NEW ROUND OF TALKS BETWEEN UKRAINE AND RUSSIA SET FOR TODAY: A new round of talks between Ukraine and Russia is set for today (March 29th) in Istanbul in hopes of ending the war. This comes as the fighting appears stalemated, according to AP, even as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address to the nation last night that Ukrainian forces had retaken control of Irpin, a suburb of the capital of Kyiv, from Russian forces. AP cited a senior U.S. defense official as saying it’s believed Ukraine had also retaken control of the eatern town of Trostyanets, while Russian forces were making little progress.
Meanwhile, President Biden said Monday that he hadn’t been calling for regime change in Russia when he said at the end of his speech in Poland Saturday that President Vladimir Putin, quote, “cannot remain in power.” He said, “I was expressing the moral outrage that I felt toward this man. I wasn’t articulating a policy change.” At the same time, Biden also said he wasn’t, quote, “walking anything back,” and would make “no apologies.” Biden further said he was expressing a, quote, “aspiration,” stating, “People like this shouldn’t be ruling countries. But they do. The fact they do doesn’t mean I can’t express my outrage about it.”
Leading Russian Newspaper Suspends Operations: Russia’s leading independent newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, suspended operations Monday after coming under pressure from Russian authorities, saying it will be closed for the duration of the war in Ukraine, referring to it using, in quotations, the “special operation” term Russian authorities insist media use. The newspaper, whose editor, Dmitry Muratov, won the Nobel Peace Prize less than six months ago for the paper’s courageous reporting in difficult circumstances, was the last major independent media outlet critical of Putin’s government after others either shut down or had their websites blocked since the invasion began.
HOUSE JAN. 6TH COMMITTEE VOTES TO HOLD NAVARRO, SCAVINO IN CONTEMPT: The House committee investigating the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol voted unanimously last night (March 28th) to hold Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino, former advisers to Donald Trump, in contempt for Congress for refusing to comply with the committee’s subpoenas. The recommendation for criminal charges for Navarro, who was a trade adviser to then-President Trump, and Scavino, who was a Trump White House communications aide, now goes to the full House, where it’s likely to be approved by the Democratic-led chamber. After that, it would go to the Justice Department, which would make the final decision on prosecution. Members last night also appealed again to Attorney General Merrick Garland for action, as he hasn’t yet decided whether to pursue contempt charges sent by the House in December for former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
Meanwhile, a federal judge yesterday ordered the release to the committee of more than 100 emails from former Trump lawyer John Eastman. Eastman has claimed attorney-client privilege. In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge David Carter said it is, quote, “more likely than not” that Trump committed crimes in his attempt to stop the certification of Joe Biden‘s victory in the 2020 presidential election.
AT LEAST THREE KILLED IN PA HIGHWAY COLLISION INVOLVING DOZENS OF VEHICLES AMID SNOW SQUALL: At least three people were killed and more than a dozen injured yesterday (March 28th) in a collision on a Pennsylvania highway during a snow squall involving dozens of vehicles, including tractor trailers. The Schuylkill County Office of Emergency Management said the pile-up on Interstate 81 in northeast Pennsylvania happened around 10:30 a.m., with officials believing a snow squall affected visibility. Estimates of the number of vehicles involved ranged between 40 and 60, and some of the vehicles caught on fire, including three tractor trailers.
SUPREME COURT’S THOMAS PARTICIPATES IN ARGUMENTS REMOTELY AFTER HOSPITAL STAY: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas participated in arguments remotely via phone yesterday (March 28th) following his nearly week-long hospital stay. The 73-year-old Thomas asked several questions during the arguments in a case involving a federal law meant to protect railroad workers. Thomas missed all three days of arguments last week while he was hospitalized, being treated for what was described as an infection after he was admitted with flu-like symptoms. The high court said Thomas did not have Covid-19. He was released from the hospital on Friday, three days later than it had originally been said he would be.