The TAKE with Averi Harper
President Joe Biden has long promised “swift and severe costs” to Russia should it invade Ukraine. Now, after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s declaration of a “special military operation,” Biden has his chance to deliver on that promise.
Biden is expected to lay out “further consequences” for Russia in White House remarks on Thursday. Explosions could be heard in Kiev overnight, a possible sign of a wider attack.
The president issued a sobering statement in response, calling the attack “unprovoked and unwarranted.”
“Russia bears sole responsibility for the death and destruction this attack will cause, and the United States and its allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive manner. The world will hold Russia accountable,” Biden said in a statement.
The Biden administration had begun rolling out a “first tranche” of sanctions, tied to Russian banks, oligarchs and the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. did not result in Russia backtracking.
But even as tensions escalate and Ukraine braces for a full-scale attack, the White House reiterated Biden’s pledge not to send US troops to Ukraine.
“We are not going to be at war with Russia or send military troops on the ground in Ukraine to fight Russia,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Wednesday.
The RUNDOWN with Alisa Wiersema
The uncertainty of this year’s election calendar following redistricting is coming to an end as two political battlegrounds get a clearer picture of their new maps.
In Pennsylvania, the state Supreme Court ruled on a Congressional map in a 4-3 ruling following a month-long redistricting saga. The court-chosen map was submitted by a group of citizens and was drawn by Stanford University professor Jonathan Rodden.
The new map reflects results from the 2020 census, in which Pennsylvania lost a seat in Congress. Although the court did not move the date of the May 17 primaries, it did delay by a few weeks the time candidates had to gather and file paperwork to contest the ballot.
As FiveThirtyEight reported, the state now has eight Republican-leaning seats, six Democratic-leaning seats, and three Highly Competitive seats. The 17th District, which is currently represented by Senate candidate Rep. Conor Lamb, is one such highly competitive area.
Meanwhile, in North Carolina, political tensions over redistricting continued Wednesday, as a three-judge panel rejected a GOP-backed congressional map and instituted corrective maps in its place. Overnight, the state Supreme Court rejected appeals from Republican lawmakers to delay the use of the maps released by the trial committee.
The COUNCIL with Brittany Shepherd
It’s time for conservatives to shine in the Sunshine State with the Conservative Political Action Conference kicking off later Thursday morning. Republican ideology gets its first kind of primary as moderate to far-right GOP members (and even some Democrats) flock to Orlando and plot their way to victory for the upcoming midterm elections, where they anticipate successful feedback.
Former President Donald Trump, his son Don. Jr, party allies Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz and Sen. Marco Rubio are among those receiving the highest marks for the day-long celebration in Trump’s new home state. Rumor has it that the 2024 GOP candidates Govs. Ron DeSantis and Kristi Noem will be present. Noticeably absent is former Vice President Mike Pence, whose relationship with his former ticket mate continues to fracture publicly. In a speech in Orlando a few weeks ago, Pence said Trump was “wrong” to suggest he had the power to overturn election results. It’s unclear whether any of the Republicans in attendance will echo Pence’s message or instead dig deeper into the false claims.
This year’s CPAC is expected to have several conversations about culture war issues that illuminate Republican electoral bases. The event includes signs such as “School Board For Dummies”, “War By Weakness, Elections Matter”, “They Can’t Silence Us!”, “The Government Is Dangerous To Your Health”, ” Sorry Stacey, you’re not the Governor” and “Fire Fauci”.
CPAC runs until Sunday.
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ABC News “Start Here” podcast. Start Here begins Thursday morning with ABC’s Ian Pannell in Kiev as Russian President Vladimir Putin announces military operations in Ukraine. And, the sponsor of Florida’s controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill is defending legislation that critics say demonizes the LGBTQ community. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
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