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US-Russia talks over Ukraine ‘useful’ but no progress made

US and Russian diplomats have emerged from a day of negotiations in Geneva over the fate of Ukraine, describing the talks as “useful” and “very professional” – but also stressing they had not made progress towards resolving fundamental disagreements.

The two sides largely spend the day’s talks presenting their points of view on the situation in Ukraine, currently hemmed in by some 100,000 Russian troops, and on European security in general, and deferred further debate on them to a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday between Russia and all Nato members.

“We had useful discussion and exchanges today that will help inform our way forward,” Wendy Sherman, the deputy US secretary of state and leader of the delegation in Geneva, told reporters after the day of talks.

Her Russian counterpart, Sergei Ryabkov, said: “The conversation was difficult, long, very professional, deep, concrete, without attempts to embellish or smooth over sharp corners.”

“We have been left with the impression that the American side approached the Russian proposals very seriously, studied them in depth,” Ryabkov said.

Here’s more from Luke Harding, our man in Kyiv:








Planet-heating emissions roared back in the US in 2021, dashing hopes the pandemic would prove a watershed moment in greening American society and addressing the climate crisis, new figures show.

Following the onset of the pandemic in 2020, millions of people switched to working from home, car and airplane travel plummeted and industrial output slowed. This led to a sharp drop in greenhouse gas emissions, spurring predictions that a newly shaped American economy would emerge to help banish the era of fossil fuels.

These forecasts may well have been baseless, however, with new research showing US emissions rose by 6.2% last year, compared to 2020. While emissions were still 5% down from 2019, the jump in pollution as people returned to previous rhythms of life was greater than last year’s overall economic growth.

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As Reuters reported this morning, a New York man has been criminally charged for threatening to kill Donald Trump.

According to a complaint unsealed on Monday, Thomas Welnicki of Rockaway Beach expressed interest in killing the then president in an interview with US Capitol police in July 2020 and in several calls to the Secret Service the following year.

Trump was identified as “Individual-1” in the complaint, filed in Brooklyn federal court. A footnote said “Individual-1” was president from 20 January 2017 to 20 January 2021.

According to the complaint, in one voicemail left with the Secret Service, Welnicki said he would “do anything I can to take out” Trump.

“Oh yeah, that’s a threat to come and arrest me,” he was quoted as saying. “I will do anything I can to take out [Trump] and his 12 monkeys … if I had the opportunity to do it in Manhattan, that would be awesome … tomorrow [Trump] will be in Georgia, maybe I will.”

The complaint said the “12 monkeys” were unnamed members of Congress who Welnicki believed supported Trump. It also said Welnicki believed there was a $350,000 reward available for killing Trump.

Given the codename “Mogul” by the Secret Service, Trump was the subject of security scares.

In June 2016, for example, a British man was arrested at a rally in Las Vegas after trying to steal a police officer’s gun. The man told police his aim had been to kill Trump, then a candidate for president.

In March 2017, an intruder who said he hoped to speak to the president breached the White House walls via the US treasury next door.

Here’s some further reading about the Trumps and the Secret Service:








Today so far















The Ohio Republican Jim Jordan is the second sitting congressman to refuse a request for cooperation from the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack.

In a Sunday night letter to the committee chair, Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the Trump ally accused the panel of “an outrageous abuse” of its authority.

He also claimed “an unprecedented and inappropriate demand to examine the basis for a colleague’s decision on a particular matter pending before the House of Representatives”.

“This request is far outside the bounds of any legitimate inquiry,” he said, “violates core constitutional principles and would serve to further erode legislative norms.”

Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, who was also closely involved in Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn his election defeat, has also refused to cooperate.






















Sanders says Democratic party has ‘turned its back on the working class’

Senator Bernie Sanders has called on Democrats to make “a major course correction” that focuses on fighting for America’s working class and standing up to “powerful corporate interests” because the Democrats’ legislative agenda is stalled and their party faces tough prospects in this November’s elections.

The White House is likely to see his comments as a shot across the bow by the left wing of a party increasingly frustrated at how centrist Democrats have managed to scupper or delay huge chunks of Joe Biden’s domestic policy plans.

In an interview with the Guardian, Sanders called on Biden and the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, to push to hold votes on individual bills that would be a boon to working families, citing extending the child tax credit, cutting prescription drug prices and raising the federal hourly minimum wage to $15.

“It is no great secret that the Republican party is winning more and more support from working people,” Sanders said.

“It’s not because the Republican party has anything to say to them. It’s because in too many ways the Democratic party has turned its back on the working class.”








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Georgia DA moves toward decision in case over Trump pressuring election official

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The Republican official who famously resisted Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn his election defeat in Georgia has said he will run for re-election on a platform of “integrity and truth”, against an opponent who as a churchman “should know better” than to advance the former president’s lies.

Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, became a household name after he turned down Trump’s demand that he “find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have [to get]” in order to overturn Joe Biden’s win in the southern state. It was the first victory by a Democrat in a presidential race in Georgia since 1992.

This year, Raffensperger will run for re-election against Jody Hice, a pastor, US congressman and Trump acolyte.

“Congressman Hice, he’s been in Congress for several years,” Raffensperger said on Sunday, on CBS’s Face the Nation. “He’s never done a single piece of election reform legislation.

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Democrats look to renew push for voting rights bill

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