President Biden's State of the Union address

By Maureen Chowdhury, Mike Hayes, Jason Kurtz and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 2235 GMT (0635 HKT) March 2, 2022
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9:32 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Biden says the Department of Justice will target Russian oligarchs

President Biden said that the US intends to go after Russian oligarchs who support Vladimir Putin. 

"Tonight, I say to the Russian oligarchs and corrupt leaders who built billions of dollars off this violent regime, no more. The United States — [ applause ] I mean it. The United States Department of Justice is assembling a dedicated task force to go after the crimes of the Russian oligarchs," Biden said.

Biden continued: "We're joining with European allies to find and seize their yachts, their luxury apartments, their private jets. We're coming for your ill-begotten gains."

Watch the moment:

12:46 a.m. ET, March 2, 2022

Today marks the first time 2 women sit behind the President during an official State of the Union address

From CNN's Ethan Cohen and Melissa DePalo

(Jabin Botsford/Pool/AP)
(Jabin Botsford/Pool/AP)

While last year marked the first time two women (Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi) sat behind a president on the dais, this year's speech marks the first time it'll happen for an official State of the Union address.

George W. Bush’s 2007 address, shortly after Pelosi became the first female speaker of the House, marked the first time there was one woman behind a President. 

9:31 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Biden: Putin "badly miscalculated" when he invaded Ukraine

(Win McNamee/Pool/AP)
(Win McNamee/Pool/AP)

President Biden opened his State of the Union address by directly calling out Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Six days ago, Russia's Vladimir Putin sought to shake the very foundations of the free world. Thinking he could make it bend to his menacing ways. But he badly miscalculated. He thought he could roll into Ukraine and the world would roll over. Instead, he met with a wall of strength he never anticipated or imagined. He met the Ukrainian people," Biden said.

Watch the moment:

9:15 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Biden: "Last year Covid-19 kept us apart. This year, we're finally together again"

President Biden began is State of the Union address by the pandemic, saying "last year, Covid-19 kept us apart. This year, we're finally together again."

Biden continued, "Tonight, we meet as Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. But most importantly, as Americans. With the duty to one another to America, to the American people, to the constitution. And an unwavering resolve that freedom will always triumph over tyranny."
9:30 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

NOW: Biden delivers State of the Union address

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

(Sarahbeth ManeyPool//The New York Times/AP)
(Sarahbeth ManeyPool//The New York Times/AP)

President Biden is delivering his first State of the Union address now in the US House chamber, using his biggest platform of the year to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine.

Speaking to political leaders in Washington, Biden will broadcast a resounding message to the world: The West is united in its response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and condemns the Russian leader for his aggression. And in response to Russia's provocations, the US will join a number of countries in banning Russian aircraft from its airspace, two sources familiar with the decision told CNN.

"Putin's war was premeditated and unprovoked. He rejected efforts at diplomacy. He thought the West and NATO wouldn't respond. And, he thought he could divide us here at home," Biden will say, according to the excerpts. "Putin was wrong. We were ready."

Biden is also expected to recognize his administration's major accomplishments, including the nomination of the first Black woman to the Supreme Court and the passage of his first two major legislative priorities in his first year in office. He'll discuss the prospect of a return to normalcy as Covid cases wane inside a full room where masks are optional — a marked departure from his joint address to Congress last year, when masks were required and seating was limited. And he will seek to recalibrate an economic message that acknowledges the hardships many Americans are facing amid higher prices, launching a new plan to lower costs for American families.

9:16 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Members of Congress show support for Ukraine with blue and yellow ribbons

From CNN's Lauren Fox

Rep. Steve Scalise, left, and Rep. Marcy Kaptur, right, talk with Ukrainian-American Rep. Victoria Spartz, before President Joe Biden delivers his first State of the Union address, Tuesday, March 1.
Rep. Steve Scalise, left, and Rep. Marcy Kaptur, right, talk with Ukrainian-American Rep. Victoria Spartz, before President Joe Biden delivers his first State of the Union address, Tuesday, March 1. (J. Scott Applewhite/Pool/AP)

In a show of support and solidarity with Ukraine, the Ukraine caucus on Capitol Hill encouraged members to pick up and wear blue and yellow ribbons for the State of the Union tonight.

This comes as many members have taken it upon themselves to display their support by wearing blue and yellow suits, dresses and ties. The effort was organized by Rep. Mike Quigley, a Democrat from Chicago and co-chair of the Ukraine caucus. 

Rep. Mark Takano, a Democrat from California, tweeted a picture of himself in a navy suit with light blue shirt and yellow tie saying “I stand with Ukraine.” 

 U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst speaks to the media at the U.S. Capitol on March 1, 2022 in Washington, DC.
 U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst speaks to the media at the U.S. Capitol on March 1, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Sen. Joni Ernst, a Republican from Iowa who spent time in Ukraine in college studying in an agricultural program, made herself a knitted sunflower pin in blue and yellow she is wearing this evening. The sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine. 

And Sen. Patrick Leahy, the President pro tempore of the Senate, told CNN's Ted Barrett today that he spent some time this morning really looking through his closet to find the right tone of yellow to wear in support of Ukraine. 

Expect to see more of these displays tonight.

12:50 a.m. ET, March 2, 2022

Manchin is seated on the GOP side of the chamber between Romney and Wicker

From CNN's Lauren Fox 

Sen. Joe Manchin, a key swing vote and Democrat from West Virginia, has bucked tradition and is seated on the GOP side of the House chamber for the State of the Union speech, sitting between Sens. Mitt Romney, a Republican from Utah, and Roger Wicker, a Republican from Mississippi.

A spokesperson for Manchin said he sat with Romney tonight “to remind the American people and the world that bipartisanship works and is alive and well in the US Senate.”

 

 

8:53 p.m. ET, March 1, 2022

Republicans and Democrats have ditched the masks this evening

From CNN's Lauren Fox

One stark change in the chamber this State of the Union is the lack of face masks in the House of Representatives.

Just 48 hours after the attending physician issued guidance saying masks were optional, members on both the Republican and Democratic side have been spotted meandering and catching up with colleagues, taking selfies, shaking hands, and touching without masks.

It’s largely a normalized scene, an echo of the message the President is expected to deliver tonight about America’s pivot away from letting the virus dominate American life. 

Masking — especially on the House floor — had become a massive partisan lightning rod here with some Republicans refusing so often to wear a mask over the last several months that they racked up thousands in fines. 

There are still a handful of members that can be seen with masks including Rep. Jerry Nadler, a Democrat from New York, and others, but Republicans and Democrats alike seem very comfortable shedding them after a long two years. 

One thing that does remain this evening is the metal detectors outside the House floor. House members still expected to go through them. I am told senators, who will come over as one group, will not. 

 

12:51 a.m. ET, March 2, 2022

"We stand with Ukraine," Harris tells reporters

From CNN's Ted Barrett and Ali Zaslav

(Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
(Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

As she crossed the rotunda leading senators to the House floor at the US Capitol, Vice President Kamala Harris told reporters "We stand with Ukraine." 

It was in response to a question about her message to that the country.