10 Things in Politics: Biden issues warning to Putin

Good morning! Mark your calendars for April 28. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has formally invited President Biden to give his joint address on that night. If this was forwarded to you, sign up here. I’m Brent Griffiths. Send tips to [email protected] or tweet me @BrentGriffiths.

Here’s what we’re talking about today:

  • Biden issued a warning to Russian President Vladimir Putin
  • What you need to know about the temporary pause in Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 shots
  • Biden is set to announce his plan to end the war in Afghanistan

BIDEN’S RESET: Biden’s focus on Russia and China, while also planning to soon end America’s longest war, underlines his commitment to reframe foreign policy. 

The end of the war in Afghanistan: Later today, Biden is due to announce that he wants all US troops to withdraw from Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that started a war that is now older than some of those fighting it. 

  • The White House made clear the time has come to focus US attention elsewhere: “[T]he president has been consistent in his view that there’s not a military solution to Afghanistan, that we have been there for far too long,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters. “And he also believes we need to focus our resources on fighting the threats we face today, 20 years — almost 20 years after the war began.”

The new threats include repeated cyberattacks from Russia: Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin to de-escalate tensions as thousands of troops gathered on the Ukrainian border. Biden also proposed a new summit with Putin to discuss arms control and Russian cyberattacks and election interference.

  • Moscow’s icy words: Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called the US “our adversary” and warned America to stay away from Crimea.

China is expected to be a focus later this week: Biden will host Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at the White House, the first foreign leader to visit in person since the president was sworn in. Climate John Kerry will soon become the first high-level Biden official known to visit China as climate talks are held between the world’s two largest emitters.

2. US to pause the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine: Citing concerns over rare blood clots, federal officials temporarily recommended a pause in the rollout of the single-shot COVID-19 vaccine. The White House said the decision wouldn’t affect the administration’s vaccination efforts, saying there are plenty of doses of other vaccines. The decision was made out of “an abundance of caution.”

GET YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED: Insider is hosting a live event Thursday to answer your questions about the vaccine news. 

Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine is delivered as a single shot, while both Pfizer and Moderna’s require two jabs.Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Fauci emphasized the tiny chances of clots forming: “This is a really rare event. If you look at what we know so far, there have been 6 out of the 6.85 million doses, which is less than one in a million,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, told reporters.

  • Here’s what else to keep in mind if you’ve received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine: The six women who developed the blood clots got them within two weeks of receiving the shot. More on what to look out for. Some doctors say fears of the clots are being overblown. 
  • This is also only about the Johnson& Johnson shot: Don’t start doubting the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines — after 185 million doses, there are no red flags about blood clots.

3. More reaction to the Afghanistan withdrawal: Republicans had mixed reactions to the plan. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called it a “grave mistake.” But in a sign of how much politics about the war have shifted, Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, who may run in 2024, largely supported the decision. Some Democrats are also concerned about an emboldened Taliban.

4. Protests continued in Brooklyn Center for a third night: Protests began peacefully earlier in the day, the Star Tribune reports. After nightfall, some protesters began throwing objects at officers. Minnesota State Patrol fired riot gas, projectiles, and more flash-bangs. More on what happened last night.

A law enforcement officer sprays tear gas through a chain link fence while standing guard near the Brooklyn Center police station as demonstrators protest the death of Daunte Wright who was shot and killed by a police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

A county attorney says the officer who killed Daunte Wright could face criminal charges: Washington County Attorney Pete Orput told the Star Tribune that he’s spent hours reviewing footage and other evidence surrounding Wright’s death after a traffic stop. Charges could be filed as soon as today.

  • The cop in question has resigned: Officer Kimberly Potter and the Brooklyn Center police chief both stepped down on Tuesday. Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott had called for Potter’s ouster earlier in the day saying “In any other line of work, if you kill someone… you are at the very least going to lose your job.”

5. The top things for your calendar, all times Eastern:

  • 10:00 a.m.: Chauvin’s trial resumes
  • 10:00 a.m.: House Minority Whip Steve Scalise and House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney, and other members of the party’s leadership team hold a news conference
  • 12:30 p.m.: Psaki holds the White House’s daily news briefing
  • 2:15 p.m.: Biden unveils his Afghanistan plans. He will later visit Arlington National Cemetery

6. A defense expert defended Chauvin’s treatment of George Floyd: Former Santa Rosa, California, police officer Barry Brodd called Chauvin’s actions “objectively reasonable.” His testimony, which kicked off the defense’s arguments, was completely different from the testimony of the prosecution’s law enforcement experts — including Minneapolis Police Department leadership. Brodd also called the crowd outside Cup Foods that pleaded with officers to check on Floyd a “threat,” repeating a previous point the defense has argued.

  • The prosecution formally rested its case after 11 days of emotional testimony, here’s a recap of everything that happened.

7. A Republican senator says a bipartisan infrastructure group wants to double Biden’s spending on roads and bridges: “Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, indicated another major infrastructure plan was being drafted by lawmakers searching for another option besides Biden’s $2.3 trillion proposal.” More on what could be in the counteroffer.

8. A scathing report faults Capitol Police leadership decisions before the deadly riot: Capitol Police officers were limited from using crowd-control techniques and tools like stun grenades before the deadly January 6 riot, a 104-page internal review concludes. The department inspector general’s report also says that the Capitol Police’s own intelligence unit warned that violence on January 6 might specifically target Congress itself. More on the bombshell findings.

9. An associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz has been reportedly working with federal investigators since last year: Joel Greenberg, a former local Florida official, told investigators that he and Gaetz gave cash or gifts to women in exchange for sex, The New York Times reports. The Florida congressman has repeatedly denied accusations he had sex with a minor or paid for sex. More on the latest development.

10. Aaron Rodgers is R-E-L-A-Xed and having fun on Jeopardy!: The Packers QB, who famously told fans to chill, is enjoying his guest-hosting stint on the show. Rodgers had some fun with contestants on Tuesday’s episode after no one could name his Packers as the answer to a question. Is he making a case to become the permanent host?

One last thing.

Today’s trivia question The Russell Senate Office Building has served as the backdrop for some of the most dramatic hearings in history from Teapot Dome and Watergate to the Army-McCarthy showdown. But hearings into a disaster inaugurated the room. What were they about? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at [email protected]

  • Yesterday’s answer: President Jefferson recorded the first American recipe for ice cream. Some give him credit for inventing the tasting dessert. But in the words of the current ice-cream-lover-in-chief, that’s malarkey.

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