Blinken and Cameron to hold joint press conference after talks – live

Blinken and Cameron to hold joint press conference

The UK foreign secretary, David Cameron, and the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, are due to hold a joint press conference at 11:15am ET following talks in Washington about support for Ukraine and bringing stability to the Middle East.

Cameron also met with Donald Trump ahead of his meeting with Blinken in an attempt to persuade the presumptive Republican presidential candidate to drop his opposition to a new package of aid for Ukraine that is being held up in Congress partly on Trump’s instruction.

Share

Updated at 

Key events

Dharna Noor

Though it is called “natural gas” by industry interests, gas is primarily made of methane, a greenhouse gas 80 times more planet-warming in the short term that has also been linked to asthma and other health risks.

“There is no such thing as clean methane gas,” Caleb Heeringa of the Gas Leaks Project shouted at a protest in Washington DC to demand that gas utilities stop using ratepayer dollars to fund their political agendas.

Attendees included actors from the Gas Leak Project’s recently launched Hot & Toxic campaign, a faux reality show which parodies the marketing of gas stoves. Dressed in brightly colored outfits, they cheered when protesters mentioned pollutants such as carbon monoxide and benzene and pretended to try and snatch the banner away.

Authorities quickly asked the protesters to vacate the American Gas Association’s premises, so they relocated in front of the Capitol building.

The Gas Leaks project on Tuesday also launched DitchTheAGA.com, a website allowing viewers to determine if their utility is a member of the American Gas Association. If the answer is “yes”, users can also easily email their local officials to demand that the utility cut ties.

At noon, the group will hold a press conference with Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts.

Share

Updated at 

Dharna Noor

Protesters gathered in Washington DC on Tuesday to demand that gas utilities stop using ratepayer dollars to fund their political agendas.

The demonstration took place outside the headquarters of the lobbying organization the American Gas Association, which represents nearly every gas utility in the country.

“We won’t pay for the AGA,” protesters cried.

The trade group, funded in part by utility bills paid to its members, has come under fire for successfully working to strip decarbonization measures from building codes and lobbying against an array of climate-friendly policies.

The protesters, convened by the anti-gas nonprofit The Gas Leaks Project, held a banner that said Ditch the AGA and signs that said “American Gaslighting Association”.

Share

Updated at 

Patrick Wintour

Patrick Wintour

David Cameron is scheduled to hold talks with the secretary of state, Antony Blinken, in Washington on Tuesday. Although they have much to discuss covering the future of Nato, China and a possible ceasefire in Gaza, the foreign secretary’s key goal is to shift Republican thinking in Congress on the relevance of the threat posed by Russia to American interests.

A steady stream of European politicians have travelled to Washington on similar missions, only to return frustrated at the growing US indifference to Ukraine’s fate.

The Republican House speaker, Mike Johnson, has so far declined to allow the Ukraine aid issue onto the floor of the Congress, but has indicated he might do so next week when Congress returns from recess. In February, the speaker refused to consider a Senate-passed foreign aid package that would have included $60bn for Ukraine because it lacked measures relating to security on the US-Mexico border.

A key test for Cameron’s trip is whether he gains meetings with the swing Republican congressmen including Johnson. At present no meeting with Johnson is slated for Tuesday.

Talks will also focus on the Middle East, with the foreign secretary expected to set out the UK’s reasoning for not suspending arms sales to Israel.

Share

Updated at 

Patrick Wintour

Patrick Wintour

The risk is that past bad blood between David Cameron and Donald Trump over issues such as Brexit have poisoned the well, and Cameron, for all his persuasive skills, is not the British political leader most likely to make Trump change his mind and drop his opposition to a new Ukraine aid package.

Trump has said he can negotiate a peace deal on Ukraine in 24 hours. His allies say the deal will involve ceding Crimea and the Donbas region to Russia, formalizing the land grab that Vladimir Putin started in 2014 and continued with the full-scale invasion in 2022.

The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said on Sunday that Ukraine would lose the war if US aid was withheld and Ukrainian air cover not improved.

Britain’s foreign secretary David Cameron and former US President Donald Trump. Photograph: Daniel Lealcharly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

“Success for Ukraine and failure for [Vladimir] Putin are vital for American and European security,” Cameron said before his trip.

This will show that borders matter, that aggression doesn’t pay and that countries like Ukraine are free to choose their own future. The alternative would only encourage Putin in further attempts to redraw European borders by force, and would be heard clearly in Beijing, Tehran and North Korea.

Earlier this year, he warned Congress not to show “the weakness displayed against Hitler” in the 1930s.

Cameron is also arguing that Ukraine has shown time and again that if it is given the resources it can succeed and would be ready to “go on the offensive” in 2025.

Aware that Trump believes Europe does not pull its weight in defending itself, Cameron is armed with statistics to show more than $184bn (£145bn) has already been committed to Ukraine by European nations including more than $15bn (nearly £12bn) from the UK.

Share

David Cameron meets Trump amid push to shore up Ukraine support

Patrick Wintour

Patrick Wintour

The UK foreign secretary, David Cameron, has taken the unusual and potentially risky step of travelling to see Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida before a visit to Washington DC on Tuesday.

Cameron was hoping to persuade the presumptive Republican presidential candidate to drop his opposition to a new package of aid for Ukraine that is being held up in Congress partly on Trump’s instruction.

It is Cameron’s second visit to the US to try to convince Republicans that it is in America’s national interest for the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, not to make any further military advances in Ukraine.

In a statement on Monday, a UK Foreign Office spokesperson played down the rarity of a Conservative foreign secretary trying to persuade a Republican not to make concessions to Russia over the future of Europe. The Foreign Office said it was “standard practice for ministers to meet opposition candidates as part of their routine international engagement”.

Although Conservative politicians have met Trump, as has his great ally Nigel Farage, Monday’s meeting was the first between a senior UK minister and Trump since he left office insisting that the presidential election had been stolen from him.

Share
Martin Pengelly

Martin Pengelly

Ken Buck was one of eight Republicans who voted to eject the previous speaker, Kevin McCarthy, last October. But Buck quit Congress in protest of his party’s domination by Trump supporters.

Speaking to CNN on Monday, Buck dismissed McCarthy’s contention that Marjorie Taylor Greene is “a very serious legislator that deals with policy”, saying:

So many of the statements that Marjorie has made over the years are completely irresponsible. The idea that somehow the speaker [Johnson] is corrupt because he believes that we should be supporting an ally that has been invaded by a war criminal, [Russian leader] Vladimir Putin, and the idea that somehow anybody who is in agreement with Ukraine and our Nato allies is corrupt, it’s just another distraction that she uses to take away from the core arguments that are so important.

Share

Updated at 

Martin Pengelly

Martin Pengelly

Marjorie Taylor Greene is ungovernable and should be known as “Moscow Marjorie”, said a former House Republican colleague, accusing the far-right Georgia congresswoman of “getting her talking points from the Kremlin” when opposing new federal aid for Ukraine.

Ken Buck, a Colorado rightwinger who left Congress last month, told CNN:

My experience with Marjorie is people have talked to her about not filing articles of impeachment on President Biden before he was sworn into office, not filing articles of impeachment that were groundless based on other individuals in the Biden administration. She was never moved by that. She was always focused on her social media account. And ‘Moscow Marjorie’ is focused now on this Ukraine issue and getting her talking points from the Kremlin and making sure she is popular and she is getting a lot of coverage.

Share

In the letter sent to colleagues this morning, Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene laid into Mike Johnson with a point-by-point takedown of his record as speaker.

She ticked through the instances that Johnson has negotiated with Democrats on major legislation, including a $1.2tn spending bill last month that averted a government shutdown and prompted Greene to file a motion to move the speaker. At the time, she said the move was meant as “more of a warning than a pink slip” because she did not want to “throw the House into chaos”.

But in her memo, Greene wrote that Johnson’s actions have been “a complete and total surrender to, if not complete and total lockstep with, the Democrats’ agenda that has angered our Republican base”, adding:

If we win the House this fall, it will only be because President Trump is on the ballot, not because we have earned it.

Share

For his part, Johnson has tried to downplay Majorie Taylor Greene’s threat and attempted to ease tensions.

Johnson and Greene exchanged text messages over the two-week Easter recess, and the pair was supposed to speak on Friday but the plan fell through, the Hill reported, citing a source.

In a statement last week, the House speaker said:

I respect Marjorie. She will always have an open door to the speaker’s office. We do have honest differences on strategy sometimes but share the same conservative beliefs.

New — Speaker Mike Johnson is now responding to MTG, telling us in a statement: “I respect Marjorie. She will always have an open door to the Speaker’s office. We do have honest differences on strategy sometimes but share the same conservative beliefs.⁰⁰“In spite of our… https://t.co/hOXGnK9TyD

— Manu Raju (@mkraju) April 4, 2024

Share

Updated at 

Marjorie Taylor Greene escalates pressure on Johnson in scathing memo

Republican Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene escalated her threat to oust Mike Johnson, issuing a searing indictment of the House speaker in a letter explaining her decision to file a motion to oust him.

In the five-page memo sent to her Republican colleagues on Tuesday morning, Greene laid out a detailed case against the speaker, accusing Johnson of failing to deliver on promises he ran on and breaking legislative procedural rules. Johnson is “throwing our own razor-thin majority into chaos by not serving his own GOP conference that elected him”, Greene wrote.

With so much at stake for our future and the future of our children, I will not tolerate this type of Republican ‘leadership’. This has been a complete and total surrender to, if not complete and total lockstep with, the Democrats’ agenda that has angered our Republican base so much and given them very little reason to vote for a Republican House majority.

Greene quoted the seven “key priorities” Johnson laid out when running for the speakership in October, and said he had “not lived up to a single one of his self-imposed tenets”.

Greene has not said if or when she plans to force a floor vote on Johnson’s removal, calling it a “warning” and noting it would be a “rolling issue”, but the letter marks her first direct pitch to her GOP colleagues to join her push to oust the speaker.

Share

Updated at 

Joan E Greve

Joan E Greve

Some centrist Democrats have already indicated they will not allow Greene to let the chamber descend into chaos, especially if she forces the motion to vacate vote over the issue of Ukraine funding. Congressman Jared Moskowitz, a Democrat of Florida, posted to Twitter/X last month:

I do not support Speaker Johnson but I will never stand by and let [Greene] … take over the people’s House.

The House Democratic leader, Hakeem Jeffries, previously told the New York Times that he expected “a reasonable number” of his caucus members would come to Johnson’s assistance if his speakership was imperiled because of a vote on Ukraine aid.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries speaks during his weekly news conference on Capitol Hill Thursday, 21 March 2024, in Washington. Photograph: Mariam Zuhaib/AP

But one of the leading House progressives, congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, has argued that Democrats’ support for Johnson should come with some legislative strings attached. Ocasio-Cortez recently told CNN:

My vote would most likely be for a Speaker Jeffries, which becomes an increasingly likely reality day after day as Republicans pursue further midterm resignation. But I think, for those of us and for any Democrat inclined, I don’t think we do that for free.

Share
Joan E Greve

Joan E Greve

While Johnson weighs his legislative options to approve more money for Ukraine, the specter of the motion to vacate looms in the background.

If congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia follows through on her threat to force a vote on Johnson’s removal, the House must take up the matter within two legislative days. Johnson will then need the support of a majority of members to keep his job, and because of a recent string of Republican resignations, he can only afford to lose two votes within his conference.

As of now, few Republicans appear eager to revisit the spectacle of last fall, when the conference’s repeated failures to elect a new speaker ground the House to a complete halt for weeks.

Share
Joan E Greve

Joan E Greve

Even as Johnson faces a challenge from the hard-right flank of his conference, other House Republicans insist the chamber must take action to assist Ukraine.

They warn that further inaction, after months of ignoring the White House’s demands to approve more funding, will only embolden the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

Congressman Mike Turner, the Republican chair of the House intelligence committee, told CBS News last Sunday:

We are at a critical juncture on the ground that is beginning to be able to impact not only morale of the Ukrainians that are fighting, but also their ability to fight. Putin knows this. This is obviously an area where we cannot allow Putin to win.

Johnson already has two legislative options to approve more money for Ukraine, the Senate-approved package and a smaller $66bn bill introduced by a bipartisan group of House members.

The second proposal would provide military-only funding for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, omitting the $10bn for humanitarian aid included in the Senate bill.

The House legislation also outlines a number of border security provisions, a bid to sway some Republican members who are otherwise wary of sending more money to Kyiv. Congressman Mike Lawler, a Republican of New York and one of the House bill’s co-sponsors, told CNN last Sunday:

I am hopeful that the speaker will put the bill on the floor or an amended version of the bill on the floor so that we can once and for all ensure that our allies have the aid and support that they need.

Share

Updated at 

Joan E Greve

Joan E Greve

As the House adjourned last month, the House speaker, Mike Johnson, vowed that the chamber would soon “take the necessary steps to address the supplemental funding request”, which includes money for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

The Senate passed a $95bn foreign aid package in February, but Johnson indicated that the House would consider an amended proposal when members return to Washington. Johnson told Fox News last Sunday:

We’ve been talking to all the members, especially now over the district work period. When we return after this work period, we’ll be moving a product, but it’s going to, I think, have some important innovations.

Those innovations might include sending money to Kyiv as a loan or redirecting Russian assets seized under the Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity (Repo) for Ukrainians Act.

But even those changes are unlikely to sway the most vocal Ukraine skeptics in the House Republican conference, such as the congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.

United States Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks to press in front of the US Capitol in Washington DC, United States on 22 March 2024. Photograph: Anadolu/Getty Images
Share

Updated at 

Pressure mounts on Johnson over Ukraine aid as ouster threat looms

Good morning US politics readers.

The House returns today after a two-week Easter recess as the speaker, Mike Johnson, faces mounting pressure to advance a Ukraine aid package and the threat of an intra-party revolt if he does so.

Johnson has indicated the House will take up the issue of Ukraine funding this week, but many hard-right members of his conference remain staunchly opposed to additional Ukraine aid and the Georgia congresswoman, Marjorie Taylor Greene, has already introduced a motion-to-vacate resolution, all but daring Johnson to move forward with a Ukraine aid bill so she can force a vote on the matter. Speaking to CNN last week, Greene said:

I’m not saying I have a red line or a trigger, and I’m not saying I don’t have a red line or trigger. But I’m going to tell you right now: funding Ukraine is probably one of the most egregious things that he can do.

Meanwhile, the UK foreign secretary, David Cameron, is scheduled to meet with secretary of state Antony Blinken and congressional lawmakers in Washington over the next two days. Ahead of his meeting with Blinken, Cameron took the unusual and potentially risky step of traveling to see Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, in the hopes of persuading the presumptive Republican presidential candidate to drop his opposition to Ukraine aid deal that is being held up in Congress partly on Trump’s instruction.

Here’s what else we’re watching:

  • 10am ET. The secretary of state, Antony Blinken, will meet with the British foreign secretary, David Cameron, at the state department.

  • 11:15am. Blinken and Biden will give a news conference.

  • 12.30pm. Joe Biden will speak at Washington’s Union Station about the “care economy”, a reference to care workers and family caregivers.

  • 1.30pm. The White House daily press briefing.

  • 4pm. The House rules committee will meet to take up several bills, including a bill extending Section 702 in the FISA reauthorization and a resolution denouncing the Biden administration’s immigration policies.

  • 6pm. Biden and the first lady, Jill Biden, will welcome the Japanese prime minister, Fumio Kishida and his wife, Yuko Kishida, to the White House.

  • Kamala Harris will meet privately this afternoon in with relatives of Americans taken hostage in Gaza during the Hamas terror attacks on southern Israel on 7 October.

Share

Updated at 


#Blinken #Cameron #hold #joint #press #conference #talks #live

Leave a Comment