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August 14, 2021

Biden takes long vacation as Afghanistan falls to Taliban

Good morning Americans,

President Biden deployed 3,000 US troops to Kabul to help evacuate US embassy workers as the Taliban continues to gain city after city in Afghanistan. Republican leaders are staunchly criticizing Biden for embarking on a long weekend vacation as the terrorist group gains ground. “He also owes the American public an answer on what he plans to do to make sure the region doesn’t turn into a breeding ground for more violent extremism that will lead to large-scale global attacks of terrorism,” said Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader. The commander-in-chief took no questions as he left the White House Thursday afternoon for a trip to Delaware. Biden last commented on the situation on Tuesday before he decided to deploy additional troops.

In related news, Taliban insurgents stormed the offices of Azizi Bank in Kandahar and ordered nine female employees to leave their posts. The armed men escorted them home and told the women that they were not to return to their jobs, but they were allowed to send male relatives in their place. “It’s really strange to not be allowed to get to work, but now this is what it is,” said Noor Khatera, a 43-year-old woman who had worked in the accounts department of Azizi Bank. Two days later, armed Taliban members stormed into Bank Milli in Herat, admonishing the women workers for showing their faces in public. “The United States and others Western powers fear that the Taliban will roll back many of the freedoms won by women,” according to Reuters.

In an update to the ongoing Russia probe, the federal prosecutor leading the investigation has been presenting evidence before a grand jury. According to the AP, the move “is a potential sign that [prosecutor John] Durham may be mulling additional criminal charges beyond the one he brought last year against a former FBI lawyer who admitted altering an email about a Trump campaign aide who’d been under FBI surveillance.” The Wall Street Journal reported that Durham is considering possible charges against some FBI employees.

Andrew Cuomo’s impeachment probe will be suspended since he resigned from his position, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced on Friday. “[T]he Assembly will suspend its impeachment investigation upon the governor’s resignation taking effect on August 25,” Heastie said. The Assembly’s attorneys concluded that New York’s state constitution bars them from impeaching an official who has already stepped down, despite the presence of credible evidence. “Underscoring the depth of this investigation, this evidence concerned not only sexual harassment and misconduct but also the misuse of state resources in relation to the publication of the governor’s memoir as well as improper and misleading disclosure of nursing home data during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Heastie said. “This evidence — we believe — could likely have resulted in articles of impeachment had he not resigned.”

Alejandra Mayorkas, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, recently confirmed that July saw 212,000 migrant encounters — a 13% increase over the 188,000 in June. The latest figures come as the Biden administration faces staunch criticism for its border strategy. Mayorkas described the situation as “one of the toughest challenges we face.” Biden’s critics within the GOP assign blame to the rollback of Trump-era border protections. “As record after record is broken on the border, Biden and Harris are failing Americans with the raging crisis they created,” said Republican National Committee communications director Danielle Alvarez in a statement. 

The CDC’s eviction moratorium is still in place — for now. US District Judge Dabney Friedrich denied landlords’ request to put the new eviction moratorium on hold, though she did rule that the freeze is illegal. The Alabama landlords challenging the order will likely appeal her ruling on the extended moratorium, which expires on Oct. 3. President Biden acknowledged that the legality of the freeze was questionable, but the ensuing legal battle would give states time to distribute the rental assistance funds to people in need. Only about $3 billion of the allotted $25 billion had been distributed through June, according to the Treasury Department.

Be well,

Fraser Dixon

Sources

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