Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmation vote is ‘making history’ says senator – live – The Guardian
Thank you so much for following events in US politics on our live blog today, we’re wrapping up now but do please find continuing coverage of Russia’s war in Ukraine on our round-the-clock, global blog here.
Here are the highlights from today’s US news:
As expected, the Senate judiciary committee has deadlocked across party lines, 11 to 11, on the confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the supreme court. Now majority leader Chuck Schumer must call a vote to discharge the matter to the full Senate. Democrats are still holding out hope on getting her confirmed by the end of the week.
Jake Sullivan, national security adviser, took to the podium during today’s White House press briefing to detail what lies ahead for Ukraine and Russia. He echoed statements made by Joe Biden earlier that evidence coming out of Bucha and the recently retaken Kyiv region depicts war crimes committed by Russian forces and Vladimir Putin must be held accountable for these atrocities. However, he said the killing in Ukraine has not yet risen to the level of genocide.
Joe Biden spoke about his administration’s plan to strengthen the trucking industry amidst global supply chain issues.
The House select committee tasked with investigating the 6 January attack on the US Capitol is moving to capitalize on new momentum.
at 5.22pm EDT
White House press secretary Jen Psaki has responded to the comments made today by Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator from South Carolina, at the Senate judiciary hearing on Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the supreme court.
Graham had said that if Republicans were in control, Jackson wouldn’t have even gotten a hearing. Psaki pointed out that Graham had voted to confirm her for another role previously. “Judge Jackson’s credentials, her record, warrant bipartisan support,” she said.
“Our view continues to be that qualified nominees, those who meet every objective bar of qualification, of background, should be considered and treated with fairness as they go through the process. That’s how President Biden is going to continue to operate and that’s how we would expect every member of the senate to continue to operate,” Psaki said.
“Obviously his comments are disappointing, but our focus needs to continue to be supporting Judge Jackson and her path to the supreme court.”
at 5.14pm EDT
Senate judiciary committee vote on Ketanji Brown Jackson ends in 11 to 11 tie
As expected, the Senate judiciary committee has deadlocked 11 to 11 on the nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to supreme court.
The Pentagon has echoed much of what Jake Sullivan, national security adviser, said at today’s White House press briefing about Ukraine and Russia:
When pushed further on the question of genocide – reporters pointed out that the US also did not deem what the Russian forces were doing war crimes at first and are now calling them war crimes – Jake Sullivan, national security adviser, said Joe Biden has been a leader in calling things what they are.
“He’s not going to hesitate to call a spade a spade and call it as he sees it, and neither is the US government, but it’s going to be based on evidence and facts as we gather it along the way,” he said.
Sullivan continued: “We have never hesitated to call out the Russians for what they’ve done in Ukraine and we won’t start now.”
at 4.19pm EDT
Sullivan: killings in Ukraine does not rise to level of genocide
Jake Sullivan, national security adviser, echoed a statement by Joe Biden in saying that so far, the killing of people in Ukraine by Russian forces does not rise to the level of genocide, as so many in Ukraine have been calling it.
“This is something we continue to monitor every day,” Sullivan said. “Based on what we’ve seen so far, we have seen atrocities, we have seen war crimes, we have not yet seen a level of systematic deprivation of life of the Ukrainian people to rise to the level of genocide. But that is something we will continue to monitor. There is no mechanical formula for this.”
Jake Sullivan, national security adviser, said at the White House press briefing that the US would need to consult with its allies and partners on how to hold Russia accountable for its war crimes in Ukraine.
“There have been other examples in other conflicts of other mechanisms being set up,” he said. “There is work to be done to work out the specifics of that.”
In the meantime, Sullivan said the US and its partners would continue to put pressure on the Russian economy and supply military equipment to Ukraine.
“There has to be accountability for these war crimes and that accountability has to be felt at every level of the Russian system and the United States will work with the international community to ensure that accountability is applied at the appropriate time,” he said.
“Even as Russia acknowledges the failure of its initial plans and shifts its goals, three elements of this war remain constant,” Jake Sullivan, national security adviser, said at today’s White House press briefing.
“First, Russia will continue to use its military to try to conquer and occupy sovereign Ukrainian territory. Second, the Ukrainian military and people will continue to effectively and bravely defend their homeland. Third, the United States will stand by them as long as it takes.”
Sullivan continued: “Russia has tried to subjugate the whole of Ukraine, and it has failed. Now it will attempt to take parts of the country under its rule. It may succeed in taking some territory through shear force and brutality, but no matter what happens over the coming weeks, it is clear that Russia will never be welcomed by the Ukrainian people. Instead, its gains will be temporary as the brave Ukrainian people resist Russian occupation and carry on the fight for an independent sovereign nation that they so richly deserve.”
Sullivan: “Now is not the time for complacency” in Ukraine
Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, warned at today’s White House press briefing that the next stage of the war in Ukraine “may very well be protracted”.
“We should be under no illusions that Russia will adjust its tactics, which have included and will likely continue to include, wanton and brazen attacks on civilian targets,” he said.
He continued: “As the images from Bucha have so powerfully reinforced, now is not the time for complacency. The Ukrainians are defending their homeland courageously and the United States will continue to back them with military assistance, humanitarian aid and military support.”
Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, painted a bleak picture at today’s White House press briefing what the US predicted was coming for Ukraine:
“We assess Russia will focus on defeating Ukrainian forces in the broader Luthank and Donetsk provinces, which encompasses significantly more territory than Russian proxies already controlled before the new invasion began in late February. Russia could then use any tactical successes it achieves to propagate a narrative of progress and mask or discontent or downplay prior military failures,” Sullivan said.
He continued: “In order to protect any territory it seizes in the east, we expect that Russia could potentially extend its presence even deeper into Ukraine beyond Luthank and Donetsk provinces. In the south, we also expect that Russian military forces will do what they can to try to hold the city of Kherson to enable their control of the water flow to Crimea and try to block Mykolaiv so that Ukrainian forces cannot proceed to retake Kherson. In the north, Russia will likely keep pressure on Kharkiv.”
This does not mean there will be relief for the rest of Ukraine, Sullivan said.
“During this renewed ground defense of eastern Ukraine, Moscow will likely continue to launch air and missile strikes across the rest of the country to cause military and economic damage, and frankly, to cause terror, including against cities like Kyiv, Odessa, Kharkiv, and Lviv,” he said.
“Russia’s goal in the end is to weaken Ukraine as much as possible.”
Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, said at today’s White House press briefing that the US believes that “at this juncture, Russia is revising its war aims”.
“Russia did not account for the strength of the Ukrainian military or the Ukrainian people, or the amount and effectiveness of military assistance provided by the United States and its allies and partners,” Sullivan said. “The Ukrainian people, backed resolutely by the United States and other nations have held firm. Kyiv and other cities still stand. The Ukrainian military has performed exceptionally well and many Ukrainian civilians have joined local militias in addition to using nonviolent means to resist.”
Sullivan said Vladimir Putin also believed that the west would not hold together in support of Ukraine. “The Russians have now realized that the west will not break,” he said.
Now, however, as Russian troops retreat from Kyiv to Belarus, he sees Russia “repositioning its forces to concentrate its offensive operations in eastern and parts of southern Ukraine, rather than target most of the territory.” “All indications are that Russia will seek to surround and overwhelm Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine,” he said.
Sullivan: Bucha ‘appears to show further evidence of war crimes’ by Russia
Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, has taken to the podium for today’s White House press briefing to discuss the devastating images and information coming out of the Kyiv region now that Ukrainian forces have retaken the area from Russian troops.
Photos showed unarmed civilians who were killed execution-style, with their hands tied behind their backs and hoods over their heads. Human Rights Watch has documented reports of rape, while the mayor of Bucha said authorities have uncovered a hastily buried mass grave of nearly 300 corpses. Among the hundreds of bodies found were those of Olha Sukhenko, the leader of the village Motyzhin, and her family, who were taken by Russian forces on 25 March.
“The images that we see are tragic, they’re shocking,” Sullivan said. “But unfortunately, they’re not surprising. We released information even before Russia’s invasion showing that Russia would engage in acts of brutality against civilians, including targeted killings of dissidents and others they considered a threat to their occupation. As the horrific images that have emerged from Bucha have shown, that’s exactly what they have done.”
Sullivan continued: We had already concluded that Russia committed war crimes in Ukraine and the information from Bucha appears to show further evidence of war crimes.”
at 3.25pm EDT
Joe Biden was in a jovial mood during his appearance today:
Joe Biden has taken to the podium to talk about his administration’s trucking action plan.
The trucking industry is a vital piece of the supply chain issues hurting economies around the world, but none more so than in the US – as Biden pointed out, trucking “moves about 70% of all the goods in this country”, and any shortages within the industry is another issue in the supply chain.
“Truck drivers are facing real challenges,” Biden said. “The average driver waits four and a half hours for their truck to be loaded and unloaded during an eleven-hour day, 40% of that day, and they don’t get paid for that wait time. Back in 1978, the average truck driver’s pay was $34 an hour in today’s dollars. Last year, it was $25 an hour, nearly a 30% decline. In this iconic American industry, it’s getting harder and harder to raise a family with the dignity and the pride you deserve. It’s no surprise that so many drivers have left their jobs. The workforce is getting older.”
Biden noted that it’s gotten harder to recruit new truck drivers, particularly women and people of color.
“The good news is that since I took office, we’ve begun to turn things around.” he said. “In fact, 2021 has been the best year for trucking employment since 1994. There are now 35,000 more trucking jobs than there were before the pandemic.”
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