A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.
U.S. intelligence officials estimate that the death toll for Russian troops in Ukraine has climbed to more than 7,000 since the invasion began.
- That’s higher than the U.S. troop death toll over 20 years in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
- About 14,000 to 21,000 Russian troops have been injured, according to the intelligence officials.
- At least three Russian generals have died in the fighting.
Biden Calls Putin A War Criminal
After announcing the U.S. was giving an extra $800 million in aid to Ukraine on Wednesday, Biden called Russian leader Vladimir Putin a “war criminal” for the first time since Russia began its siege on Ukraine.
- The Kremlin fired back at Biden, its spokesperson Dmitry Peskov describing the President’s comments about Putin, which came after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gave an impassioned speech to Congress, as “unacceptable and unforgivable rhetoric.”
- Russia’s bombing of hospitals, residential neighborhoods and other non-military areas have caused complete devastation in Ukrainian cities like Mariupol.
GOP Sen To Dems: Pls Pass Drug Reform Before My Party Takes Over
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) admitted during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Wednesday that his and committee chair Ron Wyden’ (D-OR) drug reform bill will likely die if the GOP takes control of Congress.
- Grassley acknowledged “the difficulty of passing something like this in a Republican Congress.”
- The GOP senator told Democrats they had an “opportunity” to “do it right now.” In fact, “If we want to reduce drug prices, then we need to do it now,” Grassley said.
Ohio District Maps Shot Down By Supreme Court For Gerrymandering ………………… Again
The Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that, for the third time, the Ohio Redistricting Commission had gerrymandered the state House and Senate district maps in favor of Republicans. The court tossed out the maps and ordered the commission to start over.
- The court slammed Republicans’ “self-created chaos” in the seemingly endless redistricting process.
- The court suggested the commission hire an independent map drawer “who answers to all commission members, not only to the Republican legislative leaders.”
- The decision effectively delays Ohio’s May 3 primary. The commission was ordered to draw new maps by March 28.
- The court’s Republican chief justice, Maureen O’Connor, was the deciding vote again.
GOP Kansas Senators Met With Trucker Convoy Protesters For Capitol Tour And Pics
Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KA) showed the truckers of the “People’s Convoy” around the Capitol, where Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KA) took photos with them in his office last week on March 9, the Kansas City Star reported yesterday.
- Marshall’s office told the Kansas City Star that the group was made up of about 13 people. They were all from Kansas, according to the senator’s office.
- The Capitol, which has been closed to the public for the past two years since the pandemic began, loosened its restrictions in December to allow small tours on the Senate side. Marshall’s office said the senator had followed the rules with his tour.
- A senior congressional aide reported the tour to the Justice Department, according to Politico.
- Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) had met with the truckers the day before.
Sinema Mocked Biden And Gushed Over Big Lie-Peddling GOPer
New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns’ upcoming book about the 2020 election and Biden’s first year in office has some new maverick-y details about Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), who is a Maverick.
- “I love Andy Biggs,” Sinema reportedly said at a GOP-heavy private fundraiser, referring to the Arizona congressman who, to this day, still refuses to acknowledge Biden won his state in the 2020 election. “I know some people think he’s crazy, but that’s just because they don’t know him.”
- But the thing about that is, Biggs’ own brothers say he helped fuel the Capitol attack, lied about the election and should be kicked out of office.
- Sinema mocked Biden at the same fundraiser, according to the book.
Revenge Of The Cuomos
Disgraced New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his younger brother, ex-CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, are trying to claw their way back in after their falls from grace over the ex-governor’s sexual harassment scandal that CNN Cuomo tried to help cover up.
- Andrew Cuomo and his team have started floating trial balloons about the ex-governor potentially challenging his successor and former lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul, this year.
- Chris Cuomo is seeking a $125 million arbitration award from CNN for his allegedly wrongful termination.
Russian Oligarch’s Megayacht Stranded In Norway Because Nobody Wants To Fuel It
A yacht owned by former KGB agent and mining executive Vladimir Strzhalkovsky is currently stuck in northern Norway because local suppliers flatly refuse to sell fuel to it.
- Though other European governments have been seizing the fancy boats (several complete with helipads), Norway can’t do the same without a directive from the E.U., according to Norway’s foreign minister.
- One helpful oil supplier offered several solutions: “They can row home. Or use a sail.”
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