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Biden Abandons Ukraine Peace Talks for Hollywood Red Carpet Fundraiser

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Biden Abandons Ukraine Peace Talks for Hollywood Red Carpet Fundraiser
US President Joe Biden will miss the Ukraine peace summit: Getty Images

According to Bloomberg, US President Joe Biden is likely to skip the Ukrainian Peace Summit in Switzerland in June since he has a presidential campaign fundraiser in California at the same time.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy appealed to US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping to attend his peace meeting on Sunday, as the country battles to fend off Russia’s relentless attacks in its 27-month invasion.

Ukraine intends to host as many countries as possible during Kyiv-led talks in Switzerland next month, which aim to unite world opinion on how to end the war and increase pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has not been invited.

Zelenskiy talked in an English-language video shot within the burned remnants of a printing building destroyed by a Russian missile strike on Thursday in Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine. He stated that more than 80 countries would attend.

A State Department official confirmed on Sunday that the United States will attend the summit, but declined to specify who or at what level.

Zelenskiy Appeals to Biden and XI

“I am appealing to the leaders of the world who are still aside from the global efforts of the Global Peace Summit – to President Biden, the leader of the United States, and to President Xi, the leader of China,” Zelenskiy added.

“Please, show your leadership in advancing the peace – the real peace and not just a pause between the strikes,” he added.

Zelenskiy further stated that the summit would “show who in the world really wants to end the war.”

Kyiv’s peace proposal calls for the complete evacuation of Russian forces and the restoration of its internationally recognized borders, which Moscow regards as a nonstarter.

Last week, Russian sources told Reuters that Putin was prepared to end the war in Ukraine with a negotiated ceasefire that recognized the current fighting lines.

The peace summit will take place in Switzerland on June 15-16, immediately following the G7 leaders’ meeting in Italy, some of whom will go there. According to people acquainted with the issue, President Biden and Vice President Harris will not be among them.

Biden set to skip Ukraine peace summit for Hollywood fundraiser

Biden set to skip Ukraine peace summit for Hollywood fundraiser: Getty Images

Biden Campaign Fundraiser

Following the G7, Biden intends to fly to Los Angeles to participate in a June 15 fundraising event sponsored by well-known TV personality Jimmy Kimmel, which will be attended by not just Hollywood stars but also former President Barack Obama. A similar gathering last year earned more than $15 million for Biden’s campaign fund.

“It also reflects a broader pessimism about the [peace] conference, which Switzerland agreed to organize when President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the country in January,” according to Bloomberg.

The conference is anticipated to bring together delegates from 70 countries, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

The Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs invited leaders from over 160 countries to attend the summit in May 2024, which aims to find a peaceful settlement to Ukraine’s conflict based on the principles of Kyiv’s Peace Formula.

The decision to leave Ukraine peace negotiations highlights Joe Biden’s struggle to overtake former US President Donald Trump’s polling lead in crucial swing states ahead of the November election.

According to polls, Trump outperformed Biden’s fundraising efforts for the first time in the current election cycle last month, raising $76 million to his $51 million.

It also underscores Biden’s overall cynicism about the meeting, which Switzerland agreed to host when President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in January.

Source: Reuters, Bloomberg

 

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Yellen Says China’s Trade Policies Could ‘Interfere Significantly’ With US Bilateral Relationship

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Chinese “overconcentrated supply chains” threaten American jobs and recent investments intended to strengthen the country’s green energy industry, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. The Asian superpower’s trade policies “may interfere significantly with our efforts to build a healthy economic relationship.”

Yellen endorsed Biden administration initiatives meant to boost American economic competitiveness in a prepared speech she gave to Wall Street and corporate executives at the Economic Club of New York on Thursday afternoon.

yellen

Yellen | AP News Image

Yellen Says China’s Trade Policies Could ‘Interfere Significantly’ With US Bilateral Relationship

“When foreign subsidies threaten the viability of domestic firms” in important industries like green energy, she added, the United States should react. China’s green energy products are especially feared to undercut significant climate-friendly investments made possible by the Democrats’ August 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law.

Former President Donald Trump is making his argument to the Business Roundtable in Washington, an organization of over 200 CEOs, on why the economy would be better if he were back in the White House while Yellen is speaking.

Voters have heard from Biden and Trump, his likely Republican opponent, that they will be harsh on China.

The United States imposed major new duties this month on Chinese electric cars, cutting-edge batteries, solar cells, steel, aluminum, and medical equipment. On Wednesday, the European Union also acted to increase import duties, or tariffs, on Chinese-made electric vehicles after preliminary findings of a continuing inquiry into Chinese EV subsidies revealed that the nation’s battery electric vehicle “value chain” benefited from “unfair subsidization” that damaged EU competitors.

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Yellen | Forbes Image

Yellen Says China’s Trade Policies Could ‘Interfere Significantly’ With US Bilateral Relationship

Chinese companies can charge as little as $12,000 for an electric vehicle. Chinese officials contend that their manufacturing keeps costs low and would support a shift to a green economy. They also claim that their solar cells and steel and aluminum mills have enough capacity to supply most of the world’s demand.

Among other concerns, Yellen mentioned in her statement on Thursday the proportion of Chinese manufacturing companies that are losing money, the high savings rates compared to other OECD nations, and the stringent investment regulations.

Yellen listed industries where Chinese government subsidies have fueled fast output growth, including the production of electric cars and their batteries and solar energy equipment, which the U.S. administration is attempting to boost domestically.

yellen

Yellen | CNN Image

Yellen Says China’s Trade Policies Could ‘Interfere Significantly’ With US Bilateral Relationship

“I reject the idea that ‘decoupling’ would help the US economy in any way,” she stated. Concurrently, a level playing field is necessary for us to fully enjoy the possible advantages of our economic partnership.

Her trip to Guangzhou and Beijing earlier this year was centered on industrial strategy and what the United States and Europe call China’s manufacturing overcapacity.

SOURCE – (AP)

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President Joe Biden Faces First Lawsuit Over New Asylum Crackdown At The Border

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Biden Administration Plans for Potential Presidential Transition

Washington, D.C. On Wednesday, a coalition of immigrant advocacy groups sued the Biden administration, claiming that President Joe Biden’s recent order to essentially stop asylum claims at the southern border is no different from a similar action by the Trump administration that was thwarted by the courts.

The American Civil Liberties Union and others filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Centre and the Refugee and Immigrant Centre for Education and Legal Services, or RAICES. It is the first legal challenge to Biden’s broad border crackdown, which followed months of internal White House deliberations and is intended in part to fend off political criticism of the president’s immigration policy.

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Joe Biden | AP News Image

President Joe Biden Faces First Lawsuit Over New Asylum Crackdown At The Border

“We were forced to file this lawsuit by enacting an asylum ban that is legally indistinguishable from the Trump ban we successfully blocked,” said ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt.

The directive Biden issued last week will restrict the processing of asylum applications once 2,500 people are encountered between ports of entry each day. The current estimates were significantly higher, at almost 4,000 daily, so it went into effect right away.

The limits would remain in place for two weeks following the seven-day average of those daily encounter counts at or below 1,500. When the numbers might fall that low, though, is unclear; the last time was in July 2020, during the COVID-19 epidemic.

When the order entered into force on June 5, officials of the Biden administration stated they anticipated record numbers of deportations.

Advocates counter that, among other issues, suspending asylum for refugees who fail to show up at a predetermined point of entry—as the Biden administration is attempting to do—violates current federal immigration law.

For a long time, the United States has welcomed refugees seeking protection from persecution. That national commitment became legally codified with the Refugee Act of 1980. The groups said in their case filed on Wednesday that although Congress has, throughout time, imposed certain restrictions on the right to seek asylum, it has never allowed the Executive Branch to outright prohibit asylum based on where a noncitizen enters the nation.

Biden cited Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the same legal basis that the Trump administration used to justify its asylum restriction. Under this clause, a president may restrict the number of migrants admitted if it is judged “detrimental” to the country’s interests.

While running, Biden has frequently attacked the immigration policy of former President Donald Trump. His government counters that his order is unique because it has multiple humanitarian exclusions. Limits would not apply, for instance, to victims of human trafficking, unaccompanied minors, or people experiencing serious medical difficulties.

“The Securing the Border rule is legal, important to enhancing border security, and is already having an impact,” a Department of Homeland Security spokesman said, declining to comment on the complaint. We shall keep putting the contested actions into practice; they are still in force.

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Joe Biden | AP news Image

President Joe Biden Faces First Lawsuit Over New Asylum Crackdown At The Border

The immigrant rights organisations contend in the complaint that exceptions are “extremely limited.”

The White House forwarded questions regarding the complaint to the Justice Department, which declined to comment. According to White House spokesman Angelo Fernández Hernández, Biden’s action was required because congressional Republicans thwarted a bipartisan agreement that “would have provided critical resources, statutory changes, and additional personnel to the border.”

As per Biden’s decision, migrants who show up at the border without expressing a fear of going back to their own countries will be deported from the US in a few days or even hours. Sanctions for those migrants can include a five-year ban on entering the country again or criminal prosecution.

Proponents of the lawsuit contended that it is the migrants’ responsibility to exhibit fear, which is sometimes known as displaying fear.

“In practice, noncitizens who have just crossed the border, and may be hungry, exhausted, ill, or traumatised after fleeing persecution in their home countries and danger in Mexico, are likely to be intimidated by armed, uniformed Border Patrol officers, and are thus unlikely to ‘manifest’ their fear of return,” the lawsuit states.

However, a U.S. asylum officer will evaluate anyone who indicates fear or a desire to seek asylum, but to a higher level than is now in place. Should they clear the screening, they are eligible for more restricted humanitarian protection, such as the U.N. Convention Against Torture, which forbids sending someone back to a nation where they are likely to be subjected to torture.

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Joe Biden | NY Times Image

President Joe Biden Faces First Lawsuit Over New Asylum Crackdown At The Border

These revised, more stringent asylum limitations do not apply to migrants who utilise the CBP One app while in Mexico to make an appointment to present themselves at an official border crossing point to seek admission. The app is a component of the administration’s attempts to persuade migrants to attempt to enter the nation through its preferred routes rather than just crossing the border, locating a Border Patrol agent, and turning themselves in.

Advocates did, however, provide a laundry list of grievances against the app in the case. Many immigrants, for instance, lack the Wi-Fi connectivity or cellphone data plan required to use it. While some migrants are illiterates, others do not speak any of the languages the programme offers. And compared to the amount of migrants wishing to enter the nation, there are only a few spots open each day.

“As a result, numerous asylum seekers have been forced to wait indefinitely under precarious conditions in Mexico in the hope of obtaining scarce appointments,” the lawsuit says.

Together with the ACLU, additional organisations filing the complaint were the Texas Civil Rights Project, Jenner & Block LLP, National Immigrant Justice Centre, Centre for Gender & Refugee Studies, and ACLU of the District of Columbia.

SOURCE – (AP)

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US Attorney General Merrick Garland Held in Contempt of Congress

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US Attorney General Merrick Garland Held in Contempt of Congress
Attorney General Merrick Garland testifies during a House Judiciary Committee hearing: AP Image

The United States Congress has voted to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt for refusing to send over recordings of President Joe Biden’s interview with Special Counsel Robert Hur about his handling of secret information.

The final vote was 216-207. Rep. David Joyce of Ohio was the lone Republican to vote against the contempt resolution.

Speaker Mike Johnson described the outcome as “a significant step towards maintaining the integrity of our oversight processes and responsibilities.”

“It is up to Congress – not the Executive Branch – to determine what materials it needs to conduct its own investigations, and there are consequences for refusing to comply with lawful Congressional subpoenas,” Johnson stated in a statement.

Garland responded, stating that it was “deeply disappointing that this House of Representatives has turned a serious congressional authority into a partisan weapon.”

“Today’s vote disregards the constitutional separation of powers, the Justice Department’s need to protect its investigations, and the substantial amount of information we have provided to the Committees,” Garland stated in a press release. “I will always stand up for this Department, its employees, and its vital mission to defend our democracy.”

Biden Hur

President Biden as he was under investigation over his possession of classified documents by Special Counsel Robert Hur. – Getty Images

General Merrick Garland Refuses

While the Department of Justice has made a transcript of Hur’s interview with Biden accessible to the GOP-led committees, House Republicans say that the audio tapes are required for their delayed impeachment probe into the president.

“The Committees need the audio tapes to verify the accuracy of the written transcripts given this White House has been known to heavily edit the President’s statements,” Johnson stated. “This is a simple matter — we have the transcript, and we need the audio.”

The contempt resolution instructs the House speaker to report the case to the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia for potential criminal prosecution.

Garland continued to defend his choice not to turn up audio tapes of the interview before the House Judiciary Committee last week, despite President Biden’s assertion of executive privilege.

“I shall not be scared. And the Justice Department will not be frightened. We shall continue to conduct our work without political influence. “And we will not back down from defending our democracy,” Garland stated during the hearing.

Representative Jerrold Nadler, the House Judiciary Committee

Representative Jerrold Nadler (D), the House Judiciary Committee – Getty Images

Democrat Protect General Merrick Garland

Democrats have also defended Garland, condemning the GOP’s attempt to hold him in contempt as a politically driven endeavour.

“This isn’t really about a policy disagreement with the DOJ, this is about feeding the MAGA base after 18 months of investigations that have produced failure after failure,” Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, said in testimony before the House Rules Committee on Tuesday.

Joyce, the single Republican who voted against the measure, also claimed it was a politicised act.

“As a former prosecutor, I cannot in good conscience support a resolution that would further politicize our judicial system to score political points,” Joyce stated. “The American people expect Congress to represent them, solve policy issues, and prioritise good governance. “Enough is enough.”

MORE: ‘I did not exonerate him,’ Hur says about Biden

Congress has previously found Cabinet officials in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a House subpoena, notably Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in 2019 and then-Attorney General Eric Holder in 2012.

In 2022, Congress found Peter Navarro, a former top trade advisor in the Trump administration, in contempt of Congress for allegedly falsifying records and testimony to the now-defunct House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol.

Navarro was recently sentenced to four months in prison.

Steve Bannon, a Trump associate who was previously held in contempt of Congress in 2022 for failing to comply with the Jan. 6 select committee, has been ordered to report to jail on July 1.

Source: Yahoo News

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