GOP pauses Blinken contempt push after gaining access to classified Afghanistan cable
The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee says he is pausing an effort to hold Secretary of State Antony Blinken in contempt of Congress now that the State Department is letting him view a redacted classified cable from U.S. diplomats in Kabul sent shortly before the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
State Department offers Republican lawmaker a chance to view Afghanistan dissent cable
The State Department is offering to allow the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee to view a classified cable from U.S. diplomats in Kabul sent shortly before the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.
GOP threatens Blinken contempt charge over Afghanistan docs
The House Foreign Affairs Committee's chairman has threatened to hold Secretary of State Antony Blinken in contempt of Congress if the State Department doesn't turn over classified cables related to the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The Latest: Top Republican says Taliban holding Americans
The top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee says some Americans who have been trying to get out of Afghanistan since the U.S. military left are sitting in airplanes at an airport ready to leave but the Taliban are not letting them take off.
Biden aims to prevent border crossings from swamping agenda
A surge of migrants on the Southwest border has the Biden administration on the defensive. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)WASHINGTON – The Biden administration is scrambling to manage a growing humanitarian and political challenge at the U.S.-Mexico border that threatens to overshadow its ambitious legislative agenda. Biden told reporters Sunday at the White House that “at some point” he would go to the border and that he knows what is going on in the border facilities. There were 18,945 family members and 9,297 unaccompanied children encountered in February — an increase of 168% and 63%, respectively, from the month before, according to the Pew Research Center. Biden has reversed that policy, so immigration officials hope the process will speed up now.
In early foreign policy tests, Biden takes on world as it is
Biden in his early days in office has vowed a dramatic reordering of U.S. foreign policy from his predecessor. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden in his early days in office has vowed a dramatic reordering of U.S. foreign policy from his predecessor. The early preference for caution and incrementalism comes as Biden has repeatedly declared that “America is back.” But in early foreign policy tests, Biden has demonstrated, as many of his predecessors have experienced, that a push away from the previous commander-in-chief's policies is easier said than done. AdSullivan pushes back against the notion that Biden's foreign policy approach has been modulated from his candidacy. On China, Biden has been clear-eyed in seeing Beijing as the United States' most significant competitor.
Biden's Russia credentials questioned over European pipeline
(Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via AP)WASHINGTON – After years of Democratic accusations that former President Donald Trump was too soft on Russia, the Biden administration is facing Republican criticism of its approach to Moscow. The Biden administration rejects the criticism, saying it has been clear about penalties for companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and that its goal is to bolster European energy security. Like the Trump administration before it, the Biden administration believes the pipeline will harm European energy security, particularly for countries in Eastern and Central Europe like Ukraine and Poland, which the pipeline bypasses. U.S. officials have long said they fear Russia will use the pipeline as a political tool against its neighbors. The Biden administration suggests more sanctions may be coming.
Capitol Police chief appeals for National Guard to stay
Scott Applewhite)WASHINGTON – Worried about continuing threats, the acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police has appealed to congressional leaders to use their influence to keep National Guard troops at the Capitol, two months after the law enforcement breakdowns of the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection. Pittman said she needed the leaders' assistance with the three-member Capitol Police Board, which reports to them. Paul Irving, who served on the Capitol Police Board as House sergeant-at-arms, denied that Sund asked him to call the Guard. He ultimately called the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard just before 2 p.m., who in turn testified that the request for help was delayed by the Defense Department. “We have the razor wire, we have the National Guard.
The Latest: Board reportedly wants Capitol fencing removed
National Guard stand guard at a perimeter fence at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, March 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)WASHINGTON – The Latest on a possible threat against the Capitol (all times local):5:50 p.m. Pittman says the board suggested some temporary fencing would be removed starting Friday, and the fencing around the outer perimeter of the Capitol complex would be removed starting March 12. Some fencing is likely to remain as law enforcement officials continue to track an increased number of threats against lawmakers and the Capitol. This comes two months after Trump supporters smashed through windows and doors to try to stop Congress from certifying now-President Joe Biden’s victory.
Capitol Police chief appeals for National Guard to stay
Scott Applewhite)WASHINGTON – Worried about continuing threats, the acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police appealed to congressional leaders Thursday to use their influence to keep National Guard troops at the Capitol, two months after the law enforcement breakdowns of the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection. Pittman said she needed the leaders' assistance with the three-member Capitol Police Board, which reports to them. Paul Irving, who served on the Capitol Police Board as House sergeant-at-arms, denied that Sund asked him to call the Guard. He ultimately called the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard just before 2 p.m., who in turn testified that the request for help was delayed by the Defense Department. “We have the razor wire, we have the National Guard.
Hospitals confront water shortages in winter storm aftermath
Joggers run down a street empty of cars Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, in Nolensville, Tenn. A second winter storm in a week is bringing more snow to much of Tennessee. A rural hospital in Anahuac, Texas, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of Houston, lost both water and power. Memphis, Light, Gas & Water issued a boil-water advisory on Thursday out of concern that low water pressure caused by problems at aging pumping stations and water main ruptures could lead to contamination. That hospital has a water purification system for dialysis and has water reserves for tasks such as cooking and bathing patients, he said. Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare also reported problems at some of its Memphis-area facilities due to water pressure problems and the boil advisory.
US sanctions over pipeline from Russia deemed lacking by GOP
But the move was immediately criticized as inadequate by senior Republican lawmakers who noted the administration had not penalized any additional companies or individuals for work on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. U.S. officials have long said they fear Russia will use the pipeline as a political tool against its neighbors. However, congressional Republicans were unimpressed and denounced the administration for failing to impose any sanctions on additional targets, notably people and firms in Germany, which is a strong Nord Stream 2 proponent. “I am deeply troubled and disappointed by the State Department’s report on Nord Stream 2 activities and their decision to forgo additional sanctions on other entities involved in its construction," Risch said. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire has co-sponsored legislation opposing the pipeline with Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and has been outspoken in her criticism of Nord Stream 2.
Biden repudiates Trump on Iran, ready for talks on nuke deal
Besides signaling Thursday a willingness to talk with Iran, the administration also reversed Trump’s determination that all U.N. sanctions against Iran had been restored. He's expected to address the U.S. stance on the 2015 multilateral Iran nuclear deal, the war in Afghanistan and the economic and national security challenges posed by Russia and China. The U.S. has not participated in a meeting of those participants since Trump withdrew from the deal and began steadily ramping up sanctions on Iran. The Trump administration had imposed the severe restrictions, which essentially confined them to their U.N. mission and the U.N. headquarters building in New York. “It is concerning the Biden Administration is already making concessions in an apparent attempt to re-enter the flawed Iran deal," he said.
Veteran House incumbents cling to seats as districts evolve
But there’s a smaller category of lawmakers like Peterson and GOP Rep. Steve Chabot of Ohio who also merit attention: long-term incumbents of both parties fighting to preserve their careers. Over 90% of House incumbents are usually reelected, thanks to name recognition and campaign fundraising advantages. “There are people who traditionally voted Republican who don't identify with the current Republican Party," Schroder, 43, a businesswoman and local public health official, said in an interview. Democratic and Republican campaign committees and other organizations allied with party leadership are aiming the bulk of their spending at each others' softest seats and defending vulnerable incumbents. The Congressional Leadership Fund, aligned with House GOP leadership, planned to spend $3.3 million more, which Republicans said could grow.
House lawmakers ask for probe into Russian poisoning case
FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019 file photo Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny speaks during a rally to support political prisoners in Moscow, Russia. The German hospital treating Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny says he has been taking out of an induced coma and is responsive. German chemical weapons experts say tests showed the 44-year-old was poisoned with a Soviet-era nerve agent. Engel and McCaul urged Trump to enact additional sanctions on Russia if its determined that chemical weapons were used against Navalny. Russia has denied that the Kremlin was involved in poisoning Navalny and accused Germany of failing to provide evidence about the poisoning that it requested in late August.
GOP lawmakers urge action after Russia-Afghanistan briefing
WASHINGTON Eight Republican lawmakers attended a White House briefing about explosive allegations that Russia secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing American troops in Afghanistan intelligence the White House insisted the president himself had not been fully read in on. Still, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany insisted Trump had not been briefed on the findings because they hadn't been verified. One official said the administration discussed several potential responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step. Bolton declined to comment, and the White House did not respond to questions on the matter. The intelligence officials and others with knowledge of the matter insisted on anonymity to discuss the highly sensitive matter.
Logistical hurdles could slow troop withdrawal from Germany
WASHINGTON The Defense Department is reviewing options to begin pulling about 10,000 troops out of Germany, as directed by President Donald Trump. But even though some may be shifted to neighboring Poland, the withdrawal will still present complex logistical challenges and will not happen fast. Trump has said he is determined to cut the number of troops in Germany from about 35,000 to 25,000. Are they going to build family housing?Most troops in Germany are assigned there, and are not on short-term deployments. The U.S. Air Force has nearly 13,000 troops in Germany, concentrated mainly at two large bases.