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Editor Daily Rundown: Inflation Explodes To 40-Year High

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Vince Coglianese Editorial Director
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Prices increased 7.9 percent in the year through February, the fastest pace of inflation in 40 years, as gas prices increased and a wide array of goods and services grew more expensive.

The rising cost of gas, food and rent all contributed to the increase, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

Rapidly climbing prices have hit consumers in the pocketbook, causing confidence to fall and stretching household budgets. Rising wages and savings amassed during the pandemic have helped families continue spending despite rising prices so far, but the burden is falling intensely on lower-income households, which devote a big chunk of their budgets to daily necessities that are now swiftly becoming more expensive.




CURTIS HOUCK: DOOCY: “Why did you guys decide to rebrand the rising gas prices as the #PutinPriceHike?” Psaki: “I mean, if you want to use that on Fox, I welcome that.” (VIDEO)




JEN PSAKI RELEASES MISINFORMATION-FILLED MONOLOGUE ON GAS PRICES… WHITE HOUSE:.@PressSec breaks down what @POTUS’s Russian oil ban means for Americans, our strong domestic oil production under President Biden, and the steps we’re taking to mitigate the pain American families feel at the pump. (VIDEO)


BRENT SCHER: Given her now-in-the-open job search, it’s hard not to see this as a taxpayer funded audition tape. Is target audience for this the American people or executives @CNN @MSNBC @abcnews @CBSNews?


VICE PRESIDENT BOONDOGGLE… JOSH KRAUSHAAR: Huh: “WH officials say [Harris is] not in Poland to make any deals, whether it be on humanitarian aid or the transfer of military equipment. Instead, her role is to serve as an emissary and an emblem of the administration’s commitment to the country”


MORE… POLITICO: Kamala Harris finds herself center stage of the Ukraine crisis

The vice president has been trying to build her chops as a serious foreign policy player, an image that’s eluded her throughout her career. But the backdrop for her trip has changed dramatically since it was first announced on March 4. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine rages on Poland’s doorstep, forcing more than 2 million people to flee their homes. And, in the last 24 hours, Warsaw and Washington openly sparred over a plan to send Polish MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, before the Biden administration put the deal on ice for fear of escalating tensions further with Moscow.

There’s no indication that Harris’ trip was aimed at dealing with that impasse. Rather, administration officials and allies say her goal is to bring sensitive requests back to the president and to reaffirm Washington’s commitment to help Ukraine and others affected by the Russian invasion.


WH: YEAH, WE’RE NOT ENTRUSTING HARRIS WITH THE FIGHTER JET NEGOTIATIONS… Harris says US and Poland are united, despite fighter jets episode

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday described the situation as a “temporary breakdown in communication.” She said the jets issue will not be the focus of Harris’ meeting with Duda, but the vice president is expected to help patch things up.

“Obviously the vice president is on her way there, not related to this particular issue which will be worked through military channels, but it was more about the mechanism for how it would be delivered and that is the issue that is operational and we’re still discussing,” Psaki said.


HER SIGNATURE MOVE… NY POST: Kamala Harris laughs after she’s asked if the US will commit to taking in allocation of Ukrainian refugees

Vice President Kamala Harris laughed during a press conference in Poland on Thursday after being asked whether the US will make a specific allocation for Ukrainian refugees.

Harris and Poland’s President Andrzej Duda had both just been asked to answer questions from the same reporter about the US accepting Ukrainian refugees.

The VP chuckled awkwardly before President Duda began answering the important humanitarian question first.


US OFFICIAL: RUSSIANS SUSTAIN MASSIVE CASUALTIES… ED O’KEEFE: NEW from @CBSDavidMartin: A U.S. official estimates Russians have lost 5,000-6,000 killed in the first 2 weeks of battle. Standard battlefield math assumes 3x as many wounded as killed, so that puts the number of wounded at 15,000-18,000.


SPEND SPEND SPEND… WSJ: House Passes $1.5 Trillion Omnibus Package That Includes Aid for Ukraine

WASHINGTON — The House passed a $1.5 trillion spending bill that includes emergency aid for Ukraine, after Democratic leaders stripped out a contentious Covid-19 aid provision that would have clawed back states’ unused coronavirus money to fund the proposal.

The decision to remove the $15.6 billion in Covid-19 aid was a dramatic setback for both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), who negotiated the plan only to see many rank-and-file Democrats reject it, and President Biden, whose administration originally asked for $22.5 billion to fund vaccines, treatments and research and now will get nothing.

Lawmakers released the more than 2,700-page omnibus spending package early on Wednesday, giving lawmakers just hours to read it. To pass the House, leadership divided the bill into two parts: The defense portion of the bill passed in a 361-69 vote, and the nondefense portion of the bill passed in a 260-171 vote. The bill now heads to the Senate.


HOUSE DEMS START ‘CURSED’ RETREAT AT EACH OTHER’S THROATS… POLITICO: House Dems park in Philadelphia bruised by potholes

Now that at least some members have made it to the City of Brotherly Love, things won’t get much sunnier: Democrats will spend the next two days behind closed doors trying to shape a message they hope will blunt at least some of the GOP’s headwinds ahead of the midterms.

Simply put, they’re seeking what’s eluded them for months: sustained party unity.

That goal became more urgent Wednesday after a rank-and-file revolt exposed lingering Democratic frustrations with the White House and leadership — illustrating the rocky path ahead for any more of President Joe Biden’s agenda on the floor this year. Even the members trying for a positive spin on the daylong retreat delay were hard-pressed to sound optimistic about a year of lofty hopes that crashed into harsh political reality.

The caucus was already frustrated by Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) nationally televised guillotining of a social spending blueprint it struggled to pass late last year. Then things got more angsty this week: a congressional push to ban Russian oil, leading to a rare public standoff with the White House, followed by party leaders’ last-minute yanking of a White House-negotiated deal on Covid relief. […]

“This retreat is cursed,” quipped Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), when asked about how the day played out as he left the House floor.


RELATED… FREE BEACON: Drag Queen Who Says Biden Is a ‘Senile’ ‘White Supremacist’ Scheduled To Perform at Dem Retreat

The drag queen invited to perform for congressional Democrats during their policy retreat referred to President Joe Biden as “senile” and a “white supremacist” and called his voters “dim-witted.”

Lady Bunny, an “iconic drag queen” scheduled to perform on Wednesday during the Democratic retreat in Philadelphia, has spent much of the last year criticizing virtually every aspect of Biden’s agenda and some congressional Democrats as well. On Feb. 19, for example, Lady Bunny said Biden’s “word, especially on foreign policy, is worth nothing.”

On April 26, 2021, Bunny called Biden a “senile conservative” who has been “accused by 8 women” of sexual misconduct. Only someone in a “cult” would bother supporting him, Bunny wrote.


AG GARLAND PROMISES RELENTLESS JAN 6 INVESTIGATION… NPR: Garland says the Jan. 6 investigation won’t end until everyone is held to account

On his first anniversary as attorney general, Merrick Garland said he’s committed to unraveling the conspiracy behind the storming of the U.S. Capitol, in what he calls “the most urgent investigation in the history of the Justice Department.”

Members of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot have asserted former President Trump could be charged with conspiracy and obstruction for his actions. But Democrats in Congress and even some of Garland’s friends have worried he’ll shy away from the political firestorm that would result from charging a former commander-in-chief with a crime.

“We are not avoiding cases that are political or cases that are controversial or sensitive,” the attorney general said in an exclusive interview with NPR. “What we are avoiding is making decisions on a political basis, on a partisan basis.”


JAN 6 CAMPAIGN IS THE SINGLE BIGGEST OPERATION THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT HAS EVER UNDERTAKEN… STEVE INSKEEP: More Garland on the 1/6 probe: “This is the most urgent investigation in the history of the Justice Department. It is the most resource intensive. We’ve thrown 70 prosecutors from DC, another 70 from across the country. Every FBI office… is working on this matter.”


SENTENCING DAY FOR JUSSIE SMOLLETT… WILL HE FINALLY ADMIT TO HIS CON?… ABC: Jussie Smollett to learn fate after staged attack conviction

CHICAGO — More than three years after Jussie Smollett told police he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack on a dark, cold Chicago street, all of the questions swirling around the actor — from whether he staged a fake attack to why he would do such a thing — now boil down to two: Will he admit he lied to police and will he be sent to prison?

On Thursday, three months after a jury found him guilty of lying to police, those questions will be answered when Smollett, a onetime star of the television show “Empire,” returns for sentencing to the courtroom where he was found guilty of lying to police about an attack prosecutors contended he orchestrated himself.


CELEBRITIES BEG JUDGE TO GO EASY ON HIM… NYT: Before Jussie Smollett Sentencing, His Supporters Ask for ‘Mercy’

Ahead of a sentencing hearing on Thursday, celebrities and racial justice advocates like Samuel L. Jackson and his wife, the actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson; the Rev. Jesse Jackson; and Derrick Johnson, the president of the N.A.A.C.P., have written letters pleading for leniency for Jussie Smollett, the actor convicted of falsely reporting that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack.

“Jussie has already suffered,” the Rev. Jackson wrote to the judge handling the case. “He has been excoriated and vilified in the court of public opinion. His professional reputation has been severely damaged.”…

In their letter to Judge Linn, Samuel L. Jackson and LaTanya Richardson Jackson said they have known Mr. Smollett since he was a child and later through charitable work. The Jacksons asked Judge Linn for “mercy” and argued that Mr. Smollett “used his celebrity to impact community outreach work,” including to aid people in Flint, Mich., during the water crisis.

In his letter, Rev. Jesse Jackson wrote that he worried about Mr. Smollett’s safety in prison as a “well-known, nonviolent, Black, gay man with Jewish heritage.”


SMOLLETT IS EAGER TO GET PAID FOR HIS ACTING AGAIN… NY POST: Jussie Smollett to return to acting, activism post-sentencing: friend

“He wants to get it over with,” said Tom Wilson, a Cleveland-based investor who told The Post he has known Smollett for 15 years.

If the sentencing goes well, Smollett will return to film work, added Wilson.