Biden news: President has ‘no regrets’ saying Putin a killer, as White House admits ‘crisis on border’

Watch live as Biden makes remarks on the state of vaccinations

Joe Biden has “no regrets” for calling Russian president Vladimir Putin a “killer” and escalating tensions between Washington and the Kremlin, according to the White House.

“We are confident that we can continue to look for ways where there’s a mutual interest,” said press secretary Jen Psaki.

It was the second major line in the sand from Biden’s spokesperson at her daily briefing after also admitting to a “crisis on the border”. It came amid questions over the timing of the Biden administration’s vaccine commitment to Mexico, and Mexico’s commitment to crack down on migrants attempting to cross the border.

Psaki said the vaccines were unrelated to Mexico partnering with the US to deal “with the crisis on the border”. She later attempted to walk back the characterization of the “crisis” as a “challenge”. The White House has gone to lengths to deny there was a crisis on the border.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, meanwhile, will travel to Georgia to meet with Asian American leaders to discuss attacks and threats against their community.

It comes as the Biden administration looks set to his its coronavirus vaccine pledge of 100m shots delivered within 100 days of his entering the White House more than a month ahead of schedule, with the goal likely to be achieved in a week’s time, well ahead of the original 30 April deadline.

Former US president Barack Obama has meanwhile called for “common-sense gun safety laws” following the shooting of eight people at three massage parlours in Atlanta, Georgia, this week, an attack that has cast a spotlight on a spike in racial prejudice against Asian Americans over the past year.

Elsewhere, Russian president Vladimir Putin has hit back at Mr Biden for calling him a “killer” in an ABC interview earlier this week, declaring menacingly: “Those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” The country has also recalled its US ambassador in protest at the insult.

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Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of all the latest news from the White House and beyond in US politics.

Louise Hall18 March 2021 10:03

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Trump lost $700m during presidency, report says

A report has suggested the substantial loss came amid continued impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Mr Trump’s hotels and properties, alongside a negative backlash from the 6 January insurrection, which hurt relationships with brokers and lenders.

The former president has at least $590 million in loans come due in the next four years, the report said, and is facing a “triple whammy” from the pandemic, the riot and an aging portfolio of properties.

Ruth Colp-Haber, who runs office consultant Wharton Property Advisors told the outlet: “These are the businesses you don’t want to be in right now.”

The Independent has contacted the Trump organisation for comment. The company declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg.

Louise Hall18 March 2021 10:16

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Russia calls back US ambassador as Biden brands Putin a ‘killer’ 

Russia has called its US ambassador Anatoly Antonov back home for consultations as Moscow mulls avoiding what its foreign ministry called an “irreversible degradation” of relations with America.

Tensions between the two nations are high, following recently declassified reports on Russia’s suspected attempts to interfere in the 2020 election, US condemnation over the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, and Joe Biden calling Vladimir Putin a “killer” in a recent interview.

Josh Marcus reports:

Louise Hall18 March 2021 10:19

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Kremlin angrily warns of consequences after Biden calls Putin ‘killer’

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has branded Biden’s assessment of Putin “very bad” and said: “It shows he definitely doesn’t want to build relations with our country and things will flow from this.”

Oliver Carroll has the latest.

Louise Hall18 March 2021 10:30

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Russia wants an apology from the US, Russian lawmaker says

Konstantin Kosachyov, a deputy chairman of parliament’s upper house, has said Joe Biden’s comments regarding Vladimir Putin were unacceptable and would inevitably inflame already bad ties.

Russia on Wednesday said it was recalling its ambassador to the United States for urgent consultations over the future of US-Russia ties following the comments on Tuesday.

Mr Kosachyov said Moscow’s recall of its ambassador was the only reasonable step to take in the circumstances.

“I suspect it will not be the last one if no explanation or apology follows from the American side,” Mr Kosachyov said in a Facebook post.

“This kind of assessment is not allowed from the mouth of a statesman of such a rank. This kind of statement is not acceptable under any circumstances,” he added, calling it a watershed moment in US-Russia ties.

Reporting by Reuters

Louise Hall18 March 2021 10:37

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Trump doing multiple interviews to promote his presidency in wave of post-White House books

Donald Trump will allegedly sit down with multiple authors in the coming weeks, as the former US president sets-about promoting his time at the White House, Gino Spocchia reports.

Louise Hall18 March 2021 10:50

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Biden officials prepare for China talks

The United States and China are set face a new test in their increasingly troubled relations with top officials from both countries scheduled to meet in Alaska today.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan are set to meet with State Councilor Wang Yi and the foreign affairs chief of the Chinese Communist Party, but the two sides have reportedly set low expectations for the audience.

The meeting will present an initial opportunity to address intense disagreements over trade and human rights in Tibet, Hong Kong and the western Xinjiang region, as well as the coronavirus pandemic.

However, a senior administration official described the talks to the Associated Press as a chance for the two sides to “take stock” in the relationship.

The anonymous official told the AP that the two sides would not deliver a joint statement following the meeting and no major announcements are expected to come out of the talks.

“We will push back if necessary when China uses coercion or aggression to get its way,” Mr Blinken said before departing Japan after a visit to Tokyo on Tuesday.

Mr Biden is looking to recalibrate the US relationship following President Donald Trump’s hot-and-cold approach to China.

Reporting by the Associated Press

Louise Hall18 March 2021 11:02

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Parents of accused Atlanta gunman used tracker on his car to help police catch him

Robert Aaron Long, 21, has been charged with multiple counts of murder after allegedly shooting and killing eight people – primarily Asian America women – at three massage parlours he reportedly frequented in Georgia.

This was President Biden’s response to the atrocity on Wednesday.

Graig Graziosi has the very latest.

Joe Sommerlad18 March 2021 11:35

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Police say Georgia suspect said ‘bad day’ and sex addiction led to massage parlour murders

Cherokee County sheriff Frank Reynolds said interviews with the suspect in the Atlanta shootings revealed that his actions may not have been racially motivated but tied to sexual issues.

“The suspect has been interviewed, which indicated he has some issues, potentially sexual addiction. He may have frequented some of these places in the past,” Sheriff Reynolds said.

Officers say he told them he had had a “very bad day” and that the killings were a result of him being “at the end of his rope” and “fed up.”

Here’s more.

Joe Sommerlad18 March 2021 11:55

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Asian Americans felt shooting was coming after a year of racism

As we’ve seen, the Georgia suspect’s motives have not been definitively established yet but the shootings have already prompted Asian Americans to come forward to discuss the discrimination they have experienced over the past year, with many blaming Donald Trump for using the phrase “China Virus” to scapegoat Beijing for the pandemic he so badly mishandled.

Here’s more.

Joe Sommerlad18 March 2021 12:15

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