3 Things To Know Today

1 Biden To Hold Phone Call With Russian President Putin

President Biden is set to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone today. The White House released a statement stating the two leaders will cover a range of topics that include upcoming diplomatic engagements with Russia. The White House said the Biden Administration continues to "engage in extensive diplomacy" with European allies and partners as well as "coordinating on a common approach in response to Russia's military build-up on the border with Ukraine." Biden has already been speaking with leaders across Europe regarding Russia's presence near the Ukrainian border. And while what they’ve discussed isn’t clear, the U.S. Air Force is flying a reconnaissance mission over eastern Ukraine two days after Russia promised to withdraw troops from its border. The Pentagon hasn't said what intelligence the spy planes were gathering.

2 Ghislaine Maxwell Found Guilty Of Sex Trafficking

Ghislaine Maxwell, the longtime companion to Jeffrey Epstein, was found guilty on five of six counts late yesterday afternoon by a federal jury. The verdict came on the jury’s fifth full day of deliberations and convicted Maxwell of sex trafficking and four other counts, only acquitting her on a charge of enticing a minor to travel across state lines to engage in an illegal sexual act. Judge Alison J. Nathan didn’t set a date for sentencing, but Maxwell could face a maximum of 65 years in prison from the five counts, with the sex trafficking count alone carrying a possible maximum sentence of 40 years. Bobbi C. Sternheim, one of Maxwell’s defense attorneys, said last night “We have started the appeal tonight and believe Ghislaine will ultimately be vindicated.” Maxwell faces a separate trial in the same court on two counts of perjury, coming from depositions she gave in a lawsuit related to Jeffrey Epstein in 2016.

3 CDC Director Defends ‘Mixed Messaging’ On COVID-19 Recommendations

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control, appeared on NBC’s “Today” show yesterday and was grilled by Peter Alexander, who asked her why Americans should trust her and her agency. The questions after several corrections and adjustments to information and recommendations from the CDC in recent weeks, including chopping the recommended quarantine period for COVID patients in half, from 10 days to five. The agency also had to walk back their estimate of the amount of new COVID cases that are the omicron variant from their original estimate of 73.2% down to just 22.5%. Walensky says officials are simply adapting to the latest data on the virus and human behavior. She also shared the reasoning behind the reduced quarantine period, saying that people with omicron have milder symptoms and may not be willing to isolate for a full 10 days.

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