Quotes will follow later, but WH press secretary Josh Earnest said Obama and Russian President Putin spoke this morning, at Moscow’s request, to discuss the new sanctions regime. It is unclear whether this conversation took place before Obama learned of the downing of the Malaysian airliner in Ukraine.
Earnest said the president had been briefed about the airliner crash and had instructed his staff to keep him updated, and to contact senior Ukrainian officials. Earnest did not confirm the crash itself, just that the White House had seen reports on it.
Air Force One landed in New Castle, DE at 12:22 pm.
Air Force One wheels down at 12:22
Potus is aware reports plane is down but wh will not confirm. No plan yet to make a statement, will update if changes. No calls w allies to read out.
Potus spoke with putin on phone at req of moscow to discuss sanctions.
JE quick announcement. Infrastructure for benefit of economy. Modern infrastructure helps businesses expand and brings jobs to shore. new exec action. Longterm benefits crucial to economy.
Q malaysian plane?
JE I can tell u we are aware of reports. President briefed, ordered officials to be in close touch. Cannot confirm plane down.
Where or how?
JE Not in position to confirm
Reports, not confirming.
In touch with allies?
Phone call with putin. To discuss sanctions regime
Request of moscow. Make clear the importance at stake here. Us comitted to intl norm and preds made clear willling to impose costs on russia. They could shut down border. Have not fdone that. Cease fire. Not. Seen intl community take steps.
Only readout conveyed to you
Relationship is businesslike. Pres view not imposed just for sanctions. Would like to see resolved in a way for ukraiian sovereIgnty. So there is opp for uk people to dtermine future of country. Relations with russia and werst.
Only topic sanctions?
Only thing to read out
Calls w allies?
Pres not placed any calls like that.
Don’t know. Don’t have details
Whole team at treasury very focused on impact. American economy. Sprecific tactical fecisions, refer to treas. Doesn’t make sense to talk candidly about samctions. But evident from reportd that regime yest sent a clear msg to russia.
Fair gas prom bc of europe?
Not in position to say.
Planning, statement on uk?
Situarion just broke. Changes keep this group updated.
Congress, iraq nego?
Admin believes in coNsulting closely with congress. Cobstructive role. Seen iranians engage in convos that were constructive. Skepticism well founded. Convos in vienna on paths forward. Reax, refer you to members of congress. Not prepared to suggest path.