United States hones warnings offers to Russia over Ukraine

United States hones warnings offers to Russia over Ukraine. The Biden administration on Saturday issued new, forceful warnings to Russia on penalties it may face if it goes ahead with threats to invade Ukraine. U.S. officials raised the possibility of incremental shifts in decisions about America’s future strategic posture in Europe. But they also said Russia would be hit with debilitating sanctions should it intervene in Ukraine.

The officials said the administration would be open to discussions with Russia on curtailing possible future deployments of offensive missiles in Ukraine and putting limits on U.S. and NATO military exercises in Eastern Europe.

Yet, they said Russia will be hit hard with economic sanctions should it intervene in Ukraine. In addition to direct sanctions on Russian entities, those penalties could include significant restrictions on products exported from the U.S. to Russia and potentially foreign-made products subject to U.S. jurisdiction.

The comments came as senior U.S. and Russian officials prepare to meet in Switzerland on Monday amid heightened tensions over Ukraine.

The officials said the U.S. is willing to discuss certain, limited aspects of its European security posture in those talks. But they stressed that any agreements would be contingent on Russia removing threats to Ukraine and that no decisions would be made without the consent of Ukraine or NATO.

And, they said there is no chance the U.S. will reduce its military presence or arsenal in Eastern Europe as Russia has demanded.

While those comments, made to reporters on condition of anonymity in a White House-organized telephone conference call, were the first to suggest a willingness to compromise on issues tangential to Ukraine, they were accompanied by threats for Russian inaction on U.S. demands to step back.

In the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, “we – in coordination with our allies and partners – would immediately impose severe and overwhelming costs on Russia’s economy, including its financial system and sectors deemed critical to the Kremlin,” another official said.

In addition to sanctions on energy and consumer goods, the U.S. and its allies are considering bans on the export to Russia of advanced electronic components, software and related technology that uses American equipment. Russia could be added to the most restrictive group of countries for export control purposes, together with Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria, officials said.

That would mean that Russia’s ability to obtain integrated circuits, and products containing integrated circuits, would be severely restricted, because of the global dominance of U.S. software, technology and equipment in this sector. The impact could extend to aircraft avionics, machine tools, smartphones, game consoles, tablets and televisions.

Such sanctions could also target critical Russian industry, including its defense and civil aviation sectors, which would hit Russia’s high-tech ambitions, whether in artificial intelligence or quantum computing.

U.S. officials have been careful not to issue ultimatums to Russia, while at the same time demanding that threats to Ukraine cease. But they have also flatly rejected Russian demands that NATO will not further expand eastward and that the U.S. will remove troops and weapons from Eastern Europe.

Despite that stance, the U.S. and NATO have signaled a willingness to explore compromises on related issues.

“We think we can at least explore the possibility of making progress with the Russians,” one official said Saturday, ahead of Monday’s Strategic and Security Dialogue between the U.S. and Russia in Geneva. He added, though, that “there will be no firm commitments made in these talks.”

Monday’s meeting will be followed by discussions between Russia and NATO members on Wednesday and with a broader European audience on Thursday.

Three more skaters have withdrawn from the U.S. Figure Skating Championships due to positive COVID-19 tests, bringing the total dropouts for the week to seven.

Men’s competitor William Hubbart withdrew Saturday before his event began. Ice dancers Raffaella Koncius and Alexey Shchepetov, who were 11th after the rhythm dance, also are out. The U.S. federation did not disclose which of the ice dancers tested positive.

Previously, two-time U.S. women’s champion Alysa Liu tested positive, as did Amber Glenn. Both dropped out after competing in the short program, when Liu was third. She is expected to be chosen for the Olympic squad later Saturday along with event winner Mariah Bell and runner-up Karen Chen.

Defending pairs champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier never made it on the ice in Nashville after he tested positive. They, like Liu, petitioned the national federation to be chosen for the Olympic team. Knierim and Frazier also are expected to be added for Beijing, where the United States has two spots in pairs.

Dustin Thompson, a Capitol riot defendant, asked a court on Friday to appoint the U.S. Marshals Service to subpoena former president Donald Trump and his allies.

His attorney, Samuel H. Shamansky, listed names of witnesses to be subpoenaed, including Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, Lin Wood and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, according to a court memo.

Shamansky alleged that those witnesses are “involved in the planning and execution of the attempt to disrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election.”

“Considering the significant roles these witnesses play in the legal and political communities, and the evasiveness that some have historically shown in the face of court orders, Defendant submits that appointment of the U.S. Marshals Service is necessary in order to effectuate his right to compulsory process and ensure that the same is accomplished expeditiously,” the court filing reads.

Though it is unclear whether a court can approve a request by a public defendant to appoint a U.S. marshal to subpoena Trump and his aides, Shamansky told Newsweek on Saturday that courts have the power to order marshals to serve the process of subpoenas.

“We believe it is appropriate that the marshals effectuate service [and] in order to effectuate that constitutional guarantee you have to get the deputy at the party served,” Shamansky said. “Now, one option would be that we can hire a process server to chase these folks [Trump and his allies] around, and if the court declined to authorize the marshals to do it, that’s what we’ll have to do.”

Thompson was arrested last January in Ohio on multiple charges related to the Capitol attack, including theft of government property, parading, and demonstrating or picketing in the Capitol building, according to a court document. He pleaded not guilty to some of the charges.

Shamansky said that it is important to subpoena those high-profile witnesses because they are “central” to Thompson’s defense.

“Trump and his allies made an intentional effort to brainwash citizens and use them as pawns, as puppets, as tools to meet their goals, and that’s why this ‘Save America’ rally was hatched and created, and that’s why Trump lied to people. In an effort to whip them up into a frenzy and get them to do his bidding, and unfortunately, people were duped into following his request,” he said.

In October, Bennie Thompson, chairman of the January 6 House Select committee investigating the Capitol attack, said that “nobody is off limits to a subpoena from this committee.”

The Democratic lawmaker’s remarks came after the committee had issued subpoenas to Trump officials, demanding testimony and information relevant to the Capitol attack.

In December, the committee voted to recommend contempt charges against former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Meanwhile, Bannon was indicted in November on two counts of contempt for defying subpoenas.

Forty-one percent of Americans believe that former President Donald Trump should be referred by Congress for prosecution for the events of January 6, 2021, new polling data shows.

Just over a year ago, Trump spoke at a large “Stop the Steal” rally of supporters near the White House in Washington, D.C. as Congress met in a joint session to certify the Electoral College victory of President Joe Biden. In that speech, Trump urged attendees to head to the U.S. Capitol and “fight like hell” to save their country. Hundreds of his supporters proceeded to do just that, believing the false claim that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen.

New polling conducted by The Economist and YouGov from January 2 to 4 shows that slightly more U.S. adults believe Trump should face prosecution for his actions that day than believe he should not.

The survey data showed that 41 percent answered “yes” when asked: “Should Congress refer President Trump for prosecution for obstructing Congress by trying to stop the certification of electoral votes in the 2020 Election?” Those who answered “no” totaled slightly less, at 39 percent. An additional 20 percent responded saying they were “not sure.

Notably, women were somewhat more likely than men to think Trump should face the referral from Congress. While 43 percent of women responded “yes,” just 39 percent of males said the same. Minorities were more supportive of the former president facing prosecution as well. Some 55 percent of Black adults and 48 percent of Hispanics said Congress should refer Trump for prosecution.

The sample for the survey included 1,500 U.S. adults and had a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Whether Trump faces such a referral from Congress and prosecution from the Justice Department remains to be seen. Currently, a House select committee set up by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, continues to investigate the events of January 6. Trump and most Republicans have rejected the committee as overtly partisan, although two anti-Trump GOP lawmakers—Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois—serve as part of the investigatory team.

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