👋 Away Message: It's infrastructure week at WTF HQ! This will be the last edition of WTFJHT until May 31. WTF is taking a much needed break to retool ahead of what is shaping up to be a very consequential midterm cycle (we've also had a few unresolvable scheduling snafus/conflicts here, so I'm just going to take a mulligan on this one). In the mean time, we've built a little news aggregator tool – currentstatus.io – to keep you up-to-date on the daily shock and awe. Thanks for understanding! I'm going to miss you. You'll hear from us again on Tuesday, May 31. Thanks for being here.
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1/ The Biden administration expanded sanctions against Russia, cutting off U.S. transactions with the country’s central bank. The new sanctions effectively prohibit Americans from doing any business with Russia’s central bank as well as freezes its assets within the United States. The new measures also target the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation. (CNBC / CNN)
2/ Russia is facing a financial meltdown as U.S. sanctions eat away at its economy. Putin held crisis talks with his top economic advisers after the ruble crashed to a record low against the U.S. dollar, the Russian central bank more than doubled interest rates to 20%, and the Moscow stock exchange was shuttered for the day in response to crushing Western sanctions imposed over the weekend as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (CNN)
3/ The U.S. will expel 12 Russian U.N. diplomats, accusing them of “espionage activities,” as Russia continues its attack on Ukraine. The State Department announced the expulsion in the hours after Moscow began its bombardment and invasion of Ukraine. Russia’s Ambassador to the U.N. responded by saying that Mills’ explanation for the expulsions was “not satisfactory.” (CNN)
4/ The California “freedom convoy” that was headed to Washington, DC disbanded after just one day. The convoy was expecting up to 2,000 truckers prior to its departure from Los Angeles on Friday, but it ultimately disbanded and cancelled all associated rallies on Saturday after only five rigs arrived in Las Vegas. (The Independent)
5/ Two Republican members of Congress participated in a white nationalist’s conference — and Mitt Romney called them “morons.” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul A. Gosar attended and spoke at the event. Marjorie Taylor Green later defended attending the conference, which was organized by white nationalist Nick Fuentes, saying she didn’t know he had promoted white-nationalist ideas. (Washington Post)
6/ Trump appealed a ruling that would force him to testify in the New York Attorney General’s probe into his business. Lawyers for Trump and his two oldest children — Ivanka and Don Jr. — filed papers on Monday with the appellate division of the state’s trial court, seeking to overturn Manhattan Judge Arthur Engoron’s Feb. 17 ruling. They argued that ordering the Trumps to testify violates their constitutional rights because their answers could be used in a parallel criminal investigation. (Associated Press)
poll/ 83% of Americans said they favored increased economic sanctions against Russia in response to the invasion, while 17% were opposed. 62% want to see the U.S. do more to stop Russian military action in Ukraine, while 38% say the country has already done enough. (CNN)
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