A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.
The Latest On The Ground
The scope of the Russian attack continues to come into focus Thursday, but reports suggest a combined air, sea, and land offensive as part of a full-scale invasion of Ukraine:
- Russian forces appear to have penetrated into Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.
- Ukrainian officials confirmed that a battle was underway for control of Antonov airport in Hostomel, a few kilometers outside Kiyv.
- Ukraine reported that Russian ground troops were advancing in the north across the border with Belarus.
- Ukraine reported missile and airstrikes against more than a dozen cities.
- Russia claimed that by mid-morning Thursday it had disabled Ukraine’s air defenses and air bases.
- Russian forces have captured two villages in the Luhansk region, according to the Ukraine Interior Ministry.
- The attack began with reports of Russian amphibious landings along the Black Sea and Azov Sea coasts. Heavy shelling was reported at the Azov port city of Mariupol.
- As hostilities ensure, Ukrainian airspace was closed to civilian aircraft.
Ukraine In “All-Out Defense Mode”
The reports are sketchy, often anonymous, and could be self-serving, but Ukraine is claiming a number of successes in fending off the Russian attack:
- Ukraine shot down six Russian fighters and a helicopter, a senior Ukrainian military official told the New York Times (Russia denied the report).
- A few hours ago, Ukraine claimed it had repelled Russian advances on Chernihiv and Kharkiv.
- President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukraine was opening up its armories “to anyone who wants to defend the country.”
First Casualty Reports Trickle In
Ukraine is reporting that more than 40 of its service members have been killed and dozens wounded in the initial Russian attack.
Texas Launches Hunt On Trans Kids
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Tuesday directed his state’s Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate all trans kids who are getting gender-affirming care and have their parents prosecuted. Abbott’s horrifying letter–which isn’t based on any actual law on gender-affirming care, by the way–cited Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s (R) official opinion claiming gender-affirming care was “child abuse” despite clear evidence that access to affirmative care reduces risk of suicide.
- Abbott’s directive also requires all teachers, caregivers, and medical professionals to report any trans kid they see who’s had gender-affirming care.
- Paxton had dined with a family with a trans kid at the family’s invitation in 2016, back when Republicans first began targeting the trans community with bathroom laws. The attorney general was warm, the family told The 19th on Wednesday, but he had also merely shrugged and said laws weren’t up to him when the family asked if he could do more to support trans kids.
In other words:
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chooses New District Map
In a 4-3 decision in the state’s contentious congressional redistricting case on Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court approved the proposed map put forth by the Democratic plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the gerrymandered GOP-drawn map.
- The new map, which was drawn by a Stanford professor and based on the state’s current map, still slightly favors Republicans. It creates nine districts that went to Trump in both elections, and eight districts that went to Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, according to analysis by the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Ben Geffen, an attorney representing voting rights groups in the lawsuit, told TPM earlier this month that it’s likely that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s ruling will be the final say in the matter, even if Pennsylvania Republicans try to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ivanka In Talks With Jan. 6 Panel About Potential Interview
The House Jan 6. Committee and ex-White House adviser Ivanka Trump, the ex-president’s eldest daughter, are negotiating potential plans for her to testify in their Capitol insurrection probe, a spokesperson for Trump told the New York Times.
- Trump and the panel have reportedly been in talks since January. The committee asked for her voluntary cooperation in the investigation on Jan. 20.
- Ex-Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who unlike Trump was subpoenaed by the committee, has been negotiating a possible interview with the panel too, according to the Times. Giuliani reportedly refuses to testify against the former president, but he’s open to spilling the beans on certain members of Congress.
- You might’ve already remembered that Giuliani was subpoenaed and Trump wasn’t, but I’ll still go ahead and link to CNN’s useful running list of everyone who’s been subpoenaed or contacted for voluntary interviews in the Jan. 6 investigation.
No Madison, You Can’t Use The Confederate Defense, North Carolina AG Says
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein’s (D) office argued on Wednesday that Congress’ amnesty grant to Confederate soldiers in 1872 doesn’t apply to Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), who’s trying to fend off a legal effort to get him kicked off the ballot over his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection, in the 21st century.
Perdue Shakes Hands With Alleged Child Predator In His Campaign Ad
Former Georgia senator-turned-gubernatorial-candidate David Perdue put out a “tough on crime” campaign ad on Wednesday in which the ex-Republican senator shakes hands with a county sheriff deputy who was later arrested on child pornography charges (his case is still pending).
- “CRACK DOWN ON CRIME” is splashed over the footage.
- The Perdue campaign took down the footage later on Wednesday and told FOX 5 it was a mistake.
- Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s (R) reelection campaign was the one that flagged the unfortunate moment.
Conservative School Group’s Pressure Campaign Backfires Spectacularly
The American Federation for Children, a pro-school privatization group, had mailers sent out to voters in at least 16 GOP-controlled districts in Georgia warning that their Republican representatives were being cowed by President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, aka “the radical left.” It was part of the group’s broader efforts to pressure the Georgia GOP lawmakers into passing school vouchers for private school tuition.
- What ended up happening was that the lawmakers got pissed off, and now the proposal is dead.
- House Speaker David Ralston (R) described the gambit as “dumbest thing I’ve ever seen in my career.”
GOP Michigan Candidate Warns He May Be Assassinated By Clinton Operatives
WXYZ Detroit reporter Ross Jones flagged that Michigan state Rep. Steve Carra (R), a Trump-endorsed primary challenger to pro-impeachment Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), had taped this goofy notice on his office door:
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