Washington Post, Caroline Kitchener, Thursday, 14 April 2022: “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Thursday signed legislation that will ban abortions in the state after 15 weeks of pregnancy as Republican-led states move swiftly to restrict abortion access. Florida currently allows abortions up to 24 weeks. The new law, which passed the GOP-controlled legislature in March, includes exceptions for the life of the mother and ‘fatal fetal anomalies’ but does not make exceptions for rape or incest. It would take effect in July…. Before now, the strongest abortion law signed by DeSantis was a 2020 measure requiring parental consent. Other prominent GOP governors likely to run for president in 2024, South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, have made antiabortion measures a priority in their states.”

The Republican-led Kentucky legislature overrode Democratic Governor Andy Beshear’s veto and passed strict abortion restrictions that advocates say will force the state’s two clinics to stop providing abortions immediately, The Washington Post, Caroline Kitchener, Thursday, 14 April 2022: “The new law, one of the most restrictive in the nation, imposes limits on medication abortion, requires the cremation or burial of fetal remains and bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. An exception is allowed if the woman’s life is in danger, but there is no exception for rape or incest. The 15-week ban is modeled after the Mississippi law currently before the Supreme Court, in a case that could overturn or roll back Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that has guaranteed the right to abortion nationwide. Last December, the majority conservative Supreme Court signaled it was likely to restrict abortion access.”

January 6 House Committee Presses Stephen Miller on Whether Trump Sought to Incite His Supporters. In about eight hours of questioning, investigators pressed the former White House aide on former President Donald J. Trump’s use of ‘we’ in his speech to supporters before the riot. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Luke Broadwater, Thursday, 14 April 2022: “The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol spent roughly eight hours on Thursday questioning Stephen Miller, a top White House adviser to former President Donald J. Trump, in an at times contentious exchange that included queries about Mr. Trump’s speech before a crowd the morning of the riot, according to two people familiar with the session. Investigators asked Mr. Miller repeatedly about the use of the word ‘we’ throughout Mr. Trump’s speech on the Ellipse, outside the White House, on Jan. 6, 2021, the people said, in an apparent effort to ascertain whether the former president had been directing supporters to join him in taking action to stop Congress from certifying his defeat. Mr. Miller argued that the language was no different from any other political speech. Mr. Miller was Mr. Trump’s top domestic policy adviser and his main speechwriter. He is the latest former White House official to appear before the committee, a day after the former White House counsel Pat A. Cipollone and his deputy, Patrick F. Philbin, appeared. Mr. Miller was subpoenaed in November 2021 but has fought the panel’s efforts to obtain information from him, appearing only after a lengthy negotiation with committee officials.”

The Republican National Committee (RNC) voted unanimously to withdraw from the Commission on Presidential Debates, following through on threats to bar Republican presidential nominees from participating in debates sponsored by the nonprofit organization, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang, Thursday, 14 April 2022: “The RNC has accused the commission, which was repeatedly attacked by Donald Trump, of being biased in favor of Democrats. The bipartisan commission, which was established in 1987 and has hosted the debates since 1988, has rejected the charge.” See also, Republicans say they’re quitting the Commission on Presidential Debates, NPR, Eric McDaniel, Thursday, 14 April 2022: “In 1987, the Commission on Presidential Debates was established jointly by the Democratic and Republican parties to ensure that debates between the leading candidates for the President of the United States were a permanent part of the electoral process. Now, the Republican National Committee has voted unanimously to leave the CPD, ending more than three decades of bipartisan civic cooperation.”



Friday, 15 April 2022:


Russia threatens more attacks on Kyiv, and Ukrainian forces make last stand in Mariupol, The Washington Post, Dan Lamothe, Meryl Kornfield, Kim Bellware, Andrew Jeong, Danielle Paquette, Adela Suliman, Julian Duplain, Tobi Raji, and Jacqueline Alemany, Friday, 15 April 2022: “Blasts were reported outside Kyiv on Friday after Russia’s Defense Ministry warned of retaliation in response to Ukrainian strikes, as both sides prepare for a potentially bloody battle in the eastern Donbas region. The attack comes after Ukrainian forces struck Russia’s premier warship in the Black Sea with two Neptune missiles, causing it to sink, a senior U.S. defense official confirmed. As forces gear up for battle in eastern Ukraine, Russia appeared poised to capture the strategic port city of Mariupol and escalate attacks across Ukraine’s southeast, analysts said.

  • As the fall of Mariupol appears imminent, the governor of Ukraine’s Donetsk region said the city ‘has been wiped off the face of the earth’ by Russian forces.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that Ukrainian officials believe that 2,500 to 3,000 Ukrainian troops have died in the war.
  • Aiming to exert greater pressure on Moscow, Zelensky asked President Biden to designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, one of the most powerful and far-reaching sanctions in the U.S. arsenal.
  • Russia sent a formal diplomatic note to the United States this week warning that shipping weapons to Ukraine could bring ‘unpredictable consequences.’
  • 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 51 of the War in Ukraine. Russia demanded that the U.S. halt shipment of advanced weapons to Ukraine. American officials said Russia’s Black Sea flagship had been sunk by Ukrainian missiles. The New York Times, Friday, 15 April 2022: “Stung by war losses and massing troops for a new battle in eastern Ukraine, Russia has warned the Biden administration to stop supplying advanced weapons to Ukrainian forces or face ‘unpredictable consequences,’ American officials said Friday. The Russian message — one of a series of warnings punctuated by a formal protest note, delivered on Tuesday — suggested rising concerns in Moscow that the weapons were seriously hindering Russia’s combat capabilities.”

Russia-Ukraine War: What happened today (April 15), NPR, NPR Staff, Friday, 15 April 2022: “As Friday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: The Pentagon confirmed Ukraine’s claim that its missiles, fired from shore, damaged the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet. The missile cruiser Moskva later sank. The Russian military said a fire aboard caused an explosion of munitions, and that the crew of about 500 sailors were evacuated. A senior U.S. defense official said there were likely casualties. This is the second major vessel Russia has lost off the coast of Ukraine in recent weeks. More than 900 bodies of civilians have been found in the region around Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv after Russian forces retreatedaccording to regional police chief Andriy Nebytov. He said 95% of the people died from gunshot wounds, which he said indicated that many were ‘simply executed.’ The largest number of victims were found in Bucha, the site of some of the most devastating scenes so far seen by the public where numerous organizations are investigating allegations of war crimes. Russia’s Defense Ministry said it struck a military target on the edge of Kyiv and warned that it would ramp up its offensive on the capital in response to Ukrainian attacks on Russian targets. This came after Ukraine claimed its missile sank the Moskva cruiser and Russian officials also claimed that Ukrainian strikes hit Russian territory. Ukrainian officials said Russian troops used long-range bombers to attack Mariupol for the first time since the invasion began on Feb. 24. Heavy fighting has continued in the besieged southeastern port city, where Ukrainian soldiers have posted on social media about running out of supplies. The war loomed over the pope’s Good Friday services. The Vatican had chosen a Russian woman and a Ukrainian woman — said to be friends who work together at a Rome hospital — to carry the cross during the traditional procession. Ukraine’s religious leaders denounced the decision.”

CNN Exclusive: ‘We need ammo. We need fraud examples. We need it this weekend.’ What the Meadows texts reveal about how two Trump congressional allies lobbied the White House. CNN Politics, Ryan Nobles, Annie Grayer, Zachary Cohen, and Jamie Gangel, Friday, 15 April 2022: “In the weeks between the 2020 election and the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, almost 100 text messages from two staunch GOP allies of then-President Donald Trump reveal an aggressive attempt to lobby, encourage and eventually warn the White House over its efforts to overturn the election, according to messages obtained by the House select committee and reviewed by CNN. The texts, which have not been previously reported, were sent by Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and GOP Rep. Chip Roy of Texas to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. The text exchanges show that both members of Congress initially supported legal challenges to the election but ultimately came to sour on the effort and the tactics deployed by Trump and his team.” See also, ‘Call Everyone Off’: Senator Mike Lee and Representative Chip Roy, Once Backers of President Donald J. Trump’s  Claims of a Stolen Election, Eventually Urged His Top Aide Mark Meadows to Change Course, The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Friday, 15 April 2022: “For weeks in late 2020, Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, cheered on President Donald J. Trump’s effort to fight his election defeat, privately offering up ‘a group of ready and loyal advocates who will go to bat for him.’ In text messages to Mark Meadows, then the White House chief of staff, Mr. Lee encouraged the Trump campaign to embrace Sidney Powell, a pro-Trump lawyer whom the senator described as a ‘straight shooter,’ and said the president should ‘hire the right legal team and set them loose immediately.’ But when Ms. Powell put forth wild claims of foreign rigging of election machines at a widely derided news conference in November, Mr. Lee was chagrined and quietly began to question what Mr. Trump was up to. ‘I’m worried about the Powell press conference,’ Mr. Lee wrote in another text message to Mr. Meadows. ‘The potential defamation liability for the president is significant here.’ That message and several others from Mr. Lee, as well as a separate set of exchanges between Representative Chip Roy, Republican of Texas, and Mr. Meadows, trace an about-face by the two Republican lawmakers. The pair started out as enthusiastic supporters of Mr. Trump’s claims of a stolen election but gradually grew alarmed about his push to invalidate the results and ultimately opposed his bid to get Congress to overturn them on Jan. 6, 2021. The text messages, which are in the possession of the House committee investigating the Capitol riot, were obtained by CNN and authenticated by The New York Times.” See also, Texts show Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah worked furiously to overturn the 2020 election and keep President Donald Trump in power before ultimately abandoning the effort when no evidence of widespread fraud surfaced and his outreach to states for alternate electors proved futile, The Washington Post, Mariana Alfaro, Friday, 15 April 2022: “Lee sent the texts to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who turned them over to the House committee investigating a pro-Trump mob’s attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. CNN reviewed the texts Lee and Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tex.) sent Meadows and reported on them Friday. In texts to Meadows sent in November, Lee is highly supportive of Trump’s efforts to undo the election through legal challenges, offering on Nov. 7, 2020 — the day news organizations projected Joe Biden as the winner — his ‘unequivocal support for you to exhaust every legal and constitutional remedy at your disposal to restore Americans faith in our elections.’ ‘This doesn’t have to come down to a binary choice between (1) an immediate concession, and (2) a destruction of the credibility of the election process,’ Lee wrote to Meadows that day. Lee makes clear that he was working hard to assist Trump, saying in one text that he was spending ’14 hours a day’ on the effort and contacting state lawmakers seeking anything to give Congress a reason not to count the electoral votes for Biden on Jan. 6, 2021 and affirm his win. ‘We need something from state legislatures to make this legitimate and to have any hope of winning. Even if they can’t convene, it might be enough if a majority of them are willing to sign a statement indicating how they would vote,’ Lee wrote in one text.”

Wisconsin Supreme Court Approves Republican-Drawn State Legislative Maps. The court had approved state maps drawn by the Democratic governor, but the U.S. Supreme Court struck down that decision, citing the federal Voting Rights Act. The New York Times, Michael Wines, Friday, 15 April 2022: “The conservative majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court voted on Friday to adopt new state legislative maps drawn by Republicans who control the Legislature, reversing its earlier decision that favored maps drawn by the state’s Democratic governor. The court acted after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down its previous decision last month, stating in a contentious ruling that the state justices had not considered whether the Democratic-drawn maps complied with the federal Voting Rights Act. The newly adopted maps — partisan gerrymanders that had been drawn in secret in 2011 after Republicans took control from Democrats in both houses of the Legislature — essentially lock in overwhelming Republican majorities in the Assembly and the Senate for the next decade. A monthslong legal battle began in November when Wisconsin’s governor, Tony Evers, vetoed legislative districts drawn by Republicans. The State Supreme Court resolved a standoff in March by voting 4 to 3 in favor of the maps drawn by the governor that slightly reduced the Republican majorities.”

Saturday, 16 April 2022:


Explosions reported near Kyiv and Lviv; Mariupol’s fate in balance, The Washington Post, Amy Cheng, Andrew Jeong, Jacqueline Alemany, Tobi Raji, Karla Adam, Adela Suliman, Julian Duplain, Marisa Iati, Timothy Bella, Lateshia Beachum, and Meryl Kornfield, Saturday, 16 April 2022: “Officials in Kyiv and the western city of Lviv reported explosions Saturday, after Russia warned it would step up strikes on Ukraine’s capital in retaliation for purported Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory. Russian officials claimed to have hit a military hardware facility in Kyiv. The attack comes after Ukrainian forces sank the Moskva, the premier warship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, with Ukrainian-made anti-ship missiles, a senior U.S. defense official told The Washington Post on Friday. Moscow disputes Kyiv’s account, maintaining that the ship was lost in a fire that detonated munitions onboard. Meanwhile, Russia appears to be on the verge of capturing the devastated port city of Mariupol, which is strategically important to the Kremlin because it would connect Russian-annexed Crimea with Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Saturday that the situation is ‘difficult’ and warned that if Mariupol is found to have suffered atrocities on the scale of those uncovered in Bucha and other cities, it could be the end of any negotiations with Russia. The Kremlin has given Mariupol a deadline of 6 a.m. Sunday Moscow time (11 p.m. Saturday Eastern time) to surrender, according to a Russian state news site.

  • Another Russian general, Maj. Gen. Vladimir Frolov of the 8th Army, died in battle in Ukraine, the governor of St. Petersburg said — the latest in a string of deaths involving high-ranking Russian commanders.
  • Aiming to exert greater pressure on Moscow, Zelensky asked President Biden to designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, one of the most powerful and far-reaching sanctions in the U.S. arsenal.
  • The director of the U.N. World Food Program warned that the disruption of grain exports from Ukraine could cause a global grain shortage and, consequently, a hunger crisis.
  • 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 52 of the War in Ukraine. Russia claimed its forces had seized the besieged city of Mariupol, save for a steel plant near the port where Ukrainian fighters held out. Moscow’s missiles also hit targets across the country, including military factories. The New York Times, Saturday, 16 April 2022: “Russia pounded military targets throughout Ukraine on Saturday, in apparent retaliation for the sinking of an important naval ship and in preparation for an offensive in the Donbas region of the country’s east. Russia’s Defense Ministry said Saturday the strikes had destroyed workshops in a tank factory in Kyiv and a military hardware repair facility in Mykolaiv, in southern Ukraine. Also targeted was the Ukrainian military factory on the outskirts of Kyiv, called Vizar, that produced the Neptune anti-ship missile that sank the flagship vessel of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, the Moskva, in a major embarrassment for the Kremlin. The coming battle in the east will be fought largely on open terrain offering far fewer havens for Ukrainian fighters to hide while launching attacks on Russian armored vehicles, as they did so successfully in repelling the Russian forces from around Kyiv. The Russian missile attacks on Friday into Saturday seemed calibrated to weaken Ukraine’s ability to withstand armored assaults in that setting.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 16), NPR, NPR Staff, Saturday, 16 April 2022: “As Saturday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: The deputy governor of Kharkiv told NPR he expects the region around Izyum to be the Russians’ next primary target and that there will be heavy fighting. Russians have returned to attacking Ukraine’s capital city, Kyiv. The mayor is urging residents to remain vigilant after more strikes occurred in the southeastern part of the city overnight. There were explosions on the left bank of the Dnipro river in the Darnytsky district, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in a post on Facebook. Top British officials, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, have been banned from entering Russia. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the ban was imposed in response to ‘hostile actions’ by the British government as well as sanctions against top Russian officials.”

The Slime Machine Targeting Dozens of Biden Nominees. In an escalation of partisan warfare, a little-known dark-money group is trying to thwart President Biden’s entire slate. The New Yorker, Jane Mayer, Saturday, 16 April 2022: “The American Accountability Foundation has undermined the likes of Ketanji Brown Jackson, but it has also gone after relatively obscure political appointees whose public profiles can be easily distorted. During the autos-da-fé that now pass for Supreme Court confirmation hearings in the U.S. Senate, it’s common for supporters of a nominee to dismiss attacks from the opposing party as mere partisanship. But, during the recent hearings for Ketanji Brown Jackson, Andrew C. McCarthy—a Republican former federal prosecutor and a prominent legal commentator at National Review—took the unusual step of denouncing an attack from his own side. When Republican senators, including Josh Hawley and Marsha Blackburn, began accusing Jackson of having been a dangerously lenient judge toward sex offenders, McCarthy wrote a column calling the charge ‘meritless to the point of demagoguery.’ He didn’t like Jackson’s judicial philosophy, but ‘the implication that she has a soft spot for “sex offenders” who “prey on children” . . . is a smear.’ In the end, the attacks failed to diminish public support for Jackson, and her poised responses to questioning helped secure her nomination, by a vote of 53–47. But the fierce campaign against her was concerning, in part because it was spearheaded by a new conservative dark-money group that was created in 2020: the American Accountability Foundation. An explicit purpose of the A.A.F.—a politically active, tax-exempt nonprofit charity that doesn’t disclose its backers—is to prevent the approval of all Biden Administration nominees. While the hearings were taking place, the A.A.F. publicly took credit for uncovering a note in the Harvard Law Review in which, they claimed, Jackson had ‘argued that America’s judicial system is too hard on sexual offenders.’ The group also tweeted that she had a ‘soft-on-sex-offender’ record during her eight years as a judge on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. As the Washington Post and other outlets stated, Jackson’s sentencing history on such cases was well within the judicial mainstream, and in line with a half-dozen judges appointed by the Trump Administration. When Jackson defended herself on this point during the hearings, the A.A.F. said, on Twitter, that she was ‘lying.’ The group’s allegation—reminiscent of the QAnon conspiracy, which claims that liberal élites are abusing and trafficking children—rippled through conservative circles. Tucker Carlson repeated the accusation on his Fox News program while a chyron declared ‘JACKSON LENIENT IN CHILD SEX CASES.’ Marjorie Taylor Greene, the extremist representative from Georgia, called Jackson ‘pro-pedophile.’ Mudslinging is hardly new to American politics. In 1800, a campaign surrogate for Thomas Jefferson called Jefferson’s opponent, John Adams, ‘hermaphroditical’; Adams’s supporters predicted that if Jefferson were elected President he would unleash a reign of ‘murder, robbery, rape, adultery and incest.’ Neither the Democratic nor Republican Party is above reproach when it comes to engaging in calumny, and since at least 1987, when President Ronald Reagan unsuccessfully nominated Robert Bork to be a Justice, the fights over Supreme Court nominees have been especially nasty. Yet the A.A.F.’s approach represents a new escalation in partisan warfare, and underscores the growing role that secret spending has played in deepening the polarization in Washington.”

Former U.S. Army Prosecutor Glenn Kirschner Says Trump and His Allies ‘Inarguably Committed’ Crimes With the January 6 Coup, Newsweek, Jason Lemon, Saturday, 16 April 2022: “Former U.S. Army prosecutor Glenn Kirschner contended on Saturday that former President Donald Trump and his allies ‘inarguably committed’ crimes in what he described as their effort to carry out a ‘coup’ by attempting to overturn President Joe Biden‘s election win. Trump and a number of his allies have openly discussed their efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, claiming that Biden won due to widespread voter fraud. This conspiracy theory has been discredited and debunked by Republican and Democratic election officials and experts. No evidence has come to light corroborating the allegations. Kirschner, who now works as a legal analyst for MSNBC and NBC News, has previously called for the Justice Department to indict Trump in connection to his efforts to overturn the election, as well as for inciting the January 6, 2021 attack against the U.S. Capitol. Hundreds of the former president’s supporters attacked the federal legislative branch of government that day in an apparent effort to disrupt the formal certification of Biden’s win. The assault took place directly after Trump told them to walk to the Capitol and ‘fight like hell’ after months of spreading misinformation about the election results. ‘This continues to be a slow-moving but persistent coup by Donald Trump and so many of his Republican allies, his sycophants, his co-conspirators,’ Kirschner said in a video clip uploaded to Twitter on Saturday. ‘And we are still at risk of losing it all.'”

Florida rejects math books with ‘references’ to critical race theory, The Washington Post, Valerie Strauss and Lindsey Bever, Saturday, 16 April 2022: “In its latest attempt to be the nation’s leader in restricting what happens in public school classrooms, Florida said it has rejected a pile of math textbooks submitted by publishers in part because they ‘contained prohibited subjects,’ including critical race theory. The Florida Department of Education announced on Friday that Richard Corcoran, the outgoing commissioner of education, approved an initial adoption list of instructional materials for math, but 41 percent of the submitted textbooks were rejected — most of them in elementary school. Some were said not to be aligned with Florida’s content standards, called the Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking, or BEST. But others, the department said, were rejected for the subject matter. ‘Reasons for rejecting textbooks included references to Critical Race Theory (CRT), inclusions of Common Core, and the unsolicited addition of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in mathematics,’ it said in an announcement on the department’s website.” See also, Florida Rejects Math Textbooks, Citing ‘Prohibited Topics.’ Officials said they objected to the inclusion of social-emotional learning and critical race theory in the books but did not share information on the specific content. The New York Times, Dana Goldstein, Monday, 18 April 2022: “Florida has rejected 42 of 132 math textbooks proposed for use in public school classrooms because they ‘incorporate prohibited topics or unsolicited strategies’ including social-emotional learning and critical race theory, according to the state’s Department of Education. The state, which announced its decision on Friday afternoon, did not share information on the specific content to which it was objecting, and several publishers told The New York Times they had not yet received documents detailing the state’s critiques. But Florida has a new law, which goes into effect in July, limiting the way that sexual orientation, gender identity and social-emotional skills are taught. Gov. Ron DeSantis is also expected to sign legislation, known as the ‘Stop W.O.K.E. Act,’ prohibiting instruction that could prompt students to feel discomfort about a historical event because of their race, sex or national origin.” See also, Florida rejects 41% of new math textbooks, citing critical race theory among its reasons, CNN, Tina Burnside and Zoe Sottile, Monday, 18 April 2022: “The Florida Department of Education announced Friday that the state has rejected more than 50 math textbooks from next school year’s curriculum, citing references to critical race theory among reasons for the rejections. In a news release, the department stated that 54 out of 132 of the textbook submissions would not be added to the state’s adopted list because they did not adhere to Florida’s new standards or contained prohibited topics. The release said the list of rejected books makes up approximately 41% of submissions, which is the most in Florida’s history. Reasons for rejecting textbooks included references to critical race theory, ‘inclusions of Common Core, and the unsolicited addition of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in mathematics,’ the release states.”


Sunday, 17 April 2022:


No sign of surrender in Mariupol after Russian ultimatum, The Washington Post, Bryan Pietsch, Annabelle Timsit, Jennifer Hassan, Julian Duplain, Hannah Knowles, Paulina Villegas, Paulina Firozi, and Reis Thebault, Sunday, 17 April 2022: “The last Ukrainian fighters in Mariupol showed no signs of surrender Sunday, and Russian officials warned that the holdouts ‘will all be eliminated’ as Moscow’s forces seek to complete their takeover of the strategically important southeastern port city. Russia targeted Mariupol early in its invasion and has besieged it for weeks. A Washington-based think tank reported that Kremlin troops probably captured the city’s port area Saturday, reducing the resistance there to a steel plant and isolated pockets around Mariupol. The think tank, the Institute for the Study of War, projected Russian forces could capture the city in the coming weeks, but it said the final assaults probably would ‘cost them dearly.’ In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, five people were killed and at least 13 wounded in the latest attack in eastern Ukraine, where Russia is expected to intensify its offensive in the days ahead. In Kyiv, the mayor is urging residents against returning despite the withdrawal of the invading forces, and a Russian missile attack struck a town in the capital region early Sunday, officials said.

  • Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Sunday that his country is running a $5 billion-a-month deficit and needs financial assistance. He is expected to visit Washington this week.
  • Russian forces are issuing passes for movement around the areas they control in Mariupol. Starting in the coming days, they will be required for anyone leaving their homes, said Petro Andrushchenko, an adviser to Mariupol’s mayor.
  • Moscow did not agree to cease-fires to allow humanitarian evacuations on Sunday, a top Ukrainian official said, hampering the dire ongoing rescue effort.
  • 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 53 of the War in Ukraine. Ukraine’s prime minister said that Ukrainian soldiers in the besieged southern port city would stay put and ‘fight until the end.’ Moscow struck military targets around Kyiv and Mykolaiv, in apparent retaliation for the sinking of a Russian warship. The New York Times, Sunday, 17 April 2022: “After weeks of shelling and bombings, the Russian siege of the critical Ukrainian port city of Mariupol has culminated in a last stand by a few thousand Ukrainian troops, holed up in a sprawling, smoldering steel plant that backs up to the sea. Russia had given the Ukrainian fighters in Mariupol until Sunday morning to lay down their weapons or be ‘eliminated.’ On Sunday, the forces at the plant ignored the deadline, and Ukrainian officials vowed that they would not surrender. In response, the Russian assault intensified, with missiles and bombs hitting the city and new attacks occurring near the plant, according to the Ukrainian military. The showdown at the Azovstal steel plant, near Mariupol’s port, has become the last line of Ukraine’s defense in preventing Russia from securing a strategically important land bridge between its stronghold in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, which Russia has been struggling to control. Capturing Mariupol would be a major victory for Russia that could strengthen its push to command Ukraine’s east, cut off an important Ukrainian port and bolster flagging morale among Russian troops. But Ukrainian officials said on Sunday that the struggle was not over for Mariupol, which for two months has tied up Russian troops and resources that are badly needed elsewhere.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 17), NPR, NPR Staff, Sunday, 17 April 2022: “As Sunday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Russia is renewing its attacks on the Kyiv region after retreating from the capital. The Russian Defense Ministry said on Sunday that it destroyed an ammunition factory near the city of Brovary, in the Kyiv region, overnight. The new wave of attacks served as a reminder of the threat still facing Kyiv. Ukrainian MP Lesia Vasylenko tweeted on Saturday that it was the second day in a row of explosions in the capital. A group of Ukrainian fighters holed up in the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol are told by Russian forces to surrender ‘in order to save their lives.’ The Russian military has been unleashing a relentless assault against the port city in southeastern Ukraine, which is key to Moscow’s invasion of the country. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the current situation in Mariupol as ‘inhuman.’ Humanitarian corridors were closed Sunday due to failed talks between the two countries. That left as many as 100,000 civilians trapped in Mariupol with no way out. At least 202 children have been killed in Ukraine as a result of the Russian invasionaccording to preliminary data from the country’s Office of the Prosecutor General. Additionally, more than 361 children have been injured, officials said. UNICEF, the United Nations agency for children, estimates that nearly two-thirds of Ukrainian children have been displaced in the conflict. On Easter Sunday, Pope Francis called for an end to war in Ukraine. ‘May there be peace for war-torn Ukraine, so sorely tried by the violence and destruction of this cruel and senseless war into which it was dragged,’ he told a crowd of worshippers in St. Peter’s Square.”

Mar-a-Lago Machine: Trump as a Modern-Day Party Boss. Hoarding cash, doling out favors, and seeking to crush rivals, the former president is dominating the Republican Party, preparing for another race and helping loyalists oust officials who thwarted his attempted subversion of the 2020 election. The New York Times, Shane Goldmacher, Sunday, 17 April 2022: “On any given night, Donald J. Trump will stroll onto the patio at Mar-a-Lago and say a few words from a translucent lectern, welcoming whatever favored candidate is paying him for the privilege of fund-raising there. ‘This is a special place,’ Mr. Trump said on one such evening in February at his private club. ‘I used to say “ground zero” but after the World Trade Center we don’t use that term anymore. This is the place where everybody wants to be.’ For 15 months, a parade of supplicants — senators, governors, congressional leaders and Republican strivers of all stripes — have made the trek to pledge their loyalty and pitch their candidacies. Some have hired Mr. Trump’s advisers, hoping to gain an edge in seeking his endorsement. Some have bought ads that ran only on Fox News in South Florida. Some bear gifts; others dish dirt. Almost everyone parrots his lie that the 2020 election was stolen. Working from a large wooden desk reminiscent of the one he used in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump has transformed Mar-a-Lago’s old bridal suite into a shadow G.O.P. headquarters, amassing more than $120 million — a war chest more than double that of the Republican National Committee itself. Federal records show that his PAC raised more online than the party on every day but two in the last six months of 2021, one of which was Christmas Eve. And while other past presidents have ceded the political stage, Mr. Trump has done the opposite, aggressively pursuing an agenda of vengeance against Republicans who have wronged him, endorsing more than 140 candidates nationwide and turning the 2022 primaries into a stress test of his continued sway. Inspiring fear, hoarding cash, doling out favors and seeking to crush rivals, Mr. Trump is behaving not merely as a power broker but as something closer to the head of a 19th-century political machine.”


Monday, 18 April 2022:


Ukraine says Russia’s eastern offensive has begun, and strikes rock the western city of Lviv where at least seven people were killed, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Kim Bellware, Loveday Morris, David L. Stern, Bryan Pietsch, María Luisa Paúl, Jennifer Hassan, Paulina Villegas, and Lateshia Beachum, Monday, 18 April 2022: “Russia appears to have launched its long-anticipated large-scale offensive in eastern Ukraine, officials said Monday, after Moscow stepped up missile attacks, including one on the western city of Lviv that killed at least seven — the city’s first fatalities since the war began. Moscow has for weeks been amassing troops and supplies in preparation for its renewed assault on the Donbas region, which became the Kremlin’s primary focus after its forces failed to capture Kyiv during the first phase of the invasion. ‘It can now be stated that the Russian troops have begun the battle for Donbas, for which they have been preparing for a long time,’ Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said. ‘A very large part of the entire Russian army is now focused on this offensive.’ Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s national security and defense council, said Russia attacked along nearly the entire front line in Donbas and Kharkiv, breaking through in two small cities. ‘Fortunately, our military is holding on,’ Danilov said. The Pentagon did not contradict the Ukrainian assessment but took a more cautious approach, with spokesman John Kirby saying the Russians ‘are shaping and setting the conditions for future offensive operations.’

  • U.S. immigration officials detained more than 5,000 migrants from Ukraine at the nation’s land, sea and air borders in March, with a significant increase in those seeking refuge at the U.S-Mexico boundary.
  • The Pentagon says Russian forces are learning from their frustrated assault on Kyiv as they shift to Donbas, in eastern Ukraine, in an attempt to avoid a repeat of earlier mistakes.
  • Ukrainian forces in the strategic city of Mariupol continued to hold out against a Russian siege that is now largely focused on a steel plant that most of the resistance is using as a base.
  • Washington Post reporters observed evidence of lethal darts rarely seen in modern conflict used by Russian forces near Kyiv.
  • The sinking of the Russian warship Moskva is causing tension back home, where some families are reporting sailors dead or missing despite a defense ministry claim that the whole crew had been evacuated.
  • 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 54 of the War in Ukraine. Ukraine says Russia has started its assault in the east, after raining missiles nationwide. The New York Times, Monday, 18 April 2022: “Ukraine said Monday that Russian forces had launched a ground assault along a nearly 300-mile front in the east after hitting the country with one of the most intense missile barrages in weeks, including the first lethal strike on Lviv, the western city that has been a refuge for tens of thousands of fleeing civilians. The missile strikes, which killed at least seven people in Lviv alone, punctured any illusions that the picturesque city of cobbled streets and graceful squares near Poland’s border was still a sanctuary from the horrors Russia has inflicted elsewhere in Ukraine over the past two months.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 18), NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 18 April 2022: “As Monday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Missile strikes were reported in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, which has been a relative haven since the start of the war on Feb. 24. Ukrainian officials said seven people died and 11 people were injured after at least four missiles hit the city shortly after sunrise. Russia has moved additional forces into Ukraine over the past several days, building up to an expected offensive in the eastaccording to the Pentagon. Heavy fighting continues in several cities including Kharkiv in the northeast, Izium in the east and Mariupol in the southeast. Russian forces have reportedly taken control of the town of Kreminna in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region, according to a regional military official. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy formally submitted a completed questionnaire as a first step toward European Union membership. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen visited Kyiv on April 8 and offered to fast-track Ukraine’s bid to become a member. Moscow’s mayor estimated that some 200,000 people could lose jobs as a result of foreign companies exiting Russia or suspending operations there. He said authorities have approved an aid package worth 3.4 billion rubles, or roughly $41 million, to support workers at risk of a layoff with training, temporary employment and other measures. More people crossed from Poland into Ukraine than fled across the border over the weekend — for the first time since the war began. That’s according to the Polish border service, which reported 22,000 people crossed into Ukraine on Saturday and 19,200 left. The mayor of the capital Kyiv and other Ukrainian officials have warned that it’s not yet safe to return.”

Trump Allies Continue Legal Drive to Erase His Loss, Stoking Election Doubts. Fifteen months after they tried and failed to overturn the 2020 election, the same group of lawyers and associates is continuing efforts to ‘decertify’ the vote, feeding a false narrative. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Alexandra Berzon, and Michael S. Schmidt, Monday, 18 April 2022: “A group of President Donald J. Trump’s allies and associates spent months trying to overturn the 2020 election based on his lie that he was the true winner. Now, some of the same confidants who tried and failed to invalidate the results based on a set of bogus legal theories are pushing an even wilder sequel: that by ‘decertifying’ the 2020 vote in key states, the outcome can still be reversed. In statehouses and courtrooms across the country, as well as on right-wing news outlets, allies of Mr. Trump — including the lawyer John Eastman — are pressing for states to pass resolutions rescinding Electoral College votes for President Biden and to bring lawsuits that seek to prove baseless claims of large-scale voter fraud. Some of those allies are casting their work as a precursor to reinstating the former president. The efforts have failed to change any statewide outcomes or uncover mass election fraud. Legal experts dismiss them as preposterous, noting that there is no plausible scenario under the Constitution for returning Mr. Trump to office. But just as Mr. Eastman’s original plan to use Congress’s final count of electoral votes on Jan. 6, 2021, to overturn the election was seen as far-fetched in the run-up to the deadly Capitol riot, the continued efforts are fueling a false narrative that has resonated with Mr. Trump’s supporters and stoked their grievances. They are keeping alive the same combustible stew of conspiracy theory and misinformation that threatens to undermine faith in democracy by nurturing the lie that the election was corrupt. The efforts have fed a cottage industry of podcasts and television appearances centered around not only false claims of widespread election fraud in 2020, but the notion that the results can still be altered after the fact — and Mr. Trump returned to power, an idea that he continues to push privately as he looks toward a probable re-election run in 2024.”

Attorney John Eastman is shielding 37,000 pages of Trump-related email from January 6 committee. The dispute over the documents is heading to District Court Judge David Carter for a case-by-case review. Politico, Kyle Cheney, Monday, 18 April 2022: “Attorney John Eastman revealed Monday that he has asserted attorney-client privilege on 37,000 pages of emails related to his work for then-President Donald Trump in the effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The Jan. 6 select committee has objected to ‘every claim’ over those pages, which now sends the gargantuan dispute to U.S. District Court Judge David Carter for a case-by-case review. Eastman revealed the scope of the dispute in a status report to Carter, concluding a three-month review that Carter demanded he undertake. Since January, Eastman has been reviewing 1,000 to 1,500 pages per day. Carter has already ruled that he believes Eastman and Trump ‘more likely than not’ engaged in a criminal conspiracy to obstruct Congress, an effort he called ‘a coup in search of a legal theory.’ He has described the select committee’s work as urgent, but he must now determine how to parse these 37,000 pages in time for the committee to employ them in its ongoing investigation of Trump’s effort to subvert the transfer of power.”

Text message trove shows Oath Keepers discussing security details for Trump associates. Roger Stone and Michael Flynn were among them. Politico, Kyle Cheney, Monday, 18 April 2022: “Top members of the Oath Keepers now facing seditious conspiracy charges chatted for days about providing security for some of the highest-profile figures associated with Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the election, according to a newly released trove of text messages. Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and top allies like Florida Oath Keeper Kelly Meggs discussed plans to provide security for figures like Roger Stone, Alex Jones, Ali Alexander and Michael Flynn on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, describing potential partnerships with other groups and security details.” See also, Texts reveal Oath Keepers and Proud Boys were in touch before US Capitol attack. The messages could strengthen a theory being explored by the House committee that January 6 included a coordinated assault. The Guardian, Hugo Lowell, published on Tuesday, 19 April 2022: “Top leaders in the Oath Keepers militia group indicted on seditious conspiracy charges over the Capitol attack had contacts with the Proud Boys and a figure in the Stop the Steal movement and may also have been in touch with the Republican congressman Ronny Jackson, newly released text messages show. The texts – which indicate the apparent ease with which Oath Keepers messaged Proud Boys – could strengthen a theory being explored by the House January 6 committee and the US justice department: that the Capitol attack included a coordinated assault. Oath Keepers text messages released in a court filing on Monday night showed members of the group were in direct communication with the Proud Boys leader Enqrique Tarrio in the days before the Capitol attack. In an exchange on 4 January 2021, the Oath Keepers Florida chapter leader, Kelly Meggs, indicates an attempt to call Tarrio after learning of his arrest.”

InfoWars files for bankruptcy in the face of lawsuits over Sandy Hook shooting denial, NPR, Joe Hernandez, Monday, 18 April 2022: “The media outlet InfoWars filed for bankruptcy in Texas on Sunday in the face of mounting legal pressure over comments made by founder and host, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Jones, who’s repeatedly called the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut a hoax, has been sued several times by the victims’ family members and others for defamation and emotional distress. Twenty children and six educators were killed in the attack. His comments and similar ones made by other InfoWars employees are the primary cause of the ‘financial distress’ now facing InfoWars and its related holding companies, according to the chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of Texas. InfoWars, which described itself in court records as a ‘conspiracy-oriented website and media company,’ said it had $50,000 or less in assets and between $1 million and $10 million in liabilities.” See also, Alex Jones’s Infowars Files for Bankruptcy. The conspiracy theorist and his companies are facing lawsuits over his false claims about the Sandy Hook school shooting. The New York Times, Derrick Bryson Taylor, Monday, 18 April 2022: “Three companies affiliated with the far-right broadcaster and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, among them the media outlet Infowars, filed for Chapter 11 protection on Sunday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, according to court documents. Infowars is facing multiple defamation lawsuits from families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting, which Mr. Jones has claimed was a hoax. Two other companies connected to Mr. Jones, IWHealth and Prison Planet TV, also filed for bankruptcy protection on Sunday. Last September, Mr. Jones lost two defamation lawsuits filed in Texas by victims’ families because he failed to provide requested information to the court. Months later, in a case representing the families of eight others killed in the shooting, a Connecticut judge ruled that Mr. Jones was liable by default because he had refused to turn over documents ordered by the courts, including financial records. The rulings delivered sweeping victories to the families.”

Judge Says the Effort to Remove Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia From the Ballot Can Proceed, The New York Times, Neil Vigdor, Monday, 18 April 2022: “A federal judge cleared the way on Monday for a group of Georgia voters to move forward with legal efforts seeking to disqualify Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene from running for re-election to Congress, citing her role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. The disqualification effort is based on a constitutional provision adopted after the Civil War that barred members of the Confederacy from holding office. It mirrors several other cases involving Republican members of Congress, whose roles leading up to and during the deadly riot have drawn intense criticism. The judge, Amy Totenberg, who was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia by President Barack Obama, denied Ms. Greene’s request for a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order in the high-profile legal feud.” See also, Judge says attempt to bar Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene from Congress can proceed, The Guardian, Martin Pengelly, published on Tuesday, 19 April 2022: “An attempt to bar the far-right Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene from Congress over her support for the January 6 attack can proceed, a federal judge said. Citing ‘a whirlpool of colliding constitutional interests of public import,’ Amy Totenberg of the northern district of Georgia sent the case on to a state hearing on Friday. A coalition of liberal groups is behind the challenge, citing the 14th amendment to the US constitution, passed after the civil war. The amendment says: ‘No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath … to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.’ Supporters of Donald Trump attacked the US Capitol on 6 January 2021, seeking to stop certification of his defeat by Joe Biden. A bipartisan Senate committee connected seven deaths to the riot. About 800 people have been charged, some with seditious conspiracy.”

Infuriating climate activists, Biden expands oil drilling on public land. A judge struck down Biden’s executive order suspending U.S. drilling. ABC News, Libby Cathey, Monday, 18 April 2022: “In a move that could help temper high gasoline prices, President Joe Biden is bringing back leases for oil and gas drilling on federal land — but the reversal of a 2020 campaign promise has angered climate activists ahead of midterms that will determine Biden’s ability to get his agenda through Congress. The administration was set to start selling leases for drilling on public lands — putting 144,000 acres of lands up for lease in nine states as soon as Monday — as Biden faces massive pressure to boost oil production in the U.S. amid soaring prices partly from the war in Ukraine, what Biden calls ‘Putin’s price hike.’ The Interior Department announced the move on Friday afternoon heading into the holiday weekend. ‘For too long, the federal oil and gas leasing programs have prioritized the wants of extractive industries above local communities, the natural environment, the impact on our air and water, the needs of Tribal Nations, and, moreover, other uses of our shared public lands,’ Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a release. ‘Today, we begin to reset how and what we consider to be the highest and best use of Americans’ resources for the benefit of all current and future generations.’ The Interior Department said new changes to the sale process reflect ‘the balanced approach to energy development and management of our nation’s public lands’ and noted the land offered for auction is 80% less than the 733,000 acres nominated. It also said that lease sales will be subject to Tribal consultation and community input. But the action goes against a key promise the president made on the campaign trail not to drill on federal lands, part of a larger campaign pledge to try and reduce reliance on fossil fuels, infuriating climate activists at the start of Earth Week and National Park Week.”


Tuesday, 19 April 2022:


Russia begins ‘battle for Donbas’ and gives Mariupol holdouts new deadline to surrender, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Kim Bellware, Andrew Jeong, Adela Suliman, David L. Stern, Marisa Iati, Dan Lamothe, and Lateshia Beachum, Tuesday, 19 April 2022: “Russia declared Tuesday that the ‘next phase’ of the war in Ukraine was underway, kicking off a major assault on key areas in the east in what senior Defense Department officials said was probably a ‘prelude’ to a larger offensive. As Russia pounded the east with artillery and airstrikes, it gave Ukrainian holdouts in Mariupol a new deadline to surrender. The commander of Ukraine’s troops there told The Washington Post that his soldiers would not lay down their arms and would continue to ‘complete our military tasks as long as we receive them.’ The southern port city is key to Moscow’s strategy in eastern Ukraine, and capturing it would give Russia a coveted land corridor linking the annexed Crimean Peninsula to the Donbas region. Early Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that Moscow would seek the ‘complete liberation’ of Donetsk and Luhansk in the east. Luhansk’s regional governor said that the eastern city of Kreminna is now ‘under the control’ of Russian forces, which could allow them to advance toward Kramatorsk, capital of the Donbas region.

  • President Biden will announce another roughly $800 million in military aid for Ukraine in the coming days, said an official familiar with the decision. The new package will be about the same size as the one approved last week.
  • Ukraine has received an influx of fighter aircraft and related parts from other nations to help fuel its efforts to fight off the Russian invasion, the Pentagon said.
  • The State Department called deadly Russian airstrikes that hit the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Monday part of Moscow’s ‘campaign of terror.’
  • Reporters from The Post visited four front-line positions along Ukraine’s eastern front near the borders of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
  • 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 55 of the War in Ukraine, The New York Times, Monday, 19 April 2022: “Russia plunged into a new chapter of the Ukraine war on Tuesday, intent on capturing the eastern part of the country and crushing Ukrainian defenses without the same blunders that badly damaged Russian forces in the conflict’s initial weeks. ‘Another phase of this operation is starting now,’ Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov of Russia said, as the Russian Defense Ministry announced that its missile and artillery forces had struck hundreds of Ukrainian military targets overnight. The strikes mainly hit the eastern region known as Donbas, Ukraine’s industrial heartland, where pro-Moscow separatists have battled Ukrainian forces since Russia seized Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014. The Donbas has now become the stated territorial objective of Russia’s redeployed invasion force along a front that stretches roughly 300 miles, from an area near the northern city of Kharkiv to the besieged southern port of Mariupol, where die-hard Ukrainian defenders ensconced in a sprawling steel plant have repeatedly defied Russian demands to surrender.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 19), NPR, NPR Staff, Tuesday, 19 April 2022: “As Monday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Ukrainian and Russian leaders said a new phase of Russian operations in Ukraine has begun. Ukrainian officials dubbed it the battle for the Donbas, referring to the eastern area that Moscow had previously pressed Kyiv to cede to Russian-aligned separatists. The Kremlin has recognized two separatist republics in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions that make up the Donbas. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said a ‘substantial part’ of the Russian army is now involved in the military operation. Luhansk’s regional governor said Russian forces captured the town of Kreminna. Rockets and artillery shells fell on multiple Ukrainian cities, with Ukrainian media reporting explosions and air raid sirens across hundreds of miles. Ukrainian troops were expected soon to receive more heavy weaponry from the U.S. and NATO in the form of artillery, helicopters, drones and armored vehicles. The Pentagon said Russia’s ‘limited offensive operations’ so far in the east are a ‘prelude’ to larger operations. The Russian military continued to add battalion tactical groups, something the U.S. sees as Russia’s attempt to avoid repeating its mistakes from the start of the invasion, including lack of food, fuel and other supplies. A senior U.S. defense official said Russia is now focusing on a more limited region, and has spent significant time building up substantial supplies. The next phase of peace talks remains uncertain. Ukraine’s lead negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak said it was hard to predict when talks might resume because of the continued siege of Mariupol and the new offensive. Russia has accused Ukraine of undermining the talks with changing demands.”

Fearing a Trump Repeat, the House Committee Investigating the January 6 Violent Attack on the Capitol by Trump’s Supporters Considers Changes to the Insurrection Act. The 1807 law allows a president to deploy U.S. troops inside the country to put down a rebellion. Lawmakers fear it could be abused by a future president trying to stoke one. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Tuesday, 19 April 2022: “In the days before the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, some of President Donald J. Trump’s most extreme allies and members of right-wing militia groups urged him to use his power as commander in chief to unleash the military to help keep him in office. Now, as the House committee investigating last year’s riot uncovers new evidence about the lengths to which Mr. Trump was willing to go to cling to power, some lawmakers on the panel have quietly begun discussions about rewriting the Insurrection Act, the 1807 law that gives presidents wide authority to deploy the military within the United States to respond to a rebellion. The discussions are preliminary, and debate over the act has been fraught in the aftermath of Mr. Trump’s presidency. Proponents envision a doomsday scenario in which a rogue future president might try to use the military to stoke — rather than put down — an insurrection, or to abuse protesters. But skeptics worry about depriving a president of the power to quickly deploy armed troops in the event of an uprising, as presidents did during the Civil War and the civil rights era. While Mr. Trump never invoked the law, he threatened to do so in 2020 to have the military crack down on crowds protesting the police killing of George Floyd. Stephen Miller, one of his top advisers, also proposed putting it into effect to turn back migrants at the southwestern border, an idea that was rejected by the defense secretary at the time, Mark T. Esper. And as Mr. Trump grasped for ways to overturn his defeat in the 2020 presidential election, some hard-right advisers encouraged him to declare martial law and deploy U.S. troops to seize voting machines. In the run-up to the Jan. 6 attack, members of right-wing militia groups also encouraged Mr. Trump to invoke the law, believing that he was on the brink of giving them approval to descend on Washington with weapons to fight on his behalf.”

The Biden Administration Is Restoring Parts of a Bedrock Environmental Law, Once Again Requiring That Climate Impacts Be Considered and Local Communities Have Input Before Federal Agencies Approve Highways, Pipelines, and Other Major Projects, The New York Times, Lisa Friedman, Tuesday, 19 April 2022: “The administration has resurrected requirements of the 50-year-old National Environmental Policy Act that had been removed by President Donald J. Trump, who complained that they slowed down the development of mines, road expansions and similar projects. The final rule announced Tuesday would require federal agencies to conduct an analysis of the greenhouse gases that could be emitted over the lifetime of a proposed project, as well as how climate change might affect new highways, bridges and other infrastructure, according to the White House Council on Environmental Quality. The rule, which takes effect in 30 days, would also ensure agencies give communities directly affected by projects a greater role in the approval process. Brenda Mallory, chairwoman of the council, described the regulation as restoring ‘basic community safeguards’ that the Trump administration had eliminated.” See also, Reversing Trump, Biden restores climate safeguards in key environmental law. A final rule announced Tuesday by the White House will require agencies to assess the climate impact of roads, pipelines, and other infrastructure. The Washington Post, Dino Grandoni and Anna Phillips, Tuesday, 19 April 2022: The White House on Tuesday announced it has restored key protections to a landmark environmental law governing the construction of pipelines, highways and other projects that President Donald Trump had swept away as part of an effort to cut red tape. The new rule will require federal agencies to scrutinize the climate impacts of major infrastructure projects under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), a 1970 law that required the government to assess the environmental consequences of federal actions, such as approving the construction of oil and gas pipelines. In 2020, Trump introduced major changes to the law’s implementation, saying the government would exempt many projects from review and speed up the approval process. His administration also said federal agencies would not consider ‘indirect’ climate impacts. Trump and allies in the business community said the move would reinvigorate infrastructure projects across the nation. Under the rule finalized by the Biden White House this week, regulators will now have to account for how government actions may increase greenhouse gas emissions and fragment wildlife habitat, and whether they will impose new burdens on communities, particularly poor and minority neighborhoods, that have already faced disproportionate amounts of pollution.”

Trump announces rally with Nebraska gubernatorial candidate accused of groping Republican state senator and other women, CNBC, Kevin Breuninger, Tuesday, 19 April 2022: “Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced a rally in Nebraska featuring Republican gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster, whose campaign was shaken less than a week earlier after multiple women accused him of groping or inappropriate touching. Herbster has denied the allegations. Aside from Trump, Herbster is the only person so far slated to speak at the rally in Greenwood, Nebraska, on April 29, less than two weeks before the primary election on May 10. Herbster, a 67-year-old agricultural business executive, is described as a ‘special guest speaker’ on the announcement sent by Trump’s political action committee, Save America, on Tuesday morning. That announcement came five days after a bombshell report from the Nebraska Examiner, in which numerous women — including a Republican state senator — accused Herbster of groping them during events in recent years.” See also, Trump to rally with Nebraska gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster who is accused of assaulting several women, including a Republican Nebraska state senator, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang and Mariana Alfaro, Tuesday, 19 April 2022: “Former president Donald Trump will travel to Nebraska later this month to campaign with Republican gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster, who has been accused of sexually assaulting several women, including a Republican Nebraska state senator. Eight women accused Herbster of touching them inappropriately, according to a report published last week by the Nebraska Examiner. Although seven of the women spoke on the condition of anonymity, the state senator, Julie Slama, went on the record and said Herbster reached up her skirt and touched her inappropriately during an event in 2019. According to the Examiner, two of the women are still open to filing a police report against Herbster, while many of them cited fears — over Herbster’s power, possible professional repercussions, and the reactions of their family and community — as reasons they had not previously reported his behavior. On Tuesday, three more people went on the record with the Examiner to bolster the claims of sexual assault against Herbster. Two were men who said they had either witnessed Herbster groping Slama at the 2019 event or spoken to Slama about it immediately after it happened. A third person, a woman who attended a 2021 campaign event for Herbster, said the candidate grabbed her friend’s buttocks when they went to take a picture with him.”


Wednesday, 20 April 2022:


Zelensky is ready to swap prisoners for civilians trapped in Mariupol, The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, Paulina Firozi, Andrew Jeong, Adela Suliman, David L. Stern, Jennifer Hassan, Paulina Villegas, and Rachel Pannett, Wednesday, 20 April 2022: “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Wednesday he is ready to exchange Russian prisoners for civilians trapped in the port city of Mariupol, where Moscow’s forces appear close to a key victory and surround Ukrainians at a steel plant. For days now, Ukraine has rebuffed Russian deadlines to surrender in the southern battleground, as the Kremlin launches a new attack in the east and trades threats and diplomatic slights with the West. Zelensky said troops are defending wounded soldiers and about 1,000 civilians sheltered inside the Azovstal plant. Plans for humanitarian evacuations from the city fell apart Wednesday, according to Russian and Ukrainian officials, who blamed each other. New videos showed civilians dead in the streets. Russian leaders accused Kyiv of withholding ‘the only correct order’ for its outnumbered troops — ‘to stop pointless resistance and lay down arms’ — while Ukrainians called for talks to resume evacuations.

What Happened on Day 56 of the War in Ukraine, The New York Times, Wednesday, 20 April 2022: “With a pointed warning to Ukraine’s Western allies, Russia test-launched a new intercontinental missile on Wednesday, even as it unleashed a hail of bombs, artillery and missiles inside Ukraine in a drive to weaken Ukrainian defenses for a major ground offensive in the east. The intensifying barrage, aimed at more than 1,100 targets, came as the Russian military made probing attacks along a 300-mile front line winding through Ukraine’s southeastern Donbas region, which the Kremlin has said will be the focus of the next phase of its war, and continued to build up and prepare a massive force there. The new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile ‘will force all who are trying to threaten our country in the heat of frenzied, aggressive rhetoric to think twice,’ President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said in televised remarks, a clear reference to the United States and other nations that have aided Ukraine in the face of Russia’s eight-week-old invasion. It is not yet clear if the missile, which Russia’s Defense Ministry said could carry multiple nuclear warheads and outwit defenses anywhere in the world, actually possesses game-changing capabilities. The ministry also acknowledged the missile is not yet ready for active deployment, and the United States said it had not been surprised by the launch. But the test-firing and Mr. Putin’s comments fit neatly into a relentless Kremlin propaganda campaign — the only information many of his people ever see — presenting Russians not as aggressors but as victims of Western persecution, yet still powerful and unbowed.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 20), NPR, NPR Staff, Wednesday, 20 April 2022: “As Wednesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Fighting intensified in Ukraine’s east, including the Donbas region, where Russian troops have built up in recent weeks. Shelling continued on Ukraine’s second-biggest city of Kharkiv in the northeast. Russia said it had control over most of the southeastern port city of Mariupol, under siege and heavy fire for weeks. Russian forces had surrounded the vast Azovstal steel plant in the city, with Ukrainian soldiers and civilians inside. Russia’s military issued a renewed ultimatum for the soldiers to surrender. More critical weaponry is heading to Ukrainea senior U.S. defense official said. That includes 18 howitzers, and the U.S. is training Ukrainians outside the country on how to use the big artillery guns. The U.S. and its allies also have provided spare aircraft parts that have allowed the Ukrainians to fix and return to service more than 20 warplanes in the past three weeks, the official said. More than 5 million people have fled Ukraine in the nearly two months of the waraccording to the United Nations’ refugee agency. Overall, more than 10 million Ukrainians have been displaced by the war. The vast majority of those who have fled the country — nearly 3 million — have gone to Poland, followed by other Eastern European countries like Romania and Hungary. Russia test-launched a new intercontinental ballistic missile, which President Vladimir Putin praised as a new addition to the country’s nuclear arsenal. The Sarmat missile launched from Russia’s northwest and struck a target on Kamchatka in the far east. The Pentagon said Russia had notified the U.S. of the test and it was not deemed to be a threat to the U.S or allies. Russian and Belarusian players were banned from this year’s Wimbledon, including men’s world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev of Russia and women’s world No. 4 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus. This makes Wimbledon one of the first tennis events to suspend players from the two countries since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.”

Alex Jones Reaches Out to Justice Department About January 6 Interview. The effort by the Trump ally to get an immunity deal is the latest sign of progress in the investigation, which recently brought on a well-regarded prosecutor. The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Adam Goldman, and Katie Benner, Wednesday, 20 April 2022: “The federal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election appears to be gaining traction, with the Justice Department having brought in a well-regarded new prosecutor to help run the inquiry and a high-profile witness seeking a deal to provide information. Alex Jones, the host of the conspiracy-driven media outlet Infowars and a key player in the pro-Trump ‘Stop the Steal’ movement, is in discussions with the Justice Department about an agreement to detail his role in the rally near the White House last Jan. 6 that preceded the attack on the Capitol. Through his lawyer, Mr. Jones said he has given the government a formal letter conveying ‘his desire to speak to federal prosecutors about Jan. 6.'”

Florida Senate Passes Congressional Map Giving Republicans a Big Edge. The map, proposed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, would must likely add four Republican districts while eliminating three held by Democrats. The New York Times, Reid J. Epstein, Wednesday, 20 April 2022: “Florida Republicans are poised to adopt one of the nation’s most aggressive congressional maps, pressing forward with a proposal from Gov. Ron DeSantis that would most likely add four congressional districts for the party while eliminating three held by Democrats. The map, which the Florida Senate approved by a party-line vote of 24 to 15 on Wednesday during a special session of the Legislature, was put forward by Mr. DeSantis after he vetoed a version approved in March by state legislators that would have added two Republican seats and subtracted one from the Democrats. The new proposal would create 20 seats that favor Republicans and just eight that tilt toward Democrats, meaning that the G.O.P. would be likely to hold 71 percent of the seats. Former President Donald J. Trump carried Florida in 2020 with 51.2 percent of the vote. The Florida map would erase some of the gains Democrats have made in this year’s national redistricting process. The 2022 map had been poised to be balanced between the two major parties for the first time in generations, with a nearly equal number of House districts that are expected to lean Democratic and Republican for the first time in more than 50 years.”

Ginni Thomas also texted Mark Meadows about another friend who shared election fraud conspiracy theories, CNN Politics, Katelyn Polantz and Andrew Kaczynski, Wednesday, 20 April 2022: “A day before the 2020 presidential election, Virginia ‘Ginni’ Thomas mugged for the camera wearing a Trump baseball cap with her friend Connie Hair, chief of staff to GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, at an event supporting the then-President in pictures posted on Facebook at the time. A month later, in her now-infamous texts to Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, referred to Hair and claims about election fraud while urging Meadows to fight the election result. Around that same time, Hair’s boss, Gohmert, filed or supported two lawsuits challenging the election that eventually landed before the Supreme Court. Ginni Thomas’ years-long relationship with Hair, including social outings that Clarence Thomas attended, as well as her texting with Meadows add another dimension to an ongoing debate over whether her husband should recuse himself from cases related to the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection, especially when his wife is closely aligned to people who advocated overturning the election. To be sure, Thomas and Hair were voicing their opinions on the election. At the same time, however, Hair was a top aide to a congressman who would file or sign on to election litigation that landed before the court where Thomas sits. And Hair herself posted on Facebook about the need to fight in court over the election.”

Jamie Raskin says January 6 ‘was a coup organized by the president, The Guardian, Ankita Rao, Wednesday, 20 April 2022: “Donald Trump attempted a coup on 6 January 2021 as he tried to salvage his doomed presidency, and that will be a central focus of forthcoming public hearings of the special House panel investigating events surrounding the insurrection at the US Capitol, the congressman Jamie Raskin has said. Raskin is a prominent Democrat on the committee and also led the House efforts when Trump was impeached for a historic second time, in 2021, accused of inciting the storming of the US Capitol by his extremist supporters who were trying to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s victory. ‘This was a coup organized by the president against the vice-president and against the Congress in order to overturn the 2020 presidential election,’ Raskin said in an interview with the Guardian, Reuters news agency and the Climate One radio program. Public hearings by the bipartisan special committee investigating January 6 and related actions by Trump and his White House team and other allies, chaired by the Mississippi Democrat Bennie Thompson, are expected next month.”


Thursday, 21 April 2022:


Mass grave seen near Mariupol as Biden announces more aid for ‘critical window’ of war, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Paulina Firozi, Paulina Villegas, Ellen Francis, Bryan Pietsch, Amy Cheng, Annabelle Timsit, and Sammy Westfall, Thursday, 21 April 2022: Newly surfaced images of a sprawling mass grave near Mariupol underscored the scope of the devastation in the besieged port city, where on Thursday just a few thousand Ukrainians were holding out against a Russian bombardment, refusing repeated demands to surrender, as President Biden promised Kyiv an additional $800 million in military assistance and said the war was entering ‘a critical window.’ Ukrainian officials estimate that 20,000 civilians have died in Mariupol since the invasion began, and they said the new gravesite appears to be significantly larger than the plots discovered after Russian troops retreated from the Kyiv suburb of Bucha. Russian President Vladimir Putin called the offensive in Mariupol a success and ordered a blockade of the steel plant where Ukrainian fighters are staging their last stand. The latest round of U.S. military aid comes at a crucial time, with Ukraine continuing to battle a renewed Russian assault in the Donbas region in the east. The package, which represents a marked increase in U.S. shipments of artillery, will include nearly 150,000 rounds of ammunition and more than 120 drones, defense officials said.

  • Moscow has made ‘minor gains’ in eastern Ukraine, military analysts said, capturing parts of small but key towns.
  • Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will host a summit in Germany next week to build support for Ukraine’s defense and security needs, the Pentagon said.
  • The Biden administration rolled out plans Thursday to expedite the arrival of Ukrainian refugees.
  • For the first time in weeks, a convoy of civilians escaped Mariupol, with four buses and a dozen private cars reaching Zaporizhzhia.
  • 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 57 of the War in Ukraine, The New York Times, Thursday, 21 April 2022: “President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia claimed victory in Mariupol on Thursday despite persistent fighting there, publicly calling off an assault on the final Ukrainian stronghold in the devastated city in a stark display of the Kremlin’s desire to present a success to the Russian public. Mr. Putin ordered his defense minister, Sergei K. Shoigu, in a choreographed meeting shown on Russian television, not to storm the sprawling, fortress-like Azovstal steel mill complex where 2,000 Ukrainian fighters were said to be holed up, and instead to blockade the plant ‘so that a fly can’t get through.’ That avoids, for now, a bloody battle in the strategic port city that would add to Russia’s mounting casualty toll and tie down troops who could be deployed to the broader battle for eastern Ukraine.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 21), NPR, NPR Staff, Thursday, 21 April 2022: “As Thursday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Russia claimed victory in its bid to take the strategic Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, though some Ukrainian soldiers remain inside the city’s steel mill. Russian President Vladimir Putin told his defense minister in a televised meeting not to storm the Azovstal plant with its sprawling tunnels, directing him instead to seal grounds ‘so that not even a fly could come through.’ The Ukrainian soldiers previously rejected several Russian calls to surrender. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksyy said around 120,000 civilians remain stranded in the besieged and destroyed city. The U.S. is providing another $800 million in military aid to Ukraine, President Biden said, adding that he plans to ask Congress for more funding next week. The new package includes heavy artillery weapons, ammunition and tactical drones. According to the Pentagon, the new military aid should start reaching Ukraine by the weekend. Leaders from Spain and Denmark, in Kyiv to meet with Zelenskyy, also pledged to send more weapons to Ukraine. China maintained its stance of refusing to criticize Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Chinese leader Xi Jinping said his government supports diplomatic talks to resolve international disputes and opposes ‘wanton use of sanctions. The Biden administration announced a new program for Ukrainian refugees to come directly to the U.S. with support from a U.S.-based sponsor. U.S. officials hope the new procedure will discourage Ukrainians from attempting to enter the country from Mexico. The ‘Uniting for Ukraine’ program will allow Ukrainian refugees, with financial guarantees from a person or a group in the U.S., to stay in the country for up to two years.”

Republican Leaders Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell Privately Blasted Trump After January 6. In the days after the attack, Representative Kevin McCarthy planned to tell Mr. Trump to resign. Senator Mitch McConnell told allies impeachment was warranted. But their fury faded fast. The New York Times, Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin, Thursday, 21 April 2022: “In the days after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol building, the two top Republicans in Congress, Representative Kevin McCarthy and Senator Mitch McConnell, told associates they believed President Trump was responsible for inciting the deadly riot and vowed to drive him from politics. Mr. McCarthy went so far as to say he would push Mr. Trump to resign immediately: ‘I’ve had it with this guy,’ he told a group of Republican leaders, according to an audio recording of the conversation obtained by The New York Times. But within weeks both men backed off an all-out fight with Mr. Trump because they feared retribution from him and his political movement. Their drive to act faded fast as it became clear it would mean difficult votes that would put them at odds with most of their colleagues. ‘I didn’t get to be leader by voting with five people in the conference,’ Mr. McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, told a friend.”

Democrats ramp up investigation into impact of disinformation on elections, The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany, Thursday, 21 April 2022: “House Democrats are seeking information from officials in key battleground states about their efforts to combat ‘lies and conspiracy theories’ that could damage the integrity of federal elections as part of a broader investigation into the ‘weaponization of misinformation and disinformation’ in the electoral process. The leaders of the House Oversight and Reform and House Administration committees sent letters on Wednesday to election officials in Florida, Arizona, Texas and Ohio — all Republican-led states — requesting the information while noting their concern about new laws affecting election administration.”

2 plead guilty in ‘We Build The Wall’ fraudulent fundraiser, Associated Press, Larry Neumeister, Thursday, 21 April 2022: “The co-founder of the ‘We Build The Wall’ project aimed at raising money for a border wall pleaded guilty Thursday to charges in a case that once included former President Donald Trump’s adviser Steve Bannon. Brian Kolfage admitted to pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars while promising all donations would pay for the wall. His plea came a month before a trial in a case that began in dramatic fashion in August 2020, when Bannon was pulled from a luxury yacht off the coast of Connecticut and arrested on allegations that he and three others ripped off donors trying to fund a southern border wall. Bannon was pardoned by Trump just before he left office last year. Bannon had pleaded not guilty to charges he pocketed over $1 million, using some of the money to secretly pay Kolfage, a 39-year-old Air Force veteran who lost both legs in a mortar attack in Iraq.”


Friday, 22 April 2022:


Russian military commander says Russia seeks ‘control’ of southern Ukraine and path to Moldova, The Washington Post, Cate Cadell, Meryl Kornfield, Timothy Bella, Ellen Francis, Andrew Jeong, Amy Cheng, Adela Suliman and David L. Stern, Friday, 22 April 2022: “A Russian military commander said Friday that Moscow aims to seize ‘full control’ over eastern and southern Ukraine, providing a path to the annexed Crimean Peninsula and to a breakaway territory of Moldova. ‘Well, this only confirms what I have said many times: The Russian invasion of Ukraine was intended only as a beginning, then they want to capture other countries,’ Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday night, responding to the comments from Rustam Minnekayev, deputy commander of Russia’s Central Military District. Zelensky warned regions in eastern and southern Ukraine are ‘places where the fate of this war and the future of our state is being decided.’ Minnekayev’s remarks came at the end of another grim week in Ukraine — particularly in the eastern Donbas region, where Kremlin forces have refocused their fire in recent days. The devastated southern port city of Mariupol remained under siege, with Russia vowing to trap remaining Ukrainian forces that have been holed up in a steel plant there.

What Happened on Day 58 of the War in Ukraine, The New York Times, Friday, 22 April 2022: “Ukrainian officials acknowledged Friday that Russian forces had taken more than three dozen small towns in their initial drive this week to seize eastern Ukraine, offering the first glimpse of what promises to be a grinding brawl by the Kremlin to achieve broader territorial gains in a new phase of the two-month-old war. The fighting in the east — along increasingly fortified lines that stretch across more than 300 miles — intensified as a Russian commander signaled even wider ambitions, warning that the Kremlin’s forces aimed to take ‘full control’ of southern Ukraine all the way to Moldova, Ukraine’s southwest neighbor. While it seemed unlikely that the commander, Maj. Gen. Rustam Minnekayev, would have misspoken, his warning still drew skepticism, based on Russia’s probable difficulty in starting another broad offensive and the general’s relatively obscure role in the hierarchy. But his threat could not be ruled out. The broader war aims that he outlined at a defense industry meeting in a Russian city more than 1,000 miles away from the fighting would be far more ambitious than the downscaled goals set out by President Vladimir V. Putin in recent weeks, which have focused on gaining control of the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. Some political and military experts suggested the general’s statement could have been part of Russia’s continuing efforts to distract or confuse Ukraine and its allies. General Minnekayev’s official job involves political propaganda work and does not typically cover military strategy.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 22), NPR, NPR Staff, Friday, 22 April 2022: “As Friday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: A top Russian military commander said Russia wants to take ‘full control’ of southern Ukraine, in addition to the Donbas region in the east, to ‘secure a land corridor to Crimea.’ The statement by Maj. Gen. Rustam Minnekayev, reported by Russian state-run media, marked the most explicit expression yet of long-term aims, though it was unclear if Minnekayev was spelling out official policy. His remarks also indicated goals of accessing neighboring Moldova through a disputed, separatist region and blocking Ukraine from access to the sea. Another possible mass grave with as many as 9,000 bodies was found near Mariupol. Satellite imagery revealed the site, which may be 20 times larger than the mass grave in Bucha, according to a Telegram post by the Mariupol City Council. Maxar Technologies, a provider of satellite imagery, said in a statement that the size of the grave has gradually expanded over the past month, as Russian forces continue to transport Ukrainian bodies out of Mariupol. The United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has confirmed more than 5,000 civilian casualties — 2,345 killed and 2,919 injured. ‘Our work to date has detailed a horror story of violations perpetrated against civilians,’ said U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. This includes the ‘unlawful killing, including by summary execution, of some 50 civilians’ in Bucha, outside Kyiv. ‘We know the actual numbers are going to be much higher as the horrors inflicted in areas of intense fighting, such as Mariupol, come to light,’ Bachelet said. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres plans to visit Moscow next Tuesday, April 26. In a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, European Council President Charles Michel ‘strongly urged’ Russia to grant ‘humanitarian access and safe passage from Mariupol and other besieged cities’ ahead of Orthodox Easter this weekend. Zelenskyy said Thursday night that Russia had rejected a proposal for an Easter truce. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday that overall peace talks between his country and Ukraine have ‘stalled.’ Russian authorities lodged criminal charges against prominent opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza for spreading ‘deliberately false information’ about Russian troops operating in Ukraine. Kara-Murza is serving a 15-day prison sentence for allegedly evading police outside his home in Moscow. At the time, Kara-Murza had been giving interviews to U.S. media, criticizing Russia’s invasion. The British Embassy will reopen next week in Kyiv, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced. Spain, Italy and France have also declared intentions to reopen their embassies in Kyiv in the coming days. The U.S. has not yet decided if or when to reopen its Kyiv embassy.”

Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican Leader, Said Trump Acknowledged ‘Some Responsibility’ for January 6 Violent Attack on the Capitol by His Supporters. New audio captures what McCarthy said to Republicans shortly after the January 6 attack on the Capitol. The New York Times, Jonathan Martin, Alexander Burns, and Neil Vigdor, Friday, 22 April 2022: “Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, told G.O.P. lawmakers in the days after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol that former President Donald J. Trump acknowledged he bore ‘some responsibility’ for what happened that day, new audio revealed on Friday. The audio obtained by The New York Times is part of a series of revelations about Republican leaders’ private condemnations of Mr. Trump in the days after his supporters stormed the Capitol. Mr. McCarthy’s assertion would be the clearest indication yet that Mr. Trump may have admitted some measure of culpability for the deadly mob. The revelation comes as congressional investigators scour for evidence of Mr. Trump’s involvement in his supporters’ failed attempt to block the official certification of his loss in the 2020 election. ‘Let me be very clear to all of you, and I have been very clear to the president: He bears responsibilities for his words and actions,’ Mr. McCarthy told House Republicans on a Jan. 11 conference call. ‘No if, ands or buts.’ ‘I asked him personally today: Does he hold responsibility for what happened?’ Mr. McCarthy said. ‘Does he feel bad about what happened? He told me he does have some responsibility for what happened and he’d need to acknowledge that.’ Mr. Trump did not respond to a request for comment, but in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Friday he said Mr. McCarthy’s claim that he had accepted some responsibility for the attack was ‘false.'” See also, ‘Trump is fine’: McCarthy quietly moves to tamp down fallout after damaging audio reveals January 6 views, CNN Politics, Melanie Zanona, Manu Raju, and Lauren Fox, Friday, 22 April 2022: “House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has been maneuvering behind the scenes to contain the fallout over damning and contradictory conversations he had with other GOP lawmakers about then-President Donald Trump in the immediate aftermath of January 6. The California Republican dialed up key GOP members throughout Friday and spoke to Trump by phone Thursday night, according to multiple Republicans. And he has so far managed to calm nerves inside the House GOP Conference and prevent a public revolt from his right flank, who could jeopardize his path to the speakership if Republicans win the House — depending on the size of their potential majority that his closest advisers are trying to expand to avoid any problems. In an interview published in The Wall Street Journal on Friday night, Trump said his relationship with McCarthy remained good. ‘He made a call. I heard the call. I didn’t like the call. But almost immediately — as you know, because he came here and we took a picture right there — you know, the support was very strong,’ Trump told the Journal, referring to when McCarthy had trekked down to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, weeks after January 6 and posed for a picture with Trump in an effort to get back in his good graces. Trump continued: ‘I think it’s all a big compliment, frankly,’ referring to the Republicans who had initially criticized him after January 6 but quickly changed their tune. ‘They realized they were wrong and supported me.'”


Saturday, 23 April 2022:


Zelensky said he is expecting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to visit Sunday; strikes in Odesa kill at least 8, The Washington Post, David L. Stern, Adela Suliman, Ellen Francis, Marisa Iati, Timothy Bella, Amy Cheng, Adam Taylor, and Meryl Kornfield, Saturday, 23 April 2022: “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he is expecting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to visit Sunday in what would be the highest-level visit by an American delegation since the start of the war. Speaking at a news conference, Zelensky said he didn’t think it was a ‘big secret’ that Blinken and Austin ‘are coming to us tomorrow.’ The Pentagon declined to confirm the visit, and the White House said it had no comment. The development came after missile strikes killed at least eight people in the port city of Odesa ahead of the upcoming Orthodox Easter, Ukrainian officials said. An Odesa city leader decried the attack as ‘Easter gifts from Putin,’ and video shared on social media showed large plumes of smoke billowing from an apartment building. In Mariupol, Ukrainian authorities accused Russian forces on Saturday of striking the Azovstal steel plant, where many of the city’s remaining defenders are holed up. Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly ordered his forces Thursday not to storm the site but to seal it off.

  • Ukraine will begin Orthodox Easter under curfew after the country’s presidential office banned residents of all 24 regions from venturing outdoors overnight.
  • Serhiy Haidai, governor of the embattled Luhansk region in Ukraine’s east, said two cities had no water amid heavy shelling by Russian forces.
  • The office of Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko claimed that Russian forces ‘thwarted’ a planned civilian evacuation effort from the battered city Saturday.
  • 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 59 of the War in Ukraine, The New York Times, Saturday, 23 April 2022: “President Volodymyr Zelensky, bolstered by an influx of heavy weapons from Western nations, expressed increasing confidence on Saturday that Ukraine was prepared to defeat Russian forces in what is expected to be a long and brutal battle for control of the eastern industrial heartland. ‘We will be able to show the occupiers that the day when they will be forced to leave Ukraine is approaching,’ Mr. Zelensky said in an overnight address to the nation. The statement seemed to mark a decisive shift for Mr. Zelensky, who has spent months begging and shaming allies around the world to provide Ukraine with longer-range, heavy weapons to repel Russian forces as they assault the east in the latest offensive in the two-month-old war. At a news conference on Saturday, Mr. Zelensky said that the American secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, and the defense secretary, Lloyd J. Austin III, planned to visit Kyiv, the capital, on Sunday to discuss the ‘military assistance we need.’ They would be the highest-ranking American officials to visit since the invasion began. The Pentagon and the State Department declined to comment.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 23), NPR, NPR Staff, Saturday, 23 April 2022: “As Saturday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says two U.S. Cabinet officials will meet him in Kyiv on Sunday. State Secretary Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will be in Ukraine’s capital, according to Zelenskyy. Another global leader, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, will meet the Ukrainian president on Thursday. Six people were killed in Odesa when Russian cruise missiles struck an apartment building, according to Ukrainian officials. A 3-month-old child was among the six killed. The city’s mayor criticized Russia for the attack, noting it took place on the eve of Orthodox Easter. Satellite images show what appears to be a second mass grave site near Mariupol. The graves sit in a cemetery in the town of Vynohradne, a site that includes several parallel trenches measuring 131 feet each, according to satellite imagery provider Maxar Technologies. The photos follow the discovery of a myriad of freshly dug mass graves in the town of Manhush, just 12 miles west of Mariupol. An EU trade official told NPR that the economic impact of defending Ukraine against Russia’s aggression is a price worth paying. European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said American and European aid to Ukraine — financial, military and humanitarian — was making a difference on the ground. ‘I very much expect that this solidarity is here to stay because the Western democratic world was able to react in a coordinated and forceful way,’ he said.”

Filing Provides New Details on Trump White House Planning for January 6. Testimony disclosed by the House committee investigating the attack showed that Mark Meadows and Freedom Caucus members discussed directing marchers to the Capitol as Congress certified the election results. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Alan Feuer, Saturday, 23 April 2022: “Before the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Trump White House officials and members of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus strategized about a plan to direct thousands of angry marchers to the building, according to newly released testimony obtained by the House committee investigating the riot and former President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to overturn the election. On a planning call that included Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff; Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer; Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio; and other Freedom Caucus members, the group discussed the idea of encouraging supporters to march to the Capitol, according to one witness’s account. The idea was endorsed by Representative Scott Perry, Republican of Pennsylvania, who now leads the Freedom Caucus, according to testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to Mr. Meadows, and no one on the call spoke out against the idea.” See also, Mark Meadows Was Warned January 6 Could Turn Violent, House Panel Says. The committee investigating the attack also said in a filing that the former White House chief of staff proceeded with a plan for ‘alternate electors’ despite being told it wasn’t legally sound. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Alan Feuer, Saturday, 23 April 2022: “Mark Meadows, the final chief of staff for President Donald J. Trump, was told that plans to try to overturn the 2020 election using so-called alternate electors were not ‘legally sound’ and that the events of Jan. 6 could turn violent, but he pushed forward with a rally anyway, the House committee investigating the Capitol attack alleged in a Friday night court filing. In the 248-page filing, lawyers for the committee highlighted the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, a White House aide in Mr. Meadows’s office, who revealed new details about the events that led to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on Congress by a pro-Trump mob.”


Sunday, 24 April 2022:


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with Zelensky in Kyiv, The Washington Post, Meryl Kornfield, Bryan Pietsch, Adam Taylor, Annabelle Timsit, Julian Duplain, Paulina Firozi, and Hannah Knowles, Sunday, 24 April 2022: “U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Sunday afternoon, the highest-level visit by an American delegation since the start of the war. A Ukrainian official confirmed that the meeting had occurred, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss the meeting publicly. Zelensky said this weekend that American officials ‘should not come here with empty hands.’ Attacks continued around eastern Ukraine on Sunday as Russia’s invasion hit the two-month mark. In the south, the last Ukrainian fighters in Mariupol said they remained holed up at a steel plant with civilians, sheltering from continued bombing. Should Mariupol come under Russian control, it would be a major development in the war.

  • Efforts to shuttle civilians out of Mariupol failed again Sunday, according to Ukrainian officials, who had called for an Orthodox Easter truce to allow evacuations.
  • Ukraine’s prime minister called Blinken and Austin’s visit a significant symbol of solidarity against Russia.
  • Civilian members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have been detained in eastern Ukraine, the organization confirmed.
  • 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 60 of the War in Ukraine. The U.S. secretaries of state and defense were the highest-level American officials to go to Ukraine. A Ukrainian commander told The Times that the steel plant in Mariupol hasn’t fallen, but that he and others would give up if they could leave the factory safely. The New York Times, Sunday, 24 April 2022: “Two top American officials, in a trip shrouded in secrecy, made a wartime journey to Kyiv on Sunday, where President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine planned to urge them to provide more aid in his nation’s battle against Russian invaders, a top Ukrainian official said. The U.S. government had been at extraordinary pains to keep everything about the trip by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III under wraps until the men were safely out of Ukraine, declining even to confirm that it was taking place. But it was an open secret…. Less secret was the agenda of the meeting: Ukraine’s plea for more military aid from Western allies as it tries to fend off an attack that has crushed cities and left thousands dead. One Ukrainian lawmaker said it sent ‘a powerful signal to Russia that Ukraine will not be left alone with this war.'”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 24), NPR, NPR Staff, Sunday, 24 April 2022: “As Sunday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Ukraine’s deputy prime minister announced plans for an evacuation corridor from the besieged city of Mariupol. Iryna Vereshchuk announced the attempt to evacuate women, children and the elderly. The push to evacuate Mariupol follows the Kremlin’s claim that the military has captured the port city, but Russian forces have continued to face resistance. Sunday was Orthodox Easter, and many Ukrainians marked the day with prayers for those who are trapped in places like Mariupol. At a service in the capital city of Kyiv, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged people not to let anger at the war overwhelm them. Russian forces called in airstrikes on the besieged Azovstal steel factory in Mariupol to try to dislodge the last Ukrainian troops holding out there, Ukrainian officials said. If Mariupol were captured, it would deprive Ukraine of a vital port, free up Russian troops to fight elsewhere, and establish a land corridor to the Crimean Peninsula.”


Monday, 25 April 2022:


U.S. wants Russia ‘weakened’ and sees critical phase in the eastern part of Ukraine, The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, Reis Thebault, Missy Ryan, Paulina Firozi, Adam Taylor, Bryan Pietsch, María Luisa Paúl, Annabelle Timsit, and Julian Duplain, Monday, 25 April 2022: “American officials say they are rushing equipment to Ukraine for a potentially critical battle over the country’s east and seeking to weaken Russia long term as Moscow’s invasion enters its third month. Speaking Monday after a trip to Kyiv, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the United States wants to see Russia ‘weakened to the point where it can’t do things like invade Ukraine.’ Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who also traveled to Ukraine this weekend, expressed confidence the Kremlin has ‘failed’ in its original goal to ‘totally subjugate’ its neighbor. But Ukrainian leaders continue to report fierce fighting in the eastern Donbas region — home to pro-Russian separatists — where Moscow’s forces have spent weeks refocusing. Central and western Ukraine remain targets for bombing, they say, with rail officials reporting that five train stations came under fire Monday.

  • United Nations Secretary General António Guterres is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday before traveling to Kyiv.
  • A top Ukrainian official says the country is asking the Biden administration to provide at least $2 billion per month in emergency economic aid.
  • Biden will nominate career diplomat Bridget Brink to become ambassador to Ukraine, the White House said.
  • Blinken confirmed the United States will reopen its embassy in Ukraine, with diplomats first operating in the western city of Lviv.
  • 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 61 of the War in Ukraine, The New York Times, Monday, 25 April 2022: “The United States toughened its messaging on the Ukraine war on Monday, saying the American aim was not just to thwart the Russian invasion but also to weaken Russia so it could no longer carry out such military aggression anywhere. The aim was stated in explicit terms by the highest-ranking Biden administration delegation to visit Ukraine since the war began. It reflected an emboldened intent to counter Russia by giving more numerous and powerful arms to the Ukrainians, who have battled Russian forces with unexpected tenacity, sapped Kremlin resources and flustered President Vladimir V. Putin’s hope for a quick victory. The American delegation also announced that the United States would reopen its embassy in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv — another signal aimed at portraying Russia as headed toward defeat. The embassy, closed in the run-up to the Feb. 24 invasion, will be led by a newly appointed ambassador. The American visit itself, led over the weekend by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, was completed early Monday and amounted to a risky dare to Russia, which has been seeking to subjugate Ukraine by force for more than two months. Russia has demanded that the United States and its NATO allies quit supplying advanced arms to Ukraine’s military. Although the trip was supposed to be secret, word leaked, and Russia rained rockets on at least five Ukrainian rail stations hours after the visitors had finished talks with President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv and then traveled by rail to Poland, which can take 11 hours. It is unclear whether they were in Ukraine during any part of those attacks or whether Russia had been targeting them.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 25), NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 25 April 2022: “As Monday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: President Biden named his pick for ambassador to UkraineHe announced that Bridget Brink, a career diplomat and current ambassador to Slovakia, is the nominee for the post that has been vacant since 2019. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv this weekend, said the U.S. would send millions more dollars’ worth of aid and is beginning to send diplomats back to the country after evacuating embassy personnel to Poland in February. Russia fired missiles at five rail infrastructure targets in central and western Ukraine, according to Ukraine’s national rail service. At least five people were killed and 18 were injured in strikes at railway stations in the west-central region of Vinnytsia, according to The Associated Press. The strikes cut electricity to several rail lines and delayed passenger service on dozens of trains. The attacks came within hours of a visit by the U.S. secretary of state and defense secretary. Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. called on the Biden administration to stop shipping weapons to Ukraine. In an interview with state media, Ambassador Anatoly Antonov said he had delivered a formal diplomatic note to contest the arms deliveries. Russia has previously warned it views NATO weapons deliveries as legitimate military targets. Russia’s Defense Ministry said it would allow civilians to evacuate from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, but Ukraine said no humanitarian corridor agreement was reached. The plant is the last remaining Ukrainian-held outpost in the port city, which Russian forces have blockaded for much of the last two months. This weekend, Russia called in airstrikes on the steel factory to dislodge Ukrainian troops holding out there. Much of Europe welcomed the French election result, in which President Emmanuel Macron won a second term. His far-right opponent, Marine Le Pen, campaigned for a strategic shift for France that would have involved pulling it out of NATO’s integrated military command and backing closer NATO ties with Russia once the Ukraine war ends. Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Macron on his reelection, according to the Kremlin. Macron has worked toward diplomacy with Russia over Ukraine, including a Moscow visit in February and repeated phone calls with Putin.”

State Court Rejects Kansas Congressional Map as a Gerrymander. The Republican-drawn map intentionally split strongholds of Democratic and Black voters, a judge ruled. The State Supreme Court will review the decision. The New York Times, Monday, 25 April 2022: “A state court in Kansas on Monday threw out a newly drawn map of congressional districts as an unconstitutional gerrymander, the latest in a series of similar rulings across the country. The 29th Judicial District Court said that Republicans in the State Legislature had created ‘intentional and effective’ partisan and racial gerrymanders when they divided the state’s major Democratic strongholds among Republican-leaning House districts. Most notably, the Republican plan divided Kansas City along both racial and partisan lines and would have endangered the only one of the state’s four House seats held by a Democrat. District Judge Bill Klapper barred the Legislature from holding elections under the plan and ordered the lawmakers to draw new maps that followed his ruling ‘as expeditiously as possible.’ ‘Most Kansans would be appalled to know how the contest’ for House seats ‘has been artificially engineered to give one segment of the political apparatus an unfair and unearned advantage,’ he wrote in a stinging 235-page ruling. The ruling goes directly to the State Supreme Court for review. Four of that court’s seven justices have been appointed by Democratic governors, suggesting a reasonable prospect that it will be upheld.”

Judge holds former President Trump in civil contempt for failing to comply with document subpoenas from New York attorney general, CNN Politics, Sonia Moghe and Kara Scannell, Monday, 25 April 2022: “A New York judge is holding Donald Trump in civil contempt after the state’s attorney general’s office said he did not comply with a subpoena for documents as part of its investigation into the former President’s company. Judge Arthur Engoron said Trump failed to abide by his order to comply with the subpoena, and that his attorneys failed to show how a search of materials held by Trump was conducted. Engoron said Trump would be fined $10,000 a day until he complies. ‘Mr. Trump, I know you take your business seriously and I take mine seriously. I hereby hold you in civil contempt and fine you $10,000 per day until you purge that contempt,’ Engoron said at a hearing Monday. A written decision with a start date for fines is expected Tuesday.” See also, Judge Holds Trump in Contempt of Court Over Documents in New York A.G.’s Inquiry. Donald J. Trump was ordered to fully comply with the attorney general’s subpoena and will be fined $10,000 a day until he does, though the ruling may be short-lived. The New York Times, Jonah E. Bromwich, Ben Protess, and William K. Rashbaum, Monday, 25 April 2022: “A New York state judge on Monday held Donald J. Trump in contempt of court for failing to comply with a subpoena from the state attorney general’s office, an extraordinary rebuke of the former president that came as that office suggested it might soon file a long-threatened lawsuit against him. The judge, Arthur F. Engoron, ordered Mr. Trump to fully respond to the subpoena from the attorney general, Letitia James — who sought records from the former president about his family business — and assessed a fine of $10,000 per day until he satisfied the court’s requirements. ‘Mr. Trump: I know you take your business seriously, and I take mine seriously,’ said Justice Engoron, before he held Mr. Trump in contempt and banged his gavel. The contempt order amounted to a judicial condemnation of Mr. Trump’s signature tactic — stonewalling litigation and law enforcement investigations that he has derided as politically motivated, sometimes for years. That practice has helped him emerge from several inquiries largely unscathed, stymieing a legion of prosecutors, regulators and congressional investigators seeking to hold him to account. But Ms. James has adopted her own aggressive legal strategy that undercut his long-effective approach, and she now appears poised to take the next step.” See also, Donald Trump held in contempt of court for failing to provide business records. A judge agreed to fine the former president $10,000 for each day the failure to comply continues. The Washington Post, Shayna Jacobs, Monday, 25 April 2022: “Donald Trump was held in contempt of court on Monday for failing to turn over records being sought as part of a civil probe into his business practices — a striking public admonishment of the former president, who remains dominant in the Republican Party and has signaled he will again seek the White House in 2024. Lawyers from the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) did not seek to jail Trump, but asked New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron to penalize him financially for failing to comply with an order to produce the documents by March 31. Engoron agreed to fine Trump $10,000 for each day the failure to comply continues.”

CNN Exclusive: Mark Meadows’ 2,319 text messages reveal Trump’s inner circle communications before and after January 6, CNN Politics, Jamie Gangel, Jeremy Herb, and Elizabeth Stuart, Monday, 25 April 2022: “CNN has obtained 2,319 text messages that former President Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows sent and received between Election Day 2020 and President Joe Biden’s January 20, 2021 inauguration. The vast trove of texts offers the most revealing picture to date of how Trump’s inner circle, supporters and Republican lawmakers worked behind the scenes to try to overturn the election results and then reacted to the violence that effort unleashed at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. The logs, which Meadows selectively provided to the House committee investigating the January 6 attack, show how the former chief of staff was at the nexus of sprawling conspiracy theories baselessly claiming the election had been stolen. They also demonstrate how he played a key role in the attempts to stop Biden’s certification on January 6. The never-before-seen texts include messages from Trump’s family — daughter Ivanka Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner and son Donald Trump Jr. — as well as White House and campaign officials, Cabinet members, Republican Party leaders, January 6 rally organizers, Rudy Giuliani, My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, Sean Hannity and other Fox hosts. There are also text exchanges with more than 40 current and former Republican members of Congress, including Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Mo Brooks of Alabama and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.” See also, Republican texts cast renewed spotlight on post-2020 election efforts. The newly unearthed communications involving dozens of Republican members of Congress prompted calls for the panel investigating the Capitol attack to consider issuing subpoenas to the lawmakers. The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany and Felicia Sonmez, Monday, 25 April 2022: “Newly revealed text messages between then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and congressional Republicans including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene cast a renewed spotlight Monday on communication between the Trump White House and allies determined to overturn the results of the 2020 election or stoke chaos in its aftermath. The newly unearthed texts involving dozens of GOP members of Congress prompted calls for a panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol to reconsider issuing subpoenas or other punitive measures against lawmakers who were involved with peddling dubious legal theories that might have contributed to the deadly assault. But it was unclear whether that would happen. Such a move would mark a change of course for the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack by a pro-Trump mob, which until now has opted not to use such tactics against members of Congress. ‘I think it will prompt a fresh look by the committee and by the world at what consequences these members should face, and that includes in Congress,’ said Norm Eisen, who served as counsel for the House managers in then-President Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial. ‘That could include an effort to seek their testimony or have them appear at hearings. It could take the form of filing an ethics complaint and having hearings in that committee. Certainly censure or other forms of congressional discipline are a question. But this is not normal.’ Greene (R-Ga.) texted Meadows on Jan. 17, 2021, that some members of Congress were calling for Trump to impose martial law to remain in power, according to text messages Meadows recently provided to the committee. News of the text messages, which was reported Monday by CNN, comes days after Greene testified in a separate case that she could not recall whether she had advocated for martial law at the time.”

Federal Judge Says Migrants Must Still Be Denied Entry for Health Reasons. Under a public health rule known as Title 42, thousands of migrants have been expelled at the border. A federal judge is halting efforts to begin lifting the policy, due to end on May 23. The New York Times, Miriam Jordan and Eileen Sullivan, Monday, 25 April 2022: “A federal judge on Monday said he would block the Biden administration from exempting migrants from expulsion under a Trump-era public health order until the policy is officially lifted next month. The federal government has announced plans to lift the order, known as Title 42, on May 23 — a move that is expected to create a considerable surge of migration from Mexico. Several states have challenged the plan, saying it will create chaos on the border and lead to significant impacts on states forced to handle the newly arriving migrants. Judge Robert R. Summerhays of the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana did not yet rule on the issue of whether Title 42, adopted early in the coronavirus pandemic, should be kept in place. But he said he would in the meantime grant a request from the states of Missouri, Louisiana and Arizona to prevent the federal government from taking any early steps to disregard Title 42 for certain migrants and process them under normal immigration procedures.”


Tuesday, 26 April 2022:


U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says there is no time to waste with aid to Ukraine, The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, Reis Thebault, John Hudson, Paulina Firozi, Paulina Villegas, Amy Cheng, Annabelle Timsit, and Ellen Francis, Tuesday, 26 April 2022: “The United States’ top defense officials made an urgent case for sending more weapons to Ukraine on Tuesday, telling officials from more than 40 countries that the coming weeks of war will be ‘crucial.’ ‘Time is not on Ukraine’s side,’ Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the closed-door gathering in Germany, according to remarks shared with journalists. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin praised Germany’s promise Tuesday to supply Ukraine with ‘Cheetah’ antiaircraft systems — part of a new wave of equipment from allies — and told reporters after the meeting, ‘We don’t have any time to waste.’ Russia’s renewed assault on eastern Ukraine is underway, and peace talks have yet to produce results, even as Western officials say Moscow has clearly scaled back its ambitions. The United States has seen ‘no sign to date’ that Putin is serious about ‘meaningful negotiations,’ Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called talks with Ukraine ‘dismal’ even as he said Moscow supports a ‘negotiated solution.’

What Happened on Day 62 of the War in Ukraine, The New York Times, Tuesday, 26 April 2022: “The United States marshaled 40 allies on Tuesday to furnish Ukraine with long-term military aid in what could become a protracted battle against the Russian invasion, and Germany said it would send dozens of armored antiaircraft vehicles. It was a major policy shift for a country that had wavered over fear of provoking Russia. The announcement by Germany, Europe’s biggest economy and one of Russia’s most important Western trading partners, was among many signals on Tuesday pointing to further escalation in the war and disappointment for diplomacy. Germany’s shift on weapons also was seen as a strong affirmation of a toughened message by the Biden administration, which has said it wants to see Russia not only defeated in Ukraine but seriously weakened from the conflict that President Vladimir V. Putin began two months ago. The increasing flow of Western weapons into Ukraine — including howitzers, armed drones, tanks and ammunition — also amounted to another sign that a war Mr. Putin had expected would divide his Western adversaries had instead drawn them much closer together.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 26), NPR, NPR Staff, Tuesday, 26 April 2022: “As Tuesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres met in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to a U.N. statement, Putin ‘agreed, in principle,’ to U.N. and International Committee of the Red Cross involvement in evacuating civilians from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol. Guterres urged Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to call a cease-fire in Ukraine. Lavrov blamed Western arms shipments to Ukraine for undermining peace talks. On Monday, Lavrov warned the West not to underestimate the elevated risks of nuclear conflict over Ukraine and said he viewed NATO as ‘in essence’ being engaged in a proxy war with Russia by supplying Kyiv with weaponry. In Germany, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hosted military officials from 40 countries for talks on how to help Ukraine win the war and ‘strengthen the arsenal of Ukrainian democracy.’ Austin said Tuesday’s consultative meeting will turn into a monthly ‘contact group’ to ensure continued military support for Ukraine. Germany, which has been reluctant to provide heavy weapons, announced that it would approve the delivery of Gepard anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine. A Russian-occupied area of Moldova blames Ukrainian militants for attacks. The president of Trans-Dniester, an unrecognized, self-proclaimed independent republic that shares a border with Ukraine, says his government has traced attacks this week to Ukraine, according to Russian state media. President Vadim Krasnoselsky called on Kyiv to investigate what he called infiltration of Ukrainian militant groups. Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense described the attacks as Russian ‘false-flag’ operations to spark panic and provide a potential pretext of mobilizing Russian troops to attack Ukraine. The U.N. projects that more than 8 million people will flee UkraineThe U.N. refugee agency is calling for $1.85 billion in additional financial support for Ukrainians displaced by war, and for their host countries. The number of Ukrainians who’ve fled their country since February surpassed 5 million last week and is projected to reach 8.3 million. More than 7 million are displaced within Ukraine.”

New Details Underscore the Role of House Republicans in the January 6 Planning to Overturn the Election. A court filing and newly disclosed text messages provide additional evidence of how closely some fervent pro-Trump lawmakers worked with the White House on efforts to overturn the election. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Alan Feuer, Tuesday, 26 April 2022: “It was less than two weeks before President Donald J. Trump’s staunchest allies in Congress would have what they saw as their last chance to overturn the 2020 election, and Representative Scott Perry, Republican of Pennsylvania, was growing anxious. ‘Time continues to count down,’ he wrote in a text message to Mark Meadows, then the White House chief of staff, adding: ’11 days to 1/6 and 25 days to inauguration. We gotta get going!’ It has been clear for more than a year that ultraconservative members of Congress were deeply involved in attempts to keep Mr. Trump in power: They joined baseless lawsuits, spread the lie of widespread election fraud and were among the 147 Republicans who voted on Jan. 6, 2021, against certifying President Biden’s victory in at least one state. But in a court filing and in text messages obtained by CNN, new pieces of evidence have emerged in recent days fleshing out the degree of their involvement with the Trump White House in strategy sessions, at least one of which included discussions about encouraging Mr. Trump’s supporters to march to the Capitol on Jan. 6, despite warnings of potential violence. Some continued to push to try to keep Mr. Trump in office even after a mob of his supporters attacked the complex. ‘In our private chat with only Members, several are saying the only way to save our Republic is for Trump to call for Marshall law,’ Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia, wrote to Mr. Meadows on Jan. 17, 2021, misspelling the word ‘martial.'”

Kevin McCarthy Feared Republican Lawmakers Put ‘People in Jeopardy’ After January 6. New audio recordings reveal McCarthy worried that comments by his far-right colleagues could incite violence. He said he would try to rein in the lawmakers, but has instead defended them. The New York Times, Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin, Tuesday, 26 April 2022: “Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, feared in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack that several far-right members of Congress would incite violence against other lawmakers, identifying several by name as security risks in private conversations with party leaders. Mr. McCarthy talked to other congressional Republicans about wanting to rein in multiple hard-liners who were deeply involved in Donald J. Trump’s efforts to contest the 2020 election and undermine the peaceful transfer of power, according to an audio recording obtained by The New York Times. But Mr. McCarthy did not follow through on the sterner steps that some Republicans encouraged him to take, opting instead to seek a political accommodation with the most extreme members of the G.O.P. in the interests of advancing his own career. Mr. McCarthy’s remarks represent one of the starkest acknowledgments from a Republican leader that the party’s rank-and-file lawmakers played a role in stoking violence on Jan. 6, 2021 — and posed a threat in the days after the Capitol attack. Audio recordings of the comments were obtained in reporting for a forthcoming book, ‘This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future.’ In the phone call with other Republican leaders on Jan. 10, Mr. McCarthy referred chiefly to two representatives, Matt Gaetz of Florida and Mo Brooks of Alabama, as endangering the security of other lawmakers and the Capitol complex. But he and his allies discussed several other representatives who made comments they saw as offensive or dangerous, including Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Barry Moore of Alabama. The country was ‘too crazy,’ Mr. McCarthy said, for members to be talking and tweeting recklessly at such a volatile moment.”

Trump Warns of Killer ‘Tomatoes, Pineapples, and Bananas’ in an October 2021 Court Deposition. In new deposition transcripts, Trump defended encouraging rally attendees to beat up hypothetical protesters wielding tomatoes by claiming that projectile fruits can be lethal. The Daily Beast, Lachlan Cartwright and Andrew Kirell, Tuesday, 26 April 2022: “Well, this is bananas. According to former President Donald Trump, hurling a fruit at someone can be a lethal act—one that justifies the use of violence to thwart any use of produce as projectile. In transcripts of an October 2021 deposition, filed in court on Tuesday, the twice-impeached former president insisted tomatoes, pineapples, and bananas can be ‘very dangerous’ weapons that justify violent acts of ‘self-defense.’ (Elsewhere in the just-released deposition, The Daily Beast reported, Trump admitted he personally oversaw the pay of a Trump Organization exec whose corporate perks have come under legal scrutiny in a tax fraud case.) Trump was testifying under oath in a civil lawsuit brought by protesters alleging they were assaulted by his security guards outside his New York offices in 2015. Of particular interest to lawyers representing the protesters were Trump’s remarks during a campaign speech in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Feb. 1, 2016, in which he told attendees: ‘If you see someone getting ready to throw a tomato, just knock the crap out of them, would you?’ Asked why he made that specific request, Trump testified that his campaign had received a threat that day. ‘They were going to throw fruit,’ he claimed. ‘And you get hit with fruit, it’s—no, it’s very violent stuff. We were on alert for that.'” See also, Trump says he feared being pelted with ‘very dangerous’ fruit at rallies, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Wednesday, 27 April 2022: “Former president Donald Trump said he feared protesters would hit him with tomatoes, pineapples and other ‘very dangerous’ fruit at his campaign rallies, declaring in a sworn deposition that ‘you can be killed if that happens.’ Trump’s comments about the potentially lethal effects of projectile produce were made public Tuesday with the release of excerpts of 4½ hours of videotaped testimony in a lawsuit filed by a group of protesters who allege that Trump’s security guards assaulted them in 2015. ‘I wanted to have people be ready because we were put on alert that they were going to do fruit,’ Trump said in the October 2021 deposition, according to a transcript of the proceedings. He added that ‘tomatoes are bad’ and that ‘some fruit is a lot worse.’ ‘But it’s very dangerous. … I remember that specific event, because everybody was on alert. They were going to hit — they were going to hit hard,’ he said. News of the exchange was first reported Tuesday by the Daily Beast. Trump was being questioned about his remarks at a February 2016 campaign rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he encouraged members of the audience to ‘knock the crap’ out of any protesters who might try to pelt him with tomatoes. The incident was one of several in which Trump encouraged violence against his detractors, often framing such actions as justifiable in the name of ‘self-defense.'”


Wednesday, 27 April 2022:


Moscow cuts gas supply to some European Union states; explosions reported in Russia, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Hannah Knowles, Paulina Firozi, Paulina Villegas, Bryan Pietsch, Annabelle Timsit, Ellen Frances, Rachel Pannett, and Amy Cheng, Wednesday, 27 April 2022: “Ukraine and its Western allies denounced Russia’s decision to cut off gas supplies to two European countries on Wednesday. The move, one of Moscow’s most powerful economic weapons, came after European Union leaders rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s demand to pay for the imports in rubles, his country’s currency. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the E.U. said the shut-off amounted to ‘blackmail,’ and the White House accused the Kremlin of ‘weaponizing energy supplies.’ While the two targeted countries, Poland and Bulgaria, said they have enough gas for now, the action shows the potential perils of Europe’s dependence on Moscow for energy. Zelensky, who has urged the E.U. to cut economic ties with Russia, cast it as another example of how the relationship threatens European security. Meanwhile, unexplained explosions in Russia have raised suspicions that Ukrainian forces could be behind at least some of the attacks, which would mark a milestone in the war. Ukrainian officials have declined to comment on what might have caused the blasts or claim credit for them, but an adviser to Zelensky suggested that ‘karma’ may have been responsible. In Ukraine, widespread shelling continued in the east and Russia captured some settlements in the Donbas region, where Moscow is seeking full control.

  • President Biden is scheduled to give a speech on U.S. support for Ukraine on Thursday.
  • The president announced Wednesday that Russia had freed former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed in a prisoner swap with Moscow.
  • More than half of the 90 howitzer artillery pieces that the United States pledged to Ukraine have already arrived, the Pentagon said.
  • As Moscow massed troops along the Ukrainian border this year, a new report from Microsoft says, Russian ‘wiper’ cyberattacks on Ukrainian groups also intensified.
  • 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 63 of the War in Ukraine, The New York Times, Wednesday, 27 April 2022: “Reverberations from the Ukraine war widened on Wednesday, jolting energy markets and spilling across borders, as Russia responded to the West’s escalating arms shipments and economic penalties by halting gas supplies to two European nations and threatening further unspecified retaliation. The European Union’s top official described as ‘blackmail’ the announcement that Russia was suspending shipments of natural gas to Poland and Bulgaria. Though the immediate impact was likely to be limited, the cutoff was the Kremlin’s toughest retaliation yet against a U.S.-led alliance that President Vladimir V. Putin has accused of waging a proxy war aimed at weakening Russia. Even as news of a U.S.-Russia prisoner exchange offered a glimmer of hope for diplomatic engagement, Mr. Putin warned that he would order more ‘counterstrikes’ against any adversaries that ‘create threats of a strategic nature unacceptable to Russia.’ At the same time, a series of explosions across Ukraine’s borders stoked fears that the war, now in its third month, might spread. Blasts were reported in three Russian districts on Wednesday morning, and suspicion fell on Ukrainian forces, which are benefiting from increasingly sophisticated weapons and intelligence from the United States and its allies. Those blasts came a day after explosions shook Transnistria, a pro-Russian breakaway region of Moldova, on Ukraine’s southwestern flank. Some analysts — and Ukrainian and Moldovan officials — said it was likely that Russia, which has thousands of troops in Transnistria, had orchestrated the explosions to create a pretext to invade Ukraine from that direction. Taken together, the developments raised the risk of worse to come.”Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 27), NPR, NPR Staff, Wednesday, 27 April 2022: “As Wednesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Russia halted the supply of gas to Poland and Bulgaria, which Western leaders called ‘blackmail.’ Russian state-run energy giant Gazprom confirmed it suspended the gas shipments over the countries’ failure to pay in Russian currency. The Kremlin began requiring this of European importers in response to sanctions and in a bid to prop up the ruble. Bulgaria imports almost all its gas from Russia, and Poland roughly half; both countries said they were setting up alternative gas sources and could tap reserves. Ukraine’s Defense Ministry believes Russia plans to establish a new breakaway government in the southern city of Kherson. Local authorities say Russian forces dispersed a pro-Ukraine rally in the occupied city and appointed a Russian-backed mayor. The United Nations said its humanitarian office is mobilizing a team to coordinate an evacuation of civilians from the besieged steel plant in the occupied city of Mariupol. Russia and the U.S. exchanged prisoners, swapping U.S. Marine veteran Trevor Reed for Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko. Reed was convicted on charges of assaulting Moscow police officers in 2019, in a trial that U.S. officials described as ‘a theater of the absurd.’ Yaroshenko was convicted in 2011 for conspiring to import cocaine into the U.S. Russia said a series of blasts hit targets in Russian provinces bordering Ukraine. Russian officials also reported a fire at an ammunition depot in the region and an intercepted Ukrainian drone, adding new accusations that Ukraine is carrying attacks along its border. Ukrainian officials say the Kremlin is trying to inflame public opinion in support of its war effort. Kyiv has demolished part of its famous monument symbolizing friendship with Russia and other former Soviet republics. Workers have dismantled a bronze statue of two men jointly raising up a Soviet order of friendship, which has stood under the titanium People’s Friendship Arch in the city center since 1982. The arch itself will remain in place but will be painted in Ukraine’s national colors of blue and yellow and renamed the ‘Arch of Freedom of the Ukrainian People.'”

Democrats Lose Control of New York Election Maps, as Top Court Rejects Appeal. The Court of Appeals said Democrats violated the State Constitution and ignored the will of the voters. The judges ordered a court-appointed expert to draw replacements. The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Wednesday, 27 April 2022: “New York’s highest court ruled on Wednesday that Democratic leaders had violated the State Constitution when they took it upon themselves to draw new congressional and State Senate districts, and ordered that a court-appointed special master draft replacement lines for this year’s critical midterm elections. In a sweeping 32-page ruling, a divided New York State Court of Appeals chided Democrats for ignoring a constitutional amendment adopted by voters in 2014 to curb political influence in the redistricting process. The amendment also created a new outside commission to guide the process. The judges additionally found that the congressional districts designed by Democrats violated an explicit state ban on partisan gerrymandering, undercutting the party’s national campaign to brand itself as the champion of voting rights. Writing for the four-judge majority, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore said that Democratic lawmakers created congressional and State Senate maps in a way that was ‘procedurally unconstitutional,’ and that the congressional map in particular was ‘drawn with impermissible partisan purpose.’ The ruling, which is not subject to appeal, was expected to delay the June 28 party primaries for the congressional and State Senate districts until August, to allow time for new maps to be drawn and for candidates to collect petitions to qualify for the ballot. The verdict delivered a stinging defeat to Democrats in Albany and in Washington and cast this year’s election cycle into deep uncertainty.” See also, Court says New York congressional map is illegal and must be redrawn. The ruling deals a blow to Democrats ahead of this year’s midterm elections. The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Wednesday, 27 April 2022: “New York’s highest court struck down the state’s new congressional map as unconstitutional Wednesday, dealing a setback to Democrats ahead of this year’s midterm elections. The state’s Court of Appeals sided with Republicans, who sued over complaints that the new lines were drawn to help Democrats win more seats. The court called the map ‘substantively unconstitutional as drawn with impermissible partisan purpose.’ New York Democrats drew a new congressional map with boundaries that could have gained their party as many as three new seats, a notable advantage at a moment when Democrats are fighting to keep their slim U.S. House majority during what many in the party fear will be a difficult election cycle. The final ruling takes the mapmaking role away from the state legislature and gives it instead to a court-appointed ‘neutral expert.’ The judges in their ruling determined there is enough time before the elections to finish the job, but they noted that the primary elections for Congress probably would be moved to August. The gubernatorial and other statewide elections would remain in June. The Democrats, with control over the entire state government, drew a map that would have given their party an edge in 22 districts, compared with four where the Republicans would have had an advantage. The current New York delegation is composed of 19 Democratic seats to eight seats for Republicans. The state lost a seat after the 2020 Census reapportionment of congressional seats.”

Facing House Republicans, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) defends himself after audio reveals he blamed Trump for the violent January 6 attack on the Capitol byTrump supporters, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Mike DeBonis, Jacqueline Alemany, and Leigh Ann Caldwell, Wednesday, 27 April 2022: “House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) defended himself Wednesday in his first face-to-face encounter with House Republicans after audio recordings revealed that he had blamed then-President Donald Trump for the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, voiced alarm about fellow GOP lawmakers and pledged to urge Trump to resign. McCarthy’s line of argument — that he was merely engaging in a ‘conversation of scenarios’ about Trump — papered over the sharp concerns he had shared about the former president and several fellow House Republicans in a phone call with other GOP leaders in January 2021. But it was one that many in the House Republican conference appeared willing to accept Wednesday in their first meeting since the New York Times first reported on the audio last week. The stakes are high for McCarthy, who seeks to become speaker of the House if Republicans retake the chamber in November.”Trump Officials Awarded a $700 Million Pandemic Loan to a Trucking Company Despite Objections. A congressional report raises new questions about a pandemic relief loan to a troubled trucking company with close ties to the Trump administration. The New York Times, Alan Rappeport, Wednesday, 27 April 2022: “Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday released a report alleging that top Trump administration officials had awarded a $700 million pandemic relief loan to a struggling trucking company in 2020 over the objections of career officials at the Defense Department. The report, released by the Democratic staff of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, describes the role of corporate lobbyists during the early months of the pandemic in helping to secure government funds as trillions of dollars of relief money were being pumped into the economy. It also suggests that senior officials such as Steven Mnuchin, the former Treasury secretary, and Mark T. Esper, the former defense secretary, intervened to ensure that the trucking company, Yellow Corporation, received special treatment despite concerns about its eligibility to receive relief funds.”

The Republican blueprint to steal the 2024 election, CNN Opinion, J. Michael Luttig, Wednesday, 27 April 2022: “Editor’s Note: J. Michael Luttig, appointed by President George H. W. Bush, formerly served on the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit for 15 years. He advised Vice President Mike Pence on January 6. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own.” “Nearly a year and a half later, surprisingly few understand what January 6 was all about. Fewer still understand why former President Donald Trump and Republicans persist in their long-disproven claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Much less why they are obsessed about making the 2024 race a referendum on the ‘stolen’ election of 2020, which even they know was not stolen. January 6 was never about a stolen election or even about actual voting fraud. It was always and only about an election that Trump lost fair and square, under legislatively promulgated election rules in a handful of swing states that he and other Republicans contend were unlawfully changed by state election officials and state courts to expand the right and opportunity to vote, largely in response to the Covid pandemic. The Republicans’ mystifying claim to this day that Trump did, or would have, received more votes than Joe Biden in 2020 were it not for actual voting fraud, is but the shiny object that Republicans have tauntingly and disingenuously dangled before the American public for almost a year and a half now to distract attention from their far more ambitious objective. That objective is not somehow to rescind the 2020 election, as they would have us believe. That’s constitutionally impossible. Trump’s and the Republicans’ far more ambitious objective is to execute successfully in 2024 the very same plan they failed in executing in 2020 and to overturn the 2024 election if Trump or his anointed successor loses again in the next quadrennial contest. The last presidential election was a dry run for the next.”

Thursday, 28 April 2022:


Russian cruise missiles hit Kyiv on day of U.N. leader’s visit, The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, Reis Thebault, Paulina Firozi, Ellen Francis, Amy Cheng, Jennifer Hassan, Paulina Villegas, and Timothy Bella, Thursday, 28 April 2022: “Russian missiles struck Kyiv on Thursday, according to Ukrainian officials, who denounced a brazen attack on their capital city the same day the U.N. leader visited. Kyiv had slowly come back to life this month as beleaguered Russian troops withdrew from the region. But recent attacks reported in central and western Ukraine have underscored that the fighting will not be contained to the east, even if Moscow has focused its forces there. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the strikes on Kyiv came ‘immediately after the end’ of his talks there with U.N. Secretary General António Guterres, who also met with Russian President Vladimir Putin this week in Moscow. Zelensky said Russian leaders are trying to ‘humiliate’ the United Nations and said their actions Thursday demand ‘a strong response.’ With fierce fighting underway in the eastern Donbas region, the United States and its allies are rushing to help Ukraine arm up. President Biden is asking Congress to approve a $33 billion spending package with military and humanitarian aid for the country. On Thursday, he also proposed escalating America’s financial war with Moscow by letting U.S. authorities liquidate the assets of Russian oligarchs and donate the proceeds to Ukraine.

  • The United States will ‘strongly support’ NATO membership for Sweden and Finland if they choose to join the military alliance, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday.
  • Possible Ukrainian attacks on Russian soil are threatening Moscow’s efforts to insulate their citizens from the war.
  • U.S. officials say they believe Russian intelligence was behind an attack this month on a Nobel Prize winner and prominent Russian editor who criticized the invasion of Ukraine.
  • Putin warned other nations against interfering in the war after Russia cut gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria. The European Union said Poland and Bulgaria secured gas from other countries in the bloc.
  • 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 64 of the War in Ukraine, The New York Times, Thursday, 29 April 2022: “President Biden signaled a vast increase in America’s commitment to defeating Russia in Ukraine on Thursday as he asked Congress to authorize $33 billion for more artillery, antitank weapons and other hardware as well as economic and humanitarian aid. The request represented an extraordinary escalation in American investment in the war, more than tripling the total emergency expenditures and putting the United States on track to spend as much this year helping the Ukrainians as it did on average each year fighting its own war in Afghanistan, or more. ‘The cost of this fight is not cheap,’ Mr. Biden said at the White House. ‘But caving to aggression is going to be more costly if we allow it to happen. We either back the Ukrainian people as they defend their country or we stand by as the Russians continue their atrocities and aggression in Ukraine.’ Mr. Biden also sent Congress a plan to increase the government’s power to seize luxury yachts, aircraft, bank accounts and other assets of Russian oligarchs tied to President Vladimir V. Putin and use the proceeds to help the Ukrainians. Just hours later, Congress passed legislation allowing Mr. Biden to use a World War II-era law to supply weapons to Ukraine on loan quickly. The latest American pledge came as Moscow raised the prospect of a widening conflict with the West. Russian officials accused the United States and Poland of working together on a covert plan to establish control over western Ukraine and asserted that the West was encouraging Ukraine to launch strikes inside Russia, where gas depots and a missile factory have burned or been attacked in recent days. A Russian missile strike setting off a fiery explosion in central Kyiv shattered weeks of calm in the capital and served as a vivid reminder that the violence in Ukraine has not shifted exclusively to the eastern and southern portions of the country, where Russia is now focusing its efforts to seize and control territory. Russian forces are making ‘slow and uneven progress in that part of Ukraine but are struggling to overcome the same supply line problems that hampered their initial offensive, the Pentagon said. The strike came on the same day that President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine was meeting with António Guterres, the U.N. secretary general, just a few miles away in Kyiv, a visit that was no secret in Moscow. Mr. Guterres arrived in Ukraine, after sitting down with Mr. Putin in Moscow, in hopes of securing evacuation routes for besieged Ukrainian civilians and support for the prosecution of war crimes.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 28), NPR, NPR Staff, Thursday, 28 April 2022: “As Thursday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Two blasts rocked Kyiv while the head of the United Nations was visiting the city. Ukrainian officials said Russian missiles killed at least one person and injured several, shortly after U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres toured areas around the capital. The attack came weeks after Russian forces retreated from Kyiv and some residents began to return. Russian troops are making ‘slow, uneven and incremental’ progress in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbasaccording to the Pentagon. Some of Russia’s forces have begun pulling away from Mariupol, presumably for fighting further inland, a senior U.S. defense official said, but many troops remain in the besieged port city and airstrikes continue. The Pentagon also said over half of the 90 howitzers the U.S. promised Ukraine have reached the country. The U.S. is training Ukrainian troops to use the long-range weapons. The White House is asking Congress for $33 billion in aid to Ukraine, to last until Sept. 30 as a sustained guarantee of support. Most of the request — $20 billion — is for military and security assistance. That includes plans to send weapons to Ukraine, replenish U.S. arms stockpiles and provide cybersecurity and other support in the region. President Biden also wants a way to support Ukraine with proceeds from seizing U.S. property linked to Russian oligarchs. Lawmakers in Canada’s House of Commons unanimously voted to recognize Russia’s actions in Ukraine as genocide. The declaration is non-binding and does not require the Canadian government to take any action, but supporters hope it presses Canada’s leaders to intensify economic and other pressure on Russia.”

The Oklahoma House approved a Republican bill to outlaw abortions after six weeks of pregnancy that will take effect as soon as it is signed into law, The Washington Post, Caroline Kitchener, Thursday, 28 April 2022: “The measure would immediately cut off most abortion access in a state that has absorbed nearly half of all Texas patients who have traveled out of state for abortions since Texas enacted a similar law last fall. The bill, which makes exceptions for medical emergencies but not for rape or incest, cleared the Oklahoma Senate in March and now goes to Gov. Kevin Stitt (R), who is expected to sign it. Hours later, the Oklahoma Senate voted for a similar bill that would go one step further, banning abortions at all stages of pregnancy, with exceptions for rape and incest in addition to medical emergencies. That bill will now return to the House, where it is widely expected to pass, before heading to the governor. Coming ahead of a highly anticipated Supreme Court decision on abortion expected this summer, the Oklahoma measures show that states are not waiting for the high court to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision enshrining abortion rights before acting to ban the procedure within their own borders. Both bills are modeled after the restrictive Texas law, enacted last fall, that has evaded court intervention with a novel legal strategy that empowers private citizens to enforce the law.” See also, Oklahoma lawmakers pass 6-week abortion ban modeled after Texas law that allows civil enforcement, CNN Politics, Veronica Stracqualursi, Thursday, 28 April 2022: “Oklahoma lawmakers on Thursday gave final approval to a bill modeled after the controversial Texas abortion law, which allows private citizens to take civil action against abortion providers to enforce the law. It’s one of a number of bills passed this month by Oklahoma’s legislature to restrict abortion rights and comes amid a movement by Republican-led states to severely curtail the procedure. The ‘Oklahoma Heartbeat Act,’ Senate Bill 1503, would prohibit abortions at the time when a physician can detect early cardiac activity in an embryo or fetus, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy — before many women even know that they are pregnant. The measure provides exceptions for medical emergencies. The state Senate later Thursday also passed House Bill 4327, similar to SB 1503, allowing private citizens to bring civil lawsuits against abortion providers. House Bill 4327, however, would prohibit abortions at any point of pregnancy, with exceptions for medical emergencies or if the pregnancy was a result of rape, sexual assault or incest and reported to law enforcement. HB 4327, which was amended by the Senate and passed in a 35-10 vote, will need approval from the House before being sent to the governor.” See also, Oklahoma Legislature Passes 6-Week Abortion Ban Modeled on Texas Law. The bill, which says civilians can sue doctors who perform the procedure, would close a door to women who had come to the state for abortions because of restrictive bans elsewhere. The New York Times, Kate Zernike, Thursday, 28 April 2022: “The Oklahoma Legislature approved a bill on Thursday prohibiting abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, a ban that could sharply reduce abortion access not only for women in the state but for those who have been crossing its borders to work around increasingly strict anti-abortion laws across the South. The bill is modeled on one that took effect in Texas in September. It bans abortion after cardiac fetal activity, generally around six weeks of pregnancy, and requires enforcement by civilians, allowing them to sue any doctor who performs or induces the abortion, or anyone who ‘aids or abets’ one. The bill incentivizes lawsuits by offering rewards of at least $10,000 for those that are successful. Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, had signed a law this month that outlaws abortion entirely except to save the life of a pregnant woman ‘in a medical emergency,’ and makes the procedure a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. But while that law will not take effect until late August, the bill the Legislature sent to Mr. Stitt’s desk on Thursday would take effect immediately if signed.”

Republican Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signs series of controversial education bills into law. The measures limit discussions about race in classrooms and allow for transgender athletes to be excluded from sports, among other things. NBC News, Thursday, 28 April 2022: “Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed several controversial education bills into law Thursday that, among other things, restrict discussions about race in classrooms and allow for transgender athletes to be excluded from sports, reflecting a national push from Republicans to redefine American schools. Kemp said the bills increase transparency and give parents more say in their children’s education. Critics, however, said the new laws will weaken public schools and leave them open to the whims of politicians. Among the measures signed into law is one that assigns broad restrictions on how teachers address so-called ‘divisive concepts’ such as race and racism in the classroom, including that the U.S. is ‘fundamentally racist.'”

Republicans Concoct Fake Threat: Voter Fraud by Undocumented Immigrants. Far from the U.S.-Mexico border, Ohio’s Senate primary shows how the Republican obsession with the fiction of a stolen election has spawned a new cause for fear of illegal immigration. The New York Times, Jazmine Ulloa, Thursday, 28 April 2022: “Six years after former President Donald J. Trump paved his way to the White House on nativist and xenophobic appeals to white voters, the 2,000-mile dividing line between Mexico and the United States has once again become a fixation of the Republican Party. But the resurgence of the issue on the right has come with a new twist: Republican leaders and candidates are increasingly claiming without basis that unauthorized immigrants are gaining access to the ballot box. Voter fraud is exceptionally rare, and allegations that widespread numbers of undocumented immigrants are voting have been repeatedly discredited. Yet that fabricated message — capitalizing on a concocted threat to advance Mr. Trump’s broader lie of stolen elections — is now finding receptive audiences in more than a dozen states across the country, including several far from the U.S.-Mexico border.”

Friday, 29 April 2022:


Russian forces face strong resistance amid stark reminders of war’s toll, The Washington Post, Emily Rauhala, Dan Lamothe, Kim Bellware, Timothy Bella, Ellen Francis, Andrew Jeong, Julian Mark, and Amy Cheng, Friday, 29 April 2022: “Russian forces appear to be ‘at least several days behind where they wanted to be’ in a new assault on the eastern Donbas region, the Pentagon said Friday. The stalled offensive comes as vast quantities of military weapons and equipment from the United States and other countries arrived in Eastern Europe for transfer into Ukraine, according to a senior U.S. defense official who spoke on the condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the Pentagon. At the same time, there were stark reminders of the war’s human toll. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday that officials discovered that about 900 civilians have been killed in an area near the Kyiv regionPresident Biden also said he was mourning the death of Willy Joseph Cancel, a U.S. citizen and Marine veteran whose family said he was killed in the fighting in Ukraine this week. A fractious European Union debate about halting Russian oil imports will continue through the weekend, as softening opposition from Germany makes a deal more likely but far from guaranteed. The ban is seen as increasingly critical to undercut a tent pole of Russia’s economy as the war enters its third month.

  • Surging energy prices are posing a growing problem for European economies.
  • As Ukrainian officials wait to see whether there will be an evacuation of the Azovstal steel plant, a Mariupol official said Friday that the area remains ‘under tank fire’ from Russian troops.
  • Ukrainian journalist was killed in Thursday’s missile attack on the capital, Kyiv, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said.
  • 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 65 of the War in Ukraine, The New York Times, Friday, 29 April 2022: “Western support of Ukraine hardened Friday as the European Union was poised to approve an embargo on Russian oil, amid fresh assessments that the Russian military’s eastern offensive was faltering, hampered by logistical issues and stiff Ukrainian resistance. The oil embargo, which would be phased in over a period of some months, is expected to be approved by E.U. ambassadors next week, in a step that should avoid the time-consuming process of gathering heads of state. Word of the European oil embargo came amid a surge of activity to provide Ukraine with more weapons and support, while shoring up NATO’s defenses, as the Kremlin and Western allies seemed to gird for a drawn-out struggle that risked spilling over Ukraine’s borders. President Biden’s request Thursday for Congress to approve $33 billion to bolster Ukraine’s arsenal and economy was followed by more commitments by allies. Britain’s military said on Friday that it would deploy 8,000 soldiers to Europe, who were to join tens of thousands of troops from NATO countries in exercises meant to deter further Russian aggression. While the NATO allies’ commitments to Ukraine grew, the Russian offensive in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine showed signs of stalling amid heavy battlefield losses and was now ‘several days behind’ schedule, a senior Pentagon official said on Friday. Britain’s Defense Intelligence agency largely concurred, saying on Friday that ‘Russian territorial gains have been limited and achieved at significant cost to Russian forces.’ In a video released on Friday, an aide to the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, called the Russian losses ‘colossal.'”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 29), NPR, NPR Staff, Friday, 29 April 2022: “As Friday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Russian forces are trying to advance on three fronts in eastern Ukraine in an attempt to encircle the Ukrainian military in that region, according to the Pentagon. The U.S. believes Russian forces are trying to link up troops moving south from the town of Izyum and troops moving north from the port city of Mariupol, potentially to trap Ukrainian forces who are farther east. The U.S. also believes the Russians are still trying to set the conditions for a larger offensive yet to come in this area. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby later confirmed that Ukrainian fighters were receiving training at ‘roughly three locations outside of Ukraine,’ including Germany. The U.S. and allies continue to ramp up delivery of military equipment to Ukraine. More than a dozen flights carrying weapons from the U.S. are expected to land near Ukraine in the next 24 hours, according to the Pentagon, which said more than 20 planes from seven other countries have landed in the region in the past day. The European Union may be preparing to phase in a full embargo on Russian oil. German officials opened the door to such a move, saying it would be ‘manageable’ though damaging, with likely supply shortages and surging prices. Germany’s energy minister said that his country’s economy, Europe’s largest, has been able to cut its dependence on Russian oil to 12% from about 35% of its supply since the war in Ukraine began. Peace talks between Russia and Ukraine show no indication of progress. Reuters reports that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed pessimism about the prospect of ceasefire negotiations, citing growing public outcry over allegations of atrocities committed by Russian troops. Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov offering no updates about further talks, following a new mediation offer by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.”

Second Oath Keepers member Brian Ulrich of Georgia pleads guilty to seditious conspiracy, The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, Friday, 29 April 2022: “A second member of the extremist group Oath Keepers pleaded guilty Friday to seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol and will cooperate with federal prosecutors to avoid a possible multiyear prison term. Brian Ulrich, 44, of Guyton, Ga., was arrested in August on charges of joining a group of right-wing Oath Keepers members who planned and organized travel to Washington, stashed firearms in an Arlington hotel, then sent several individuals with tactical gear and radios into the Capitol. The leader of the group, Stewart Rhodes, was arrested in January and charged with seditious conspiracy in a superseding indictment with Ulrich and nine others accused of plotting to impede the inauguration of President Biden by force. Ulrich pleaded guilty to two of five felony counts, seditious conspiracy and obstructing an official proceeding. The certification of the 2020 election results in Congress was on the day of the attack. Each count is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.”

Trump officials muzzled Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on church covid guidance, emails confirm. The documents offer new details about how the White House delivered on the priorities of religious communities that were key to the president’s base. The Washington Post, Dan Diamond, Friday, 29 April 2022: “Trump White House officials in May 2020 removed public health advice urging churches to consider virtual religious services as the coronavirus spread, delivering a messaging change sought by the president’s supporters, according to emails from former top officials released by a House panel on Friday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent its planned public health guidance for religious communities to the White House on May 21, 2020, seeking approval to publish it. The agency had days earlier released reports saying that the virus had killed three and infected dozens at church events in Arkansas and infected 87 percent of attendees at a choir practice in Washington state, and health experts had warned that houses of worship had become hot spots for virus transmission. But Trump officials wrote that they were frustrated by ‘problematic’ advice the CDC had already posted, such as recommendations that houses of worship consider conducting virtual or drive-in religious services, according to emails released Friday by the House select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis. ‘This removes all the tele-church suggestions, though personally I will say that if I was old and vulnerable (I do feel old and vulnerable), drive through services would sound welcome,’ May Davis Mailman, a White House lawyer, wrote to colleagues on May 21, attaching her own scrubbed version of the CDC’s guidance to her email. The guidance subsequently published by the CDC did not include any recommendations about offering virtual or drive-in options for religious services, clergy visits, youth group meetings and other traditionally in-person gatherings. Mailman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Trump administration’s efforts to alter the CDC’s guidance for religious groups have been reported before, but the newly released emails offer fresh details about the White House’s efforts to deliver on a priority for conservative religious groups that were key to President Donald Trump’s base. While many religious organizations abided by public health orders to limit mass gatherings in early 2020, quickly converting to virtual services, multiple white Evangelical leaders and others fought the efforts and appealed to the White House for assistance, with some churches taking challenges to the Supreme Court.” See also, Emails show Trump White House overrode Covid guidance for churches. CDC (Centers for Disease Control) planned to suggest in 2020 that religious communities hold services online, but key passages were struck out. The Guardian, Adam Gabbatt, Friday, 29 April 2022: “Donald Trump’s administration overrode Covid-19 guidance to religious organizations, according to newly released emails, which would have encouraged churches to consider virtual religious services rather than in-person worship. In May 2020, as coronavirus cases and deaths surged, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent the White House a draft of its planned guidance to faith-based communities, seeking approval for publication. At the time coronavirus cases were increasingly being reported in churches across the US. Cases would continue to soar in places of worship in the following months. In response, the CDC planned to suggest that religious groups restrict in-person attendance at services, and instead hold them online. When that guidance arrived at the White House, however, it prompted discussions which ended up with important passages being struck out.”

The status of key investigations involving Donald Trump. Probes of the ex-president’s business and political conduct are underway in multiple places. The Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky, Friday, 29 April 2022: “Donald Trump is facing historic legal and legislative scrutiny for a former president, under investigation by U.S. lawmakers, local district attorneys, a state attorney general and the FBI. Authorities are looking into Trump and his family business for a medley of possible wrongdoing, including his actions leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol and how he valued his various assets for loan and tax purposes. Though one probe — by the district attorney in Manhattan — appears to be winding down, others remain active, threatening Trump with criminal or financial penalties, or plain old public embarrassment, as he weighs a 2024 bid to return to the White House.”

Likelihood of Trump Indictment in Manhattan Fades as Grand Jury Wraps Up. The Manhattan district attorney is continuing to investigate Donald J. Trump, but knowledgeable people say charges are unlikely to occur in the foreseeable future, if ever. The New York Times, Ben Protess, Jonah E. Bromwich, William K. Rashbaum, and Lananh Nguyen, Friday, 29 April 2022: “When some two dozen New Yorkers filed into a Manhattan courthouse this week to finish out their grand jury service, the case against a man who would have been the world’s most prominent criminal defendant was no longer before them. That man, Donald J. Trump, was facing potential criminal charges from the grand jury this year over his business practices. But in the weeks since the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, stopped presenting evidence to the jurors about Mr. Trump, new signs have emerged that the former president will not be indicted in Manhattan in the foreseeable future — if at all. At least three of the witnesses once central to the case have either not heard from the district attorney’s office in months, or have not been asked to testify, according to people with knowledge of the matter.” See also, Trump grand jury ending in New York with no charges against ex-president. Manhattan District Attorney says investigation isn’t over, but people familiar with the situation cite concerns about witnesses. The Washington Post, Shayna Jacobs, Josh Dawsey, and Jonathan O’Connell, Friday, 29 April 2022: “A six-month grand jury that was convened late last year to hear evidence against Donald Trump was set to expire this week, closing a chapter in a lengthy criminal investigation that appears to be fizzling out without charges against the former president, people familiar with matter said. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D), who took office in January, inherited a probe launched by his predecessor, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., who was convinced that there was a case against Trump for crimes related to manipulating the value of property assets to secure tax advantages or better loan rates. The grand jury was convened in November with a mandate to hear evidence against the former president. But the decision on whether to finish the presentation and ask the panel to vote on charges would ultimately fall on Bragg, who decided to pause the process, according to people with knowledge of the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss information that has not been declared publicly. A key problem, some of those people said, was Bragg’s concern over whether former Trump fixer Michael Cohen should be used as a witness. Bragg has said he will announce when the investigation is over, noting that even after the special grand jury disbanded, other grand juries hearing a broad range of criminal cases in New York would be available to take action in this one if needed. Still, the expiration of the grand jury — and the departure in February of two senior prosecutors who said Bragg was stalling the inquiry — makes any potential indictment of Trump seem unlikely, legal observers have said. By the time Mark Pomerantz and Carey Dunne quit, the grand jury had been inactive for weeks, with jurors being told to stay home, a person with knowledge of the issue previously said.”

CNN Exclusive: New Text messages reveal Fox’s Sean Hannity advising Trump White House and seeking direction, CNN PoliticsJamie Gangel, Jeremy Herb, Elizabeth Stuart, and Brian Stelter, Friday, 29 April 2022: “Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Fox’s Sean Hannity exchanged more than 80 text messages between Election Day 2020 and Joe Biden’s January 2021 inauguration, communications that show Hannity’s evolution from staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump’s election lies to being ‘fed up’ with the ‘lunatics’ hurting Trump’s cause in the days before January 6. CNN obtained Meadows’ 2,319 text messages, which he selectively provided in December to the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. While the logs show Meadows communicating with multiple Fox personalities, as well as a number of journalists from other organizations, Hannity stands out with 82 messages. The texts, including dozens of newly disclosed messages, offer a real-time window into how Hannity, a close friend of Trump, was reacting to the election and its aftermath.”


Saturday, 30 April 2022:


Civilian evacuations begin at Mariupol steel plant in Ukraine as images reveal ruins, The Washington Post, Marisa Iati, Timothy Bella, Adam Taylor, Amy Cheng, Andrew Jeong, Ellen Francis, David L. Stern, and Lateshia Beachum, Saturday, 30 April 2022: “A long-awaited effort to evacuate civilians from a Mariupol steel plant that is the last battleground for control of the strategic port city got underway Saturday, though an official cautioned it was still in the early stages. A cease-fire went into effect at 11 a.m. local time, allowing about 20 women and children to be taken to a collection point, said Svyatoslav Palamar, deputy commander of the Azov Regiment, in a video shared on Telegram. Russian state media also reported the exit. More of the hundreds of civilians believed to have taken shelter at Azovstal Iron and Steel Works are expected to be escorted out tomorrow, Mykhailo Vershynin, chief of the Donetsk regional patrol police, told The Washington Post. The civilians will then travel in a convoy to Zaporizhzhia, about 130 miles to the northwest. The hopeful sign came as new satellite images show many flattened buildings in the complex. Ukrainian leaders have been warning for weeks that up to 1,000 civilians were still at the site and growing short on food and water as bombing continued. The United Nations and the International Committee for the Red Cross did not comment on the evacuations. Hundreds of soldiers are also still believed to be holed up at the last slice of Mariupol still considered under Ukrainian control. Ukrainian troops want wounded fighters at the plant to be included in the evacuation.

  • Ukraine’s military said it regained control of four villages in the Kharkiv region on Saturday, asserting that Russian troops were ‘not succeeding’ in plans to quickly take control of vast swaths of territory in the east.
  • There were fresh missile strikes throughout the country, with Ukrainian leaders in the Black Sea port of Odessa reporting that a runway at the city’s airport had been hit and was no longer operable.
  • Cities near the front line, including Kramatorsk in Donetsk, have been largely abandoned. Officials in Kramatorsk told The Post that the population has fallen from 200,000 to 40,000, with mostly elderly people remaining.
  • 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 66 of the War in Ukraine. About 20 women and children were evacuated from Mariupol’s embattled Azovstal steel plant, a Ukrainian fighter at the plant said. Grain harvests in Ukraine, Known as Europe’s breadbasket, are paralyzed, worsening a food crisis in East Africa. The New York Times, Saturday, 30 April 2022: “Russia is calling in troops based in its far east to join the battle in Ukraine, the Ukrainian military high command said on Saturday, as Moscow seeks to reinforce its war-fighting force amid heavy losses and signs that its drive to seize eastern Ukraine has stalled. Adding to the sense that both sides appeared to be girding for a war of attrition, Ukrainians on Saturday lined up at gas stations across the country as the government struggled to deal with a fuel shortage caused by Russian attacks on oil infrastructure. ‘Queues and rising prices at gas stations are seen in many regions of our country,’ President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said Friday in his nightly address. ‘The occupiers are deliberately destroying the infrastructure for the production, supply and storage of fuel.’ He said a Russian blockade of Ukrainian seaports meant that replacement stocks could not come in by tanker. The war has also paralyzed grain harvests in Ukraine, known as Europe’s breadbasket, disrupting global food supplies and worsening a food crisis in East Africa. As Western allies have poured more heavy weapons into Ukraine, Slovakia and Poland, both NATO countries, reached an agreement that could presage the transfer of MIG-29 warplanes to Ukraine. Slovakia said that Polish F-16 jets would patrol its skies, freeing up a Slovak fleet of the Soviet-made MIGs. After a meeting between the two countries’ defense ministers on Friday, Poland said its air force would begin patrols over Slovakia as part of their joint efforts to help Ukraine.”

Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (April 30), NPR, NPR Staff, Saturday, 30 April 2022: “As Saturday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day: Hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians in Mariupol are awaiting evacuation from where they are holed up underneath a steel factory. The conditions are dire and they are running out of food and supplies. A soldier inside the factory told NPR the situation is ‘catastrophic.’ Late in the day, an evacuation convoy helped out 20 women and children. Three more bodies showing evidence of torture were found in a mass grave in Bucha, said Kyiv’s regional police chief. Over the past weeks, images of dead civilians in the streets of Bucha have surfaced. Russia has been accused of committing war crimes and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called the situation genocide. A Russian rocket destroyed an airport runway in Odesa, Ukraine’s Operational Command South said on social media. The rocket that hit Ukraine’s third largest city was launched from Crimea, according to the post. There were no injuries. Seven Ukrainian soldiers and seven civilians were released in a prisoner swap with Russia, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Saturday on social media. Russian forces have not confirmed the swap.”

How Tucker Carlson Stoked White Fear to Conquer Cable, The New York Times, Nicholas Confessore, Saturday, 30 April 2022: “Mr. Carlson has constructed what may be the most racist show in the history of cable news — and also, by some measures, the most successful. Though he frequently declares himself an enemy of prejudice — ‘We don’t judge them by group, and we don’t judge them on their race,’ Mr. Carlson explained to an interviewer a few weeks before accusing impoverished immigrants of making America dirty — his show teaches loathing and fear. Night after night, hour by hour, Mr. Carlson warns his viewers that they inhabit a civilization under siege — by violent Black Lives Matter protesters in American cities, by diseased migrants from south of the border, by refugees importing alien cultures, and by tech companies and cultural elites who will silence them, or label them racist, if they complain. When refugees from Africa, numbering in the hundreds, began crossing into Texas from Mexico during the Trump administration, he warned that the continent’s high birthrates meant the new arrivals might soon ‘overwhelm our country and change it completely and forever.’ Amid nationwide outrage over George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer, Mr. Carlson dismissed those protesting the killing as ‘criminal mobs.’ Companies like Angie’s List and Papa John’s dropped their ads. The following month, ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ became the highest-rated cable news show in history. His encyclopedia of provocations has only expanded. Since the 2020 presidential election, Mr. Carlson has become the most visible and voluble defender of those who violently stormed the U.S. Capitol to keep Donald J. Trump in office, playing down the presence of white nationalists in the crowd and claiming the attack ‘barely rates as a footnote.’ In February, as Western pundits and politicians lined up to condemn the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, for his impending invasion of Ukraine, Mr. Carlson invited his viewers to shift focus back to the true enemy at home. ‘Why do I hate Putin so much? Has Putin ever called me a racist?’ Mr. Carlson asked. ‘Has he threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him?’ He was roundly labeled an apologist and Putin cheerleader, only to press ahead with segments that parroted Russian talking points and promoted Kremlin propaganda about purported Ukrainian bioweapons labs. Alchemizing media power into political influence, Mr. Carlson stands in a nativist American tradition that runs from Father Coughlin to Patrick J. Buchanan. Now Mr. Carlson’s on-air technique — gleefully courting blowback, then fashioning himself as his aggrieved viewers’ partner in victimhood — has helped position him, as much as anyone, to inherit the populist movement that grew up around Mr. Trump. At a moment when white backlash is the jet fuel of a Republican Party striving to return to power in Washington, he has become the pre-eminent champion of Americans who feel most threatened by the rising power of Black and brown citizens. To channel their fear into ratings, Mr. Carlson has adopted the rhetorical tropes and exotic fixations of white nationalists, who have watched gleefully from the fringes of public life as he popularizes their ideas. Mr. Carlson sometimes refers to ‘legacy Americans,’ a dog-whistle term that, before he began using it on his show last fall, appeared almost exclusively in white nationalist outlets like The Daily Stormer, The New York Times found. He takes up story lines otherwise relegated to far-right or nativist websites like VDare: ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ has featured a string of segments about the gruesome murders of white farmers in South Africa, which Mr. Carlson suggested were part of a concerted campaign by that country’s Black-led government. Last April, Mr. Carlson set off yet another uproar, borrowing from a racist conspiracy theory known as ‘the great replacement’ to argue that Democrats were deliberately importing ‘more obedient voters from the third world’ to ‘replace’ the current electorate and keep themselves in power. But a Times analysis of 1,150 episodes of his show found that it was far from the first time Mr. Carlson had done so. ‘Tucker is ultimately on our side,’ Scott Greer, a former deputy editor at the Carlson-founded Daily Caller, who cut ties with the publication in 2018 after his past writings for a white nationalist site were unearthed, said on his podcast last spring. ‘He can get millions and millions of boomers to nod along with talking points that would have only been seen on VDare or American Renaissance a few years ago.'” See also, What to Know About Tucker Carlson’s Rise. A Times examination of the host’s career and singular influence at Fox News shows how his trajectory traces the transformation of US conservatism itself. The New York Times, Nicholas Confessore, Saturday, 30 April 2022: “Night after night on Fox, Tucker Carlson weaponizes his viewers’ fears and grievances to create what may be the most racist show in the history of cable news. It is also, by some measures, the most successful. With singular influence — reaching far beyond Fox and the viewers who tune in to his show — Mr. Carlson has filled the vacuum left by Donald J. Trump, championing the former president’s most ardent followers and some of their most extreme views. As fervently as he has raced to the defense of the Jan. 6 rioters, so has he sown doubt and suspicion around immigrants, Black Lives Matter protesters or Covid-19 vaccines. A New York Times examination of Mr. Carlson’s career, including interviews with dozens of friends and former colleagues, and an analysis of more than 1,100 episodes of his Fox program, shows how he has grown increasingly sympathetic to the nativist currents coursing through U.S. politics, and how intertwined his rise has been with the transformations of his network and of American conservatism. [In this article] are some key takeaways from ‘American Nationalist,’ The Times’s threepart series on Mr. Carlson.”

Charles W. Herbster, Nebraska Candidate for Governor, Is Accused of Second Groping Incident at 2019 Dinner. Herbster, who has been endorsed by Donald Trump for Nebraska governor, was accused of groping a second woman at a 2019 Republican fund-raising event. He denies both allegations. The New York Times, Reid J. Epstein, Saturday, 30 April 2022: “A second woman has publicly accused Charles W. Herbster, the Republican candidate for governor in Nebraska endorsed by former President Donald J. Trump, of groping her at a 2019 Republican fund-raising dinner. Elizabeth Todsen said Mr. Herbster grabbed her at the dinner in Omaha and said details of the incident reported earlier this month by the Nebraska Examiner were correct. ‘For years I have struggled with an experience I had with Charles W. Herbster,’ she said in a statement issued by her lawyer. ‘At a political event in 2019, Herbster sexually groped me while greeting my table.’ The allegations against Mr. Herbster, a millionaire agribusiness executive who is largely self-funding his campaign, have roiled the often polite world of Nebraska politics ahead of the state’s May 10 primary. The longtime Trump ally has adopted the former president’s playbook in responding to the allegations, forcefully denying them, suing his first public accuser, a state senator, and tying her to his political rivals.”






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!