A look ahead at the key events leading the news agenda next week, from the team at Foresight News. Delivered to your inbox on Fridays.
Leading the week
President Joe Biden will be hoping for a low-drama week when he gets back to DC from a Sunday (January 15) visit to Georgia to speak at a MLK service in Atlanta, following the discovery of classified documents in unauthorized locations from Biden’s time as Vice President and the subsequent appointment of Robert Hur as a special counsel to oversee an investigation into the matter. On Tuesday (January 17), Biden holds what should be controversy-free talks at the White House with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and hosts members of the Golden State Warriors, including Steph Curry, to celebrate their 2022 championship. On Friday (January 20), he’s due to host a group of US mayors in town for their annual winter meeting, and will be hoping to keep talks focused on his administration’s agenda even as Republicans work to keep the story running.
The World Economic Forum, better known as Davos, gets underway on Tuesday (January 17) in Switzerland with a number of Biden Administration officials and US politicians due to take part. A discussion with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg featuring Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines on Wednesday (January 18) is likely to generate headlines, as will FBI Director Chris Wray when he speaks on Thursday (January 19). Also looking interesting is a session on the ‘reshaped legislative landscape in the United States’ on Tuesday with a panel that includes Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin as well as Governors Brian Kemp and JB Pritzker. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is also in town, with the rising Democratic star speaking at one event on Tuesday and then two others on Thursday.
Although a couple of ‘Special Address’ slots remain to be filled, there are plenty of heavyweight international leaders already confirmed to speak this year: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is up on Tuesday, as is Belarusian opposition figure Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who may attract some extra attention as her treason trial gets underway in Minsk on the same day. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres speak on Wednesday (January 18), and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol delivers remarks on Thursday (January 19). Other speakers include Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, Filippino President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, and UK opposition leader Keir Starmer. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, back from DC, will also be at Davos and speaks at a couple of events on Thursday.
Following a flurry of announcements regarding new assistance to Ukraine and a controversy over the re-export of German-made weapons, members of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group will gather at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Friday (January 20) for their latest round of discussions on aiding Kyiv following Russia’s invasion last February. The meeting is once again chaired by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley, and discussions are likely to include preparations for the spring, when both sides in the conflict are said to be planning major offensives.
NATO chiefs, meanwhile, are set to meet in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday (January 18-19). In Russia, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov holds his annual press conference on Wednesday, a day before Russians celebrate Orthodox Epiphany, which has historically seen President Vladimir Putin participate in the tradition of swimming in freezing waters; failure to do so this year may fuel further speculation regarding his health.