Some optimistic Ukrainians in Kyiv have opened new restaurants, and city dwellers casually stroll along streets draped under yellow and blue flags. But near Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city to the northeast, Russian forces on Sunday shelled a power station and the water supply, plunging the war-torn area into darkness and turning off the taps.
The message from Russian military forces located far from the front lines in response to a startling weekend offensive by Ukraine: One humiliation does not end the war.
Russia continued today to pound Ukrainian positions by shelling the city of Lozova in the Kharkiv region, killing three people and injuring nine. At the same time Ukrainian troops on Tuesday worked to hold swaths of terrain under their control with unrelenting pressure on retreating Russian forces. Ukrainian flags fluttered amid some of Kharkiv’s bombed-out structures (The Associated Press).
Military analysts believe Ukraine’s apparent ability to retake hundreds of square miles of weakly defended Russian-occupied territory could be a turning point, perhaps leading to the expulsion of Moscow’s forces from areas Russia has held since its February invasion.
The Ukrainian military said it freed more than 20 settlements in 24 hours. In recent days, Kyiv’s forces have captured territory at least twice the size of greater London, according to the British Defense Ministry and reported by The Associated Press. One big “if”: whether Ukrainian forces can hold those gains and expand on them, which would require long supply lines, more troops, more weapons and plans to outsmart Russia’s inevitable retaliation.
The Washington Post: Russia is showing no signs of giving up.
Analysts interviewed by The New York Times said such a prospect might not be realistic before next year at the earliest, in part because winter will most likely lead to a slowdown in offensive operations.
Reuters: A Russian-installed official in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region on Monday said that Ukrainian forces outnumbered by a factor of eight the Russian and pro-Russian forces who were overrun and forced into retreat over the weekend.
A Washington Post map of the reclaimed territory is HERE.
Ukraine’s dramatic advance, the first since the war began, stunned Russians who are allied with President Vladimir Putin. One called the retreat of Russian forces “astounding” (The Hill). The news triggered something rare and customarily frowned on in Moscow media circles: public debate (The New York Times).
More than 30 Russian municipal deputies signed a petition calling for Putin’s resignation (The Hill). Some Russian military bloggers and patriotic commentators were critical of the Kremlin for failing to take stronger action against Ukraine and the West.
“People who convinced President Putin that the operation will be fast and effective … these people really set up all of us,” former Russian parliament member Boris Nadezhdin said on the Russian state-owned NTV station.
The Hill: Why Ukraine’s successful offensive is bad news for Putin.
Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, interviewed Monday on Bloomberg TV’s “Balance of Power,” said Ukraine’s advances were both uplifting and “dangerous” because Putin, facing new criticism at home, could decide to attack with new force. “Putin, if he’s boxed in, obviously will have to strike back,” Panetta said. “Whether he resorts to more, including the possibility of battlefield nuclear, all of that creates a dangerous moment.”
Ukraine’s counteroffensive cheered U.S., U.K. and European leaders who acknowledge that a winter of war will be grim, including for some of those living in democracies outside Ukraine now experiencing supply shortages, soaring fuel prices and warnings of recession as world powers ratchet up penalties aimed at Russia.
Ukraine’s ability to drive Russian troops out of the Kharkiv region presented “significant implications for Russia’s overall operational design,” as well as for the morale of soldiers, The Guardian reported from an appraisal by Britain’s Ministry of Defence: “The majority of the force in Ukraine is highly likely being forced to prioritize emergency defensive actions. The already limited trust deployed troops have in Russia’s senior military leadership is likely to deteriorate further.”
In Congress, lawmakers in both parties say they back billions more dollars in military and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine as part of a must-pass spending measure that would fund the U.S. government beyond Sept. 30, when the current fiscal year ends.
Before Labor Day, President Biden proposed another $11.7 billion in emergency funding for Ukraine, including $7.2 billion in military aid — for replenishment of U.S. weapons and equipment — and $4.5 billion in direct budget support to the Ukrainian government. The administration said about two-thirds of previously appropriated funds for Ukraine have been spent, with the remainder expected to run out by the end of September (Reuters and Roll Call). Another $2 billion, for a total supplemental package worth nearly $14 billion, is sought by the administration to offset the impact on energy supplies from Russia’s war (The New York Times).
▪ The Wall Street Journal: Ukraine signaled to Congress and U.S. allies that it will make major new requests for weapons, including a long-range missile system the U.S. previously declined to provide, according to a list of armaments Ukraine says it will need to pressure Russia into 2023 — a document now circulating among lawmakers.
▪ Reuters: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky calls on the West to provide anti-aircraft systems.
▪ The New York Times: International Atomic Energy Agency leader says there are active discussions to end fighting around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant held by Russian forces while being operated by Ukrainian engineers.
▪ Reuters: Maps: Ukraine’s stunning counteroffensive.
LEADING THE DAY
Progressives were dealt a blow on Monday as Democratic leaders indicated that they would plow ahead with the plan to attach permitting reform legislation to the year-end stopgap spending bill.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Monday said the leadership’s plan is still to honor a deal struck between Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to include language that would speed up permits for fossil fuel projects.
“We will have to convince our members if it is included,” Hoyer told Bloomberg TV’s “Balance of Power” on Monday. “Our members are concerned about that,” he continued, adding there is “no doubt” the provision is controversial for some Democrats (Bloomberg News).
The decision comes amid rising opposition to its inclusion in the short-term spending bill. Late last week, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said that more than 70 House Democrats had signed on to a letter opposing the maneuver (The Hill).
Hoyer also said the Senate will likely vote before the House on the stopgap funding package. The aim is to resolve outstanding issues before Oct. 1. Schumer told reporters on Monday that temporary funding would be extended through mid-December, setting up yet another potential fight to keep the government’s lights on after the midterm elections and before Christmas.
Across the aisle, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) on Monday introduced separate legislation to overhaul the permitting process. Capito, the ranking member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, argued the bill would give the industry “regulatory certainty.”
The West Virginia Republican also pressed that the blueprint would expedite the completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a project set to run through West Virginia that Manchin is seeking to have completed via the permitting language in the continuing resolution (The Hill).
▪ Politico: “Sleazy backroom deal”: Progressives tangle one more time with Manchin.
▪ The Hill: Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) pushes back on GOP arguments against pending same-sex marriage legislation.
▪ Axios: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to propose new 15-week national abortion restrictions bill.
▪ The Hill: Hoyer suggests Congress could move to stop rail strike if needed.
▪ The Washington Post: A congressman wasn’t allowed on a flight — because of his wheelchair.
➤ POLITICS & INVESTIGATIONS
Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) faces one of the toughest reelection fights of the 2022 midterms, and unlike her first Senate campaign six years ago, she will not be able to count on a powerful home-state influencer, one who helped her in the past.
As The Hill’s Alexander Bolton writes, she is massively outspending challenger and former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R), but she is likely to miss the influence of the late Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) get-out-the-vote operation that buoyed Democrats in the Battle Born State for years.
Six years ago, Cortez Masto was among the few Democratic candidates who earned victories in tough races and did so in part because of Reid’s efforts. The longtime Nevada senator was still in office at the time but died last year, prompting Democrats to wonder if the absence of Reid’s political muscle will cost them this time around.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on Monday admitted that Nevada is a “tough state” for the party in power.
“It’s been up or down 1 or 2 points for a long time,” Durbin said. When asked if Democrats are missing Reid, Durbin exclaimed, “I miss him every day.”
“There’s no replacement for Harry. He was Mr. Nevada, and he knew how to make it work,” said Durbin, who was Reid’s longtime deputy in the upper chamber. Nonetheless, he predicted that Cortez Masto will “do very well” in November.
According to the latest survey commissioned by AARP, the battle between Cortez Masto and Laxalt is a statistical tie.
▪ The Hill: Far-right candidate causes headaches for GOP in New Hampshire.
▪ Nate Cohn, The New York Times: Polling warning signs are flashing again, raising the possibility that the apparent Democratic strength in Wisconsin and elsewhere is a mirage — an artifact of persistent and unaddressed biases in survey research.
▪ The Hill: Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Republican J.D. Vance locked in tight Ohio Senate race: poll.
▪ The Hill and CNN: Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) says that Trump’s reported insistence to aides in 2020 that he would stay in the White House after Biden’s inauguration, as reported in a forthcoming book by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, “affirms the reality of the danger.”
On the investigatory side, the Justice Department on Monday said in a filing that it would accept a nominee put forward by former President Trump’s attorneys to serve as a special master to review documents seized by investigators from his Mar-a-Lago residence early last month.
Prosecutors gave the green light to appointing Raymond Dearie, a former chief federal judge in New York, to fill the role. Judge Aileen Cannon must still approve the appointment. The move by the Justice Department came days after Dearie was proposed by Trump’s legal team to examine whether any of the materials should be kept from federal prosecutors’ probe into the former president’s alleged mishandling of classified and sensitive documents.
Dearie, 78, still serves as a judge in Brooklyn federal court on a senior status. He was nominated to the court by former President Reagan in 1986 (The Washington Post).
The New York Times: Justice Department issues 40 subpoenas in a week, expanding its Jan. 6 inquiry.
Separately, Trump’s legal team is fighting the Justice Department’s request to allow the government to continue reviewing classified documents seized at Mar-a-Lago as part of its investigation. The former president’s lawyers argued in a Monday filing that the investigation “at its core is a document storage dispute that has spiraled out of control.”
They assert that Trump’s possession of sensitive materials should be the purview of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) because classification status matters little within the Presidential Records Act.
NARA sought the return of the Mar-a-Lago documents from the former president for more than a year, eventually turning to the Justice Department for assistance (The Hill).
Rebecca Beitsch, The Hill: Trump wants it both ways on “declassified” documents.
IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES
On the 60th anniversary of President Kennedy’s “moonshot” speech — where he announced his goal to land a man on the moon — Biden outlined his own moonshot: cutting the U.S. death rate from cancer in half in the next 25 years.
Biden addressed supporters at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, where he highlighted a new “federally backed study that seeks evidence for using blood tests to screen against multiple cancers — a potential game-changer in diagnostic testing to dramatically improve early detection of cancers” (The Associated Press).
Early Monday at Boston Logan International Airport, Biden touted a $62 million federal investment that resulted from the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law enacted last year. Airports receiving federal funds are able to make renovations and other improvements, which means a modernization at Logan airport of its international terminal and improvements to roadways, according to the president (The Hill).
“Not a single solitary American airport, not one, ranks in the top 25 in the world,” Biden said. “The United States of America — not one airport ranks in the top 25 in the world. What in the hell is the matter with us? It means commerce. It means income. It means security. And we don’t even rank in the top 25.”
Meanwhile, Biden’s team on Monday moved to tighten offshore oil and gas drilling safety regulations, which were relaxed by the Trump administration in 2019 to be more industry-friendly. The BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and fire in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, which resulted in the deaths of 11 workers and released 134 million gallons of fuel into the ocean, sparked tougher safety rules during the Obama administration.
The Department of the Interior on Monday released yet another set of regulations, which modify the requirements under the two previous administrations (The Hill).
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said she believes the changes will “improve conditions for offshore workers and the public.”
“This proposed rulemaking will help ensure that offshore energy development utilizes the latest science and technology to keep people safe,” she said.
But some environmentalists still say the new regulations fall short of what’s necessary to prevent another large-scale spill.
“Offshore drilling is inherently dirty and dangerous, and blowout preventers are not reliable,” Diane Hoskins, a campaign director with the Oceana conservation group told Bloomberg News. “While the new safety measures being proposed are a step in the right direction, no operator can promise there won’t be another disaster like BP’s Deepwater Horizon blowout.”
The president, eager to use his executive pen for additional environmental purposes, is reportedly poised to designate a historic military site in Colorado as his first national monument.
“Colorado’s Camp Hale, a World War II-era military training ground along the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains, and the Tenmile Range have attracted visitors for their stunning landscapes and provide habitat for wildlife including elk, bears, otters, lynxes and migratory songbirds,” The Washington Post reports.
A national monument designation would bar mining and drilling in the area. The move would bypass gridlock in Congress, where GOP lawmakers have opposed legislation sponsored by Colorado Democrats that would permanently protect Camp Hale, the Tenmile Range and other historic landscapes across the state.
■ The queen could have redressed Britain’s colonial sins. She didn’t, by Saim Saeed, agriculture editor, Politico Europe. https://politi.co/3qvVETR
■ John Fetterman needs to debate more than once for the U.S. Senate, by The Washington Post editorial board. https://wapo.st/3QC7CWW
■ The wives of Republican candidates are getting personal, by Michelle Cottle, editorial board member, The New York Times. https://nyti.ms/3QD38iG
WHERE AND WHEN
The House meets at 2 p.m.
The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. and will resume consideration of Arianna Freeman to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the 3rd Circuit. The Senate Judiciary Committee convenes a 10 a.m. hearing to question a whistleblower who alleged widespread security failures at Twitter. The Hill’s Rebecca Klar reports what to expect during the hearing.
The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 9 a.m. Biden will speak at 3 p.m. during a South Lawn event to champion provisions of the newly enacted Inflation Reduction Act.
Vice President Harris at 10:10 a.m. will participate in a conversation with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Leadership Conference in downtown Washington. She will join the president at 3 p.m. and speak about the Inflation Reduction Act.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will attend the South Lawn event for the Inflation Reduction Act at 3 p.m.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo at 9 a.m. will tour the Birck Nanotechnology Center in West Lafayette, Ind., and participate in a moderated and live streamed discussion at 10:45 a.m. about fostering U.S. manufacturing of semiconductors. They will be joined by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R), Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.), and Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, a former Republican governor of the state and former director of the Office and Management and Budget.
First lady Jill Biden at 3 p.m. will join the president at the South Lawn event for the Inflation Reduction Act. She will speak at 5 p.m. to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America during the organization’s meeting in Washington.
Economic indicator: The Bureau of Labor Statistics at 8:30 a.m. will issue a report on the August consumer price index as well as real earnings last month.
The White House daily briefing is scheduled at 1:35 p.m.
➤ HEALTH & PANDEMIC
The Food and Drug Administration scheduled a joint meeting on Nov. 18 to discuss the application for the first over-the-counter daily birth control pill in this country, manufacturer Perrigo, headquartered in Ireland, announced Monday.
If approved, Perrigo’s progestin-only pill would be the first non-prescription birth control pill available in the United States. The company filed the application to change the pill’s status in July (The Hill).
In Minnesota, 15,000 nurses are on strike, which union leaders say marks the largest private sector nurses’ strike in U.S. history. The strike, which began at 7 a.m. on Monday in the Twin Cities and Duluth, is expected to last through 7 a.m. on Thursday (Axios).
According to The Washington Post, “The strike spotlights nationwide nursing shortages exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic that often result in patients not receiving adequate care. Tensions remain high between nurses and health-care administrators across the country, and there are signs that work stoppages could spread to other states.”
Most local hospitals have been able to hire temporary nursing staff to fill gaps in care, the Minnesota Star Tribune reports, but some elective surgeries have been postponed. Union leaders are asking for pay raises for nurses following pandemic burnout and staffing shortages.
“It’s frustrating, and that’s why we’re in this position,” union vice president Chris Rubesch, a nurse in Duluth, told the Star Tribune. “We cannot go another three years without addressing this crisis.”
Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported as of this morning, according to Johns Hopkins University (trackers all vary slightly): 1,050,767. Current average U.S. COVID-19 daily deaths are 328, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Twitter argued in a new filing that Elon Musk’s latest maneuver to nix a deal to purchase the social media giant for $44 billion over the company’s handling of a whistleblower is “invalid and wrongful.” Twitter’s attorneys pushed back against the Tesla CEO’s third attempt to back out of the agreement, saying that the social media platform has “breached none of its representations or obligations” under the agreement. Musk’s attorneys last week made their latest effort to cancel the deal when they claimed Twitter should have alerted him before it paid $7.75 million in a separation agreement with Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, Twitter’s former security chief who has come out with accusations of widespread security deficiencies at the company (The Hill). The move took place on the eve of a vote where Twitter shareholders are expected to overwhelmingly approve Musk’s takeover of the platform (The Wall Street Journal).
The Associated Press: Twitter whistleblower bringing security warnings to Congress.
➤ CITIES & STATES
Environment:Utah’s Great Salt Lake — the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere — is drying up amid rapid climate change, and the effects are impacting the whole state. The lake, which sits just northwest of Salt Lake City, is sending dust laced with toxic metals, including arsenic, into the air, which is spreading to a metro area of approximately 1.2 million people. As The Hill reports, small particles like these have been linked to health complications ranging from asthma to heart attacks, worsening lung function and premature death.
Utah is not alone in experiencing this kind of pollution; in California, the drying Salton Sea is also releasing dust.
🍎 Schools: States and local school districts complaining about teacher shortages may have a different kind of staffing problem. There is no evidence of a national teacher shortage; the challenges are related more to recruiting and hiring, especially for non-teaching staff positions. Schools flush with federal pandemic relief money are creating new positions and struggling to fill them at a time of low unemployment and stiff competition for workers of all kinds, according to The Associated Press.
Race and equity: South Side Chicago native Jitu Brown, the national director of the Journey for Justice Alliance, is a member of a new generation pursuing civil rights along a path created by predecessors such as the late activist Fred Hampton, the former deputy chairman of the national Black Panther Party, and Martin Luther King Jr. Brown’s focus is equitable education, inspired by his upbringing in the Windy City (The Hill).
Child poverty: New data from The New York Times and Child Trends, a nonpartisan group, shows a drastic reduction in child poverty rates across all 50 states. Child poverty fell by 59 percent from 1993 to 2019, due largely to an increase in subsidies and government aid — especially for working families. Total federal spending on low-income children almost doubled, the investigation found.
“In 1993, safety net programs cut child poverty by 9 percent from what it would have been absent the aid,” according to the Times. “By 2019, those programs had cut child poverty by 44 percent, and the number of children they removed from poverty more than tripled to 6.5 million.”
In West Virginia, the Times found the poverty rate among children fell by nearly three-quarters, compared to a 59 percent drop nationwide. For Cecelia Jackson and her family, the government aid has made a big difference.
“The kids get plenty to eat,” she told the Times. “If they’re sick, we can take them to the doctor. I’ve got dreams and goals not to need it one day, but for now I’m grateful it’s here.”
And finally … 📺 Hollywood gathered in Los Angeles Monday night for the 74tth primetime Emmy awards, hosted by comedian Keenan Thompson. The HBO drama “Succession” led the night with 25 nominations, taking home four, while limited series “The White Lotus,” also streaming on HBO, took home 10 statuettes (Variety).
Highlights of the ceremony included Sheryl Lee Ralph’s acceptance speech after winning an Emmy for best supporting actress in a comedy series for ABC’s “Abbott Elementary.” She celebrated by belting out lines from “Endangered Species” by Dianne Reeves (the Washington Post). Many of this year’s winners looked familiar; shows such as “Ted Lasso” and “Euphoria” picked up awards for a second consecutive year. Lee Jung-jae, of Netflix’s “Squid Game,” became the first Asian to win lead actor in a drama, and the fourth Asian to be awarded an acting Emmy, while Zendaya, the star of HBO’s “Euphoria,” became the first Black woman to win lead actress in a drama (Variety).
As Variety tweeted: “The biggest surprise of the 2022 #Emmys is that there were almost no surprises at all.”
▪ The Hollywood Reporter: Emmys: Winners of color equally split behind and in front of camera.
▪ Variety: HBO and HBO Max reclaim most Emmy wins crown as “White Lotus” snags 10 awards.
▪ The Washington Post: A stale 2022 Emmys show is saved by — get this — the speeches.
▪ The Cut: The highs and lows of the 2022 Emmys.