It’s Thursday, February 24th, and this is your Morning Wire. Listen to the full podcast:
1) Russia Launches Military Invasion
The Topline: The situation in Ukraine is developing rapidly.
Quote Of The Day: “I think it would be a bloodbath… I’d expect tens of thousands of people to be killed.”
– Nile Gardiner, former advisor to Margaret Thatcher and director of the Heritage foundation’s Thatcher Center for Freedom discussing the prospect of a full scale military invasion
Update: Early Thursday morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced military operations in Eastern Ukraine. Shortly after, Ukraine officials confirmed that several cities were under attack.
With Ukraine’s foreign minister declaring it a “full-scale war,” President Joe Biden has condemned Russia for its “unprovoked and unjustified attack.”
In a statement, President Biden condemned Putin for choosing a “premeditated war” that he said will bring a “catastrophic loss of life and human suffering.”
Putin’s military aggression followed the announcement of U.S. sanctions against Russia earlier this week. President Biden plans to address the country later today to announce further measures against the Russian regime.
European governments have likely been hesitant to take a tougher stance against Russia because they need Russian energy. However, the Germans have announced they’re suspending the Nord Stream 2 pipeline which would supply natural gas from Russia.
The Russians are also aligning themselves with China, the world’s second largest economy.
2) Progressive Los Angeles DA Faces Recall
The Topline: As Los Angeles continues to suffer from waves of violent crime, a new effort is underway to recall the city’s District Attorney, George Gascón, who campaigned on a promise to bring progressive ideas to the city’s criminal justice system.
George Gascón won his 2020 District Attorney election after campaigning on far-Left criminal justice reform. After taking office, he passed a series of policies reducing sentencing requirements for felons, preventing prosecutors from seeking life sentences without parole, and banning juveniles from being sentenced as adults, even in violent crimes.
Almost immediately after taking office, there was friction between Gascón and prosecutors in L.A. They sued to try and block a rule that would have prevented them from seeking longer prison sentences for certain violent crimes and other felonies, but most people in L.A. didn’t seem concerned until violent crime and homelessness spiked in the city.
Remember: Los Angeles is in the midst of a massive violent crime wave, with homicides increasing 11% last year alone to a 15 year high. Many are blaming what they describe as soft-on-crime policies from the D.A.’s office for the uptick.
There have been numerous instances of felons being arrested and let go multiple times over the course of one week, causing Gascón’s prosecutors to turn against him. According to the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, the union representing prosecutors in the city, 97.9% of its members voted in support of removing Gascón from his position.
The union’s president Michele Hanisee issued a statement on the vote, saying, “This vote is by those who are intimately familiar with how Mr. Gascón’s policies actually play out on a day-to-day basis.” Gascón faced a recall effort last year, but it failed before it reached the ballot.
Case Sparks Outrage
One specific case has sparked nationwide outrage against Gasćon’s policies. In 2014, James Tubbs assaulted and molested a 10 year-old girl in a Denny’s bathroom, but wasn’t caught until last year. After being caught, Tubbs began identifying as a woman and changed names from James to Hannah.
Because of Gascón’s new policies, despite now being 26 and having committed the crime just two weeks before Tubbs’ 18th birthday, Tubbs was tried as a juvenile, and sentenced to two years in a juvenile detention center. In addition, Tubbs won’t be registered as a sex offender under Gascón’s policies.
Fox News obtained calls from November in which Tubbs mocked the lax sentencing and laughed about not having to register as a sex offender.
After those phone calls were made public, Gascón issued a statement claiming he’d never heard them before, saying, “If we knew about her disregard for the harm she caused, we would have handled this case very differently.” However, Jonathan Hatami, a Deputy District Attorney working for Gascón, says he personally sent the phone calls to Gascón’s office months ago.
Tubbs’ victim, who was ten at the time of the assault, released her first statement, saying, “The things he did to me and made me do that day was beyond horrible for a ten-year-old girl to have to go through…I want him tried as an adult for the crimes he committed against me.” She added, “I’ve also heard that my attacker goes by she/them pronouns now…it’s also unfair to try him as a woman as well, seeing how he clearly didn’t act like one” when he assaulted her.
3) U.S. Soccer Settles ‘Equal Pay’ Lawsuit
The Topline: The United States Women’s National Soccer Team reached a settlement Tuesday in its lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Quote Of The Day: “For us as players, I’m just so proud of the way we stuck together and really just kind of put our foot down. This is a huge win for us.”
– Megan Rapinoe
U.S. Soccer has agreed to pay the women’s team a sum of $22 million, although they originally asked for $66 million. According to the AP, “The USSF also agreed to establish a fund with $2 million to benefit the players in their post-soccer careers and charitable efforts aimed at growing the sport for women.”
Going forward, the women’s team will also receive the same pay and benefits as the men’s team in all friendlies and tournaments, including the World Cup.
Women’s soccer players won’t be making as much as the men across the board. The majority of money that soccer players make comes from outside of international tournaments.
This also doesn’t take into account endorsement deals that individual athletes negotiate with brands.
In the past, the discrepancy in pay between the men’s and women’s teams has been vast.
FIFA set aside $400 million for the 2018 men’s World Cup tournament, which included $38 million to the championship team from France. FIFA only earmarked $30 million for the 2019 women’s tournament, including $4 million to the U.S. championship team.
The women’s team also receives a base salary and benefits, which the men’s team does not.
With the settlement, the women’s and men’s teams will make the exact same money in international play.
The settlement is contingent on the creation of a new collective bargaining agreement by the USWNT Players Association. According to The Athletic, once a new CBA has been ratified, the district court will be able to schedule the final approval of this settlement.
Other Stories We’re Tracking
The websites of several Ukrainian government departments and banks were hit with a cyber attack on Wednesday. Among the websites impacted were those for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Cabinet of Ministers.