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    UK ‘considering sending hundreds of troops to Eastern Europe’ amid Russia-Ukraine crisis

    British military officials are reportedly deciding whether to send hundreds of troops to Eastern Europe after Washington asked the UK and other Nato allies to support member countries in the face of a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine. The US is said to want reassurances from the UK that it would help reinforce Nato’s eastern flank, from the Baltic states to Romania and Bulgaria in the south, by bolstering military presence. It comes after US president Joe Biden’s administration delivered its first written response to Russia’s security demands over the crisis on the border, including a rejection of Vladimir Putin’s call for Ukraine to never be allowed to join the alliance. “Very advanced discussions” are now taking place among UK defence figures, according to The Daily Telegraph, with an announcement on new deployments expected as soon as Thursday. While CNN reported that groups of 1,000 troops could be offered to each of several eastern flank countries by the UK, US and some other Nato allies, it is thought the British military would offer no more than a few hundred of its personnel.Units from the Army, Royal Navy and RAF are said to be under consideration for dispatch, though no final decision has been made. Defence secretary Ben Wallace travelled to Nato’s headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss the crisis, and held talks with his various European counterparts, including Germany’s Christine Lambrecht.He is said to have told reporters travelling with him that a “key focus” was to encourage Berlin to support tougher sanctions on Russia – including halting the opening of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which is set to bypass Ukraine – if it were to attack. Mr Wallace said that the pipeline represented a “genuine piece of leverage” against the Kremlin, but the German government is reportedly split on the issue.The UK, which has already sent anti-tank weapons to Ukraine and offered military training to its forces, leads a Nato battlegroup in Estonia with around 850 personnel – and it has 150 based in Poland on other missions. On Tuesday, Boris Johnson told MPs that in the event Russia invades Ukraine, “we would look to contribute to any new Nato deployments to protect our allies in Europe”. Just two days earlier, though, Dominic Raab, the deputy prime minister and former foreign secretary, told Sky News it was “extremely unlikely” the government would send additional troops to the region – suggesting the government’s position is hardening. Downing Street has consistently tried to focus attention on the Ukraine crisis in recent days, in a bid to divert anger and speculation away from the prime minister amid the ongoing Partygate scandal.During prime minister’s questions (PMQs) on Wednesday, Mr Johnson suggested Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer needed to “raise his game” and focus on the situation in Europe instead of lockdown-breaching parties in Downing Street.“He talks about the most serious issue before the public today, and before the world today, it is almost as if he is ignorant to the fact that we have a crisis on the borders of Ukraine,” the prime minister said of Sir Keir after being asked if he understood “the damage his behaviour is doing to the country”. More

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    Tucker Carlson viewers calling me to say US should back Russia, Democrat says

    Tucker Carlson viewers calling me to say US should back Russia, Democrat saysNew Jersey congressman says viewers are calling to express distress that Biden is ‘not siding with Russia’ in Ukraine crisis A congressman from New Jersey has disclosed that he is receiving calls from viewers of Tucker Carlson’s primetime Fox News show, expressing distress at the Biden administration’s backing of Ukraine in the tense military stand-off with Russia.UK warns of ‘unprecedented sanctions’ against Russia as Biden says west is united on UkraineRead moreDemocratic representative Tom Malinowski said in a tweet his office was fielding calls from Carlson viewers “upset that we’re not siding with Russia in its threats to invade Ukraine”.The callers, he said, “want me to support Russia’s ‘reasonable’ positions”.News of the effect of Carlson’s broadcasts doubting support for Ukraine came as the Pentagon placed 8,500 troops on high alert ready to deploy to Europe, amid fears that a Russian invasion could be imminent.Nato allies have been struggling to project unity in opposition to the Russian president Vladimir Putin’s belligerent amassing of more than 100,000 troops on the Ukraine border.Carlson, the top-rated host on Rupert Murdoch’s rightwing news channel, has been using his nightly bully pulpit to question the merits of Washington’s backing through Nato of Ukraine in the face of Putin’s expansionist threat.On Monday night, his show screened an image of the White House with the words “War Machine” stamped over it.The host accused “neocons” in the Biden administration of “betraying our country’s interests” and said a massive lobbying campaign by Ukrainian politicians and American defense contractors was behind the strategy.Ukraine was “strategically irrelevant” to the US, Carlson said.In his analysis of the crisis Carlson made no mention of Putin or his ambition to push back Nato from eastern and central Europe, nor of Ukraine’s standing as a sovereign nation which achieved independence 30 years ago.Ukraine is a country bigger in land mass than France, with a similar population to Spain, now facing an unprovoked invasion from the neighbouring power.Carlson has used his show to express contentious views on Europe before. For a week in August, he relocated Tucker Carlson Tonight to Budapest, from where he broadcast glowing reports on the authoritarian leadership of Viktor Orbán.This week he indicated that he plans to return to Hungary soon for more broadcasts praising the government’s tough stance on immigration.Speaking to the Hill, Malinowski said: “People get their opinions by watching the news, that’s nothing new. What is new is we have at least one talkshow host with a huge captive audience that is not exposed to any counter-programming elsewhere.“I find that very concerning.”TopicsRussiaUS politicsEuropeUkraineRepublicansFox NewsUS television industrynewsReuse this content More

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    Ukraine: US puts 8,500 troops on alert to deploy to bolster Nato – video

    The US military has put up to 8,500 troops on alert to be ready to deploy to Europe, potentially at very short notice, should the Nato alliance activate a rapid response force. It’s the latest sign of US resolve in the face of a Russian military buildup near Ukraine. The Pentagon spokesman John Kirby stressed that no decision had been made on whether to deploy the troops, and that any such deployment would separate from intra-European movements of US troops to Nato’s eastern flank, to reassure nervous allies. The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, told US citizens in Ukraine that ‘now is the time to leave’

    US puts 8,500 troops on heightened alert amid fears over Ukraine
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    The Biden doctrine: Ukraine gaffe sums up mixed year of foreign policy

    The Biden doctrine: Ukraine gaffe sums up mixed year of foreign policy On Russia and Putin, the president said the quiet part loud. Re-engagement has been welcomed but the exit from Afghanistan was a disaster. Analysts see much to do to rebuild US credibilityJoe Biden marked his first anniversary in office with a gaffe over Ukraine that undid weeks of disciplined messaging and diplomatic preparation.Russian ships, tanks and troops on the move to Ukraine as peace talks stallRead moreThe president’s suggestion that a “minor incursion” by Russia might split Nato over how to respond sent the White House into frantic damage limitation mode.Officials insisted Biden had been referring to cyber attacks and paramilitary activities and not Russian troops crossing the border. That failed to entirely calm nerves in Kyiv and other European capitals, especially as Biden also raised eyebrows by predicting that Vladimir Putin would “move in” to Ukraine because “he has to do something” and would probably prevail.The analysis of Nato’s weaknesses and Putin’s intentions was no doubt widely shared but Biden had said the quiet part loud, contradicting what his own officials had been saying. Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, had just been telling Foreign Policy that one of the great successes of the Biden administration was that “the 30 allies of Nato [were] speaking with one voice in the Russia-Ukraine crisis”.Aides who have shadowed Biden through his long career as senator and vice-president are used to his prolix ways, his tendency to draw on his deep foreign policy expense to over-explain, but the stakes are immeasurably greater as a president, trying to stare down Putin as Europe stands on the threshold of war.The stumble distracted from some of the foreign policy achievements of Biden’s first year – the mending of transatlantic ties, the bolstering of US support for the embattled government in Kyiv and the development of a consistent policy towards Moscow – which combined a openness to talks with a readiness to inflict punitive measures and a refusal to be divided from Nato allies.None of those gains were a given in US foreign policy after four years of Donald Trump, a president who frequently put domestic political and business advantage ahead of strategic national interests, particularly when it came to Russia. Mending alliances, returning to multilateralism and restoring predictability to US policy after the volatile Trump era is widely regarded as Biden’s greatest success so far in foreign policy.His claim on taking office that “America is back” was backed up by a quick deal to extend the New Start treaty in Russia and thereby salvage the only major arms control agreement to survive Trump. The US rejoined the Paris climate accord and the United Nations Human Rights Council, re-engaged with major powers in nuclear talks with Iran, and convened a virtual Summit for Democracy in December.All those steps were in line with a broad strategy which Nathalie Tocci, director of the Rome-based Institute of International Affairs, describes as a Biden doctrine.“I think it’s a strategic reorientation towards competition/conflict with China and, the other side of that coin, strengthening relationships with partners in Europe and in Asia, both bilaterally and multilaterally,” Tocci said. “And relying less on the military instrument in order to pursue US foreign policy goals.”The Ukraine stumble was not the first time that strategy has been impaired by its execution. The withdrawal from Afghanistan was intended to be a decisive break with the past, extricating the US from its longest war so it could focus on its most important geopolitical challenge, the rapid rise of China.The departure turned to chaos when the Afghan army, which the US had spent $83m and 20 years trying to build, collapsed in a few days in the face of a Taliban offensive. The scenes of desperate Afghans trying to cling to departing US planes, some dying in the attempt, are an inescapable part of Biden’s legacy.Biden has argued he was boxed in by the Doha agreement the Trump administration signed with the Taliban in February 2020, under which the US was due to leave by May 2021. Biden was able to stretch that deadline by four months but maintained that staying any longer would have led to renewed attacks on US troops.Nathan Sales, an acting under secretary of state in the Trump administration, argued that the Doha deal was no longer binding on Biden, and he could have left a force to maintain US leverage.“When one side of an agreement breaches it serially and flagrantly like the Taliban did, I think the Biden administration would have been well within its rights to say: ‘We’re not bound by it either,’” said Sales, now a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.Current US officials argue that whether the US declared the Taliban had been in violation or not, there would have been renewed attacks on US troops, forcing a decision to cut and run or send large-scale reinforcements. The status quo, they say, was not sustainable.Putin, a ‘rogue male’ on the rampage, threatens to start a war no one wants | Simon Tisdall Read moreEven considering the constraints imposed by the previous administration, the withdrawal was a fiasco. US planners failed to anticipate the speed of the collapse even though a government watchdog, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, had warned in 2021 that without US contractors to service planes and helicopters, the Afghan air force would no longer be able to function, depriving troops on the ground of a key advantage.For Afghans who worked with the US and its allies, and for the country’s women and girls, the departure seemed like a betrayal, raising a serious question mark over the administration’s claims to have restored human rights to the heart of US foreign policy.Its record in that regard was already mixed.On one hand, the administration had taken a firm stand against China’s mass persecution of Muslim Uyghurs, declaring it a genocide. Furthermore, the assembly of a coalition of some 130 countries to establish a global minimum tax was, according to Matt Duss, foreign affairs adviser to Senator Bernie Sanders, “a step toward addressing global economic inequality which is one of the drivers of conflict and authoritarianism”.“It’s an important first step and a courageous one,” Duss said. He also pointed to the sanctions against surveillance companies like the Israeli NSO group, whose software was used by authoritarian regimes to target dissidents.“​​That was a very consequential move, and there has been a massive pressure campaign trying to get them to roll it back, but they’ve stood firm,” he said.However, the steps taken against the Saudi monarchy for the heavy civilian toll from its air war in Yemen and the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi felt well short of what human rights campaigners and progressive Democrats had hoped for. The Biden administration continued to sell Riyadh substantial quantities of advanced weaponry.“We’ve basically returned to the traditional US approach of supporting human rights in countries that don’t buy our weapons,” Duss said. “I very much hope that changes.”‘A lot of bad blood’Another way in which the manner of the US exit from Afghanistan undermined the administration’s wider objectives was by alienating European allies, who felt left out of a decision they were obliged to follow.“The pull-out really caused a lot of bad blood unnecessarily,” Elisabeth Braw, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said. “You can call it the root cause of unhappiness within the alliance.”The formation in September of Aukus, a partnership with the UK and Australia to help the latter acquire nuclear-powered submarines, was another sweeping move in the pivot towards Asia.Confusion over UK claim that Putin plans coup in UkraineRead moreBut the protagonists had omitted to inform France, who discovered on the same day that their contract to sell Australia diesel submarines had been cancelled. Biden was forced to acknowledge the “clumsy” way it had been handled, and the rift clouded bilateral relations for months.Putin’s threat to Ukraine has helped rally the transatlantic alliance but as Biden revealed in his own public reflections, there are still serious divisions below the surface, limiting his room for manoeuvre.The president’s freedom of action on other global issues, like making progress in climate action or finding a nuclear compromise with Iran, will be hindered still further if Republicans gain control of Congress in this year’s midterm elections. In that case, the administration’s record until now, mixed as it is, may prove to be the high point of the Biden doctrine.TopicsJoe BidenBiden administrationUS foreign policyUS national securityUS militaryUS politicsUkrainefeaturesReuse this content More

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    Biden warns Russia will ‘pay a heavy price’ if Putin launches Ukraine invasion – live

    Key events

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    3.59pm EST

    15:59

    Ivanka Trump asked to cooperate with Capitol attack committee

    3.11pm EST

    15:11

    US accuses Russia of conspiring to take over Ukraine government

    1.29pm EST

    13:29

    Congressman Jamaal Bowman arrested outside Capitol amid voting rights protests – report

    12.49pm EST

    12:49

    Georgia DA requests grand jury to investigate Trump efforts

    12.30pm EST

    12:30

    Today so far

    11.52am EST

    11:52

    Biden clarifies Ukraine comments: ‘Russia will pay a heavy price’ for invasion

    11.16am EST

    11:16

    ‘There are no minor incursions,’ Ukrainian president says after Biden’s flub

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    11.52am EST

    11:52

    Biden clarifies Ukraine comments: ‘Russia will pay a heavy price’ for invasion

    Joe Biden sought to clarify his comments from yesterday about a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine, after the US president appeared to downplay the threat of a “minor incursion” into Ukraine.
    Speaking at the start of a meeting on infrastructure, Biden told reporters moments ago, “I’ve been absolutely clear with President Putin. He has no misunderstanding. If any — any — assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion.”
    Biden said such an invasion would be met with a “severe and coordinated economic response,” which he has “discussed in detail with our allies as well as laid out very clearly for President Putin”.
    He added, “But there is no doubt — let there be no doubt at all that, if Putin makes this choice, Russia will pay a heavy price.”

    ABC News
    (@ABC)
    “I’ve been absolutely clear with President Putin…If any, any assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion,” Pres. Biden says. “It will be met with severe and coordinated economic response.” https://t.co/aWy2ej1jCo pic.twitter.com/Z5d2pDVEnw

    January 20, 2022

    Biden’s comments come one day after he seemed to imply that Nato was at odds over how to respond to Russian aggression depending upon the type of attack that was launched against Ukraine.
    “I think what you’re going to see is that Russia will be held accountable if it invades,” Biden said at his press conference yesterday.
    “And it depends on what it does. It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and then we end up having a fight about what to do and not do, et cetera.”
    That comment required a coordinated clean-up effort from Biden administration officials, with Kamala Harris and Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, seeking to clarify that the US and its allies are united in responding to Russian aggression.

    4.42pm EST

    16:42

    A spokesperson for Ivanka Trump seemed to suggest that she did not have any relevant information to share with the House select committee investigating the Capitol insurrection.
    “As the Committee already knows, Ivanka did not speak at the January 6 rally,” the spokesperson said in a statement provided to CBS News.
    “As she publicly stated that day at 3:15 pm, ‘any security breach or disrespect to our law enforcement is unacceptable. The violence must stop immediately. Please be peaceful.’”

    Fin Gómez
    (@finnygo)
    New- Statement from @IvankaTrump Spokesperson to @CBSNews on January 6th committee request to cooperate w/its inquiry. pic.twitter.com/rSGG2EpgMn

    January 20, 2022

    However, in his letter to Ivanka Trump, committee chairman Bennie Thompson specifically said the panel is interested in any conversations she had with Donald Trump about efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
    So even though Ivanka Trump did not speak at the January 6 rally that preceded the insurrection, it is still quite likely that she has relevant information for the investigation.
    The statement makes it seem even less likely that Ivanka Trump will voluntarily agree to cooperate with the select committee.

    4.23pm EST

    16:23

    Democratic congressman Jamie Raskin, a member of the House select committee investigating the Capitol insurrection, said Ivanka Trump could be a “material fact witness” for the panel’s inquiry.
    “If the former president has no executive privilege to hide evidence of an attempted coup or insurrection, neither do his family or friends,” the Maryland congressman said on Twitter.
    “If Ivanka Trump was with Donald Trump as the attack unfolded, she is a material fact witness. I look forward to her testimony.”

    Rep. Jamie Raskin
    (@RepRaskin)
    If the former president has no executive privilege to hide evidence of an attempted coup or insurrection, neither do his family or friends. If Ivanka Trump was with Donald Trump as the attack unfolded, she is a material fact witness. I look forward to her testimony.

    January 20, 2022

    According to the letter that committee chairman Bennie Thompson sent to Ivanka Trump, the panel is seeking information she may have about Trump’s efforts to pressure Mike Pence to attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
    “As January 6th approached, President Trump attempted on multiple occasions to persuade Vice President Pence to participate in his plan,” Thompson said in the letter.
    “One of the President’s discussions with the Vice President occurred by phone on the morning of January 6th. You were present in the Oval Office and observed at least one side of that telephone conversation.”
    Thompson also requested information from Ivanka Trump on “any other conversations you may have witnessed or participated in regarding the President’s plan to obstruct or impede the counting of electoral votes”.

    3.59pm EST

    15:59

    Ivanka Trump asked to cooperate with Capitol attack committee

    Hugo Lowell

    The House select committee investigating the Capitol attack is asking Ivanka Trump, the daughter of the former president, to appear for a voluntary deposition to answer questions about Donald Trump’s efforts to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory.
    The move by the panel marks an aggressive new phase in its inquiry into the 6 January insurrection, as House investigators seek for the first time testimony from a member of the Trump family about potential criminality on the part of the former president.

    January 6th Committee
    (@January6thCmte)
    The Select Committee is requesting that Ivanka Trump provide information for the committee’s investigation.In a letter to Ms. Trump seeking a voluntary interview, Chair @BennieGThompson underscored evidence that Trump was in direct contact with the former President on Jan 6th.

    January 20, 2022

    Congressman Bennie Thompson, the chair of the select committee, said in an 11-page letter to Ivanka Trump that the panel wanted to ask about Trump’s plan to stop the certification, and his response to the Capitol attack, including delays to deploying the national guard.
    The questions to Ivanka appear directed at a key issue: whether her father oversaw a criminal conspiracy on 6 January that also involved obstructing a congressional proceeding – a crime.
    The letter said that the panel first wanted to question Ivanka Trump about what she recalled of a heated Oval Office meeting on the morning of the 6 January insurrection when the former president was trying to co-opt Mike Pence into rejecting Biden’s win.
    Read the Guardian’s full report:

    3.31pm EST

    15:31

    Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, pointed to the Treasury Department’s newly announced sanctions against four Ukrainian officials as an example of how the US is proactively responding to Russian aggression.
    “We are not waiting to take action to counter Russia. We see what they’re doing. We’re disrupting it,” Psaki said at her daily briefing this afternoon.
    “And these actions are also of course separate and distinct from the broad range of high-impact, severe measures we and our allies are prepared to impose in order to inflict significant costs should they invade.”

    Bloomberg Quicktake
    (@Quicktake)
    Psaki says the U.S. is not waiting to take action against Russia over troop buildup on the Ukraine border after the Treasury Department announced sanctions against supposed Russian spies https://t.co/676DFgKgHT pic.twitter.com/X0J53QwFM9

    January 20, 2022

    3.11pm EST

    15:11

    US accuses Russia of conspiring to take over Ukraine government

    The Guardian’s Julian Borger, Luke Harding and Andrew Roth report:
    The US has alleged that Russian intelligence is recruiting current and former Ukrainian government officials to take over the government in Kyiv and cooperate with a Russian occupying force.
    The US Treasury on Thursday imposed sanctions on two Ukrainian members of parliament and two former officials it said were involved in the alleged conspiracy, which involved discrediting the current government of the president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
    “Russia has directed its intelligence services to recruit current and former Ukrainian government officials to prepare to take over the government of Ukraine and to control Ukraine’s critical infrastructure with an occupying Russian force,” the Treasury statement accompanying the sanctions said.
    The claims suggest US intelligence fears Russia is preparing a full-scale invasion and not the “minor incursion” that Joe Biden referred to as a possibility in remarks on Wednesday that triggered alarm in Kyiv.
    Online researchers have identified Russian troops and military vehicles within just ten miles of Ukraine’s borders, increasing the risk that Vladimir Putin could launch a military offensive on short notice.

    2.54pm EST

    14:54

    As she wrapped up her daily briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked whether Joe Biden plans to do more press conferences in the future.
    “Stay tuned,” Psaki replied. “Buckle up, bring snacks next time.”
    Biden’s press conference yesterday lasted nearly two hours, after the president decided to extend the event by calling on reporters who were not on the original list provided to him by his staff.
    After taking questions for about an hour and a half, Biden looked at his watch and decided to keep talking for another 20 minutes — likely to the chagrin of his press staff.

    2.41pm EST

    14:41

    A reporter asked Jen Psaki for further clarification on Joe Biden’s comments about the possibility of Russia executing a “minor incursion” into Ukraine.
    The president has since sought to clear up those comments, saying this morning, “I’ve been absolutely clear with President Putin. He has no misunderstanding. If any — any — assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion.”
    Psaki said Biden was making the point yesterday that the US and its allies have “a range of tools” to respond to Russian aggression, which may take the form of paramilitary tactics like cyberattacks.
    The press secretary also addressed Biden’s comment that there are “differences in Nato as to what countries are willing to do, depending on what happens”.
    “We have been focused on ensuring that we remain united with Nato,” Psaki said. “Now united doesn’t mean that everything will be identical, right? It means we’re united in taking actions should they decide to invade. And we are united.”

    2.23pm EST

    14:23

    A reporter pressed Jen Psaki again on Joe Biden’s comments yesterday about the legitimacy of the upcoming 2022 elections in the face of new voting restrictions in many states.
    The reporter, Peter Alexander of NBC News, noted that Biden said yesterday, “I’m not going to say it’s going to be legit. The increase and the prospect of being illegitimate is in direct proportion to us not being able to get these reforms passed.”

    ABC News Politics
    (@ABCPolitics)
    Asked if Pres. Biden is confident that the midterm elections will be legitimate even if federal voting rights legislation doesn’t pass Congress, White House press sec. Jen Psaki says “yes.” https://t.co/Y5SVieyPLg pic.twitter.com/zsZXFgD41T

    January 20, 2022

    Alexander asked Psaki, “Yes or no: does the president believe, if all remains as it is right now, that the elections this fall will be legitimate?”
    Psaki replied, “Yes, but the point that he was making was that, as recently as 2020 as we know, the former president was trying to work with local officials to overturn the vote count and not have ballots counted. And we have to be very eyes wide open about that and clear-eyed that that is the intention potentially of him and certainly of members of his party.”
    Alexander then asked for clarification that Biden is confident in the legitimacy of the upcoming elections if no changes are made in voting rights legislation moving forward.
    “Yes,” Psaki responded.

    2.08pm EST

    14:08

    The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, is now holding her daily briefing, and she is continuing her efforts to clean up some of Joe Biden’s comments from his press conference yesterday.
    A reporter asked Psaki whether Biden has confidence in the legitimacy of the 2022 elections, as Democrats struggle to pass their voting rights bill.
    During his press conference, Biden was asked whether he had faith in the legitimacy of the upcoming midterm elections if Democrats are unable to pass their bill.
    Biden responded, “It all depends on whether or not we’re able to make the case to the American people that some of this is being set up to try to alter the outcome of the election.”
    Psaki reiterated that Biden was not intending to cast doubt upon the legitimacy of the 2022 election but was instead making a point about how the 2020 election would have been illegitimate if election officials had cooperated with Donald Trump’s demands to overturn the results in battleground states.
    The press secretary made the same point over Twitter this morning:

    Jen Psaki
    (@PressSec)
    Lets be clear: @potus was not casting doubt on the legitimacy of the 2022 election. He was making the opposite point: In 2020, a record number of voters turned out in the face of a pandemic, and election officials made sure they could vote and have those votes counted.

    January 20, 2022

    1.56pm EST

    13:56

    Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell is attracting intense criticism for his comments about Black voters, which he made last night after Republican senators blocked Democrats’ voting rights bill (again).
    Speaking to reporters after the bill failed and the Senate rejected a change to the filibuster, McConnell was asked for his message to minority voters who are concerned that they will not be able to vote unless the Democratic bill is enacted.
    “The concern is misplaced, because if you look at the statistics, African-American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans,” McConnell said.

    BG
    (@TheBGates)
    .@LeaderMcConnell: “The concern is misplaced, because if you look at the statistics, African-American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as American.”Yikes. pic.twitter.com/WXR1WCZh5T

    January 20, 2022

    That comment sparked a lot of confusion among those who pointed out that African American voters are, in fact, Americans.
    Democratic congressman Bobby Rush called out McConnell’s comment, saying in a tweet, “African Americans ARE Americans. #MitchPlease”
    It’s also worth noting that studies indicate the voting restrictions enacted by 19 states in the past year will disproportionately impact voters of color.

    Bobby L. Rush
    (@RepBobbyRush)
    African Americans ARE Americans. #MitchPlease https://t.co/N3dSsQ9Jqn pic.twitter.com/SRnTTVJdJ4

    January 20, 2022

    Updated
    at 1.57pm EST

    1.29pm EST

    13:29

    Congressman Jamaal Bowman arrested outside Capitol amid voting rights protests – report

    Joanna Walters

    Demonstrators are right now outside the US Capitol demanding action to protect voting rights and election integrity in the US, following the Senate’s resounding refusal, once again, to pass legislation on this issue last night. More