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Calls for Putin war crimes probe, Biden and Xi to meet: 5 Things podcast


On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: World leaders call for war crime investigations in Ukraine

Russia has appeared to target civilian areas in their invasion. Plus, President Joe Biden meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Supreme Court correspondent John Fritze looks at Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s past decisions, cleanup efforts continue in Japan after an earthquake and national correspondent Marc Ramirez explains how young people are turning to things beyond the church for spiritual fulfillment.

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Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.

Taylor Wilson:

Good morning. I’m Taylor Wilson and this is 5 Things you need to know Friday, the18th of March 2022. Today calls of war crimes in Ukraine. Plus Biden speaks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and more.

Here are some of the top headlines: 

  1. The National Transportation Safety Board has found that a 13 year old was driving the pickup truck that hit a van head on this week in West Texas. Nine people died in the crash, including members of a college golf team. The child was among those killed.
  2. Peru’s constitutional court has approved the release from prison of former president Alberto Fujimori. The former strong man was serving a 25 year sentence on murder and corruption charges.
  3. And the Green Bay Packers have traded star wide receiver Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders. They’ll get a pair of draft picks in return.

Russian forces have continued their assaults on Ukraine today, with new missile strikes on the edges of the capital of Kyiv and in the western city of Lviv. The city is just miles from the Polish border. And some 200,000 Ukrainians from other parts of the country have fled there looking for safety. But while some of the worst violence has been in the country’s east, Lviv has not been spared. And last weekend, nearly three dozen people were killed in a strike on a training facility, near the city. In Kyiv, at least one person was killed after shelling on Podil, a neighborhood just north of downtown. Meanwhile, some residents are finally fleeing Mariupol, a city on Ukraine’s southeastern coast, cut off from resources after constant shelling for weeks. Some were evacuated to a nearby village controlled by the self-proclaimed Donetsk’s People’s Republic on Wednesday. Mariupol evacuee, Andre Syrota, spoke of the nightmare in his city.

Taylor Wilson translating for Andre Syrota:

“It was impossible to get out of the basement. The house began to break down. We still have corpses there. I ran up there to find something, to get something. They don’t take the corpses away for seven days. It started to stink, already. It’s scary, very scary. There are bombs all the time. The shells do not stop at all. You sit in the basement and bounce.”

Taylor Wilson:

The latest shelling there hit a theater where hundreds of people were said to have taken shelter. More than a day later, there were no reports of deaths, but conflicting reports on whether anyone had emerged from the rubble. Satellite images showed huge white letters, spelling out the word, “children,” in Russian, to alert war planes of who was inside. There are more and more calls that attacks like that amount to war crimes. US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, made those claims yesterday.

Antony Blinken:

President Biden said that, in his opinion, war crimes have been committed in Ukraine. Personally, I agree. Intentionally targeting civilians is a war crime. After all the destruction of the past three weeks, I find it difficult to conclude that the Russians are doing otherwise. Our experts are in the process of documenting and evaluating potential war crimes being committed in Ukraine. We’ll make sure that our findings help international efforts to investigate war crimes and hold those responsible accountable.

Taylor Wilson:

The United Nations political chief under Secretary General, Rosemary DiCarlo, called for an investigation into civilian casualties.

President Joe Biden will speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping, today. The meeting comes as China remains caught between two sides, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, last month. President Xi has avoided siding totally with either Russia or the West, even as Western leaders have co-signed massive sanctions isolating Russia from much of the world. Russia wants help from China to mitigate those sanctions and even to provide military support. But that means China also, has major leverage toward pushing Russia to stand down. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

Jen Psaki:

This is an opportunity for President Biden to assess where President Xi stands. There’s been, of course, rhetorical support or the absence of clear rhetoric and denunciation, or the absence of enunciation by China of what Russia is doing. This flies in the face, of course, of everything China stands for, including the basic principles of the UN Charter, including the basic principles of respect for sovereignty of nations. So the fact that China has not denounced what Russia is doing, in and of itself, speaks volumes. And it also speaks volumes, not only in Russia and Ukraine, but around the world.

Taylor Wilson:

The leaders’ talk comes after National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met on Monday with Yang Jiechi, the Chinese director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission.

Soon after President Joe Biden nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, her critics began casting her as a radical left wing activist. That characterization is based on a number of high profile opinions, when she ruled against President Donald Trump’s administration. But how accurate is that view? Supreme Court Correspondent John Fritze looked into it.

John Fritze:

So a lot of the criticism that has emerged about Judge Jackson, so far, is focused on this one opinion that she authored involving the former White House Counsel Don McGahn, President Donald Trump’s, former White House counsel. And the case involved a dispute between Congress and the White House over whether McGahn had to testify as part of the congressional impeachment inquiry. This was the second impeachment dealing with Ukraine. Jackson ruled in 2019, that he did have to testify, and in some pretty strong language talked about the presidency not being a king. The President, at the time, was asserting broad immunity for all of his aids. And Jackson just struck that down. And she was partially overturned in the Appeals Court. And this is a thing that Republicans have talked a lot about. In the end, the legal issues weren’t really decided because McGahn struck a deal with congressional lawmakers to testify. And so the case went away on its own. But it’s definitely a case that Republicans are going to bring up at her hearing, and have brought up so far.

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