1-16 June – The United States Bulletin

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01.06.2021

  • Biden Assigns Harris Another Difficult Role: Protecting Voting Rights

President Biden said on Tuesday that he had directed Vice President Kamala Harris to lead Democrats in a sweeping legislative effort to protect voting rights, an issue that is critical to his legacy but one that faces increasingly daunting odds in a divided Senate. The vice president has added another, and a politically thorny, problem to her growing portfolio.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 01.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/01/us/politics/kamala-voting-rights.html?searchResultPosition=281

  • In Tulsa, Biden Unveils Steps to Narrow Racial Wealth Gap

On Tuesday, Joe Biden became the first sitting American president to commemorate the anniversary of the destruction of a prosperous Black community by a white mob that left up to 300 people dead and 10,000 homeless.   “Just because history is silent, it doesn’t mean that it did not take place,” Biden said in remarks to survivors of the massacre and their families at the Greenwood Cultural Center. The president announced steps to narrow the racial wealth gap. His administration plans to invest tens of billions of dollars in disadvantaged communities, expand federal contracting with minority-owned businesses, and repeal two Trump-era rules that restrict fair housing practices.

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Source: VOA News. Accessed on 01.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/tulsa-biden-unveils-steps-narrow-racial-wealth-gap

  • US Formally Ends Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ Migrant Policy

The United States has formally ended the Trump-era “remain in Mexico” policy, which forced tens of thousands of Central American asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico for U.S. court cases, according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memo sent to agency leaders on Tuesday. Biden, a Democrat, has reversed many of the restrictive immigration policies of former President Donald Trump, a Republican, saying Trump failed to honor U.S. asylum laws. Republicans have criticized Biden’s actions, including ending the MPP program, saying he encouraged an increase in migrant arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 01.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/immigration/us-formally-ends-trumps-remain-mexico-migrant-policy

02.06.2021

  • Trump Administration Secretly Seized Phone Records of Times Reporters

The Trump Justice Department secretly seized the phone records of four New York Times reporters spanning nearly four months in 2017 as part of a leak investigation, the Biden administration disclosed on Wednesday. It was the latest in a series of revelations about the Trump administration secretly obtaining reporters’ communications records in an effort to uncover their sources. Last month, the Biden Justice Department disclosed Trump-era seizures of the phone logs of reporters who work for The Washington Post and the phone and email logs for a CNN reporter.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 02.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/02/us/trump-administration-phone-records-times-reporters.html?searchResultPosition=253

  • US Blacklists 3 Bulgarians, 64 Companies Over Corruption

The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on three Bulgarians and 64 companies linked to them over alleged corruption, including an oligarch accused of planning to create a conduit for Russian political leaders to influence the Bulgarian government. The Treasury Department in a statement called the move its single biggest action targeting graft to date.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 02.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/europe/us-blacklists-3-bulgarians-64-companies-over-corruption

  • Biden, Facing July 4 Deadline, Rallies Nation with Vaccination Incentives

President Biden announced a get-out-the-vote-style plan to meet his goal of partly vaccinating at least 70 percent of Americans by July 4, including offers of free child care, free sports tickets and free beer. Declaring June a “National Month of Action,” Mr. Biden appeared at the White House to implore Americans not only to get vaccinated, but also to help persuade their friends and neighbors to do so.

Source: the New York Times. Accessed on 02.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/02/us/politics/biden-vaccination-incentives.html?searchResultPosition=258

  • Blinken Urges Central America to Confront Root of Irregular Migration

Wednesday in Costa Rica, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard discussed “a variety of issues to promote the prosperity and security” in the region. The United States is calling on Central American countries to confront corruption and poverty as Washington examines root causes and strategies to manage the flood of migrants at its southern border. The top U.S. diplomat thanked Ebrard “for the Mexican government’s continued collaboration on addressing the root causes of irregular migration in the region.”

Source: VOA news. Accessed on 02.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/us-politics/blinken-urges-central-america-confront-root-irregular-migration

  • White House: Biden to Discuss Cyberattack on Meat Producer with Russia’s Putin

U.S. President Joe Biden will discuss with Russian President Vladimir Putin later this month the harboring of cyber attackers like those believed to have targeted meatpacking giant JBS, the White House said Wednesday. Press secretary Jen Psaki also told reporters at the White House that Biden “has launched a rapid strategic review” of the attack that affected JBS operations in Australia and North America.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 02.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/white-house-biden-discuss-cyberattack-meat-producer-russias-putin

03.06.2021

  • In a speech to a New Hampshire G.O.P. group, Pence calls systemic racism a ‘left-wing myth.’

Former Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday described systemic racism as a “left-wing myth” during a speech hosted by a Republican group in New Hampshire, adopting the racial politics of his former boss, President Donald J. Trump. The speech illustrated the careful balance Mr. Pence is aiming to strike in squaring the rhetoric of the Republican Party under Mr. Trump while standing by his opposition to Mr. Trump’s attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Source: New York Times. Accessed on 03.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/03/us/politics/pence-trump-systemic-racism.html?searchResultPosition=218

  • Biden Order to Ban Investment in 59 Chinese Defense, Tech Firms

The move is part of a broader series of steps to counter China, including reinforcing U.S. alliances and pursuing large domestic investments to bolster U.S. economic competitiveness, amid increasingly sour relations between the world’s two most powerful countries. “We fully expect that in the months ahead … we’ll be adding additional companies to the new executive order’s restrictions,” an official said.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 03.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/biden-order-ban-investment-59-chinese-defense-tech-firms

  • White House Warns Companies to Act Now on Ransomware Defenses

The bluntly worded open letter followed a string of escalating ransomware attacks that stopped gasoline and jet fuel from flowing up the East Coast and closed off beef and pork production from one of the country’s leading food suppliers. The White House warned American businesses on Thursday to take urgent security measures to protect against ransomware attacks, as hackers shift their tactics from stealing data to disrupting critical infrastructure.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 03.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/03/us/politics/ransomware-cybersecurity-infrastructure.html?searchResultPosition=220

  • Israel Has Right to Defend Itself, US Reaffirms

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with Biden administration officials Thursday and came away with a U.S. affirmation of Israel’s right to defend itself and a commitment to restock its Iron Dome missile defense system.  Gantz’s counterparts, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan, both reaffirmed U.S. support for Israel’s defense.  “The president has expressed his full support for replenishing Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, which saved so many innocent lives during the most recent conflict,” Austin told Gantz.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 03.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/middle-east/israel-has-right-defend-itself-us-reaffirms

  • Judge Permits Information from C.I.A. Torture in Terror Case

The military judge presiding in the death penalty case of a man accused of orchestrating the U.S.S. Cole bombing has agreed to consider information obtained during the man’s torture by C.I.A. interrogators to support an argument in pretrial proceedings at Guantánamo Bay. Defense lawyers cast the decision as the first time that a military judge at the war court is publicly known to have agreed to consider information obtained through the C.I.A. torture of a prisoner, and on Thursday they asked a higher court to reverse it. Prosecutors declined to comment.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 03.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/03/us/politics/cia-torture-terror-guantanamo-bay.html?searchResultPosition=222

  • Biden Expands Trump-Era Ban on Investment in Chinese Firms Linked to Military

President Biden issued a new executive order on Thursday barring Americans from investing in Chinese firms that are linked to the country’s military or that sell surveillance technology used to repress dissent or religious minorities, both inside and outside China. The new order includes firms engaged in making and deploying the surveillance technology used against Muslim minorities and dissidents around the globe.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 03.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/03/us/politics/biden-ban-chinese-firms-trump.html?searchResultPosition=224

04.06.2021

  • F.B.I. Director Compares Danger of Ransomware to 9/11 Terror Threat

The Biden administration is sounding increasingly urgent alarms about high-profile ransomware attacks that have caused widespread gas shortages, shut meat processing plants and paralyzed hospitals, as officials step up efforts to counter cyberthreats. Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published Friday that the ransomware threat was comparable to the challenge of global terrorism in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001 attack.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 04.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/04/us/politics/ransomware-cyberattacks-sept-11-fbi.html?searchResultPosition=193

  • US Taps Humanitarian Groups to Determine Which Asylum-Seekers Should Gain Entry

The Biden administration has quietly tasked six humanitarian groups with recommending which migrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. instead of being rapidly expelled from the country under federal pandemic-related powers that block people from seeking asylum. The groups will determine who is most vulnerable in Mexico, and their criteria has not been made public. It comes as large numbers of people are crossing the southern border and as the government faces intensifying pressure to lift the public health powers instituted by former President Donald Trump and kept in place by President Joe Biden during the coronavirus pandemic.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 04.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/us-taps-humanitarian-groups-determine-which-asylum-seekers-should-gain-entry

  • U.S. Waged Secret Legal Battle to Obtain Emails of 4 Times Reporters

In the last weeks of the Trump administration and continuing under President Biden, the Justice Department fought a secret legal battle to obtain the email logs of four New York Times reporters in a hunt for their sources, a top lawyer for the newspaper said Friday night. While the Trump administration never informed The Times about the effort, the Biden administration continued waging the fight this year, telling a handful of top Times executives about it but imposing a gag order to shield it from public view, said the lawyer, David McCraw.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 04.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/04/us/politics/times-reporter-emails-gag-order-trump-google.html?searchResultPosition=191

  • Facebook Suspends Trump for at Least Two Years

Facebook said Friday it would suspend Donald Trump’s accounts for at least two years, retaining a ban on the former U.S. president that it imposed after determining he incited the deadly January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.  “At the end of this period, we will look to experts to assess whether the risk to public safety has receded,” Facebook Vice President Nick Clegg wrote in a blog post Friday.  The ban expires on January 7, 2023, two years after Facebook first blocked the former president.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 04.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/silicon-valley-technology/facebook-suspends-trump-least-two-years

  • US ‘Neither Optimistic nor Pessimistic’ on Reviving Iran Deal

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the United States negotiating team is “neither optimistic nor pessimistic” that a deal can be struck in the next round of talks in Vienna to try to revive the Iran nuclear deal. As VOA’s Senior Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine reports, Iran says only minor issues remain.

 Source: VOA News. Accessed on 04.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/episode/us-neither-optimistic-nor-pessimistic-reviving-iran-deal-4708846

05.06.2021

  • Meadows Pressed Justice Dept. to Investigate Election Fraud Claims

In Donald J. Trump’s final weeks in office, Mark Meadows, his chief of staff, repeatedly pushed the Justice Department to investigate unfounded conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election, according to newly uncovered emails provided to Congress, portions of which were reviewed by The New York Times. Emails show the increasingly urgent efforts by President Trump and his allies during his last days in office to find some way to undermine, or even nullify, the election results.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 05.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/05/us/politics/mark-meadows-justice-department-election.html?searchResultPosition=184

  • Biden Turns to Obama to Help Boost Health Care Enrollment

President Joe Biden turned to his old boss, former President Barack Obama, on Saturday to help him encourage Americans to sign up for “Obamacare” health care coverage during an expanded special enrollment period in the pandemic. Meanwhile, the government released a report that nearly 31 million Americans — a record — now have health coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 05.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/biden-turns-obama-help-boost-health-care-enrollment

  • Federal Judge Overturns California’s 32-Year Assault Weapons Ban

California prohibited the sale of assault weapons in 1989. The law was challenged in a suit filed in 2019 against the state’s attorney general by plaintiffs including James Miller, a California resident, and the San Diego County Gun Owners, a political action committee. A federal judge in California on Friday overturned the state’s three-decade-old ban on assault weapons, which he called a “failed experiment,” prompting a sharp retort from the state’s governor.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 05.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/05/us/california-assault-weapons-ban.html?searchResultPosition=190

  • US Sends Pakistan Health Supplies to Combat COVID-19

“Today, the United States continues our proud partnership with the government of Pakistan in our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said U.S. Embassy Chargé d’affaires Lesslie Viguerie.  “Pakistan is not alone in its fight against the coronavirus,” Viguerie said. Washington has allocated more than $40 million to Islamabad for COVID-19 response assistance, including a donation of 200 ventilators, to care for those suffering from the disease. 

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 05.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/covid-19-pandemic/us-sends-pakistan-health-supplies-combat-covid-19

06.06.2021

  • Biden Says Will Stand with European Allies Ahead of Putin Summit

The United States will stand with its European allies against Russia, President Joe Biden has promised ahead of the first face-to-face meeting with Vladimir Putin of his administration.   Biden will head to Europe Wednesday and is set to attend both the G-7 and NATO summits as well as holding a high-stakes meeting with the Russian leader in Geneva on June 16.    The summit comes amid the biggest crisis in ties between the two countries in years, with tensions high over a litany of issues including hacking allegations, human rights and claims of election meddling. 

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 06.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/biden-says-will-stand-european-allies-ahead-putin-summit

  • C.I.A. Scrambles for New Approach in Afghanistan

The rapid U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan is creating intense pressure on the C.I.A. to find new ways to gather intelligence and carry out counterterrorism strikes in the country, but the agency has few good options. One focus has been Pakistan. Diplomats are also exploring the option of regaining access to bases in former Soviet republics that were used for the Afghanistan war, although they expect that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia would fiercely oppose this. Recent C.I.A. and military intelligence reports on Afghanistan have been increasingly pessimistic.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 06.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/06/us/politics/cia-afghanistan-pakistan.html?searchResultPosition=170

  • Harris Heads to Guatemala, Mexico in First Foreign Trip as US Vice President

Harris, who has little foreign policy experience, was tasked by President Joe Biden to resolve the migration dilemma for the U.S., searching for a way to stem the flow of migrants in a humane way and not allow unfettered access into the U.S. She is meeting with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei on Monday and Mexico’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Tuesday.  As thousands of migrants try to cross the southwestern U.S. border with Mexico, Harris is looking to reach agreements for more cooperation on border security and economic development to keep people in their home countries even as corruption in the region complicates already difficult issues.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 06.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/americas/harris-heads-guatemala-mexico-first-foreign-trip-us-vice-president

  • Official: US Pledges $3.3 Billion in Funding for Afghan Forces

he U.S. peace envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, along with a high-level delegation, met Sunday with leaders in Kabul to discuss bilateral cooperation after U.S. and coalition troops leave the country by a Sept. 11 deadline. Mohammad Amiri said the U.S. envoy told Ghani that Washington will annually provide $3.3 billion to Kabul over the next two years to support Afghan security forces battling the Taliban.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 06.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/south-central-asia/official-us-pledges-33-billion-funding-afghan-forces

07.06.2021

  • Washington State allows for free marijuana with Covid-19 vaccine.

As part of its strategy to vaccinate more of its population, Washington State will allow adults to claim a free marijuana joint when they receive a Covid-19 vaccination shot. The state’s liquor and cannabis board announced on Monday that the promotion, called “Joints for Jabs,” was effective immediately and would run through July 12.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 07.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/07/us/washington-marijuana-covid-vaccine.html?searchResultPosition=140

  • Harris Warns Guatemalan Migrants Against Traveling to the U.S.

Vice President Kamala Harris, during a visit to Guatemala City on Monday, delivered a blunt message to migrants seeking sanctuary in the United States by crossing the southern border: “Do not come.”

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 07.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/politics/100000007803240/harris-guatemala-migration.html?searchResultPosition=147

  • Trial Begins for Professor Accused of Hiding Ties to China

A jury trial began Monday in the case of a University of Tennessee professor charged with hiding his relationship with a Chinese university while receiving research grants from the federal government.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 07.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/trial-begins-professor-accused-hiding-ties-china

  • Biden Invites Ukrainian Leader to White House  

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, pleading to meet U.S. President Joe Biden prior to Biden’s talks in Geneva next week, was rebuffed by the White House on that request but was awarded a consolation phone call on Monday that included an invitation to Washington. “They had the opportunity to talk at some length about all of the issues in the U.S.-Ukraine relationship, and President Biden was able to tell President Zelenskiy that he will stand up firmly for Ukraine sovereignty, territorial integrity and its aspirations as we go forward,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan told White House reporters.

Source: VOA News. Accesed on 07.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/biden-invites-ukrainian-leader-white-house

  • Supreme Court Rules Against Immigrants Seeking Green Cards

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Monday that immigrants allowed to stay in the United States temporarily for humanitarian reasons may not apply for green cards if they had entered the country unlawfully.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 07.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/07/us/politics/immigrants-green-cards-supreme-court.html?searchResultPosition=155

08.06.2021

  • Biden Ends Infrastructure Talks with Republicans, Falling Short of a Deal

President Biden on Tuesday ended a weekslong effort to reach a deal with Senate Republicans on an expansive infrastructure plan, cutting off negotiations that had failed to persuade them to embrace his bid to pour $1 trillion into the nation’s aging public works system and safety-net programs. It was a major setback to Mr. Biden’s effort to attract Republican support for his top domestic priority, which had always faced long odds over the size, scope and financing of the package.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 08.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/08/us/politics/infrastructure-biden-republicans.html

  • With Trump Suspension, Facebook Tells World Leaders: Your Speech Will Not Get a Pass

Facebook’s recent decision to ban former president Donald Trump for two years sends a message to world leaders that Facebook is stepping up its role as sheriff on its service.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 08.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/episode/trump-suspension-facebook-tells-world-leaders-your-speech-will-not-get-pass-4712641

  • Senate Passes Bipartisan Technology Bill to Compete With China

The Senate on Tuesday voted 68-32 to approve legislation that would spend a quarter-trillion dollars over the next five years on scientific research and development aimed at boosting the United States’ ability to compete with Chinese technology.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 08.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/politics/100000007805480/senate-pass-technology-china-bill.html?searchResultPosition=108

  • Biden Heads to the UK and Europe on His First Trip Abroad

President Joe Biden is heading to the United Kingdom and Europe on his first trip abroad, sending a signal that his administration values close trans-Atlantic relationships as it deals with challenges like emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and threats from China and Russia.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 08.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/episode/biden-heads-uk-and-europe-his-first-trip-abroad-4712631,

  • Harris Meets With Mexico’s President

Vice President Kamala Harris met with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico on Tuesday to discuss migration, human trafficking and economic cooperation.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 08.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/politics/100000007804533/harris-obrador-mexico-visit.html?searchResultPosition=125

  • Senate Passes Bill to Boost US Tech Industry, Counter Rivals

The Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill Tuesday that aims to boost U.S. semiconductor production and the development of artificial intelligence and other technology in the face of growing international competition, most notably from China.  The 68-32 vote for the bill demonstrates how confronting China economically is an issue that unites both parties in Congress. That’s a rarity in an era of division as pressure grows on Democrats to change Senate rules to push past Republican opposition and gridlock.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 08.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/senate-passes-bill-boost-us-tech-industry-counter-rivals

09.06.2021

  • Pentagon Launches Effort to Better Address China Challenge 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin rolled out a departmentwide effort Wednesday aimed at more effectively addressing China as the “pacing challenge” for the U.S. military. While some of the initiatives will remain classified, defense officials told reporters the effort puts new organizational structures in place to better prioritize competition with China and to make sure the challenges in the Indo-Pacific region are “gaining the attention they deserve.”

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 09.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/pentagon-launches-effort-better-address-china-challenge

  • McGahn Affirmed That Trump Tried to Oust Mueller, Transcript Shows

The former White House counsel testified behind closed doors last week about the former president’s attempts to interfere with the Russia investigation. The chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, said; “Mr. McGahn provided the committee with substantial new information,” Mr. Nadler said in a statement accompanying the transcript release. He added, “All told, Mr. McGahn’s testimony gives us a fresh look at how dangerously close President Trump brought us to, in Mr. McGahn’s words, the ‘point of no return.’”

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 09.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/09/us/politics/mcgahn-mueller-report-testimony.html

  • Biden Administration Weighs New Sanctions Against Belarus

The top U.S. envoy to Belarus told U.S. lawmakers Wednesday that the country’s dependence on Russia had significantly increased. The warning came as a U.S. Senate panel considered policy options in response to Belarus’ detention last month of opposition blogger Raman Pratasevich.

Source: VOA News Accessed on 09.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/episode/biden-administration-weighs-new-sanctions-against-belarus-4713621

  • Biden to Send 500 million Doses of Pfizer Vaccine to 100 Countries Over a Year

President Biden, under pressure to aggressively address the global coronavirus vaccine shortage, will announce as early as Thursday that his administration will buy 500 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and donate them among about 100 countries over the next year, according to people familiar with the plan.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 09.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/09/us/politics/biden-pfizer-vaccine-doses.html

  • U.S. Weighs Possibility of Airstrikes if Afghan Forces Face Crisis

No decisions have been made yet, officials said. But they added that one option under consideration would be to recommend that U.S. warplanes or armed drones intervene in an extraordinary crisis, such as the potential fall of Kabul, the Afghan capital, or a siege that puts American and allied embassies and citizens at risk. A potential fall of Kabul is the crisis most likely to lead to military intervention after U.S. troops leave, officials said. Intervening to protect Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-largest city, would be far less certain, one official said. Encroaching Taliban forces have increasingly threatened several other urban hubs in almost every corner of the country in recent months.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 09.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/09/us/politics/afghanistan-airstrikes-us-troop-withdrawal.html

10.06.2021

  • Texas Says It Will Build Border Wall with Mexico

Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas said on Thursday that the state would build a border wall with Mexico, providing few specifics about construction that would extend one of former President Donald J. Trump’s favored projects. Mr. Abbott explained that he would start by setting up barriers to identify people trying to cross the border and by deploying additional law enforcement agents to assist the Border Patrol. He has blamed the increase in migrant crossings on Mr. Biden’s unwinding of Mr. Trump’s restrictive border rules.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 10.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/10/us/texas-border-wall.html

  • Cyber Regulation Could Be Coming Following Spate of Hacks, Ransomware Attacks

The United States may soon look to regulate private companies, mandating higher standards for cybersecurity following a series of damaging hacks and ransomware attacks against key firms and critical infrastructure. U.S. President Joe Biden’s nominees to fill two top cyber roles in his administration warned Thursday that malign actors are currently operating with impunity and that too many private sector organizations have, so far, failed to take the necessary precautions.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 10.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/silicon-valley-technology/cyber-regulation-could-be-coming-following-spate-hacks-ransomware-attacks

  • U.S. Lifts Some Sanctions on Iranians Before Nuclear Talks

he Biden administration on Thursday lifted sanctions on three former Iranian government officials and two Iranian companies involved in the country’s oil industry, a conciliatory gesture days before a potentially decisive round of nuclear talks in Vienna. The move was unrelated to negotiations over the 2015 nuclear deal, a State Department spokesman said. The United States also imposed new sanctions on other Iranians.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 10.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/10/us/politics/iran-sanctions-nuclear.html

  • White House Launches Broader Scrutiny of Foreign Tech

An executive order signed by President Joe Biden this week dropped a Trump-era measure that barred Americans from downloading TikTok and several other Chinese smartphone apps. But analysts say the order also broadens the scrutiny of foreign-controlled technology. Biden’s move replaced three Trump administration executive orders that sought to ban downloads of TikTok and WeChat and transactions with eight other Chinese apps. The order asked the Commerce Department to launch a national security review of apps owned or controlled by a foreign adversary.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 10.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/white-house-launches-broader-scrutiny-foreign-tech

  • 6 Men Said to Be Tied to Three Percenters Movement Are Charged in Capitol Riot

The indictment marks the first charges lodged against conspirators linked to the radical gun rights group or involved with planning any of the political events held the week of the attack. The new charges could suggest that prosecutors have started to pay attention not only to those who directly took part in the Capitol attack, but also to those who helped foment the assault.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 10.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/10/us/politics/three-percenter-capitol-riot.html

11.06.2021

  • Justice Dept. Watchdog to Investigate Seizure of Democrats’ Data

The Justice Department’s independent inspector general opened an investigation on Friday into the decision by federal prosecutors to secretly seize the data of House Democrats and reporters as investigators hunted down who was leaking classified information early in the Trump administration. The episode added fuel to accusations of politicization in the Trump-era Justice Department, where federal prosecutors seemingly gave lenient treatment to some of the former president’s allies and targeted reporters and Democrats he reviled as the administration sought to stop leaks about Trump associates and Russia.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 11.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/11/us/politics/leaks-investigation-justice-department-trump.html

  • Putin Hopes Biden Less Impulsive Than Trump

Russian President Vladimir Putin voiced hope Friday that U.S. President Joe Biden would be less impulsive than his predecessor, Donald Trump, ahead of his first summit with the new U.S. leader. In an interview with NBC News, Putin described Biden as a “career man” who spent his life in politics.  “It is my great hope that, yes, there are some advantages, some disadvantages, but there will not be any impulse-based movements on behalf of the sitting U.S. president,” he said, according to a translation by NBC News.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 11.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/europe/putin-hopes-biden-less-impulsive-trump

  • Garland Pledges Renewed Efforts to Protect Voting Rights

Mr. Garland made a specific commitment to protect the voting rights of people of color, reflecting a return to the traditional role the Justice Department has played in preventing discrimination based on race. Voting rights groups and civil rights activists have argued that many of the new voting laws would have a disproportionate impact on voters of color, and President Biden described the restrictions Georgia passed in March as “Jim Crow in the 21st Century.’’

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 11.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/11/us/politics/garland-justice-department-voting-laws.html

  • Biden administration will return $2 billion to military projects that had been set aside for border wall construction

In one of his first actions in office, President Joe Biden ordered a pause on wall construction and called for a review of projects and funds. Friday’s announcement builds on the Biden administration’s decision to cancel all contracts for wall construction on the US-Mexico border that used funds originally intended for military missions and functions. he administration is now taking steps to send back billions’ worth of funds to the Pentagon, so that they can be used for their initial purpose. That includes returning military construction funds to 66 previously deferred projects in 11 states, 3 territories, and 16 countries.

Source: CNN News. Accessed on 11.06.2021 from https://edition.cnn.com/2021/06/11/politics/border-wall-return-funds/index.html

  • In US, Pride Month Festivities Muted by Political Setbacks

Congress has so far failed to extend federal civil rights protections to LGBTQ people. Pandemic-related concerns are still disrupting the usual exuberant Pride festivals. And a wave of anti-transgender legislation in Republican-governed states has been disheartening.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 11.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/arts-culture/us-pride-month-festivities-muted-political-setbacks

  • F.D.A. Tells Johnson & Johnson That 60 million Vaccine Doses Cannot Be Used

Federal regulators said on Friday that millions of doses of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine produced at a troubled Baltimore factory could not be used, the latest in a series of setbacks for a company whose single-shot vaccine was once considered crucial to the nation’s inoculation campaign.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 11.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/11/us/politics/covid-vaccine-emergent-johnson-johnson.html

  • US Sending Ukraine Millions in Security Assistance

The United States is helping Ukraine bolster its defense capabilities, announcing a $150 million security package less than a week before U.S. President Joe Biden is set to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva.  The package includes counter-artillery radars, counter-unmanned aerial systems, secure communications gear, electronic warfare equipment and military medical evacuation equipment. The aid, part of $275 million in support for Ukraine, was approved as part of the Pentagon fiscal year 2021 budget.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 11.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/us-sending-ukraine-millions-security-assistance

  • Swalwell says Trump ‘weaponized’ Justice Department against enemies

California Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell, whose data was seized by the Trump administration as part of a leak probe, on Friday said former President Donald Trump “weaponized” the Justice Department to dig into the private communications of his political opponents.

Source: CNN News. Accessed on 11.06.2021 from https://edition.cnn.com/2021/06/11/politics/trump-doj-subpoenas-house-democrats-swalwell-reaction-cnntv/index.html

12.06.2021

  • Biden, Putin to Meet for First Time in Geneva

For the first time since he took office as U.S. president, Joe Biden will meet with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Wednesday in Geneva amid deteriorating relations between the world powers. In an interview with NBC News, portions of which aired Friday, Putin said U.S.-Russia ties had deteriorated to their “lowest point in recent years.” The White House also said it expects the Biden-Putin meeting “to be candid and straightforward” and that Biden will bring up ransomware attacks originating in Russia, the Kremlin’s aggression toward Ukraine, the imprisonment of dissidents and other issues.  The two leaders are also expected to cover strategic nuclear stability and souring relations between Russia and the West.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 12.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/biden-putin-meet-first-time-geneva

  • G-7 Split on Biden’s Anti-China Push

G-7 leaders appear to be split on U.S. President Joe Biden’s call to take more aggressive action against China, including on its forced labor practices, unwillingness to play by international trade rules and problematic global infrastructure financing mechanism.  G-7 leaders agreed the threat of an increasingly assertive China is real but differ on how aggressive the response should be, the official said. Italy, Germany, and the European Union appear reluctant to take as tough a stance on China, and instead would rather focus on the “cooperative nature of the relationship.” The U.S., Britain, Canada, and France, on the other hand, want to be more “action-oriented” to different degrees. Japan appears to be the most ambivalent of the group.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 13.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/g-7-split-bidens-anti-china-push

  • Macron Says U.S. Is ‘Definitely’ Back, as Biden Repairs Ties with Europe

While posing for photos with President Biden at the G7 meeting in England on Saturday, President Emmanuel Macron of France confidently told reporters that he agreed with Mr. Biden that the United States was back as a global ally.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 12.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/video/world/europe/100000007812485/g7-biden-macron.html

  • China, US Diplomats Clash Over Human Rights, Pandemic Origin

Senior Chinese foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi and Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a phone call Friday that revealed wide divisions in several contentious areas, including the curtailing of freedoms in Hong Kong and the mass detention of Muslims in the northwestern Xinjiang region. Top U.S. and Chinese diplomats appear to have had another sharply worded exchange, with Beijing saying it told the U.S. to cease interfering in its internal affairs and accusing Washington of politicizing the search for the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 12.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/east-asia-pacific/china-us-diplomats-clash-over-human-rights-pandemic-origin

  • 13 People Are Wounded in Shooting in Downtown Austin

Joseph Chacon, the interim chief of the Austin Police Department, said at a news briefing that an F.B.I. terrorism task force had been alerted to the shooting out of an abundance of caution. It was unclear what led to the gunshots.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 12.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/12/us/austin-shooting.html

  • Biden aims to counter China’s global infrastructure project

The United States says it will be a lead partner in a new global, climate-friendly infrastructure program with its Group of 7 partners, part of President Joe Biden’s larger efforts at the G7 summit to better position the US and its allies to compete with China in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. Confronting China’s authoritarianism, however, emerged as a source of contention between the leaders. A senior administration official described the plan, called the “Build Back Better World” initiative, as a “bold, new global infrastructure initiative with our G7 partners that will be values-driven, transparent and sustainable” and will compete with China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Source: CNN News. Accessed on 12.06.2021 from https://edition.cnn.com/2021/06/12/politics/joe-biden-china-infrastructure/index.html

13.06.20217

•             US, Russia Spar on Cyberattacks Ahead of Biden-Putin Summit

Two key U.S. businesses, Colonial Pipeline Co., that transports fuel in the southeastern U.S., and the JBS meat production company, were targeted last month in cyberattacks believed to have originated in Russia, with both Colonial and JBS paying millions of dollars in ransom demands to restore their business operations. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told ABC’s “This Week” show, “No responsible country should be in the business of harboring in any way criminal organizations engaged in cyberattacks, including ransomware.” Blinken said Biden “is going to make that very clear to President Putin. We are looking for Russian cooperation in dealing with these criminal organizations to the extent they’re operating from Russian territory.”

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 14.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/europe/us-russia-spar-cyberattacks-ahead-biden-putin-summit

  • Biden to Reassure Allies of US Commitment to NATO Mutual Defense Clause

NATO last updated the document outlining its purpose in 2010. The security threats and challenges it faces have changed since then, according to the organization’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg. NATO held off discussing changes to its strategic concept while Biden’s predecessor as U.S. president, Donald Trump, was in office. Biden, last Wednesday during a speech to U.S. Air Force personnel and their families at Royal Air Force Mildenhall in England, said: “In Brussels, I will make it clear that the United States’ commitment to our NATO Alliance and Article 5 is rock solid. It’s a sacred obligation that we have under Article 5.”

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 13.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/biden-reassure-allies-us-commitment-nato-mutual-defense-clause

•  Apple Is Said to Have Turned Over Data on Trump’s White House Counsel in 2018

It is not clear what F.B.I. agents were investigating, whether Mr. McGahn was their specific focus or whether he was swept up in a larger net because he had communicated with someone who was under scrutiny. As the top lawyer for the 2016 Trump campaign and then the White House counsel, Mr. McGahn was in contact with numerous people who may have drawn attention either as part of the Russia investigation or a later leak inquiry. Still, the disclosure that agents had collected data of a sitting White House counsel, which they kept secret for years, is extraordinary.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 13.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/13/us/politics/justice-department-apple-donald-mcgahn.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

  • Pelosi says Trump DOJ’s targeting of political enemies ‘goes even beyond Richard Nixon’

The Trump-era Justice Department’s decision to secretly seize data of Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee went even beyond the nefarious actions of former President Richard Nixon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday. The California Democrat also believes former Attorneys General Jeff Sessions and William Barr, as well as former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, should testify before Congress. “What the administration did, the Justice Department, the leadership of the former President goes even beyond Richard Nixon. Richard Nixon had an enemies list. This is about undermining the rule of law,” Pelosi told CNN’s Dana Bash Sunday on “State of the Union.”

Source: CNN News. Accessed on 13.06.2021 from https://edition.cnn.com/2021/06/13/politics/nancy-pelosi-trump-doj-data-seizure-cnntv/index.html

14.06.2021

  • CENTCOM Head says US Will Not Support Afghan Forces with Airstrikes After Troop Withdrawal

The United States is not planning to support Afghan forces with air strikes after the U.S. troops withdrawal is complete, and counterterrorism strikes in Afghanistan will be limited to instances when attack plans have been discovered to strike the U.S. homeland or the homelands of our allies, according to the top U.S. commander in the Middle East.  “That would be the reason for any strikes that we do in Afghanistan after we leave, (it) would have to be that we’ve uncovered someone who wants to attack the homeland of the United States, one of our allies and partners,” Gen. Frank McKenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command, told VOA in an exclusive interview as he traveled toward the region aboard a U.S. military plane.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 14.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/voa-exclusive-centcom-head-says-us-will-not-support-afghan-forces-airstrikes-after-troop

  • Erdoğan and Biden hold bilateral meeting following NATO summit

President Joe Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held a bilateral meeting on Monday following a meeting of NATO leaders in Brussels. The two leaders have met several times before, but Monday was the first time Biden and Erdoğan met as heads of state.

Source: CNN News. Accessed on 14.06.2021 from https://edition.cnn.com/2021/06/14/politics/recep-tayyip-erdogan-joe-biden-bilateral/index.html

  • Biden, Erdogan Hold ‘Productive’ Talks but Announce No Breakthroughs

U.S. President Joe Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described their first face-to-face talks as heads of state as “productive” but did not announce any major breakthroughs in the relationship between the two countries.  Biden told reporters after the meeting Monday on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels that the talks were “positive and productive” and he was “confident we’ll make real progress with Turkey.”   Erdogan characterized the talks as “productive and sincere.”  “We think that there are no issues between U.S. and Turkey relationship that are unsolvable and that areas of cooperation for us are richer and larger than problems,” he said.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 14.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/biden-erdogan-hold-productive-talks-announce-no-breakthroughs

  • The House lifts its mask mandate for fully vaccinated individuals.

Fully vaccinated lawmakers and staff members in the House of Representatives will no longer be required to wear a mask or maintain six feet of social distance, following updated guidance issued on Friday by Dr. Brian P. Monahan, the attending physician of Congress. Those who are not fully vaccinated remain required to mask and take other precautions or be subject to fines.

Source: the New York Times. Accessed on 14.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/12/us/mask-mandate-fully-vaccinated-congress.html

  • FBI warns lawmakers that QAnon ‘digital soldiers’ may become more violent

Frequently described as a virtual cult, QAnon is a sprawling far-right conspiracy theory that promotes the absurd and false claim that former President Donald Trump has been locked in a battle against a shadowy cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles made up of prominent Democratic politicians and liberal celebrities. Members of the violent pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6 had ties to QAnon, and the conspiracy theory has made its way from online message boards into the political mainstream in recent years. The FBI has warned lawmakers that online QAnon conspiracy theorists may carry out more acts of violence as they move from serving as “digital soldiers” to taking action in the real world following the January 6 US Capitol attack.

Source: CNN News. Accessed on 14.06.2021 from https://edition.cnn.com/2021/06/14/politics/fbi-qanon-threat-assessment/index.html

  • Vatican Warns U.S. Bishops: Don’t Deny Biden Communion Over Abortion

The Vatican has warned conservative American bishops to hit the brakes on their push to deny communion to politicians supportive of abortion rights — including President Biden, a faithful churchgoer and the first Roman Catholic to occupy the Oval Office in 60 years. Some leading bishops, whose priorities clearly aligned with former President Donald J. Trump, now want to reassert the centrality of opposition to abortion in the Catholic faith and lay down a hard line — especially with a liberal Catholic in the Oval Office.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 14.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/14/world/europe/biden-vatican-communion-abortion.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

  • Justice Dept. Official to Step Down Amid Uproar Over Leaks Inquiry

John Demers, the head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, will step down at the end of next week, according to an email he sent to his staff on Monday, a departure that was arranged months ago but comes amid backlash over investigations into leaks of classified information.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 14.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/14/us/politics/john-demers-leak-investigation.html

  • Biden Takes ‘America Is Back’ Message to Brussels

Joe Biden took his ‘America is Back’ message to Brussels, reaffirming the United States’ commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, in his first NATO summit as U.S. president Monday. “I just want all of Europe to know that the United States is there. The United States is there,” Biden said in his meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 14.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/europe/biden-takes-america-back-message-brussels-watch-live

  • Biden says NATO must protect against ‘phony populism’

President Joe Biden on Monday called on foreign leaders to protect against those who prey on division and push “phony populism,” asserting that it’s up to democratic nations to prove to the world that democracy can prevail and autocracies cannot “deliver for the needs of our people.” Biden specifically referred to his predecessor’s politics as part of a trend of “phony populism,” telling reporters that he’s attempted to assuage the fears of leaders following President Donald Trump’s tenure who have doubted America’s role on the world stage.

Source: CNN News. Accessed on 14.06.2021 from https://edition.cnn.com/2021/06/14/politics/joe-biden-phony-populism-nato/index.html

  • US assessing reported leak at Chinese nuclear power facility

The US government has spent the past week assessing a report of a leak at a Chinese nuclear power plant, after a French company that part owns and helps operate it warned of an “imminent radiological threat,” according to US officials and documents reviewed by CNN. The warning included an accusation that the Chinese safety authority was raising the acceptable limits for radiation detection outside the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in Guangdong province in order to avoid having to shut it down.

Source: CNN News. Accessed on 14.06.2021 from https://edition.cnn.com/2021/06/14/politics/china-nuclear-reactor-leak-us-monitoring/index.html

  • G.O.P. Bills Rattle Disabled Voters: ‘We Don’t Have a Voice Anymore’

Legislation across the country would restrict voting methods and accommodations that people with disabilities are disproportionately likely to rely on. The Texas legislation, which Democrats blocked but Republicans plan to revive in a special session, is one of a series of Republican voting bills that would disproportionately affect people with disabilities. The Wisconsin Senate approved three last week with more to come, though unlike in Texas, the governor there is a Democrat and is expected to veto them. Georgia and Florida have enacted similar measures.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 14.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/14/us/politics/disability-voting-rights.html

  • I’m Not Looking for Conflict with Russia,’ Biden Says

President Biden said on Monday that he will tell President Vladimir V. Putin that the U.S. is not looking for confrontation, but “will respond if Russia continues its harmful activities” when the two meets in Geneva on Wednesday.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 14.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/politics/100000007815218/biden-nato-summit-putin-meeting.html

  • US, Russia Envoys Discuss Iran Nuclear Deal Ahead of Summit

Delegations from Russia and the United States involved in nuclear negotiations with Iran held talks in Vienna on Monday, two days ahead of a summit meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin.  The nuclear agreement was scuppered in 2018 when the Trump administration pulled the United States out of the accord, arguing that it handed Iran too many concessions. Mikhail Ulyanov, a senior diplomat who headed the Russian delegation at the meeting in Vienna, called the talks with U.S. counterparts “fruitful.”   “Our dialogue in Vienna seems to be proof that the two countries can maintain business like cooperation on issues of common interest, non-proliferation in this particular case,” Ulyanov wrote in a tweet.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 14.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/us-russia-envoys-discuss-iran-nuclear-deal-ahead-summit

  • Coronavirus, Climate and Trade on Agenda for US-EU Summit

After both were a major topic at G-7 and NATO meetings this week, Russia and China will again be on the agenda Tuesday.    Both the White House and European Union said the leaders would also express a commitment to supporting democracy and combatting corruption, and to upholding human rights around the world. They are also pledging to cooperate on issues involving cybersecurity and migration.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 14.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/coronavirus-climate-and-trade-agenda-us-eu-summit

15.06.2021

  • Pentagon Weighs Proposal to Send Dozens of Troops Back to Somalia

The Pentagon is developing a proposal to send dozens of Special Forces trainers back to Somalia to help local forces combat Al Shabab, the terrorist group affiliated with Al Qaeda — a step that would partly reverse President Donald J. Trump’s abrupt pullout of nearly all 700 American troops from the country in January. John F. Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, declined to comment on the Somalia proposal.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 15.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/15/us/politics/pentagon-troops-somalia.html

  • Biden in Geneva Ahead of Talks with Putin

U.S. President Joe Biden meets with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for the first time Wednesday in Geneva amid deteriorating relations between the world powers. Regarding expectations, a senior U.S. official told reporters Tuesday that Biden would elaborate.  “We were going to let him speak to that when he concludes the meeting tomorrow. And the president will make clear that if we see significant types of cyber activity like we did with SolarWinds, he will respond like we did for SolarWinds.” 

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 15.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/biden-geneva-ahead-talks-putin

  • New emails: Trump and his allies pressured Justice Department to try to challenge 2020 election results

New emails from Justice Department and White House officials show how President Donald Trump’s allies pressured then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to consider false and outlandish allegations that the 2020 election had been stolen at the same time that Rosen was being elevated to lead the Justice Department in December 2020. The documents also offer a window into how Rosen dealt with the political pressure coming from the White House.

Source: CNN News. Accessed on 15.06.2021 from https://edition.cnn.com/2021/06/15/politics/trump-allies-emails-justice-department-2020-election/index.html

  • Sullenberger for Aviation Ambassadorship

On Tuesday, President Biden, in a likely nod to Mr. Sullenberger’s past, selected him as his nominee for ambassador to the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations agency composed of 36 member states that develop policies and standards for global aviation.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 15.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/15/us/politics/chesley-sullenberger-biden.html

  • Biden Names U.S. Ambassador Nominees to Israel and Mexico

Among the nine nominees announced were Ken Salazar, a former Colorado senator who served as the interior secretary during the Obama administration, as ambassador to Mexico; and Thomas R. Nides, a vice chairman at Morgan Stanley who served as a deputy secretary of state under President Barack Obama, as ambassador to Israel. Other nominees included Julianne Smith, an adviser to Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, to serve as ambassador to NATO. Some of Mr. Biden’s selections for the most significant posts abroad — including R. Nicholas Burns, a veteran Foreign Service officer and a former ambassador to NATO, to serve as ambassador to China, and Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles to serve as ambassador to India — were not announced, for instance, even though multiple people familiar with the process said their nominations had been finalized internally.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 15.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/15/us/politics/biden-ambassador-nominees.html

  • New Strategy to Confront Domestic Terrorism

The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday released its long-awaited strategy for countering domestic terrorism, a comprehensive plan that calls for both short- and long-term measures to confront the growing threat of attacks from militant white supremacists and other violent extremists. The four-pillar National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism, described by the administration as the first of its kind, focuses on enhancing and sharing information about domestic terrorism, preventing terror recruitment, disrupting and thwarting attacks, and confronting the long-term drivers of domestic terrorism. It also calls for the expenditure of millions of dollars in additional funds to hire domestic terrorism analysts, investigators and prosecutors. 

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 15.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/new-biden-administration-strategy-seeks-confront-domestic-terrorism

16.06.2021

  • Biden and Putin Express Desire for Better Relations at Summit Shaped by Disputes

After their first summit meeting, the two leaders described each other with respect but resolved none of the disagreements that have sent U.S.-Russian ties to their lowest level since the Cold War. Two leaders committed to the creation of working groups to deal with urgent issues, starting with arms control and the proliferation of cyberattacks. They agreed to send ambassadors back to each other’s capitals, Mr. Putin said, and expressed interest in working in some areas of mutual interest, from the Arctic to Afghanistan. “There has been no hostility,’’ Mr. Putin said, speaking about the meeting. Mr. Biden declared “I did what I came to do,’’ including laying out a series of warnings and red lines for the Russian leader, which he insisted were not “threats.”

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 16.06.2021 https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/16/world/europe/biden-putin-geneva-meeting.html?action=click&module=Spotlight&pgtype=Homepage

  • Biden and Putin issue joint statement following historic Geneva summit

“We, President of the United States of America Joseph R. Biden and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, note the United States and Russia have demonstrated that, even in periods of tension, they are able to make progress on our shared goals of ensuring predictability in the strategic sphere, reducing the risk of armed conflicts and the threat of nuclear war. The recent extension of the New START Treaty exemplifies our commitment to nuclear arms control. Today, we reaffirm the principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

Source: CNN News. Accessed on 16.06.2021 from https://edition.cnn.com/2021/06/16/politics/joint-statement-from-biden-and-putin-summit/index.html

  • Top Official Warns Foreign Disinformation Is Feeding US Domestic Terrorism

The warning, from a senior U.S. Department of Homeland Security official, comes just a day after U.S. President Joe Biden issued his long-awaited National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism, described by his administration as the first of its kind. “We are seeing common narratives that seem to be resonating with individuals who are looking for extremist ideological beliefs to serve as the justification for violence being introduced by foreign nation-states, being introduced by foreign terrorist organizations,” Cohen said.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 16.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/top-official-warns-foreign-disinformation-feeding-us-domestic-terrorism

  • U.S. Ends Trump Policy Limiting Asylum for Gang and Domestic Violence Survivors

The decision will affect tens of thousands of cases moving through backlogged immigration courts. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland reversed on Wednesday Trump-era immigration rulings that had made it all but impossible for people to seek asylum in the United States over credible fears of domestic abuse or gang violence, marking one of the Justice Department’s most significant breaks with the previous administration.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 16.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/16/us/politics/asylum-domestic-abuse-gang-violence.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

  • Congress passes bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

The House passed legislation Wednesday that would establish June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day, a US federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, sending the bill to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature. The legislation was previously blocked by conservative Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin in 2020, but he dropped his objection this week despite his concerns, allowing the bill to advance out of the chamber.

Source: CNN News. Accessed on 16.06.2021 from https://edition.cnn.com/2021/06/16/politics/house-vote-juneteenth-federal-holiday-senate-passed-june-19/index.html

  • Survey: 1 in 3 US Election Workers Feels Unsafe

Long after a contentious U.S. presidential election that unleashed a torrent of partisan threats against poll workers and others, many American election officials continue to feel unsafe because of their jobs, according to a recent survey.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 16.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/us-politics/survey-1-3-us-election-workers-feels-unsafe

  • 8,000 Homeless People to Be Moved From Hotels to Shelters, New York Says

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement signals the beginning of the end to an arrangement that many homeless people said provided a better living environment. “It is time to move homeless folks who were in hotels for a temporary period of time back to shelters where they can get the support they need,” Mr. de Blasio said at a morning news conference.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 16.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/16/nyregion/homeless-de-blasio-hotels.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

  • US Has Eye on China’s Influence at UN

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations reassured Congress Wednesday that she is working to monitor and rein in what she called China’s “malign influence” at the world body.  “China has been aggressive and coercive in using its power at the United Nations,” Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  She said Beijing promotes an “authoritarian approach to multilateralism.”   The ambassador pointed to an array of actions, including its influence at three U.N. technical organizations where their nationals are in charge, and Beijing’s use of COVID-19 vaccine diplomacy to pressure some poorer nations.  “We will be pushing hard against those efforts,” she said.

Source: VOA News. Accessed on 16.06.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/east-asia-pacific/us-has-eye-chinas-influence-un

  • Candidates Clash Over New York City’s Future in Final Mayoral Debate

The eight contenders jousted over their policies on public safety, homelessness, education and mental illness with less than a week left in the campaign. It was the Democrats’ final major debate of the primary, and, like the first three, the event was a contentious affair that focused heavily on issues of policing and public safety, as well as on questions of the candidates’ personal and professional preparedness to lead the nation’s largest city.

Source: The New York Times. Accessed on 16.06.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/16/nyregion/mayor-debate-new-york.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

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