Biden speaks to Zelenskiy amid report of sanctions on Putin – US politics live – The Guardian
Jen Psaki was asked how the US would respond if Vladimir Putin successfully overtakes Kyiv, as Russian forces escalate their attacks against the Ukrainian capital.
“I would just reiterate, as we’ve been warning for months, that Kyiv falling is a real possibility,” the White House press secretary told reporters.
“Russia’s military continues to advance toward Kyiv, so there is that real possibility. I’m just not going to get into, at this point, hypotheticals of what that will look like or what our response would be.”
Psaki’s briefing has now concluded, after the press secretary took questions from reporters for about 50 minutes.
Joe Biden will have a meeting with members of his national security team in Delaware tomorrow, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
Right before Psaki’s briefing started, the White House updated the president’s official schedule to note that he will travel to his home in Wilmington, Delaware, this evening and remain there through the weekend.
Psaki noted that Biden is traveling to Delaware to attend the memorial service of a family member and will still be able to take secure calls there, as the White House monitors developments in Ukraine.
“Every president can work from anywhere they are because that is how presidencies are equipped,” Psaki said. “The president has the capacity to make a secure call from anywhere.”
Jen Psaki was asked what the White House’s message is to the Ukrainian people, who are fighting back against Vladimir Putin even as civilian lives are threatened by Russian airstrikes.
“We are amazed by your courage, your remarkable courage in standing up against what President Putin is doing,” the White House press secretary said.
“It is not easy to protest in many scenarios, but it’s certainly not easy to protest against the actions of an autocratic leader. And that’s exactly what these protesters are doing.”
Psaki said it was “horrific” and “heart-wrenching” to watch the scenes coming out of Ukraine as Russia attacks major cities and attempts to overtake the capital of Kyiv.
“Our message to the Ukrainian people continues to be that we stand with you, we support you,” Psaki said.
Jen Psaki said that Joe Biden made the decision to impose sanctions on Vladimir Putin and the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, in the past day.
“That decision was made over the course of the last 24 hours and in partnership with our European counterparts,” the White House press secretary said.
Biden announced a second round of sanctions against Russia yesterday, but he was criticized for not including direct sanctions on Putin in that package.
Asked whether the sanctions on Putin would include a travel ban, Psaki replied, “I believe that would be a part of the US component.”
The press secretary has indicated that the Biden administration will release more details on the sanctions against Putin, Lavrov and Russian national security officials later this afternoon.
Jen Psaki said that the coordinated decision between the EU and the US to impose direct sanctions on Vladimir Putin sends “a clear message about the strength of the opposition to the actions” by the Russian president.
Asked about calls for Russia to be banned from the Swift international payment system, Psaki said, “We’ve never taken that off the table, of course, and I’m certainly not taking it off the table today.”
The White House press secretary also delivered a warning that the US and its allies would respond even more severely if Russian forces target Ukraine’s elected officials, particularly President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
“Obviously going after the head of state would be a significant, horrific act by Russian leadership,” Psaki said.
US plans to impose direct sanctions on Putin and Lavrov, White House confirms
The US intends to impose direct sanctions on the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, during her daily briefing moments ago, saying that more details will be available “later this afternoon”.
“Following a telephone conversation President Biden held with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and in alignment with the decision by our European allies, the United States will join them in sanctioning President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov and members of the Russian national security team,” Psaki told reporters.
at 4.14pm EST
The New York Times is now also reporting that the US plans to impose direct sanctions on Vladimir Putin in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, will soon hold her daily briefing, and she may confirm those plans to reporters.
Meanwhile, the White House has just announced that Joe and Jill Biden will travel to their home in Wilmington, Delaware, this evening and will remain there through the weekend.
Facebook parent company Meta has temporarily reversed a ban on content related to a far-right Nazi militia due to its role in defending Ukraine.
The company confirmed on Thursday it is making a “narrow exception” for praise of the Azov Regiment in the context of its role as part of the Ukraine National Guard.
“We are continuing to ban all hate speech, hate symbolism, praise of violence, generic praise, support, or representation of the Azov Regiment, and any other content that violates our community standards,” a Meta spokesperson said in a statement.
The move is in part to ensure users have access to information about ongoing military activity as defense of Ukraine from Russian invasion continues.
Internal materials at Facebook, reported on by the Intercept, showed the platform will still ban recruitment to Azov on the platform and any hate speech.
That means it would allow a phrase like “Azov movement volunteers are real heroes, they are a much needed support to our national guard” but not “Well done Azov for protecting Ukraine and it’s white nationalist heritage.”
As Joe Biden spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Secretary of State Antony Blinken had a call with his Ukrainian counterpart, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
“Russia’s actions against Ukraine are unconscionable. I spoke with Foreign Minister @DmytroKuleba about increasing reports of civilian deaths, including those of children, from Russian rocket launches,” Blinken said on Twitter. “All who commit atrocities should be held to account.”
The State Department spokesperson, Ned Price, added in a statement that Blinken “underscored continued U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” during the call.
“The Secretary also emphasized to Foreign Minister Kuleba that the United States would continue to provide support to Ukraine to help it defend itself against Russian aggression,” Price said.
Amnesty International has accused Russia of potential war crimes in Ukraine, saying its military “has shown a blatant disregard for civilian lives by using ballistic missiles and other explosive weapons with wide area effects in densely populated areas”.
at 3.17pm EST
When Joe Biden announced the latest round of sanctions against Russia yesterday, the package did not include personal sanctions on Vladimir Putin.
That decision sparked criticism from Democrats and Republicans, who argued that the US must use every tool at its disposal to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Not giving clarity to Putin about what would happen if he invaded Ukraine was a mistake. Not going after him personally is an even bigger mistake,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said.
“When it comes to sanctions against Putin: If we are not doing everything possible, we are not doing enough. Time is not on our side.”
The House intelligence committee chairman, Adam Schiff, agreed that Biden needed to further escalate the sanctions by specifically targeting Putin and pushing to block Russia from the international Swift payment system.
“I favor going further,” Schiff told MSNBC yesterday. “I favor expelling them from Swift. I favor imposing sanctions directly on Vladimir Putin. This is an unprecedent situation, and even though we don’t generally sanction heads of state, on occasion we do, and I think it’s merited here.”
Biden speaks to Zelenskiy amid report of potential US sanctions on Putin
Joe Biden spoke to the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, earlier today, as one report indicates the US will soon impose direct sanctions on Vladimir Putin in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The White House told the press pool that Biden spoke to Zelenskiy from 11.52amET to 12.32pm ET, while the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv is coming under more severe attacks by Russian forces.
Meanwhile, CNN is reporting that the Biden administration is preparing to specifically sanction Putin, as members of both parties have called on the US president to do.
The US is planning to impose sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin as soon as Friday, according to two people familiar with the decision.
The Russian leader will become the highest-profile target in the effort to impose costs on the Russian economy and Putin’s inner circle in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Additional Russian officials are likely to be included, one of the people said.
Biden said yesterday that sanctioning Putin was one possibility the US was exploring, but he ignored questions about why he was not yet taking that step.
at 3.59pm EST
Ketanji Brown Jackson noted that she shares a birthday with Constance Baker Motley, the late civil rights activist who became the first Black woman to serve as a US federal judge.
“Today, I proudly stand on Judge Motley’s shoulders — sharing not only her birthday, but also her steadfast and courageous commitment to equal justice under law,” Jackson said.
“Judge Motley’s life and career has been a true inspiration to me, as I have pursued this professional path.”
Jackson, who would become the first Black woman to serve on the supreme court if confirmed by the Senate, expressed hope that she would similarly be an inspiration to others who come after her.
“If I’m fortunate enough to be confirmed as the next associate justice of the supreme court of the United States, I can only hope that my life and career, my love of this country and the Constitution and my commitment to upholding the rule of law and the sacred principles upon which this great nation was founded will inspire future generations of Americans.”
With that, Jackson concluded her brief remarks, and Joe Biden wrapped up the event without taking any questions from reporters.
Ketanji Brown Jackson specifically thanked Justice Stephen Breyer for giving her “the greatest job that any young lawyer could ever hope to have,” a supreme court clerkship.
“He also exemplifies every day, in every way that a supreme court justice can perform at the highest level of skill and integrity while also being guided by civility, grace, pragmatism and generosity of spirit,” Jackson said of her former boss, who she will replace if confirmed.
“Justice Breyer, the members of the Senate will decide if I fill your seat, but please know that I could never fill your shoes.”
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson used her remarks at the White House to thank her family, her colleagues and God for allowing her to achieve the prestigious honor of a supreme court nomination.
“I must begin these very brief remarks by thanking God for delivering me to this point in my professional journey,” Jackson said after being introduced by Joe Biden.
“My life has been blessed beyond measure. And I do know that one can only come this far by faith.”
Joe Biden said Ketanji Brown Jackson would bring “extraordinary qualifications, deep experience and intellect and a rigorous judicial record” to the supreme court if confirmed by the Senate.
“Incredibly, Judge Jackson has already been confirmed by the United States Senate three times,” Biden noted.
Jackson was most recently confirmed by the Senate last year, when she was nominated to the DC Circuit Court. She was confirmed in a bipartisan vote of 53 to 44, although it’s currently unclear whether her supreme court nomination will attract any Republican support.
at 2.22pm EST
Joe Biden opened his event with supreme court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson with an acknowledgement of the ongoing violence in Ukraine, following the Russian invasion of its neighboring country.
“Today, as we watch freedom and liberty under attack abroad, I’m here to fulfill my responsibilities under the Constitution to preserve freedom and liberty here in the United States of America,” Biden said.
“And it’s my honor to introduce to the country a daughter of former public school teachers, a proven consensus-builder, an accomplished lawyer, a distinguished jurist on one of the nation’s most prestigious courts. My nominee for the US supreme court nominate is Judge Ketanji Jackson.”
Biden introduces Jackson as his supreme court nominee
Joe Biden is now speaking at the White House, introducing Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as his nominee to replace Justice Stephen Breyer on the supreme court.
The president noted that he chose Jackson after a rigorous selection process, and he celebrated her historic nomination as the first Black woman to ever be nominated to the supreme court.
“For too long, our government, our courts haven’t looked like America,” Biden said. “I believe it’s time that we have a court that reflects the full talents and greatness of our nation with a nominee of extraordinary qualifications.”
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