News Headlines 2/7/22

FRENCH PREZ TO RUSSIA, GERMAN LEADER TO U.S. AMID CONTINUED HIGH TENSIONS OVER UKRAINE: French President Emmanuel Macron will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow today (February 7th) as part of the continuing effort to de-escalate the continued high tension over fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Before leaving for Russia, Macron spoke by phone yesterday with President Biden, and he will then head to Ukraine on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Germany’s new leader, Chancellor Olaf Scholz, will be in Washington today, meeting with Biden and members of Congress as he seeks to reassure the U.S. that his country stands with them and other NATO allies against any Russian aggression toward Ukraine. Germany has faced criticism for refusing to supply Ukraine with lethal weapons, but Scholz said they are doing their part by giving Ukraine significant economic support.

Amid these developments, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on several Sunday morning news shows yesterday that Russia could invade Ukraine, quote, “any day,” stating, “If war breaks out, it will come at an enormous human cost to Ukraine, but we believe that based on our preparations and our response, it will come at a strategic cost to Russia as well.” His remarks came the day after U.S. officials confirmed Russia has assembled at least 70 percent of the military firepower it likely intends to have in place by the middle of the month to give Putin the option of launching an invasion.

OTTAWA DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY OVER ONGOING PROTESTS: Ottawa’s mayor declared a state of emergency in Canada’s capital city yesterday (February 6th) because of ongoing Covid-19 mandate and restriction protests that have paralyzed the downtown area. Mayor Jim Watson said the declaration gives the city some additional powers that could help buy equipment needed by frontline workers and first responders, but that it highlights the need for support from other jurisdictions and levels of government. About one hundred protesters had remained in Ottawa since last weekend’s
“truck convoy” protests, but thousands more descended on the city again over the weekend. Residents are angry about horns being blared non-stop, the blocking of traffic, and harassment by the protesters. Some U.S. Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, have expressed support for the protest, which Ontario Premier Doug Ford has called an occupation and the police chief a “siege.” 

AP: RAMPANT SEX ABUSE BY CORRECTIONS OFFICERS AT FEDERAL WOMEN’S PRISON: An Associated Press investigation has found what it called a “permissive and toxic culture” at the women’s federal correctional institution in Dublin, California, where inmates say they’ve been victimized by rampant sexual abuse by correctional officers and even the warden, and threatened or punished when they tried to report it. Reflecting the years of sexual misconduct and abuse, AP said both prisoners and workers at the facility call it “the rape club.” The report said the allegations have resulted in four arrests so far. 

PENCE’S EX-CHIEF OF STAFF SAYS TRUMP GOT ADVICE FROM ‘SNAKE OIL SALESMEN’ ABOUT ELECTION: Marc Short, who was former Vice President Mike Pence‘s chief of staff, said on NBC’s Meet the Press yesterday (February 6th) that former President Donald Trump got advice from, quote, “snake oil salesman” who falsely told him Pence could overturn the 2020 election results. Short stated, “Unfortunately, the president had many bad advisers who were basically snake oil salesman giving him really random and novel ideas as to what the vice president could do.” He continued, “I believe that Joe Biden is the duly elected president of the United States. The reality is that there was not enough significant fraud that was presented that would have overturned any of those states’ elections.” Short’s remarks come two days after Pence said in speech to the conservative Federalist Society that Trump was wrong in saying the vice president has the power to overturn an election.