Biden and Congress are ready to respond to Russia’s attack on Ukraine

First Read is a briefing from "Meet the Press", and the NBC Political Unit about the most important political stories of the day and why they are important.

Biden and Congress are ready to respond to Russia’s attack on Ukraine

WASHINGTON -- It's Thursday. The Russian invasion begins in Ukraine. ... Dozens of people have been killed already. ... President Biden has declared that the world will hold Russia responsible. Oil prices rise domestically. ... U.S. Covid vaccinations plummet. According to Dave Wasserman, Cook Report, Democrats are enjoying their best redistricting days after developments in North Carolina or Pennsylvania. ... Senator Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) is back with his first TV commercial. CPAC is back.

First, here's NBC News reporting on the situation in Ukraine.


Richard Engel, NBC's Richard Engel, said that Ukraine is fighting for its survival as a nation on this morning's "Today".

The first blasts were heard just minutes after Russian President Vladimir Putin's Wednesday night televised speech stating that he had authorized military action. He warned other nations that if they attempted to intervene, they would be met with a Russian response so severe that none foreign countries have ever experienced it before." NBC's Yuliya Tarmazan and Alexander Smith report.

According to the Ukrainian government , 40 soldiers and less than 10 civilians were killed. This report on casualties has not been confirmed by NBC News.

A little after 10:20 pm, President Biden issued a statement. ET, stating that Putin has "decided to wage a premeditated conflict that will cause a devastating loss of life and human suffering."

Continue reading the Biden statement. "Russia is the sole responsible for the destruction and death that this attack will cause. The United States, its Allies, and Partners will respond in unison and decisive fashion." Russia will be held accountable by the world."

Biden also spoke last night with the Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, and will likely address Americans today.

According to Julie Tsirkin, NBC's Julie Tsirkin, the U.S. House of Representatives will today receive an unclassified, all-member briefing call from key Biden administration officials regarding the situation in Ukraine. This will be in addition to a previously reported call with U.S senators at 5 p.m. ET.

CNBC reports that oil prices rose more than 5 percent after news that Russia was planning a military attack on Ukraine. "U.S. Crude futures rose 5.23 percent to $96.92 per barrel. Brent crude oil futures rose 5.4 percent to $102.07/barrel, surpassing the $100 mark for the first time since 2014.

With eyes on the response of the international community, what was ex-President Donald Trump's take in a telephone interview with Fox News last night? Putin was encouraged by the "weakness and incompetence and stupidity" of the Trump administration. It was all because of a rigged electoral process.

Data Download: The number for the day is... 90,000.

This is the average daily number of people who get their first Covid vaccine . It's the lowest figure since December 2020, when the vaccine was introduced.

Just a few months back, the omicron waves began. There were days when America gave more than 1,000,000 shots to its citizens (including booster, first and second shots). However, demand has slowed down to a crawl in many areas that people are hesitant about getting vaccinated.

You need to be familiar with the following numbers:

945765: This is the number of deaths from Covid in the United States, as per the most recent data available from NBC News.

78.901,737: This is the number of confirmed cases in the United States of Covid, according to the most recent data available from NBC News and officials at the health department.

6 : Per 538, the number of states still have to complete new congressional maps.

23 The number of Republican Senate candidates who didn't respond to Politico's questions about NRSC Chairman Rick Scott’s policy agenda .

Roundup of the midterm

Dave Wasserman , The Cook Political Report's Dave Wasserman , tweeted yesterday that was "probably Democrats single best redistricting date yet" due to developments in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court selected the preferred congressional map for Democrats. This kept each district's relative competitiveness intact, despite losing a seat in Congress. The new map was analyzed by the Philadelphia Inquirer and included six districts that were seen as "as strongly Republican", five that were as strongly Democratic, and three that were each viewed as being leaning Democratic or Republican.

The new Pennsylvania map has also led to another incumbent-versus-incumbent primary, with GOP Rep. Fred Keller running against fellow GOP Rep. Dan Meuser in the 9th District.

A three-judge panel in North Carolina adopted a new congressional map drawn outside advisers. This was another win for Democrats. According to the AP, the new map also included a new seat. Rep. Dan Bishop , GOP, tweeted that he's considering running for either the 8th or the 9th Districts or for a statewide judicial position.

According to AdImpact, Ted Cruz, Texas GOP Senator, is spending $21,000 on radio ads for the 28th district. According to the Texas Tribune, the buy is for Cruz's favorite GOP candidate in this primary, Cassy Garcia, who was a former Cruz aide.

Ad watch

Kelly's first TV commercial: In his first TV ad, Senator Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) empathizes and sympathizes with many voters facing economic hardships right now.

Kelly opens the ad by describing when he realized as a child that his family lived paycheck-to-paycheck. Kelly recalls that Kelly's mom used to sit at the kitchen table and make decisions about which bill to pay.

Kelly was elected to the Senate for the first time in 2020's special election. He plays on his relative newness to Congress to win support from voters. Kelly states, "I know Arizona families struggle to make ends meet right now. That's why my focus will not be lost on getting our economy back to track. Too many Washington politicians don't understand what it's like waiting for the next paycheck."

ICYMI: What other happenings around the world

Ivanka Trump discusses a voluntary appearance prior to the Jan. 6 committee.

Jonathan Allen and Marc Caputo of NBC go inside to discuss the intra-GOP feud about Fla. Sen. Rick Scott’s midterm agenda.

Despite Europe's instability, world negotiators express hope for a renewed Iran nuke deal.

GOP Governor. Greg Abbott called for "licensed professionals" and "ordinary citizens to report and for the state Department of Family and Protective Services (State Department of Family and Protective Services) to investigate parents of transgender children receiving gender-affirming medical treatment.

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