National security adviser visits Kyiv as US announces $400m in aid to Ukraine – live | US politics


National security adviser visited Ukraine as Washington announces another $400m in weapons: White House

National security adviser Jake Sullivan visited Kyiv on Friday to “underscore the United States’ steadfast support to Ukraine” while announcing a $400 mn infusion in new weapons, including tanks and drones, the White House announced.

“National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, head of the office of the president Andriy Yermak, Minister of Defense Reznikov, and others in Kyiv today to underscore the United States’ steadfast support to Ukraine and its people as they defend their sovereignty and territorial integrity,” national security council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement.

“To that end, Mr Sullivan announced an additional $400m security assistance package, which includes refurbished T-72 tanks, unmanned aerial vehicles, and the refurbishment of 250 HAWK surface to air missiles for eventual transfer to Ukraine. He also affirmed the continued provision of economic and humanitarian assistance, as well as ongoing efforts with partners to hold Russia accountable for its aggression.”

Key events

Supreme court to hear Navajo Nation water case

The US Supreme Court has said says it will hear a water dispute involving the American government and the Navajo Nation.

AP has the details:

The high court said Friday it would review a lower court ruling in favor of the Navajo Nation, which spans parts of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico.

The government signed treaties with the Navajo Nation in 1849 and 1868 that established the reservation. It was later expanded westward to the Colorado River, which forms the reservation’s western boundary.

At issue in the case is water from the Colorado River, which itself is shrinking in part because of overuse and drought.

The case dates back to 2003, when the tribe sued, alleging that the federal government in its Colorado River projects had failed to consider or protect water rights of the tribe. Most recently, a trial court dismissed the case but a federal appeals court allowed it to proceed. The federal government is challenging that result.

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The case of David DePape, who is accused of attacking Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul Pelosi last week, is beginning its journey through the court system, and the Associated Press reports the judge presiding over the opening proceedings disclosed a connection to the Pelosi family.

Loretta “Lori” Giorgi, a superior court judge in San Francisco, said in a hearing today that she worked with Christine Pelosi in the San Francisco city attorney’s office in the 1990s. Christine is one of Nancy Pelosi’s five adult children, the AP said. While there was no immediate effect on the trial, the disclosure could lead to either the defense or prosecution moving to have another judge take the case.

Here’s more from the AP:

In court filings released earlier this week, officials said DePape broke into the home, carrying zip ties, tape and a rope in a backpack. He woke up Paul Pelosi and demanded to talk to “Nancy,” who was out of town. Two officers who raced to the home after Paul Pelosi’s 911 call witnessed DePape hit him in the head with the hammer.

No one objected during Friday’s hearing to Giorgi’s ties to the Pelosi family but either side could in the future and San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said the case might be heard by another judge regardless. The public defender’s office did not immediately have a comment.

“I do want to make a disclosure on the record that the daughter of Mr. Pelosi, Christine Pelosi, and I were in the city attorney’s office together in the 90s,” Giorgi told the court. “And I have disclosed to counsel the interactions that I had when she and I were together. I haven’t seen or heard or talked to Ms. Pelosi after she left the office. I do see her here today.”

Giorgi worked in the city attorney’s office from 1985 to 2006, when she was appointed to the bench. She rose to the rank of deputy city attorney and was the office’s public integrity chief.

Christine Pelosi attended Friday’s hearing but seemed to leave through a back door in order to avoid media waiting in the hallway. She entered the courtroom right before the proceeding started and sat in the front row away from reporters.

National security adviser visited Ukraine as Washington announces another $400m in weapons: White House

National security adviser Jake Sullivan visited Kyiv on Friday to “underscore the United States’ steadfast support to Ukraine” while announcing a $400 mn infusion in new weapons, including tanks and drones, the White House announced.

“National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, head of the office of the president Andriy Yermak, Minister of Defense Reznikov, and others in Kyiv today to underscore the United States’ steadfast support to Ukraine and its people as they defend their sovereignty and territorial integrity,” national security council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement.

“To that end, Mr Sullivan announced an additional $400m security assistance package, which includes refurbished T-72 tanks, unmanned aerial vehicles, and the refurbishment of 250 HAWK surface to air missiles for eventual transfer to Ukraine. He also affirmed the continued provision of economic and humanitarian assistance, as well as ongoing efforts with partners to hold Russia accountable for its aggression.”

Joanna Walters

Joanna Walters

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes took the witness stand today in his seditious conspiracy trial, telling jurors he is a patriotic American as he tries to counter allegations that his far-right extremist group planned an armed rebellion to stop the transfer of presidential power, the Associated Press reports.

File picture of Stewart Rhodes outside the White House in 2017.
File picture of Stewart Rhodes outside the White House in 2017. Photograph: Susan Walsh/AP

Rhodes began his testimony after prosecutors spent weeks laying out evidence they say proves Rhodes was behind a violent far right plot to keep Democrat Joe Biden out of the White House and Republican Donald Trump in in 2021.

Rhodes’ decision to testify carries risks for him, opening the way for intense cross-examination from prosecutors, who will get a chance to question him after the trial resumes next week. Rhodes has yet to get into the details of January 6, when his followers pushed through a mob of Trump supporters to storm the Capitol in military-style stack formation.

Rhodes, wearing a dark suit and tie, faced jurors as he described his military experience and decision to start the Oath Keepers in 2009. Rhodes, whose stint as an Army paratrooper was cut short by a training accident, said he considers himself a patriotic person.

Rhodes portrayed the Oath Keepers as peaceful and disciplined despite a mountain of evidence showing him rallying his band of extremists to prepare for violence and discussing the prospect of a “bloody” civil war ahead of January 6. Asked whether he believed the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, Rhodes falsely described Biden’s victory as “unconstitutional” and “invalid.”

Members of the Oath Keepers on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Members of the Oath Keepers on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Photograph: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

“You really can’t have a winner of an unconstitutional election,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes’ trial is the biggest test so far for the Justice Department’s efforts to hold accountable those responsible for the attack on the Capitol, a violent assault that challenged the foundations of American democracy.

Rhodes, of Granbury, Texas, and his co-defendants are the first people arrested in the January 6 attack to stand trial on the charge of seditious conspiracy. The Civil War-era charge, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years behind bars upon conviction, is rarely brought and can be hard to prove.

Joanna Walters

Joanna Walters

Five days – that’s all we’ve got. That’s not a version of a David Bowie song, that was the message from US vice president Kamala Harris last night at a historic event to get out the vote for Democrats in New York.

“Everything is on the line,” Harris said, warning repeatedly that with five days to go until the midterm elections on Tuesday, the stakes are high but there’s still enough time to make a difference.

Five was also an interesting number from the point of view of the women leading the event, held at Barnard College, the private woman’s liberal arts college in uptown Manhattan that’s also part of the Columbia University family.

As Harris told the audience herself: “You’ve witnessed a lot of history on this stage this afternoon…a whole lot of firsts…yes, we may be the first, but we are committed to not being the last.”

The five firsts were the vice president herself, the first woman in that role.

She was headlining the event to get out the vote for New York state governor Kathy Hochul, the first woman in that role.

Other headliners were Hillary Clinton, the first woman to lead her party’s nomination for president, when she got close to winning the White House in 2016 but, catastrophically for Democrats, was beaten by Donald Trump.

And Letitia James, who’s the first woman in New York to be elected as attorney general, the first Black woman to be elected to statewide office in New York, and the first African American to serve as attorney general.

If you need a great job done, then give it to a woman.

I’ve done my job since you placed your trust in me, and so has @KathyHochul. We’re running for re-election to finish the work. Now it’s your turn. Go vote! pic.twitter.com/QXuWXpYxrq

— Tish James (@TishJames) November 3, 2022

Finally, the warm-up for the event was led by veteran New York congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, the first Puerto Rican woman to serve in the US Congress.

Joe Biden with New York congresswoman Nydia Velazquez after Hurricane Fiona smashed into Puerto Rico last month.
Joe Biden with New York congresswoman Nydia Velazquez after Hurricane Fiona smashed into Puerto Rico last month. Photograph: Thais Llorca/EPA

A week after the attack on her husband, Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi has struck an optimistic note about the party’s chances of hanging on to the House in the upcoming midterms, Punchbowl News reports.

“I believe that this race is very winnable. As I’ve said to you before, in the month of October, I was probably in 21 states, some of them more than once, twice, some of them three times. I’ve seen the enthusiasm, I’ve seen the determination, I’ve seen the courage of our candidates, the dedication of our grassroots,” Pelosi told supporters in a private event of which Punchbowl obtained a recording.

“The Republicans have put in tons of money against our candidates and cut our lead in some cases, but they have not taken this. These are races, in many cases, too close to call, in margin of error. But in every case, winnable because of the grassroots. And so I think that what we are doing is not only to win an election, but to strengthen our democracy.”

Democrats currently have a slim majority in Congress’s upper chamber, and would defy both historical trends and numerous polls if the manage to keep it. The party holding the White House tends to lose seats in their first midterm, while Republicans have the lead in enough race to regain a majority, according to poll aggregator FiveThirtyEight.

Pelosi also spoke about her husband Paul Pelosi’s recovery from Friday’s attack by a hammer wielding assailant who said he was looking for the speaker.

“It’s going to be a long haul, but he will be well, and it’s just so tragic how it happened. But nonetheless, we have to be optimistic. He’s surrounded by family. So that’s a wonderful thing,” she said.

The swing district most prone to swinging in all of the United States is located on Virginia’s coast, where Democratic House representative Elaine Luria is fighting for another term in office.

A former Navy commander who was part of the January 6 committee, Luria’s closing argument to voters is that she and other Democrats need to be re-elected if America’s democracy is to survive. Considering polls showing voters are this year most motivated by concerns over inflation, crime and abortion, it’s a risky strategy.

The Associated Press joined Luria on the campaign trail, and had this to say:

The Virginia Democrat, quoting the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, pointed toward the girl and said: “Our children are a window into the future that we will never see.” That future, Luria argued, will look much bleaker if her Republican challenger wins one of the most contested House races in the country.

In her first two congressional races, Luria, a former Navy commander, would more likely have been seen in settings with a military backdrop or theme. But this time she is in Suffolk, a new part of her district and one that has a Black population of 40% whose votes could well determine if she gets a third term.

“If Luria is going to have a chance at winning, she absolutely needs to win over Black voters,” said Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo, research director at the Wason Center at Christopher Newport University. “Even in our polling, we see that Black voters are more likely to say they’re undecided than white voters, and that suggests that there’s some vulnerability there for Luria and a need to reach out.”

Poll master Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report believes her re-election would be a sign that Tuesday may not be so bad of a night for Democrats:

Here’s my rough thinking early on Election Night:

– If #VA02 Luria (D) holds on, better night for Dems than expected
– If #IN01 Mrvan (D) or #VA07 Spanberger (D) lose, Rs likely winning 20+ seats
– If #NH02 Kuster (D) or #VA10 Wexton (D) lose, Rs likely winning 30+ seats https://t.co/XNIp07Sj0y

— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 4, 2022

A prime example of the tensions among Democrats over their message on the economy is the child tax credit.

Expanded last year as part of Joe Biden’s marquee American Rescue Plan spending bill to help the economy recover from the pandemic, the program lowered child poverty by sending monthly payments to many families. It expired at the end of 2021 after Democrats failed to agree on extending it, and HuffPost reports that the party is basically avoiding the subject on the campaign trail.

Here’s more from their report:

When it comes to economic policy, Democrats have been more likely to talk about the original Social Security ― the beloved retirement benefit for seniors ― than the monthly benefit parents received last year through the expanded child tax credit.

Democratic campaign ads have highlighted the party’s support for reducing costs for the middle class, and any mention of “middle class tax cuts” could semi-plausibly be a reference to the child tax credit, since the monthly payments the IRS sent out last year technically were, in fact, tax credits.

But out of hundreds of campaign ads this cycle, few mention the child tax credit by name. According to a new analysis of campaign ads published Thursday by the Wesleyan Media Project, just 0.2% of federal campaign ads in the general election have mentioned the child tax credit.

Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley hit his Democratic challenger, Mike Franken, for opposing the child tax credit because he favored repealing the 2017 Republican tax cuts, which expanded the credit before Democrats built on that expansion last year.

Another ad, from a super PAC boosting Evan McMullin, the independent challenging incumbent Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), calls out Lee for having opposed the Democratic child tax credit last year.

Neither of those got into any specifics about the child tax credit. From July through December, most parents in the U.S. received as much as $300 per child each month, a taste of the kind of child benefit that other developed countries have long provided. As a result of the payments, child poverty fell to nearly half its rate before the cash payments began.

But reducing child poverty, apparently, does not make great campaign fodder. The payments were modestly popular, but much less so than empowering Medicare to negotiate cheaper prescription drugs ― another, more recent Democratic policy achievement that has been the centerpiece of plenty of campaign ads.

The election isn’t even over, but something of a blame game has begun among Democrats over which tactics the party should have chosen in their quest to defy history and maintain their tiny majorities in Congress. In an interview with The Guardian’s Erum Salam, Bernie Sanders – an independent senator who caucuses with Democrats – weighs in on how the party could have better defended their record on the inflation-wracked economy:

Bernie Sanders has criticized Democrats for not doing enough to motivate voters around the economic issues that have an impact on everyday life, as he warned next week’s midterm elections are the most “consequential” in modern American history.

In an interview with the Guardian in Texas, the leftwing Vermont senator said: “Obviously, everybody should be turning out for what is the most consequential midterm election in the modern history of this country. Democracy is on the ballot. Women’s right to control their own bodies is on the ballot. Climate change is on the ballot, so everybody should come out.”

But Sanders said he worried “very much that Democrats have not done a good enough job of reaching out to young people and working-class people and motivating them to come out and vote in this election”.

Joanna Walters

Joanna Walters

Tom Barrack, a onetime private equity executive and fundraiser for former US president Donald Trump, was found not guilty by a jury on Friday of unlawfully acting as an agent of the United Arab Emirates, dealing a setback to the US Justice Department, Reuters writes.

Barrack was also acquitted of obstruction of justice and making false statements to FBI agents in 2019 about his interactions with Emirati officials and their representatives.

The verdict followed a six-week trial in federal court in Brooklyn. Barrack, who was prosecuted by the US attorney’s office in Brooklyn, had faced a total of nine criminal counts.

More when we get it.

Tom Barrack was acquitted on Friday. Here he is leaving Brooklyn Federal Court earlier this week.
Tom Barrack was acquitted on Friday. Here he is leaving Brooklyn federal court earlier this week. Photograph: John Minchillo/AP





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