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

Good Morning DC,

Disney has been stripped of its special tax status in Florida. The Florida Senate passed a bill in a 23-16 vote. When corporations engage in politics, politics strike back. DeSantis is not playing around.

Jen Psaki got unexpectedly emotional with Jessica Yellin on the News Not Noise podcast discussing the Don’t Say Gay Bill. “This is a political wedge issue and an attempt to win a culture war,” Psaki said, her voice breaking up. “And they’re doing that in a way that is harsh and cruel to a community of kids.” As she went on, Psaki was raw. “Sorry, this is an issue that makes me completely crazy.”

It’s been a few days since a poison pill happened. Why so much resistance around Elon Musk’s offer to buy Twitter in the first place? It’s not like immense wealth does not already have its hands on the company that initially was supposed to be a ‘public square,’ a dream of Dorsey that never came to be. But it was never about billionaires, was it? It was about a billionaire who holds a different view. And here we go straight to the heart of the problem. The measure of free speech, according to Musk is “when someone you do not like says something you don’t like,” and they do not like Musk, do they? They would rather have a pill to self-destruct than let everyone say freely what they want within the bounds of the law. 

Johnny Depp has told the court that he was more inspired to turn to drugs and alcohol because of constant clashes with Amber Heard. Depp is blaming his addiction on Amber. He also said that he never hit his ex-wife Amber Heard, or any other woman. Do you believe him?

More news from the murder-meets-real life. A report into the shooting of Halyna Hutchins on the set of Alec Baldwin’s movie Rust has concluded that the production company knew that firearm safety procedures were not being followed.

Have a shared family Netflix password? Enjoy it while it lasts. Netflix will crack down on households sharing passwords as they see a big drop in new subscribers, the biggest in the past ten years. People are going cold on Netflix. “Woke virus,” says Elon Musk.

Your top news stories of today are below. 

THE WHITE HOUSE

Last night Biden met with top military leaders in the Cabinet Room, where he praised them and their families for long-standing service. He noted that, for the first time in the history of the armed forces, “you not only have a highly qualified woman as Vice President but as the Deputy Secretary of Defense.” He spoke of the nation’s “sacred duty” to military men and women “to prepare and properly equip you before we send you into harm’s way.”

Biden also spoke on Ukraine, saying that he has “been to Ukraine a number of times” and “was deeply involved.” 

Today, Biden is going to Oregon. He will visit Portland International Airport to “highlight critical investments in infrastructure,” such as an earthquake-resilient runway at the Portland Airport. Governor Kate Brown, Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and Congressman Kurt Schrader will be in attendance. 

DIGITAL ASSETS

The CFTC Commissioner met with Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX yesterday. “Really excited to work with the commission on building out robust markets and bringing oversight to digital assets,” Bankman said. 

TODAY’S CRYPTO PRICES

Bitcoin (BTC):$42,520.75

Ether (ETH):$3,156.38

SOL:$108.70

LUNA: $98.03

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

The US, UK, and Canada have staged a walkout of a G20 meeting as Russian delegates spoke in Washington, DC. 

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is placing responsibility on Russia for exacerbating “already dire” world food insecurity.

Germany says it will stop importing oil from Russia by the end of the year.

Russia has released pictures of what it claims to have been a successful test flight of a new intercontinental ballistic Sarmat missile which Putin said would make the West “think twice.” The missile is capable of targeting any city in Europe.

Zelenskyy is ready to swap Russian war prisoners in exchange for the safe passage of civilians and troops from Mariupol.

Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of Russia’s republic of Chechnya, says Mariupol will fall to Russian forces by this afternoon.

Boris Johnson is not optimistic about peace prospects with Putin. Speaking on the plane on his way to India, Johnson compared deal-making with Russia to trying to “negotiate with a crocodile when it’s got your leg in its jaws.” Johnson said, “it’s very hard to see how the Ukrainians can negotiate with Putin now, given his manifest lack of good faith, and his strategy, which is evident, which is to try to engulf and capture as much of Ukraine as he can and then perhaps to have some kind of negotiation from a position of strength, or even to launch another assault on Kyiv.”

On a two day trade visit to India, Johnson has his own problems to deal with in the UK today. The Labour is set to put the motion for a vote in the House of Commons that aims to open a formal investigation into whether or not he should be investigated over misleading Parliament. The latest update is that he will try to delay a vote.

Julian Assange’s extradition to the US is becoming reality, as a judge has formally issued an order. The decision on whether or not he will be extradited is now in the hands of Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Wimbledon has banned players from Russia and Belarus to play in this year’s tournament, a move that ATP finds “discriminatory.” 

According to the CDC, a new Omicron sub-variant, the most infectious so far, accounts for roughly 1 in 5 new cases across America and is 23 to 27 percent more transmissible than its predecessor. 

And some cheerful news for the end. Today, the British Queen celebrates her 96th birthday in Sandringham.

And that’s a wrap for this Thursday morning, April 21, 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...