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

THE WHITE HOUSE

Biden will make a Supreme Court nomination by the end of the month.

DIGITAL ASSETS

FTX is launching a new NFT partnership with the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

UK’s PM Boris Johnson warns that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would lead to a military and humanitarian disaster. 

*All this and more ahead!

Good Morning DC!

It’s Wednesday morning and the news continues to go from crisis to crisis.

Tension is high over Russia and Ukraine. A continuing build-up of Russian forces shows no sign of de-escalation. Russia continues to deny accusations that it is planning an invasion on Ukraine after deploying an estimated 100,000 troops near the border. At a news conference in Moscow with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the US of using Ukraine as a tool to “contain Russia’s development.” He said that Crimea is “sovereign Russian territory,” and that the issue is “closed” as far as Russia is concerned. “Let’s assume Ukraine becomes part of NATO and tries to forcibly retake Crimea. What are we supposed to do then,” said Putin, “go to war with the NATO bloc? Has anyone even thought of this?”

In his first significant comments about the crisis in several weeks, he accused the US of ignoring Russia’s security concerns about the European expansion of NATO. “We did not see an adequate consideration of our three key requirements,” said Putin. Which ones are those? According to Putin, “NATO expansion, the renunciation of the deployment of strike weapons systems near Russian borders, and the return of the [NATO] bloc’s military infrastructure in Europe to the state of 1997, when the Russia-NATO founding act was signed.”

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy said on Tuesday that a Russian invasion would “not be a war between Ukraine and Russia – this would be a war in Europe, a full-scale one.”

BREAKING THIS MORNING:

Whoopi Goldberg has been suspended from US talkshow The View for two weeks after her comments about Jews and the Holocaust. Goldberg will be off the air for two weeks, taking the time “to reflect and learn.” 

ON THIS DAY

On February 2, 1990, South African President F.W. de Klerk lifted the 30-year ban on the African National Congress. As a result, Nelson Mandela was released from prison, which marked the beginning of the end of apartheid.

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 host an event to reignite the Cancer Moonshot, with a goal to reduce the death rate from cancer by at least 50% in the next 25 years. 

The President and First Lady Jill Biden will also announce today a call to action on cancer screening to help ensure that everyone in the United States equitably benefits from the tools we have to prevent, detect, and diagnose cancer.

President Biden committed to a bilateral effort with the United Kingdom to tackle cancer challenges together. This has already resulted in a November 2021 US-UK Cancer Scientific Meeting of leadership, patient advocates, and oncology research experts which produced recommendations for how the two nations can work in partnership to make even more urgent progress on the battle against cancer. 

Yesterday, Biden met with Durbin and Grassley in the Oval Office to discuss his plans for the Supreme Court Justice pick. “The Constitution says ‘advise and consent, advice and consent,’ and I’m serious when I say I want the advice of the Senate as well as the consent,” said Biden. Speaking of what he’s looking for in a nominee, Biden said that it has to be a candidate with “character, with qualities of a judge in terms of being courteous to the folks before them and treating people with respect, as well as a judicial philosophy that… there are unenumerated rights in the Constitution, and all the amendments mean something, including the Ninth Amendment.”

Biden will make a decision by the end of the month.

DIGITAL ASSETS

FTX continues its venture into world domination. After recently partnering with the SALT Conference ahead of Crypto Bahamas, FTX is launching a new NFT partnership with the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival. Check out Coachella Collectibles NFTs, lifetime festival passes, digital collectibles redeemable for physical items at nft.coachella.com

TODAY’S CRYPTO PRICES

Bitcoin (BTC):$38,528.41

Ether (ETH):$2,759.06

SOL:$109.82

LUNA: $52.78

El Salvador announced that they have hired AlphaPoint, the US software company, to help fix technical problems of their state-sponsored Bitcoin wallet and implement the Lightning Network, a “second-layer solution” that can speed up crypto transactions.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

“The door to diplomacy remains open,” Jen Psaki shared the message with Russia from behind the White House podium. Blinken had a phone call with Lavrov yesterday, where he reiterated the US commitment and openness to a diplomatic path forward.

Blinken urged immediate Russian de-escalation and the withdrawal of troops and equipment from Ukraine’s borders, and he was clear that further invasion of Ukraine would be met with swift and severe consequences and urged Russia to pursue a diplomatic path. 

On a quick visit to Kiev, UK’s PM Boris Johnson warned that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would lead to a military and humanitarian disaster. He denied the US and the UK were exaggerating the scale of the Russian threat, saying they were not trying to “big up” the intelligence. “The grim reality” was that Russian troops were “massing on Ukraine’s border. This is a clear and present danger,” he said, adding that the troop concentration was “perhaps the biggest demonstration of hostility to Ukraine in our lifetimes,” saying it dwarfed the Russian forces mounted before the invasion in 2014. He said, by holding a gun to the head of the Ukrainian people, the Russian president was trying to get the west to dismantle the new security architecture set up after the fall of the Berlin Wall. He said the UK was trying to bring the west together, saying this crisis is about something bigger than Ukraine. “[Putin] is trying to redraw the security map of Europe and to impose a new Yalta, new zones of influence. It would not just be Ukraine that was brought back into the Russian zone of influence. It would be Georgia and Moldova and other countries. This is absolutely critical, this moment.”  UK is offering nearly $90 million in aid to help Ukraine tackle corruption and reduce its reliance on Russian energy.

Across the pond, in the UK, the fallout from Sue Gray’s initial findings into lockdown parties at No 10. Downing Street continues. The biggest intrigue at the moment is one of 12 parties being investigated by the Metropolitan Police that took place on the 13th of November in 2020. What went down? Carrie Johnson was celebrating the firing of Dominic Cummings, and the word in the Whitehall is, Cummings has receipts.

“Churchill established the principle country fairs, constituency second, party third. Right now the Tory party has slipped so much it is party first and country last. Party second and party third. Until the country sees backbench MPs have started to think about the country, they are never going to come back to the Tory party,” said Peter Kyle MP on Politics Live. 

And that’s a wrap for this Wednesday 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...