Posts tagged with "The Associated Press"

Kremlin rips Biden Administration decision to send rockets to Ukraine

June 2, 2022

The Russian government has slammed the Biden Administration’s decision to include medium-range rocket systems in the United States’ most recent weapons package to Ukraine, reports The Hill.

Kremlin spokesperson  Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday, June 1, that Biden’s decision is “deliberately and diligently pouring fuel on the fire,”  The Associated Press was among the first to communicate.

A senior White House official said the United States was comfortable giving Ukraine the rocket systems after being assured that the Ukrainian government would use it only to counter Russian systems, not attack Russian territory. 

Peskov said the Kremlin does not trust Ukraine’s assurances that it would not use the systems to attack Russia, according to AP.

“In order to trust [someone], you need to have experience with situations when such promises were kept,” Peskov said. “Regretfully, there is no such experience whatsoever.”

The U.S. is sending Ukraine  High-Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and munitions that would enable Ukrainian forces to more precisely strike targets from a greater distance inside Ukraine. The systems can hit targets nearly 50 miles away.

Multiple news outlets had reported that the Biden Administration was planning to send Ukraine a different missile system that could reach targets up to 300 kilometers away, but Biden ruled out providing Ukraine with that system on Monday.

Biden announced the decision on the rockets in an op-ed in The New York Times on Tuesday, March 31. He also said the United States is not trying to oust Russian President Vladimir Putin as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He said the country’s goal is to ensure a “democratic, independent, sovereign and prosperous Ukraine.”

The package the administration is sending will also include Javelin anti-tank missiles, air surveillance radar, and tactical vehicles. 

The U.S. decision comes as Russia has been tightening its grip on the easternmost areas of Ukraine, specifically in the Donbas region. Russian forces have concentrated on the cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk as the last remaining Ukrainian strongholds in the Luhansk province.

Research contact: @thehill

Georgia prosecutor requests special grand jury in Trump election interference probe

January 24, 2022

A Georgia prosecutor requested a special grand jury on Thursday, January 20, to aid her investigation into possible 2020 election interference by former President Donald Trump and others, reports NBC News.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis sent a letter, obtained by NBC News, to Christopher Brasher, the chief judge of the Fulton County Superior Court, asking for a special grand jury to investigate any “coordinated attempts to unlawfully alter the outcome of the 2020 elections in this state.”

A significant number of witnesses have refused to cooperate without subpoenas requiring their testimony, Willis wrote. A special grand jury would have the power to subpoena witnesses.

Willis cited an NBC-TV “Meet the Press” interview in which Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said he would gladly respond to a grand jury summons.

Willis has declined to speak about the specifics of her investigation. In an interview with The Associated Press this month, she confirmed that the scope of the probe includes—but is not limited to:

  • A phone call between Trump and Raffensperger on January 2, 2021;
  • A phone call between Raffensperger and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) in November 2020;
  • The abrupt resignation of the U.S. attorney in Atlanta on January 4, 2021; and
  • Comments made during legislative committee hearings about the election in December 2020.

Willis said the special grand jury is needed because it could serve a term longer than a normal grand jury term. It would also be able to concentrate on this investigation alone, allowing it to focus on the complex facts and circumstances. And having a special grand jury would mean that the regular seated grand jury would not have to deal with this investigation in addition to its regular duties, she wrote.

In a statement, Trump defended his phone call with Raffensperger, saying it was “perfect.” He also reiterated false claims of election fraud, suggesting that the special grand jury should investigate his claims rather than the phone call.

A spokesperson for Willis said there would be no further statement beyond the contents of the letter at this time.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Starbucks scraps vaccine mandate

January 21, 2022

Employees at Starbucks—all 228,000 of them nationwide— are no longer required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, reports Fox Business.

Roughly a week after the Supreme Court reversed President’s Biden workplace vaccine mandate, the coffee chain is following suit, according to The Associated Press.

“We respect the Court’s ruling and will comply,” Starbucks Chief Operating Officer John Culver wrote in a memo to employees.

Still, the coffee chain is encouraging all workers to be vaccinated and boosted against the virus.  “I want to emphasize that we continue to believe strongly in the spirit and intent of the mandate,” Culver added. “Thank you to the more than 90% of partners who have already disclosed their vaccination status, and to the vast majority who are now fully vaccinated.”

Research contact: @Starbucks

57% of Americans say Trump is racist

March 13, 2018

Just under half of all Americans (49%) say race relations are worse nationwide than they were a year ago; while 12% say they are better and 37% say they are about the same—based on findings of a poll, released on February 28 by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Indeed, 57% of the 1,337 U.S. adults who responded to the poll last month say they believe President Trump is a racist.

African-Americans expressed more pessimistic views, with 65% stating that race relations are worse today than they were a year ago; compared with 45% of whites—and 53% stating that race relations will deteriorate over the coming year, as compared to 37% of whites.

Half of Americans believe that African-Americans have a disadvantage when it comes to getting ahead in the United States, while 60% think whites have an advantage.

Two-thirds of Americans are unhappy with the way Trump is handling race relations, including 59% of whites and 91% of African-Americans. Forty-seven percent of adults say the things that Donald Trump is doing as POTUS have been bad for African-Americans. Blacks are twice as likely as whites to hold this view.

Research contact: @EL_Swan

Most Americans think Trump is obstructing justice

December 19, 2017

The majority of Americans believe U.S. President Donald Trump is trying to obstruct the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller—which already has brought charges against four of his campaign advisers and increasingly appears to be focused on the POTUS’s inner circle.

Indeed, 40% of Americans think the president has done something illegal when it comes to Russia, while an additional 30% say he’s at least done something unethical.

What’s more, 68% disapprove of his response to the investigations, based on poll results released by The Associated PressNORC Center for Public Affairs Research on December 15.

It is no surprise that Democrats are far more likely than Republicans to be concerned about Trump’s actions, or to feel invested in what the probes uncover, the poll, covered by Georgia radio station WDUN, noted. Overall, the poll found, 62% of Democrats say they think Trump has done something illegal, while just 5% of Republicans think the same. Among Republicans, 33% think he’s done something unethical, while 60% think he’s done nothing wrong at all.

But, specifically, did Trump obstruct the investigations into whether his campaign had Russian ties? According to the survey, 86% of Democrats, 67% of Independents and 24% of Republicans say he did.

But, Americans also are unsure of how fair and impartial Mueller’s investigation is turning out to be. Of the special counsel’s investigation, just 26%t say they’re very or extremely confident that it will be fair and impartial, while an additional 31% are moderately confident.

Opinions about the possibility of a fair and impartial congressional investigation are even lower, with just 13% saying they’re very or extremely confident in that happening and 32 % saying they are moderately confident.

The AP-NORC poll surveyed 1,020 adults in early December using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population.

Research contact: gentile-claudia@norc.org