BIDEN TEAM SCRAMBLES FOR STATE OF THE UNION MESSAGES…
BIDEN ADMIN TO GIVE AMERICANS A BREATHER… WAPO: CDC to loosen coronavirus mask guidelines as soon as Friday
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will soon loosen its mask guidelines by weighing metrics such as hospital capacity and coronavirus admissions, rather than simply looking at case counts, so more people can feel comfortable going maskless in indoor public spaces, according to two senior administration officials and two people familiar with the plans. […]
The CDC could announce the new guidelines as soon as Friday, according to the Associated Press. A CDC spokeswoman declined to say when the CDC would announce its updated guidance. […]
The new CDC guidelines will look not only at case counts, but at severity of disease, by factoring in hospitalizations and hospital capacity, two of the officials said […]
BIDEN ADMIN FINALLY ADMITS N95 MASKS PROTECT WEARER FROM THE MASKLESS…
[…] Biden health administration officials say they have been encouraged by data showing that those who wear the higher quality masks known as N95 respirators have a significant degree of protection even if others are not wearing masks, one of the officials said.
BIDEN TAPS 51-YEAR-OLD JACKSON FOR SUPREME COURT… FUN FACT: SHE’S RELATED TO PAUL RYAN BY MARRIAGE… Biden to nominate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to Supreme Court
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is expected to announce Friday that he will nominate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to succeed Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court, according to a source familiar with the matter.
If confirmed, Jackson would become the first Black woman to serve on the court. At 51, she would also be the second-youngest justice on the current court (Justice Amy Coney Barrett turned 50 in January) and the first justice since Thurgood Marshall with significant experience as a defense lawyer.
As the successor to Breyer, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1994, Jackson would not change the court’s current 6-to-3 conservative supermajority.
Jackson was nominated to District Court just eight months ago and was confirmed by a 53-44 vote with the support of three Senate Republicans. Only David Souter, appointed by George W. Bush, came to the Supreme Court with less time on the federal appeals court — under five months in his case.
But Jackson also served eight years as a federal trial judge in Washington. At her confirmation hearing for that position, she received an endorsement from former House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who is related by marriage. (Her husband’s twin brother is the married to the sister of Ryan’s wife.)
JACSON PICK A VICTORY FOR HARD LEFT… FLASHBACK… WEDNESDAY… NBC: Liberals gather in Ketanji Brown Jackson’s corner as Biden’s Supreme Court decision nears
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is on the cusp of picking a Supreme Court nominee, and a dozen progressive groups are revealing their preferred candidate among the finalists: U.S. Appeals Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
In a Wednesday letter to Biden led by the courts-focused Demand Justice, the 12 groups nudge him to nominate someone with a background working as a public defender or in civil rights.
“As you consider your most important judicial nomination to date, we urge you to build on your commitment to professional diversity by appointing someone with civil rights or public defense experience to the Supreme Court,” they write in the letter, as first reported by NBC News. […]
Demand Justice has already produced ads to support Jackson in case she’s chosen, a source familiar with the matter said.
The left-leaning groups that signed the letter — which also include MoveOn, Indivisible, Justice Democrats and Demos — noted the Biden White House’s push to put more public defenders and civil rights lawyers on the courts, and by implication fewer corporate lawyers and prosecutors.
ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE FLOYD, TRAYVON MARTIN URGED BIDEN TO PICK JACKSON AS WELL… ROOT: Ben Crump Endorses Ketanji Brown Jackson For Supreme Court
According to ABC News, Crump, who has represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and others, feels Biden should nominate Jackson based on her principles of justice and fairness. […]
It’s a break from Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), who has been pushing for J. Michelle Childs to get the vacancy–on the basis that she would get bipartisan support. If Biden nominates Childs, it would be a departure from promoting judicial nominees with backgrounds as public defenders and civil rights lawyers.
From The Hill:
“I want us to make sure that it is a Black woman, I want to make sure that it’s a woman that will get universal support. When I say universal I mean bipartisan support,” Clyburn said.
“And I know that Michelle Childs will have support of several Republicans, including the two Republican senators from South Carolina,” he added.
Crump went on in his statement reiterating the civil rights implications that a Black woman on the Supreme Court would bring:
“My standards for this nominee go beyond integrity, brilliance and fairness,” Crump said in the statement. “I carry the additional purchase that this justice must represent African Americans in a way that has cultural competency, forcefulness and instills deep pride.”
JOE MANCHIN, LINDSEY GRAHAM HAD BEEN PUSHING FOR J. MICHELLE CHILDS…
KYIV UNDER FIRE… Ukraine’s Capital Under Attack By Russian Forces, Missiles
Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, came under missile attack Friday morning as Russian troops closed in, according to reports and video footage.
Ukrainian defense officials raised the alarm about multiple missile strikes hitting Kyiv as of Friday morning, and video footage verified by The New York Times showed an explosion in the early morning sky over part of the outskirts of the city.
“Going outside is now very dangerous due to the approach of the enemy. The only exception may be the need to move to a shelter if the Air Alarm signal is activated. Stay away from windows while at home,” the Kyiv City Council warned on its website.
In a Friday morning interview with CNN, Proshenko revealed that he’s armed with an AK-47 as part of a patrol to defend the city. He also noted that the patrol has two machine guns.
Former boxing superstar Vitali Klitschko is ready to kill and die for Ukraine. […]
When asked Thursday by “Good Morning Britain” about whether or not he’ll take up arms, Klitschko, who is the mayor of Kyiv, replied with, “I don’t have another choice. I have to do that…Yeah, I will fight.”
Ukrainian border guards had a defiant last stand before all were killed.
During the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 13 border guards on Snake Island were radioed by a Russian warship to put their weapons down and surrender to avoid bloodshed.
Instead of putting their weapons down, they got on the radio and responded with, “Russian warship, go f**k yourself.” All 13 were later killed standing their ground against the Russians.
PUTIN READY FOR TALKS? … AFP: Putin Ready To Send Delegation To Belarus Capital For Ukraine Talks
The Kremlin on Friday said President Vladimir Putin was ready to send a delegation to Belarus for talks with Ukraine, as Russian forces approached Kyiv on the second day of Moscow’s invasion.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Russian leader was “ready” to send a high-level delegation “for talks with a Ukrainian delegation” to Belarusian capital Minsk, which has previously hosted rounds of peace talks over the Ukraine crisis.
He said Putin’s ally, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, told him that he would “create the conditions” for such a summit.
Russia has thousands of troops stationed in Belarus, and Ukraine said it was being attacked from several sides — including from Belarus.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had repeatedly called for talks with the Russian leader during a weeks-long diplomatic push in which Western countries tried to deter Putin from launching an attack.
DURING BUILD UP, BIDEN BEGGED CHINA FOR HELP… CHINA LEAKED IT TO RUSSIA… NYT: U.S. Officials Repeatedly Urged China to Help Avert War in Ukraine
WASHINGTON — Over three months, senior Biden administration officials held half a dozen urgent meetings with top Chinese officials in which the Americans presented intelligence showing Russia’s troop buildup around Ukraine and beseeched the Chinese to tell Russia not to invade, according to U.S. officials.
Each time, the Chinese officials, including the foreign minister and the ambassador to the United States, rebuffed the Americans, saying they did not think an invasion was in the works. After one diplomatic exchange in December, U.S. officials got intelligence showing Beijing had shared the information with Moscow, telling the Russians that the United States was trying to sow discord — and that China would not try to impede Russian plans and actions, the officials said.
The previously unreported talks between American and Chinese officials show how the Biden administration tried to use intelligence findings and diplomacy to persuade a superpower it views as a growing adversary to stop the invasion of Ukraine, and how that nation, led by President Xi Jinping, persistently sided with Russia even as the evidence of Moscow’s plans for a military offensive grew over the winter.
CALLING ALL PATRIOTS: Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. In response, President Joe Biden announced a new set of economic sanctions Thursday in an effort to force Russia to stand down, but the situation remains uncertain. Patriots, how do you think the war in Ukraine will end? Let us know in the form.