Happy Wednesday! Our most heartfelt condolences to University of Georgia fans around the country. Bulldog mascot UGA X—better known as Que—passed away peacefully on Tuesday at the age of 10, after presiding over a 91-19 school football record. He was the winningest mascot in school history.
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- The Turkish parliament voted on Tuesday to approve Sweden’s bid for NATO membership, ending Ankara’s nearly two-year block on the Nordic country’s entrance to the defensive alliance. If Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signs the measure—as he’s widely expected to do—Hungary’s opposition will be the last obstacle to Sweden joining the consensus-based alliance. Hungarian President Viktor Orbán and his government have pointed to Stockholm’s criticism of Budapest’s democratic backsliding as the reason for their opposition to Sweden’s bid. On Tuesday, Orbán invited Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson to Budapest for negotiations over Sweden’s accession.
- The U.S. conducted airstrikes against Iranian-backed militias in Iraq on Tuesday, the Pentagon announced, in response to an attack on the Al-Asad Air Base that injured four American servicemembers over the weekend. “Today, at President Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces conducted necessary and proportionate strikes on three facilities used by the Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia group and other Iran-affiliated groups in Iraq,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement released yesterday. “These precision strikes are in direct response to a series of escalatory attacks against U.S. and Coalition personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-sponsored militias.”
- U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced Tuesday that the U.S. had conducted airstrikes in Somalia over the weekend, killing three fighters belonging to the country’s al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group, al-Shabaab. AFRICOM said the strikes were carried out at the behest of the Somali government, and claimed that no civilians were injured or killed.
- Russia launched a barrage of more than 41 missiles into Ukraine on Tuesday morning, killing one person and injuring 22 others in Kyiv and leaving at least seven people dead and nearly 50 wounded in the eastern city of Kharkiv. The Ukrainian military said Ukrainian forces successfully shot down 21 of the incoming missiles, and that others did not hit their intended targets. The strike is part of a recent uptick in Russian missile attacks on urban areas since the end of last year.
- Polish President Andrzej Duda on Tuesday pardoned two lawmakers who had been convicted of abuse of power and arrested earlier this month for their actions in 2007. Former Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński and his deputy Maciej Wąsik, both members of Duda’s minority Law and Justice (PiS) party, were arrested as part of Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s attempts to root out PiS loyalists and corruption in government. Duda had previously pardoned the two lawmakers in 2015, but the Polish Supreme Court ruled the clemency invalid.
- The federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday rejected a request by Donald Trump’s legal team to lift a gag order placed on the former president in the federal case regarding his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The ruling, issued unanimously by the 11 judges on the D.C. court of appeals, leaves in place a gag order initially placed on Trump by Judge Tanya Chutkan in October to prevent the former president from making inflammatory public statements about certain people involved in the legal proceeding.
- Trump is projected to win the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary on Tuesday night, pulling nearly 55 percent of the vote and leading former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley by 11 points with 95 percent of the vote counted. Haley, who won about 43 percent of the vote, vowed to continue her campaign for the nomination, and looks to compete next in the South Carolina primary on February 24.
- The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its Oscar nominees on Tuesday, with Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer leading all films with 13 nominations, including for Best Picture.
‘I Don’t Get Too Angry, I Get Even’
When former President Donald Trump took the stage to declare victory in Iowa last week, his tone was almost gracious and his demeanor practically cheerful. Having routed his closest competitor, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, by a commanding 30 points, the former president must have been in a generous mood. He thanked his team. He thanked his family and fondly remembered his recently deceased mother-in-law. He urged Republican unity: “It would be so nice.”
So much for that. When Trump spoke last night after besting former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, gone was the magnanimity and “unity” was nowhere to be found. “I said, ‘I can go up and I can say to everybody, ‘Oh thank you for the victory, it’s wonderful,’” he told supporters in Nashua. “Or I can go up and say, ‘Who the hell was the imposter that went up on the stage before and, like, claimed the victory?’ She did very poorly,” he said, referring to Haley’s primary-night speech. “Actually, she had to win. The governor [Chris Sununu] said, ‘She’s gonna win. She’s gonna win. She’s gonna win.’ Then she, she failed badly.” Later, he offered a succinct summation of his personal ethos: “I don’t get too angry. I get even.”
Despite sweeping the hamlet of Dixville Notch with all six of its votes just past midnight on Tuesday morning, Haley’s good fortune did not extend to the rest of the state. She ran closer to Trump than the most recent polling suggested she might—losing by about 11 points rather than 20—but Trump still emerged victorious from the Granite State. While Haley is already facing immense pressure from the Trump-backing Republican establishment to drop out of the race, she struck a triumphant—even confrontational—tone before supporters Tuesday night. “New Hampshire is first in the nation, it is not the last in the nation,” she told supporters. “This race is far from over, there are dozens of states left to go. And the next one is my sweet state of South Carolina!” Her campaign tweeted out a clip of the speech with a hashtag: #BringIt.