Today so far
USCP warns of ‘concerning online chatter’ around ‘Justice for J6’ rally
Hillary Clinton is speaking at a Guardian Live event to Jonathan Freedland, and she has been giving her reaction to the Texas anti-abortion law.
“So you ask if I’m surprised or discouraged. I’m neither. I’m not surprised because I’ve been involved in the women’s movement, the civil rights movement. I’ve seen the forces that are arrayed against progress when it comes to women’s autonomy, when it comes to the advancement of civil and political and economic rights. I know very well that the other side never gives up.
“They are relentless in their view of what is a properly constructed society, and in that view, white men are at the very top and nobody else is even close.”
At a Guardian Live online discussion, Hillary Clinton was asked by the Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland whether she would have advised Joe Biden not to have gone ahead with the Afghan withdrawal if she had been in the administration.
In her reply, Clinton staunchly defended Biden, putting all the blame on Donald Trump, and the deal he made with the Taliban in Doha in February 2020.
“I don’t think he had that choice,” she said. “ I think that it was way too far gone, and I respect the decision to leave. In effect, President Biden’s hands were tied because the Taliban had made it very clear, there would be a ceasefire with respect to the American presence in Afghanistan, not only the military but also the civilian presence which was considerable.
“But if there was any effort to go back on the deal that Trump had made, then that ceasefire would end. And that would have put President Biden in an impossible position because I believe that our casualties, both military and civilian, would have increased dramatically. And it would have been required either withdrawing in the face of greater casualties or putting in more troops which there was no appetite for.”
At the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Tony Blinken has pushed back against Republican attacks on the administration’s handling of the withdrawal and evacuation.
He has pointed repeatedly to Donald Trump’s deal with the Taliban in February 2020, in which the US agreed to withdraw its troops by 1 May this year.
“We inherited a deadline, we did not inherit a plan,” Blinken said.
House Republicans attack Blinken over handling of Afghanistan withdrawal
Secretary of State Tony Blinken is being lambasted by Republicans at the House Foreign Affairs Committee for the handling of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and subsequent evacuation.
Michael McCaul, the ranking Republican on the committee, said: “This, in my judgment, is not only disgraceful. It also dishonors the men and women who served our nation so bravely. Mr Secretary, the American people don’t like to lose, especially not to the terrorists, but that is exactly what has happened. This has emboldened the Taliban and our adversaries.”
“To make matters worse, we abandoned Americans behind enemy lines, we left behind the interpreters who you, Mr Secretary, and the President, both promised to protect. I could summarize this in one word: Betrayal,” McCaul added.
“The America I know keeps its promises. The most important promise in our military is no man left behind, no one left behind. But you broke this promise.”
Simone Biles and other Olympians to testify before Senate judiciary committee
Olympian Simone Biles will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday in an oversight hearing into the FBI’s “dereliction of duty” in its failure to properly investigate the sexual abuse allegations against former USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar.
Biles will be joined on the panel by McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols, and Aly Raisman. FBI director Christopher Wray and Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz will also testify.
The hearing comes after Horowitz’s office found that the FBI made multiple serious failures during its investigation of the allegations against Nasser and failed to treat them with the “utmost seriousness and urgency that they deserved and required.”
Following the release of the report, the FBI rebuked the involved officers, saying in a statement that their conduct was “inexcusable and a discredit to this organization.”
Based on statements released by members of the committee ahead of the hearing, Wray can expect to face tough questions about what change the department has made to ensure the failures outline in the report do not happen again.
Nassar was ultimately convicted in federal and state courts after hundreds of girls and women came forward to publicly accuse him of sexual abuse. He is now serving what will amount to life in prison.
A hospital in upstate New York will at least temporarily stop delivering babies later this month, after too many employees resigned over a Covid-19 vaccination mandate.
“We are unable to safely staff the service after 24 September,” Gerald Cayer, chief executive of the Lewis County Health System, told reporters.
“The number of resignations received leaves us no choice but to pause delivering babies at Lewis county general hospital.”
Amid alarm over the highly infectious Delta variant and continued evidence that vaccines are both safe and effective, New York state has required healthcare workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
The mandate makes room for medical exemptions but excludes religious ones. Hospitals and nursing homes must comply by 27 September.
Nearly three-fourths of staff in the Lewis County Health System have received the jab, including 30 employees after the mandate was announced in August.
But another 30 have resigned – 21 from clinical areas – and 165 remain unvaccinated, leaders say.
“Essential health services are at risk,” Cayer said. “Not because of the mandate. The mandate ensures we will have a healthy workforce and that we are not responsible for transmission in or out of our facilities.”
Joe Biden will reportedly nominate Georgetown professor Alvaro Bedoya, a leading privacy expert, as a Democratic commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission, Axios reported on Monday.
If confirmed, Bedoya would solidify a Democratic majority on the five-person commission – replacing Rohit Chopra, a Democrat Biden has tapped to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The nomination comes after Biden appointed antitrust expert Lina Khan to chair the FTC. Bedoya represents a similarly progressive choice in the privacy space.
Bedoya founded the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown and previously worked as chief counsel of the Senate Judiciary privacy subcommittee, specializing in issues surrounding facial recognition and digital surveillance.
Progressive nominees at the FTC could make a large impact as Big Tech faces a reckoning from legislators surrounding alleged anticompetitive practices and unabated surveillance technology.
The FTC did not respond to request for comment.
AOC and Manchin square off
The New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has fired back at the West Virginia senator Joe Manchin for referring to her as “the young lady”, in the latest escalation in a bitter intra-party spat over the size and scale of Democrats’ social spending bill.
Joe Biden’s economic agenda depends on Democrats’ ability to overcome internal divisions and enact what would be the largest expansion of the social safety net in generations.
Manchin is among the chief obstacles to passing the mooted $3.5tn package. He has said he would not support legislation with such a high price tag. In a Sunday appearance on CNN, Manchin ripped progressives for threatening to sink a bipartisan infrastructure bill if he refuses to support the spending package. Singling out Ocasio-Cortez, Manchin responded to her claim that he meets weekly with oil lobbyists.
“I keep my door open for everybody,” he said. “It’s totally false. And those types of superlatives, it’s just awful. Continue to divide, divide, divide.
“I don’t know that young lady that well. I really don’t. She’s just speculating and saying things.”
On Twitter, Ocasio-Cortez suggested Manchin was attempting to dismiss a fellow member of Congress as a “young lady” because he was beginning to feel the pressure.
“In Washington, I usually know my questions of power are getting somewhere when the powerful stop referring to me as ‘Congresswoman’ and start referring to me as ‘young lady’ instead,” the 31-year-old wrote.
“Imagine if every time someone referred to someone as ‘young lady’ they were responded to by being addressed with their age and gender? They’d be pretty upset if one responded with ‘the old man’, right? Why this kind of weird, patronizing behavior is so accepted is beyond me!”
Today so far
Capitol fencing will go back up later this week, USCP chief confirms