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Biden news - live: President’s voting rights push collapses as SC rejects Trump bid to hide Jan 6 documents

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President Joe Biden has given his first press conference of 2022 in which he promoted his administration’s achievements over its first year.

The almost two-hour presidential question-and-answer session came as Mr Biden’s approval rating is sitting at just 40 per cent on the eve of the one-year anniversary of his inauguration.

A new poll from Morning Consult/Politico showed that 56 per cent of respondents disapproved of his job performance so far, while 68 per cent also felt the US was moving in the wrong direction.

Defending his stalled agenda, Mr Biden said he did not feel he had over-promised and is confident that big chunks of his “Build Back Better” package could still pass Congress.

Mr Biden took a dig at the GOP, asking “what are Republicans for” as they continue to obstruct progress on his agenda and are beholden to Donald Trump.

On Russia, Mr Biden said he did not think Vladimir Putin wants a full-blown war but he thought that he may move in on Ukraine and would be made to pay a price for any move.

Shortly after the press conference wrapped up, the announcement came from the Supreme Court that in an 8-1 decision, the justices turned down former President Trump’s request to block the release of files relating to the January 6 Capitol riot from the National Archives.

Key points

  • Biden: ‘I didn’t over-promise’

  • ‘Big chunks’ of Build Back Better package could pass Congress, says Biden

  • New poll shows Biden approval rating at 40 per cent

  • Supreme Court allows release of January 6 Trump White House docs

Trump held ‘secret meetings’ in days before riots

14:36 , Harriet Sinclair

Donald Trump held secret meetings in the days before the 6 January Capitol riots, according to former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham. Jade Bremner reports.

Trump held ‘secret meetings’ before 6 January, says former press secretary

Biden’s marathon news conference represents ‘quite the change’

13:00 , Thomas Fenton

President Joe Biden’s two-hour-long news conference on Wednesday evening was his lengthiest by far, the significance of which was picked up by several journalists who were present.

“Pres Biden, in the longest news conference in presidential history, made news, pushed back on critics, called out lies, took responsibility for mistakes he believes he made, expressed surprise at GOP, talked foreign policy and didn’t lash out on reporters,” PBS anchor Yamiche Alcindor wrote on Twitter.

She went on to state that this represented “Quite the change” from his previous conferences.

The White House moves quickly to clarify Biden’s ‘minor incursion’ remark

12:00 , Thomas Fenton

The White House scrambled to correct one of President Joe Biden’s gaffes on Wednesday after he suggested Russia would not face sanctions over a “minor incursion” into Ukraine.

Press Secretary Jen Psaki insisted that any Russian military campaign would be met with a “swift, severe and united response” amid mounting fears of an invasion.

“President Biden has been clear with the Russian President: If any Russian military forces move across the Ukrainian border, that’s a renewed invasion, and it will be met with a swift, severe, and united response from the United States and our Allies,” Ms Psaki said in a statement.

“President Biden also knows from long experience that the Russians have an extensive playbook of aggression short of military action, including cyberattacks and paramilitary tactics.

“And he affirmed today that those acts of Russian aggression will be met with a decisive, reciprocal, and united response.”

Biden’s approval rating hits new low at one year mark in AP-NORC poll

11:02 , Thomas Fenton

President Joe Biden ends his first year in the White House with a clear majority of Americans for the first time disapproving of his handling of the presidency in the face of an unrelenting pandemic and roaring inflation, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

More Americans disapprove than approve of how Biden is handling his job as president, 56% to 43%. As of now, just 28% of Americans say they want Biden to run for re-election in 2024, including only 48% of Democrats.

Asked on Wednesday at a wide-ranging news conference about his flagging popularity, Biden responded, “I don’t believe the polls.”

It’s a stark reversal from early in Biden’s presidency.

Read more:

Biden approval hits new low at one year mark: AP-NORC poll

ICYMI - Joe Biden shrugs off question on ‘mental fitness’ from Newsmax reporter

10:31 , Thomas Fenton

President Joe Biden shrugged off a right-wing television reporter’s question about a recent poll showing that many Americans are questioning whether he is mentally sharp enough to be president.

Speaking at his second White House press conference since taking office on Wednesday, Mr Biden was asked by Newsmax White House reporter James Rosen about a recent poll conducted by Politico which found 48 per cent of respondents disagreeing with the statement: “Joe Biden is mentally fit”.

In response, Mr Biden quipped that he would let the press corps “make the judgement of whether they’re correct”.

Andrew Feinberg reports:

Joe Biden shrugs off question on ‘mental fitness’ from conservative reporter

Biden predicts Russia will attack Ukraine but warns Putin of a ‘stiff price’

09:25 , Eleanor Sly

Joe Biden has said he thinks Russia will make a move on Ukraine, warning Moscow it would face a “stiff price” for an attack yet suggesting that a “minor incursion” might be treated differently by the US and its allies.

The US president’s comments at a White House news conference on Wednesday injected uncertainty into how the West would respond should Russian President Vladimir Putin order an invasion of Ukraine.

The White House later clarified that any Russian military action would be met with a “swift, severe” response.

Alexandra Alper reports:

Biden predicts Russia will attack Ukraine but warns Putin of a ‘stiff price’

‘This is a moral moment’: Warnock tells senators ‘history is watching us’ as voting rights bill collapses

08:45 , Eleanor Sly

Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock – a senior pastor at Georgia’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr preached up until his death – issued a pointed rebuke at his Senate colleagues who have invoked the words of the late civil rights leader while obstructing the passage of a bill to protect and expand voting rights.

“You cannot honour Martin Luther King and work to dismantle his legacy at the same time,” he said.

He continued: “I will not sit quietly while some make Dr King the victim of identity theft … You do not get to offer praises in memory of Dr King and then marshal the same kinds of states rights arguments that were used against Dr King and against the civil rights movement.”

Alex Woodward has more:

Raphael Warnock tells senators ‘history is watching’ as voting rights bill collapses

Vice president Kamala Harris: ‘The United States Senate must do everything in its power to protect the right to vote'

07:59 , Eleanor Sly

The vice president of the United States Kamala Harris posted a video on Twitter, The United States Senate must do everything in its power to protect the right to vote.

Ms Harris wrote on Twitter: “The United States Senate must do everything in its power to protect the right to vote”

And added in the video: “Be sure: history is watching and I know the American people are watching.”

“It is fundamental to our democracy and it is non-negotiable”

Biden leans over microphone and slowly whispers response

06:58 , Arpan Rai

In an unusual sight, president Joe Biden on Wednesday replied to a journalist by leaning into his microphone during the press conference, in what appeared to be an attempt to underline his concern.

The journalist had asked Mr Biden’s response to the “parents that are at odds about closing schools and remote learning”

In a normal tone, the president says: “First of all I will put into perspective what you asked,” he said.

He then leaned over the microphone and whispered: “Very few schools are closing.”

“I don’t think it’s deliberate on your part, but you phrase the question so that anyone watching the television will think ‘my god, all these schools must be closing. What are we going to do?’”

“95% are still open.”

Watch the video here

Biden says he doesn’t believe in polls as his ratings drop

06:29 , Arpan Rai

Joe Biden said he does not trust the public opinion polls which have been suggesting that his approval ratings are on a downward trend among moderates and independents.

“I don’t believe the polls,” Mr Biden said after he was asked about his plans to again woo the moderates and independents who elected him to power in 2020 but are not impressed with his job performance.

The latest Gallup figures show the president’s approval rating has dipped from 61 per cent to 33 per cent in the year since he took office in January 2021.

Several reasons have been pointed to for the drop, including rising Covid-19 cases, a surging inflation rate and the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan led by the US military.

The ratings have now reached a point where they match the ratings of his predecessor Donald Trump at the same time in his term.

Mr Biden has the second-lowest approval rating of any president after one year in office. Only Mr Trump reached a lower figure.

Five Republicans secretly back Democrat agenda, says Biden

05:43 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden asserted on Wednesday that five GOP members of the US Senate who have told him privately that they would support parts of his agenda were it not for their fears of primary challengers supported by former President Donald Trump.

The president said that the problem was an example of how Mr Trump was “intimidating an entire party”.

“I’ve had five Republican senators...who have told me they agree with whatever I am talking about for them to do. ‘But Joe, if I do it, I am going to be defeated in the primary.’ We have to break that. It’s got to change,” he explained.

John Bowden reports.

Biden says Trump ‘intimidating entire party’ and five Republicans back Democrats

Biden’s first press conference of 2022 was quietly devastating

05:36 , Arpan Rai

In this Voices piece, Holly Baxter explains what Wednesday’s news conference can teach us about Joe Biden’s relationships with the likes of Republican Mitch McConnell — and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Read here

Trump claims Biden was reading his answers — he wasn’t

05:01 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump has falsely claimed that Joe Biden was “reading” his answers to “softball” questions during his White House press conference.

Mr Biden spoke for almost two hours as he touted his successes during a “year of challenges” and said that his administration had made “enormous progress.”

But that was not good enough for his predecessor, who put out a bizarre statement criticising Mr Biden and the journalists taking part.

Graeme Massie reports.

Trump falsely claims Biden was ‘reading’ answers at his news conference

Biden moving too slow on Middle East peace, says Palestinian minister

04:18 , Arpan Rai

A top Palestinian minister has criticised Joe Biden for moving too slowly in reversing harmful Trump-era policies concerning the Israel-Palestine conflict, and not using the US’s ties to pressure Israel into rowing back “its rejection of a two-state solution and peace negotiations”.

Foreign minister Riad Malki told the UN Security Council that the end of Donald Trump’s administration and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration signalled hopes that they would be “enough to pave the way for renewed momentum for peace”.

Mr Malki accused the Biden administration of acting slowly in reversing several “unlawful and ill-advised” policies of his predecessor. He added that Mr Biden had been slow on acting on the US commitment to reopen the US consulate in east Jerusalem that can restore Washington’s primary diplomatic mission for the Palestinians in the disputed city.

The Palestinians thought, the minister said, that after Mr Biden entered the White House a year ago, he “could try to move the Israeli position toward us”.

“But we have seen that the Israeli position has been able to move the American position a little bit towards them — and this is really what troubles us very much.”

Mr Malki added that Washington is yet to pressure the current Israeli government into renouncing its colonial policies and abandon its rejection of the two-state solution and peace negotiations.

“This is an unacceptable stance that should neither be tolerated nor excused and must be reversed,” he said.

Biden defends agenda as voting rights heads for a likely failure

04:15 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden defended his first year in office at a press conference as Democrats’ voting rights bill is set to fail because of objections within his own party.

As Mr Biden was delivering a news conference in the East Room, Senate Democrats’ plan to enact a talking filibuster as a means to end the stalemate on passing a new version of the Voting Rights Act was headed to a failure because of the objections of Sen Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

Mr Manchin’s opposition to Mr Biden’s proposed Build Back Better act effectively killed the bill in the iteration that passed the House of Representatives.

Eric Garcia reports.

Biden defends agenda as voting rights heads for a likely failure

Biden on the Senate vote on voting rights: ‘Disappointed — but not deterred’

04:03 , Arpan Rai

President Biden on Thursday released a statement on the senate vote on voting rights.

He said: “At the core of our democracy is a basic principle: the right to vote, and to have that vote counted. That principle was assaulted one year ago, when a violent mob attempted a coup seeking to overturn the will of the people. And today, in state after state, Republican state legislatures are engaged in an unprecedented effort to suppress the sacred right to vote and subvert the American bedrock of free and fair elections.

“In the face of those threats, I am profoundly disappointed that the United States Senate has failed to stand up for our democracy. I am disappointed — but I am not deterred.

“My Administration will never stop fighting to ensure that the heart and soul of our democracy — the right to vote — is protected at all costs. We will continue to work with allies to advance necessary legislation to protect the right to vote. And to push for Senate procedural changes that will protect the fundamental right to vote.

“As dangerous new Republican laws plainly designed to suppress and subvert voting rights proliferate in states across the country, we will explore every measure and use every tool at our disposal to stand up for democracy. The Vice President will continue to lead this effort, as she has for the past year.”

Biden shrugs off question on ‘mental fitness’

03:30 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden shrugged off a right-wing television reporter’s question about a recent poll showing that many Americans are questioning whether he is mentally sharp enough to be president.

Speaking at his second White House press conference since taking office on Wednesday, Mr Biden was asked by Newsmax White House reporter James Rosen about a recent poll conducted by Politico which found 48 per cent of respondents disagreeing with the statement: “Joe Biden is mentally fit”.

In response, Mr Biden quipped that he would let the press corps “make the judgement of whether they’re correct”.

Andrew Feinberg has the story.

Joe Biden shrugs off question on ‘mental fitness’ from conservative reporter

Supreme Court allows release of Trump White House Capitol riot docs

02:44 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump can’t block the release of White House documents about the 6 January riot at the US Capitol, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.

The House committee investigating the insurrection has been battling the former president for access to the records, which include diaries and visitor logs.

Mr Trump had argued the materials, now stored in the National Archives, should be kept confidential under executive privilege.

Josh Marcus reports.

Supreme Court allows release of Trump White House docs to January 6 committee

Voices: We learned a lot about Biden’s relationships with Putin and McConnell

02:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Holly Baxter gives her take on what was revealed in today’s presidential press conference.

Biden’s first press conference of 2022 was quietly devastating

Jan 6 committee subpoenas far-right ‘groypers’

01:32 , Oliver O'Connell

The House select committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January, 2021 has issued subpoenas for Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey, nationalist organisers who amplified baseless election conspiracy theories at several rallies in Washington DC.

Mr Fuentes, a self-described “white majoritarian” who supported the insurrection and was removed from several social media platforms for hate speech, is a prominent streamer and leader in the “groyper” movement of young reactionary far-right nationalists.

Mr Casey is a leader with the white nationalist American Identity Movement.

Alex Woodward reports,

Jan 6 committee subpoenas far-right ‘groypers’ Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey

Biden says Trump is ‘intimidating an entire party’

01:10 , Oliver O'Connell

Joe Biden asserted on Wednesday that five GOP members of the US Senate who have told him privately that they would support parts of his agenda were it not for their fears of primary challengers, writes John Bowden.

Biden says Trump ‘intimidating entire party’ and five Republicans back Democrats

Trump falsely claims Biden was ‘reading’ answers

00:55 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump has falsely claimed that Joe Biden was “reading” his answers to “softball” questions during his White House press conference.

Mr Biden spoke for almost two hours as he touted his successes during a “year of challenges” and said that his administration had made “enormous progress.”

But that was not good enough for his predecessor, who put out a bizarre statement criticising Mr Biden and the journalists taking part.

Graeme Massie reports.

Trump falsely claims Biden was ‘reading’ answers at his news conference

Biden attacks GOP for blocking his agenda in news conference

00:39 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden on Wednesday hit out at Republicans for acting to block his agenda without offering any alternative solutions to the problems his administration is trying to address.

Speaking at a White House news conference on the eve of his one-year anniversary in office, Mr Biden told reporters he was caught off guard by the vehemence of the GOP’s opposition to anything and everything he has proposed, and by their singleminded effort to ensure his presidency fails.

The Independent’s Andrew Feinberg reports from Washington, DC.

Biden attacks GOP for blocking his agenda in news conference

5 takeaways from Biden’s press conference

00:31 , Oliver O'Connell

Obstructionist GOP lawmakers, Covid, senility, voter supression, and breaking up BBB — Andrew Feinberg reports.

Five takeaways from Joe Biden’s second news conference

Biden on Putin: Russian leader to pay ‘dear price’ if he invades Ukraine

00:23 , Oliver O'Connell

Joe Biden has claimed he knows what Russian leader Vladimir Putin is seeking from the Ukraine crisis, before stopping himself short and declaring: “I probably shouldn’t go any further.”

In a series of responses to questions during his first press conference during 2022, Mr Biden said he believed the Russian leader did not want “a full-blown war”.

Andrew Buncombe reports.

‘I probably shouldn’t go any further’: Biden’s frank description of what Putin wants

Biden defends invoking segregationists in voting rights speech

00:09 , Oliver O'Connell

The president told a reporter to “go back and read what I said.”

“Tell me if you think I called anyone who voted on the side of the position taken by Bull Connor that they were Bull Connor,” Mr Biden said in his first solo press conference of the new year. “That is an interesting reading of English. I assume you got into journalism because you like to write.”

Alex Woodward has the story.

Biden defends voting rights speech against right-wing outrage

Supreme Court allows release of January 6 Trump White House docs

Wednesday 19 January 2022 23:55 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump can’t block the release of White House documents about the 6 January riot at the US Capitol, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.

The House committee investigating the insurrection has been battling the former president for access to the records, which include diaries and visitor logs.

Mr Trump had argued the materials, now stored in the National Archives, should be kept confidential under executive privilege.

Josh Marcus reports.

Supreme Court allows release of Trump White House docs to January 6 committee

Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Russian Aggression Towards Ukraine

Wednesday 19 January 2022 23:48 , Oliver O'Connell

President Biden has been clear with the Russian President: If any Russian military forces move across the Ukrainian border, that’s a renewed invasion, and it will be met with a swift, severe, and united response from the United States and our Allies. President Biden also knows from long experience that the Russians have an extensive playbook of aggression short of military action, including cyberattacks and paramilitary tactics. And he affirmed today that those acts of Russian aggression will be met with a decisive, reciprocal, and united response.

‘Big chunks’ of Build Back Better package could pass Congress, says Biden

Wednesday 19 January 2022 23:42 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden said he is confident that large parts of his proposed Build Back Better law can pass through the Senate despite opposition from Sen Joe Manchin.

“I’m confident we will get pieces, big chunks, of the Build Back Better law signed into law,” he told reporters in a news conference on Wednesday. “And I’m confident that we can take the case to the American people that the people they should be voting for who are going to oversee elections are in fact legit or not should not be those who are being put up by the Republicans to determine that they’re going to be able to change the outcome of the elections.”

Eric Garcia reports for The Independent from Washington, DC.

Biden says he is confident “big chunks” of Build Back Better could signed

Jan 6 Committee subpoenas Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey

Wednesday 19 January 2022 23:33 , Oliver O'Connell

The January 6 Committee wants testimony and documents from Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey, “two witnesses who promoted unsupported claims about the 2020 election and were present on the Capitol grounds on January 6th”.

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