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Biden news today: President opens oil reserve to tackle gas prices, says Putin appears to be ‘self-isolating’ and is skeptical about Ukraine pullback

‘You’ve got to be silly’: Biden hits back at Ukraine questions from Fox News reporter

President Joe Biden has 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.

The announcement comes after both the White House and the Pentagon said that they believe Vladimir Putin is being misinformed about progress in the war by his senior advisers and warned that Russian troops being pulled back from areas near Kyiv may just be being repositioned for further fighting.

Meanwhile, the president is marking the Transgender Day of Visibility, which declared in order to “celebrate the activism and determination that have fueled the fight for transgender equality” and “acknowledge the adversity and discrimination that the transgender community continues to face across our Nation and around the world” – this as various Republican-led states pass laws directly targeting non-gender-conforming people, including children.

On Wednesday, Mr Biden also gave a speech on the state of the coronavirus pandemic, announcing the launch of a central website for resources, before receiving his second booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine. The CIA director is the latest person in the administration to test positive for the virus and he met with the president a day ago – though they were distanced and masked.


Biden calls for ‘use it or lose it’ policy for oil leases on federal land: ‘I say, enough’

President Joe Biden on Thursday slammed oil companies for refusing to increase production to make up shortfalls caused by the removal of Russian oil from US markets.

Calling the crisis stemming from Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine “a moment of crisis and peril for the world and pain at the pump for American families,” Mr Biden said the spike in oil and gas prices brought on by the US ban on Russian oil could be “a moment of patriotism” for domestic oil producers.

Andrew Feinberg has the latest for The Independent from Washington DC.

Oliver O’Connell31 March 2022 19:45


FBI: Hackers targeted US election officials with phishing email campaign

Hackers likely targeted US election officials with an invoice-themed phishing email campaign in an attempt to gain access to their systems, according to the FBI.

An advisory issued by the bureau this week warns election administrators and state and local government officials about a malicious email scheme that federal law enforcement believes is part of a “concerted effort to target US election officials.”

Similar threats “will likely continue or increase their targeting of US election officials with phishing campaigns in the lead-up to the 2022 US midterm elections,” according to the FBI.

Oliver O’Connell31 March 2022 19:30


Biden says Putin ‘self-isolating’, is skeptical Russian forces pulling back

In shouted questions following the announcement regarding gas prices, President Biden is asked about Vladimir Putin.

“He seems to be self-isolating and there’s some indication he has fired, or put under house arrest, his advisers,” he said, adding, “but I don’t want to put too much stock in at this time because we don’t have that much hard evidence.”

On whether Russia is pulling back its forces in Ukraine, he says: “It’s an open question” and there is “no clear evidence”, adding “I’m a skeptic”.

Oliver O’Connell31 March 2022 19:08


Biden calls out oil companies profiting on Putin’s war

President Joe Biden has called out oil companies who have sat by and enjoyed higher profits as the price of oil has soared during Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine.

The president announced a “use it or lose it” policy for oil leases on federal land, to push companies “to step up for the good of the country” and provide relief for customers, not executives and shareholders.

In addition, as announced earlier, the president will authorise the release of one million barrels of oil per day for six months while domestic production ramps up to bring prices down at the pump.

“My plan is going to help ease that pain today.”

Mr Biden also announced a directive to strengthen the green energy economy by utilising the Defense Production Act for rare earth minerals as part of a longer term strategy to ween America off foreign oil.

Oliver O’Connell31 March 2022 19:02


New federal website launches to streamline Covid treatment

The Biden administration has launched a new federal website, covid.gov, as part of a larger strategy to shift gears into a phase of the pandemic likened to the “new normal”.

“This website is part of our effort – our continued and ongoing effort — to make sure that people have what they need to deal with Covid as we move into potentially the next phase of this disease,” the White House said on Wednesday.

Johanna Chisholm reports.

US introduces website to streamline Covid treatment

The White House launched a new federal website, covid.gov, which is part of the Biden administration’s larger strategy to shift gears into a phase of the pandemic they’ve come to liken as the “new normal”.

Oliver O’Connell31 March 2022 19:01


Lindsey Graham to vote against Ketanji Brown Jackson

Mr Graham said he would vote against her confirmation despite the fact that he had voted to confirm Ms Jackson to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Oliver O’Connell31 March 2022 18:50


Live: Biden delivers remarks on lowering gas prices

Watch live as Biden gives update on energy prices in the US

Oliver O’Connell31 March 2022 18:34


Biden meets with parents of ex-marine detained in Russia as he starts hunger strike

The parents of Trevor Reed, a former US marine detained in Russia since 2019, secured a meeting with President Joe Biden on Wednesday, after demonstrating outside the White House for hours in the hopes of getting some face time with the US president.

Paula and Joey Reed have been running an aggressive public campaign in recent months, appearing on shows from across the political spectrum, from MSNBC to Newsmax, in an effort to pressure the Biden administration to do more to bring their 30-year-old son back to the US.

Mr Biden promised during the group’s more than 30-minute meeting, CNN reported, that he would “continue to work to secure” their son’s release.

Johanna Chisholm reports.

Oliver O’Connell31 March 2022 18:15


How an explosion of GOP bills targeting LGBT+ Americans created a crisis

Conservative Christian groups and ‘parental rights’ agendas target young transgender people with an unprecedented wave of legislation that has nearly doubled within two years, Alex Woodward reports.

Oliver O’Connell31 March 2022 17:50


CIA Director William Burns tests positive for Covid-19

CIA Director William Burns has tested positive for Covid-19.

Mr Burns most recently saw President Joe Biden on Wednesday morning, in a socially distanced meeting, in which he was wearing an N-95 mask.

Oliver O’Connell31 March 2022 17:27

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