Joe Biden speaks at UN amid fears Russia could use nuclear weapons in Ukraine – live

Biden set to rebuke Putin, rally world for Ukraine in UN general assembly speech

US president Joe Biden has taken the stage to address world leaders gathered at the United Nations in New York City, where he is expected to forcefully condemn Russia’s destructive invasion of Ukraine and call on the world to stand up against Moscow.

The American leader’s speech before the UN’s first general assembly since Russia began its incursion comes hours after Russian president Vladimir Putin put the country’s people and economy on a war footing by announcing a partial mobilization, while also suggesting he was willing to use nuclear weapons.

The Guardian’s politics live blog will cover Biden’s speech as it happens, and video of his address will also be embedded above.

Key events

Much of Biden’s appeal on behalf of Ukraine focused on Russia’s violation of the UN charter, which is intended to stop countries from attacking each other without reason.

But he also said it was time to change how things are done in the global body, including by expanding the security council beyond its current five permanent members.

“I also believe the time has come for this institution to become more inclusive, so they can better respond to the needs of today’s world. Members of the UN Security Council, including the United States, should consistently uphold and defend the UN charter and refrain refrain from the use of the veto, except in rare, extraordinary situations,” Biden said.

“That is also why the United States supports increasing the number of both permanent and non permanent representatives of the Council. This includes permanent seats for those nations. We have long supported and permanent seats for countries in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.”

If it can happen to Ukraine, it can happen to you.

That’s the meat of Biden’s argument thus far before world leaders assembled in New York City, where he’s seeking to bolster international support for Ukraine and encourage countries that have remained on the fence to form up behind Kyiv.

“If nations can pursue their imperial ambitions without consequences, then we put at risk everything this very institution stands for, everything,” Biden said, adding that a country “cannot seize a nation’s territory by force.”

“Ukraine has the same rights belong to every sovereign nation. We will stand in solidarity with Ukraine who will stand in solidarity against Russia’s aggression, period.”

Biden has kicked off his UN speech with strong rhetoric against Russia, pointed to the global body’s own rules to characterize Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine as illegal and reckless.

“A permanent member of the United Nations Security Council invaded his neighbor, attempted to erase a sovereign state from the map. Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenets of the United Nations Charter,” Biden said, as he accused president Vladimir Putin of causing a “brutal, needless war.”

“This war is about extinguishing Ukraine’s right to exist as a state, plain and simple, and Ukraine’s right to exist as a people,” the American president said. “Wherever you are, wherever you live, whatever you believe… That should make your blood run cold.”

Biden set to rebuke Putin, rally world for Ukraine in UN general assembly speech

US president Joe Biden has taken the stage to address world leaders gathered at the United Nations in New York City, where he is expected to forcefully condemn Russia’s destructive invasion of Ukraine and call on the world to stand up against Moscow.

The American leader’s speech before the UN’s first general assembly since Russia began its incursion comes hours after Russian president Vladimir Putin put the country’s people and economy on a war footing by announcing a partial mobilization, while also suggesting he was willing to use nuclear weapons.

The Guardian’s politics live blog will cover Biden’s speech as it happens, and video of his address will also be embedded above.

Expect strong rhetoric against Moscow when Joe Biden speaks before the United Nations. But in Washington, administration officials are trying to maintain that the United States is not at war with Russia.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said as much in an interview with Fox News this morning:

Fox News’ Bill Hemmer: “Are we effectively at war with Russia?”

National Security Council’s John Kirby: “No, we are not. No. Not at all. Russia is at war inside Ukraine.” pic.twitter.com/7MJge9sYXo

— The Recount (@therecount) September 21, 2022

Meanwhile, Democratic senator Chris Murphy warned on MSNBC that if Republicans take the House following the November midterms, they could block further aid packages to Ukraine:

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) sounds the alarm on the possibility of Republicans blocking military aid to Ukraine if they take back the House:

“I just see a freight train coming and that is Trump and his operation turning against aid for Ukraine.” pic.twitter.com/hpVDJCpqAU

— The Recount (@therecount) September 21, 2022

While events in Washington and New York City will dominate today’s news cycle, spare some time to read Coral Murphy Marcos’s coverage of the unfolding crisis in the US territory of Puerto Rico, where a hurricane has badly damaged the island’s drinking water supply.

Hurricane Fiona was the second time José Oyola Ríos served as an emergency drinking water provider, after gusting winds and heavy rains battered Puerto Rico on Sunday, causing mass flooding and power outages.

Oyola Ríos serves as a community leader in rural, inland Caguas, in the central mountain range, where he maintains water tanks that store thousands of gallons, known in the area as the “community oasis”.

When Hurricane María battered the island in 2017, hundreds of residents from surrounding towns would drive up the mountainous road to Caguas to get a few gallons of water.

In other Trump news, the Associated Press reports that the special master demanded by the former president’s lawyers had little time for their evasiveness over whether the classified materials found at Mar-a-Lago had actually been cleared for release:

The independent arbiter tasked with inspecting documents seized in an FBI search of Donald Trump’s Florida home said on Tuesday he intends to push briskly through the review process and appeared skeptical of Trump lawyers’ reluctance to say whether they believed the records had been declassified.

“We’re going to proceed with what I call responsible dispatch,” Raymond Dearie, a veteran Brooklyn judge, told lawyers for Trump and the Department of Justice in their first meeting since his appointment last week as a so-called special master.

The purpose of the meeting was to sort out next steps in a review process expected to slow the criminal investigation into the retention of top-secret information at Mar-a-Lago. Dearie will be responsible for sifting through the thousands of documents recovered during the 8 August FBI search and segregating any that might be protected by claims of executive privilege or attorney-client privilege.

“We’ve all known that Trump is crazy. I’m done with him. I will never speak to him again.” Those words were uttered by the top Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, after he returned to the Capitol on January 6.

That’s according to UNCHECKED: The Untold Story Behind Congress’s Botched Impeachments of Donald Trump, by Politico’s Rachael Bade and The Washington Post’s Karoun Demirjian, which was excerpted in the latter publication today. While the enmity between Trump and McConnnell is well documented, the book goes on to say that the senator almost supported the effort to convict Trump for the January 6 insurrection after his departure from the White House, but backed down after determining there was simply too much support for the ex-president among his fellow senators.

Here’s more from the excerpt:

McConnell knew many of his rank-and-file were torn over how to handle the situation — and that in their uncertainty, they would look to him for guidance. If he declared the trial to be constitutional, breaking with Trump in the process, he could set the stage for a party mutiny, helping the GOP turn the page on Trump for good. It was an appealing prospect: conviction could enable the Senate to bar Trump from holding office again — and McConnell didn’t ever want Trump in office again.

But in all his years as GOP leader, McConnell had never led such a rebellion. And that day, he wasn’t sure he was up to the task.

Some of the most steadfast Republican supporters of Donald Trump in Congress can be found in the House, so perhaps it should not be a surprise that the party’s leadership there is encouraging a no vote on legislation amending America’s electoral code to stop another January 6.

“In their continued fixation to inject the Federal government into elections, this legislation runs counter to reforms necessary to strengthen the integrity of our elections,” the office of House Republican whip Steve Scalise wrote in an email distributed to members on Tuesday. “This bill, which contains unconstitutional provisions, is the Democrats’ latest attempt at a federal takeover of elections in order to stack the electoral deck in their favor.”

It goes on to enumerate a number of issues with the Presidential Election Reform Act, including that it “creates new and broad private rights of action that can be easily abused by Democrat election lawyers to drag out elections long after Election Day,” and that it “unconstitutionally empowers Congress and Federal judges to decide and interpret state election laws, instead of states themselves.”

The effort seems unlikely to stop the bill’s progress. Democrats have a majority in the chamber, and the legislation may also attract votes from some House republicans who disagree with the plot attempted on January 6. A bigger question is how the House effort can be reconciled with legislation expected to be approved by the Senate, and whether the lower chamber’s more expansive measure will spark any disagreement among senators.

Ukraine isn’t the only country worrying about its democracy. In Washington, the House of Representatives will today begin debate on a bill to stop the sort of legal shenanigans Donald Trump’s allies attempted on January 6 to prevent Joe Biden from taking office.

The Associated Press reports that the measure is the lower chamber’s version of separate legislation under consideration in the Senate, and would overhaul the United States’ archaic election law to stop political objections from preventing the accession of a new president.

Here’s more on the bill, from the AP:

The bill, which is similar to legislation moving through the Senate, would clarify in the law that the vice president’s role presiding over the count is only ceremonial and also sets out that each state can only send one certified set of electors. Trump’s allies had unsuccessfully tried to put together alternate slates of illegitimate pro-Trump electors in swing states where Biden won.

The legislation would increase the threshold for individual lawmakers’ objections to any state’s electoral votes, requiring a third of the House and a third of the Senate to object to trigger votes on the results in both chambers. Currently, only one lawmaker in the House and one lawmaker in the Senate has to object. The House bill would set out very narrow grounds for those objections, an attempt to thwart baseless or politically motivated challenges. The legislation also would require courts to get involved if state or local officials want to delay a presidential vote or refuse to certify the results.

The House vote comes as the Senate is moving on a similar track with enough Republican support to virtually ensure passage before the end of the year. After months of talks, House Democrats introduced the legislation on Monday and are holding a quick vote two days later in order to send the bill across the Capitol and start to resolve differences. A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation this summer and a Senate committee is expected to vote on it next week.

When he speaks at the first United Nations General Assembly since Russia invaded Ukraine, Biden will cast the assault as a violation of the global body’s ideals, while also announcing that the United States will put its economic heft behind an effort to help poor countries survive the spike in food prices that has pushed some to the brink of crisis.

That’s according to The Guardian’s Julian Borger in New York and Andrew Roth in Moscow as they previewed the American president’s address set for 10:35 am eastern time. Here’s more on what we can expect, from US national security adviser Jake Sullivan:

“He [Biden] will underscore the importance of strengthening the United Nations and reaffirm core tenets of its charter at a time when a permanent member of the security council has struck at the very heart of the charter by challenging the principle of territorial integrity and sovereignty.”

Later in the day, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, will make his own appeal to world leaders in a video address that Russia, unsuccessfully, tried to halt. And European leaders who already addressed the assembly used it as a platform to cast Moscow’s campaign as an imperialist project.

“Those who are keeping silent today are, in a way, complicit with the cause of a new imperialism,” said the French president, Emmanuel Macron, in his speech on Tuesday.

Biden expected to take on Putin in address to world leaders

Good morning, US politics blog readers. A new front in the war in Ukraine is opening temporarily in New York City today, when Joe Biden addresses world leaders gathered at the United Nations General Assembly at 10:35am ET in the wake of Vladimir Putin’s speech threatening to use nuclear weapons and ordering a partial mobilization in Russia. The American president is certainly not the only world leader speaking, but as a major supplier of aid for Kyiv, Biden’s address will be closely watched for signs of how the Western allies intend to respond to Putin’s latest gambit.

Today’s news does not stop there:

  • The Federal Reserve will likely again raise interest rates in a decision announced at 2pm eastern time. The central bank is trying to lower America’s worryingly high inflation without tightening fiscal conditions so much the economy enters a recession.

  • The National Cathedral in Washington DC is holding a memorial service in honor of Queen Elizabeth II at 11am, which vice-president Kamala Harris will attend.

  • Gas prices appear to be rising again after nearly 100 days of declines, though there is some dispute over when the latest uptick started.

source: theguardian.com