Jen Psaki responds to resignation rumours
President Joe Biden delivered remarks this morning hailing another successful jobs reports that sees employment return to pre-pandemic levels and unemployment to drop to a level not seen since 1969.
While inflation remains a huge concern to Americans, Mr Biden has also ordered the release of up 1 million barrels of oil per day from the strategic petroleum reserve for the next six months in a bid to control prices that have spiked since the US and its allies imposed strict sanctions on Russia after it began its war on Ukraine.
Answering questions from reporters on Thursday, Mr Biden said Russian president Vladimir Putin “seems to be self-isolated and there’s some indication that he has fired or put under house arrest some of his advisers”.
Meanwhile, new reports say that White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki will leave her post this spring to take up a job at MSNBC. It had long been speculated that Ms Psaki would be leaving the administration soon after more than a year in the role.
At Friday’s press briefing Ms Psaki refused to comment on her plans, other than to say she that if she left she would spend time with her children and would sleep.
Pressed on if she could do be an effective briefer with plans to join a media outlet Ms Psaki said she is abiding by all ethics rules and legal requirements.
US secures release of reservist held by Taliban
Safi Rauf, a 27-year-old naval reservist who has been held by the Taliban since December, has been released after months of negotiations. As reported by CNN, he and his brothers co-founded a group that worked to evacuate people seeking to escape from Afghanistan after the fall of Kabul last year.
Bevan Hurley has the story.
Oliver O’Connell1 April 2022 23:00
Biden statement on UN-mediated truce in Yemen
I welcome the announcement today of a two-month truce in the Yemen conflict. This initiative is a long-awaited reprieve for the Yemeni people. It entails a halt to all military activities by any party inside Yemen and across its borders, the entry of fuel ships into Hudaydah port, and the renewal of commercial flights to and from Saan’a to agreed destinations.
These are important steps, but they are not enough. The ceasefire must be adhered to, and as I have said before, it is imperative that we end this war. After seven years of conflict, negotiators must undertake the hard and necessary work to reach political compromises that can bring about an enduring future of peace for all the people of Yemen.
I am grateful for the leadership role of Saudi Arabia and Oman in bringing this initiative to fruition before the Holy Month of Ramadan. I am also grateful for the hard work of the Yemeni Government and the confidence they have placed in UN-led mediation.
The United States of America will work to deter threats to our friends and partners as we continue to strive for de-escalation and peace throughout the region. I wish the people of Yemen a peaceful Ramadan, and assure them of our ongoing commitment to help end this terrible war.
Oliver O’Connell1 April 2022 22:40
Jen Psaki will not confirm White House resignation rumours
Following reports that she is soon to depart the White House for a career in cable news, press secretary Jen Psaki faced reporters on Friday afternoon and said she had nothing to confirm about her continued public service or what plans she may have.
Oliver O’Connell1 April 2022 22:30
Vulnerable Dems plead with Biden to delay reopening asylum
The Biden administration’s decision to end sweeping asylum limits at the border this May satisfied demands by prominent Democrats eagerly awaiting the end of a program created by Donald Trump in the name of public health.
But it creates thorny political challenges for border-region Democrats who face the likely prospect of an increase in migrants who have for two years been denied the chance to seek asylum in the United States.
In unusually harsh critiques of a president from their own party, some of the congressional Democrats with the toughest reelection prospects are warning that the administration is woefully unprepared to handle the situation.
Oliver O’Connell1 April 2022 22:00
Homeland Security Democrats voice support for end to Title 42
A statement has been released in support of an end for Title 42 at the southern border by Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson.
Oliver O’Connell1 April 2022 21:40
Some Democrat unease at end to Title 42
Following the news of an end date for Title 42, the Trump era immigration order brought in during the early days of the pandemic to stop the spread of Covid-19 at the border, more Democrats have come out against the decision by the CDC.
Senator Joe Manchin reiterated what he said earlier this week, that immigration reform should happen first.
“Until we have comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform that commits to securing our borders and providing a pathway to citizenship for qualified immigrants, Title 42 must stay in place,” he said.
Arizona senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly are also unhappy.
Ms Sinema said: “Today’s decision to announce an end to Title 42 despite not yet having a comprehensive plan ready shows a lack of understanding about the crisis at our border.”
Said Mr Kelly: “This is the wrong decision. It’s unacceptable.”
Oliver O’Connell1 April 2022 21:20
Covid-19 asylum limits at US-Mexico border to end May 23
The Centers for Disease Control announced Friday that it is ending a policy that limited asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The use of public health powers had been widely criticized by Democrats and immigration advocates as an excuse for the United States to shirk its obligations to provide haven to people fleeing persecution. The policy went into effect under President Donald Trump in March 2020. Since then, migrants trying to enter the U.S. have been turned away more than 1.7 million times.
The policy, known as the Title 42 authority, named for a 1944 public health law to prevent communicable disease, will end on paper April 1, but it will not take effect until May 23, to allow border officials time to prepare.
Oliver O’Connell1 April 2022 21:10
Biden departs for Delaware
The president has departed the White House to spend the weekend in Wilmington, Delaware. He greeted guests and staffers on the South Lawn before leaving in Marine One.
Oliver O’Connell1 April 2022 21:00
Psaki rejects resignation rumours
White House press secretary Jen Psaki rejects resignation rumours at press briefing
Oliver O’Connell1 April 2022 20:43
Ms Psaki is asked about if she is leaving the White House for MSNBC.
“Well, you can’t get rid of me yet, Ed. I have nothing to confirm about my length of public service…”
“I have nothing to confirm…about next plans,” she adds.
“My focus every day continues to be answering your questions on behalf of the president.”
“I’ve complied with all ethics requirements,” Ms Psaki adds concerning any future employment. “I have always gone over and above the stringent ethical requirements of the Biden administration.”
Pressed further — by Kristen Welker of NBC — she is asked how she can continue to be an effective briefer if she does in fact have plans to join a media outlet.
Ms Psaki reiterates she has nothing to announce, but acknowledges having talked to White House counsel about potential next steps and emphasises she is complying with ethical standards.
Oliver O’Connell1 April 2022 20:25