Biden news today: President knocks Matt Gaetz over Ukraine criticism while touting new Russia sanctions

Obama jokingly calls Biden ‘vice president’ on return to White House

In a barnstorming speech to North America’s Building Trades Unions conference, President Joe Biden touted new sanctions against Russia and, without naming him, mocked Rep Matt Gaetz over his cross-examination of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

The president received standing ovations for his remarks on the economy, jobs, and unions, also taking a jab at Amazon’s stance on workplace organizing, and his predecessor over taxes (he also went unnamed). Mr Biden rounded out his speech by announcing a $20bn investment in public transit — the largest in US history.

Earlier, Republicans and conservative commentators were condemned for circulating misleadingly edited clips that purport to show the president being humiliatedly ignored in favor of Barack Obama at a White House event yesterday.

Mr Obama was making his first public speech at the executive mansion since he left office — a celebration of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Mr Biden announced changes to the healthcare program that could see as many as 200,000 uninsured Americans become eligible for coverage.

Asked about advice for Democrats worried about the midterm elections this year, Mr Obama says that they have a story to tell, they “just got to tell it”.

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‘Amazon, here we come’

Following Amazon workers’ successful union election in New York, marking the first-ever US union within the tech and retail giant, President Joe Biden underscored worker protections “to make sure the choice to join a union belongs to workers alone.”

“By the way: Amazon, here we come,” he said in remarks to North America’s Building Trades Unions Legislative Conference on April 6.

The room burst into cheers, as he then urged members of Congress to pass the Pro Act, a stalled measure that would expand labor protections related to employees’ rights to organize and collectively bargain in the workplace.

Oliver O’Connell7 April 2022 04:00

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ICYMI: Biden vows to ‘ratchet up the pain’ on Russia

US President Joe Biden on Wednesday vowed to “rachet up the pain” for Russian president Vladimir Putin with a new package of penalties meant to “dramatically escalate” the “financial shock” that has been levied against Moscow since Mr Putin ordered an unprovoked invasion of in February.

According to a senior administration official who briefed reporters on the latest actions against Mr Putin and his government, Mr Biden will sign an executive order which will add Mr Putin’s two adult daughters — Maria and Katerina — as well as Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s wife and children and members of Russia’s security council to the list of officials who’ve faced personal sanctions as a result of the invasion.

He will also levy “full blocking sanctions” on Sberbank — Russia’s largest financial institution — and the largest private bank in Russia, Alfa Bank, and impose a ban on any new US investment in Russia.

Oliver O’Connell7 April 2022 03:15

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Ohio GOP lawmakers introduce ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill also targeting race lessons

Republican legislators in Ohio have introduced what opponents have called “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, mirroring a Florida law that critics warn will have a chilling effect on LGBT+ students, teachers and their families.

The bill goes further to include school prohibitions against “divisive or inherently racist concepts” including “critical race theory” as well as “diversity, equity, and inclusion learning outcomes,” including professional development initiatives for teachers and school staff.

Oliver O’Connell7 April 2022 02:30

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Judge issues first outright acquittal of Jan 6 riot defendant

A judge has issued the first acquittal of a defendant in the January 6 riot after a federal defense contractor claimed that police had waved him into the US Capitol.

New Mexico engineer Matthew Martin was found not guilty of four misdemeanor charges following a two-day bench trial before US District Court Judge Trevor McFadden, having rejected a jury trial.

Graeme Massie has the story.

Oliver O’Connell7 April 2022 01:45

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Report: FBI has hundreds of names of Capitol riot suspects but DOJ needs more lawyers

The US Justice Department has been busy for more than a year tracking down and prosecuting participants in the Capitol riot, but is now facing an unprecedented problem; it doesn’t have enough lawyers to carry out the prosecutions.

NBC News reports that more than 775 supporters of Donald Trump who stormed the Capitol on January 6 have been arrested. More than 225 people have pleaded guilty thus far, and two have been convicted during a trial. More than 50 have been sentenced to prison.

Oliver O’Connell7 April 2022 01:00

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‘Maggot-infested’ Tom Cotton and ‘fascism’ of GOP ripped by Dem Party chair

The chair of the Democratic Party went on the attack and told voters that the Republican Party’s embrace of “fraud, fear and fascism” should not be rewarded with a return to power in Washington.

DNC chair Jamie Harrison made the comments during an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joetaking specific aim at GOP Sen Tom Cotton of Arkansas whose criticism of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson was widely criticized as cheap and based on a willful misreading of her past work.

John Bowden has the story from Washington, DC.

Oliver O’Connell7 April 2022 00:29

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House votes to hold Trump aides Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino in contempt of Congress

The House of Representatives voted 220-203 to refer two more ex-Trump White House aides for prosecution on criminal contempt of Congress charges for defying subpoenas to produce documents and give evidence before the select committee investigating the 6 January insurrection.

Just two Republicans — select committee members Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois — joined 218 Democrats on Wednesday to approve a resolution holding former Deputy White House Chief of Staff Daniel Scavino and ex-National Trade Council director Peter Navarro in contempt and recommending they be prosecuted for refusing to heed subpoenas issued as part of the nine-member panel’s probe into the worst attack on the US Capitol since Major General Robert Ross ordered British troops to set it ablaze in 1814.

Andrew Feinberg and Eric Garcia report from Washington, DC.

Oliver O’Connell7 April 2022 00:11

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GOP prepares to target Hunter Biden with congressional investigations

Republicans are signaling an interest in litigating Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings through the power of Congress’s investigative mandate should the GOP retake control of one or both houses of Congress later this year.

A GOP congressman set to chair the House Oversight Committee, which has broad powers to investigate governmental affairs, told Politico in a recent interview that his committee will be “all over” Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings if he chairs the influential panel next year.

“The House Oversight Committee is going to be all over Hunter Biden,” said Rep James Comer.

Oliver O’ConnellApril 6, 2022 11:30 p.m.

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AOC confident that GOP immigration provisions won’t be in Covid relief bill

The Independent‘s Eric Garcia spoke with Ms Ocasio-Cortez at the US Capitol.

Oliver O’Connell6 April 2022 23:00

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White House: US facing up to $2 trillion bill each year from climate crisis by 2100

Failing to take action on the climate crisis and surrendering to a worsening spiral of wildfires, heatwaves, flooding, and extreme storms, could leave the federal government with an annual bill of $2 trillion by the end of the century, according to new federal analysis.

Louise Boyle, senior climate correspondent, reports for The Independent.

Oliver O’ConnellApril 6, 2022, 10:44 p.m.

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