White House Correspondent Ksenija Pavlovic Mcateer gives her take on the latest news from the White House

THE WHITE HOUSE

There remain more wonders to discover in the White House for Jill Biden. 

DIGITAL ASSETS

The Senate Banking Committee to hold a hearing on stablecoins. 

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Biden intends to inform Congress that Qatar is a “major non-NATO ally” of the US. As the western world continues preemptive efforts against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Russia claims the US and other powers alike are overreacting. 

*All this and more ahead!

Good Morning DC!

The UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine, which Russia initially opposed but lost a vote to block, was nothing short of fiery and dramatic. The US and Russia talked past each other.

“Russia’s actions strike at the very heart of the UN charter. This is as clear and consequential a threat to peace and security as anyone can imagine,” said the US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

Russia accused the US of stoking “hysteria.” Russia’s UN envoy Vasily Nebenzya said, “The discussions about a threat of war is provocative in and of itself. You are almost calling for this. You want it to happen. You’re waiting for it to happen as if you want to make your words become a reality.”

Following the UN Security Council meeting, Joe Biden said, “If Russia is sincere about addressing our respective security concerns through dialogue, the United States and our Allies and partners will continue to engage in good faith.” Biden still sees diplomacy as “the best way forward,” but, in case Russia “chooses to walk away from diplomacy and attack Ukraine, Russia will bear the responsibility, and it will face swift and severe consequences.”

Russia has sent a written response to the US. The Biden administration has not released the details of it yet, leaving it up to Moscow to decide whether or not they want to disclose it publicly. 

NEW DEAL: Biden reacts to the new $20 billion deal signed between Boeing and Qatar Airways. 

“I want to applaud the new deal that Qatar Airways Group signed with Boeing for a $20 billion deal — one of the largest deals that Boeing aircraft has ever had. And it will support tens of thousands of good-paying US jobs here in America,” said Biden. 

ON THIS DAY

On February 1, 1986, Giacomo Puccini premiered his opera La Bohème at the Teatro Regio in Turin, Italy.

In other news…

Soprano Nevena Bridgen shares her opulent talent in a world-premier of her music video for Puccini’s “Vissi D’arte.” Bridgen’s artistic vision honors 122 years since Puccini’s Tosca premiered.

THE WHITE HOUSE

Today, Biden will meet with the Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley to swap notes on the Supreme Court pick, a position the President vowed would be filled by a Black woman.

Yesterday, at the Kennedy Center, First lady Jill Biden and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff  spoke to an audience of about 50 members of the National Governors Association’s Spouses Program.

The spouses of elected officials “have a shared experience that most people don’t understand,” Jill Biden said. She noted that she grew up watching Phillies games and waitressing at the Jersey Shore to pay for college and never imagined one day becoming first lady of the United States.

Jill told a brief story about hosting former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her husband for drinks in the White House residence. Merkel complimented a Claude Monet painting in the residence that Jill Biden said she had never noticed before. Merkel took the first lady to examine the painting, and “there’s this little tiny plaque” identifying it as a painting by Monet, Jill Biden said. The moment was a reminder that “I discover” new things living in the White House, the First Lady shared.

DIGITAL ASSETS

The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on stablecoins on February 15. 

After the recent announcement of launching the central bank digital currency “digital rupee”  next year, India is stepping up their crypto regulatory framework. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a 30% tax on digital assets. 

TODAY’S CRYPTO PRICES

Bitcoin (BTC):$38,232.55

Ether (ETH):$2,735.01

SOL:$105.92

LUNA: $51.73

El Salvador is pushing against the IMF’s demand for the country to drop Bitcoin as legal tender. Talking on a domestic TV network, Alejandro Zelaya responded by stating that “no international organization is going to make us do anything.” He made it clear to the IMF that “countries are sovereign nations, and they make sovereign decisions about.”

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Secretary Antony Blinken is due to speak with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, by phone today.

Yesterday, there was a meeting between the Emir of Qatar and Joe Biden at the White House. Sitting behind a log fire, President Biden spoke first on Russia and Ukraine, stating that he had “productive talks last week with President Zelensky and continue to be engaged in non-stop diplomacy and de-escalate tension and to improve security of our ally and all of Europe.”

Regarding the UAE, Biden said the Emiratis defeated a ballistic missile fired by the Houthis from Yemen and the administration has been in daily contact with the UAE to address the threats. He instructed the Secretary of Defense to communicate the support of the United States for the UAE and Saudi Arabia and added that America will have the back of its allies in the region.

On Qatar, Biden talked about the 50-year partnership and praised Qatar’s role in providing lifesaving assistance to Palestinians, maintaining stability in Afghanistan, keeping the pressure on ISIS, and deterring threats across the Middle East. Biden announced his intention to inform congress to designate Qatar as a major non-NATO ally.  

The administration in particular praised Qatar for their help in evacuating US citizens and green card holders from Afghanistan; it is estimated that 60,000 evacuees went through Qatar. 

Hopes were raised when Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani visited Tehran and talks were centered around the fate of four American-Iranian hostages with dual citizenships held in Iran.. It’s reported that Qatar is mediating to secure their release. No news on this front at the bilat.

Across the pond, in the UK, calls for Prime Minister Boris Johsnon to resign continue to dominate national discourse in light of the initial Sue Gray report released yesterday. The initial report said there was a failure of leadership in No. 10, but the Prime Minister believes that he can tough out the rough waters and stop the confidence vote by the members of his own party. 54 letters need to be submitted to the 1922 Committee for a no-confidence vote in Boris Johsnon to take place. 

 “I get it and I will fix it,” Johnson said in the House of Commons yesterday. 

“He is debasing the office of prime minister. He has just got to go,” said Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer. 

Boris Johnson will travel to Ukraine today to meet with Zelenskyy. “We urge Russia to step back and engage in dialogue to find a diplomatic resolution and avoid further bloodshed,” said Johnson. 

The UK government has decided to abandon the vaccine mandate for NHS staff in England.

And that’s a wrap for this Tuesday morning, February 2, 2022. Good Morning DC will be back tomorrow to bring you the latest first. 

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Ksenija Pavlovic McAteer

Ksenija Pavlovic is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Pavlovic Today, The Chief White House Correspondent. Pavlovic was a Teaching Fellow and Doctoral Fellow in the Political Science department...