Home Story Milley defends China calls and says ‘I am certain Trump did not...

Milley defends China calls and says ‘I am certain Trump did not intend to attack the Chinese’ – live

15
0
Milley defends China calls and says ‘I am certain Trump did not intend to attack the Chinese’ – live

Early Newspaper

00: 49

Politics recap

  • Gen Mark Milley defended his calls with Chinese officials in the final days of Donald Trump’s presidency, saying the conversations were meant to “de-escalate” tensions between the two nations. The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said during a Senate hearing today, “I know, I am certain that President Trump did not intend to attack the Chinese.” Republicans had called for Milley’s resignation over reports that he was attempting to prevent Trump from launching an attack on China.
  • Defense secretary Lloyd Austin acknowledged that senior military leaders were caught off-guard by how quickly the Afghan government and military collapsed. “We helped build a state, Mr Chairman, but we could not forge a nation,” Austin said at the hearing. “The fact that the Afghan army that we and our partners trained simply melted away – in many cases without firing a shot – took us all by surprise. And it would be dishonest to claim otherwise.”
  • Gen Kenneth McKenzie, the commander of US Central Command, contradicted Joe Biden on what military advice he received regarding Afghanistan. While not going into detail about his private conversations with Biden, McKenzie said that he recommended keeping 2,500 troops in Afghanistan to help ensure the stability of the Afghan government. Biden has previously said that he never received such advice from military leaders. The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, told reporters that Biden heard “a range of viewpoints” on the matter.
  • Congressional progressives are sticking to their position that they will not support the bipartisan infrastructure bill until the reconciliation package passes. Ahead of the expected Thursday vote on the infrastructure bill, the Congressional Progressive Caucus chair said members would not support the legislation unless the spending package advances at the same time. Senate budget committee chair Bernie Sanders has expressed his support for the House progressives’ stance as well. Biden canceled a trip to Chicago to continue negotiations with moderates.
  • Senator Elizabeth Warren said she would not support Jay Powell’s renomination as Federal Reserve chairman. “Your record gives me grave concerns,” the Massachusetts Democrat told Powell at a hearing this morning. “Over and over, you have acted to make our banking system less safe, and that makes you a dangerous man to head up the Fed, and it’s why I will oppose your renomination.”

Joe Biden is canceling a planned trip to Chicago tomorrow so that he can carry on infrastructure negotiations in DC.

Talks have intensified as Republicans and moderate and progressive Democrats fragment over a package they can pass. House Democrats want to spend $3.5tn on improvements to healthcare, education and climate-resilient infrastructure, funded by tax increases. Moderate senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are opposed – threatening to derail Democrats’ ability to pass an infrastructure bill while they maintain a slim majority.

The House Progressive Caucus said it won’t vote for the bipartisan $1tn infrastructure deal until the spending plan is passed via reconciliation, and budget committee chair Bernie Sanders supported them.

Updated

‘Blah, blah, blah’: Greta Thunberg lambasts leaders over climate crisis

Damian Carrington

Greta Thunberg has excoriated global leaders over their promises to address the climate emergency, dismissing them as “blah, blah, blah”.

She quoted statements by Boris Johnson: “This is not some expensive, politically correct, green act of bunny hugging”, and Narendra Modi: “Fighting climate change calls for innovation, cooperation and willpower” but said the science did not lie.

Carbon emissions are on track to rise by 16% by 2030, according to the UN, rather than fall by half, which is the cut needed to keep global heating under the internationally agreed limit of 1.5C.

Build back better. Blah, blah, blah. Green economy. Blah blah blah. Net zero by 2050. Blah, blah, blah,” she said in a speech to the Youth4Climate summit in Milan, Italy, on Tuesday. “This is all we hear from our so-called leaders. Words that sound great but so far have not led to action. Our hopes and ambitions drown in their empty promises.”

The Cop26 climate summit starts in Glasgow, UK, on 31 October and all the big-polluting countries must deliver tougher pledges to cut emissions to keep the goal of 1.5C within reach.

“Of course we need constructive dialogue,” said Thunberg, whose solo climate strike in 2018 sparked a movement of millions of young climate protesters. “But they’ve now had 30 years of blah, blah, blah and where has that led us? We can still turn this around – it is entirely possible. It will take immediate, drastic annual emission reductions. But not if things go on like today. Our leaders’ intentional lack of action is a betrayal toward all present and future generations.”

Read more:

In deep red West Virginia, Biden’s $3.5tn spending proposal is immensely popular

Zack Harold reports:

Elizabeth Masters isn’t a natural Joe Biden supporter. A self-described conservative who lives in Parkersburg, in deeply Republican West Virginia, she said she registered to vote in the last election so she could cast a ballot for Donald Trump.

Masters says she doesn’t approve when people “just stand for a handout” – she doesn’t think the United States should be spending money on undocumented immigrants, for example – but says anything that will “help people that are trying to do for themselves, I’m all for it”.

To that end, Masters has found herself supportive of efforts by the Biden administration to pass a $3.5tn budget proposal that is full of ambitious plans to help poorer and working class Americans on a range of social issues from childcare to healthcare.

Though vehemently opposed by Republicans and West Virginia’s own Democratic senator, Joe Manchin, there is some evidence that the proposals contained in the spending plans – which some have likened to the 1930s New Deal – are more popular among grassroots Republicans than their political representatives. That may be especially true in West Virginia, which is a poor, largely white and working class state whose residents would stand to greatly benefit from the Biden effort.

That is why Masters says she supports the Child Tax Credit, the monthly payments from the IRS given to families with children making less than $200,000. The Build Back Better plan would make the credits permanent.

Masters and her husband recently took out a loan to repair the roof on their house, only to lose the home in a fire. They did not have insurance, so they are still paying on the loan. The Child Tax Credit payment she receives each month for her nine-year-old son covers that loan every month.

Biden’s budget bill includes his Build Back Better plan, which would cut taxes for most Americans, raise taxes on the rich, train more workers and lower costs for healthcare, childcare, education and housing.

When the nonpartisan nonprofit WorkMoney surveyed more than 50,000 of its 2 million members nationwide, it found 81% of respondents said they supported this plan. That includes 90% of liberals who took the survey, 81% of moderates and 66% of conservatives.

Conservative backing appears even more robust in West Virginia, home of Manchin, a moderate Democrat who is one of the critical holdouts on the budget bill and whose efforts could derail the entire plan – or see large chunks of it scrapped as he balks at the budget’s price tag.

But according to the survey, 80% of more than 800 people surveyed in his home state believe he should vote to pass the bill. That includes 77% of conservatives who responded to the survey.

Read more:

Today so far

That’s it from me today. My west coast colleague, Maanvi Singh, will take over the blog for the next few hours.

Here’s where the day stands so far:

  • Gen Mark Milley defended his calls with Chinese officials in the final days of Donald Trump’s presidency, saying the conversations were meant to “de-escalate” tensions between the two nations. The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said during a Senate hearing today, “I know, I am certain that President Trump did not intend to attack the Chinese.” Republicans had called for Milley’s resignation over reports that he was attempting to prevent Trump from launching an attack on China.
  • Defense secretary Lloyd Austin acknowledged that senior military leaders were caught off-guard by how quickly the Afghan government and military collapsed. “We helped build a state, Mr Chairman, but we could not forge a nation,” Austin said at the hearing. “The fact that the Afghan army that we and our partners trained simply melted away – in many cases without firing a shot – took us all by surprise. And it would be dishonest to claim otherwise.”
  • Gen Kenneth McKenzie, the commander of US Central Command, contradicted Joe Biden on what military advice he received regarding Afghanistan. While not going into detail about his private conversations with Biden, McKenzie said that he recommended keeping 2,500 troops in Afghanistan to help ensure the stability of the Afghan government. Biden has previously said that he never received such advice from military leaders. The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, told reporters that Biden heard “a range of viewpoints” on the matter.
  • Congressional progressives are sticking to their position that they will not support the bipartisan infrastructure bill until the reconciliation package passes. Ahead of the expected Thursday vote on the infrastructure bill, the Congressional Progressive Caucus chair said members would not support the legislation unless the spending package advances at the same time. Senate budget committee chair Bernie Sanders has expressed his support for the House progressives’ stance as well.
  • Senator Elizabeth Warren said she would not support Jay Powell’s renomination as Federal Reserve chairman. “Your record gives me grave concerns,” the Massachusetts Democrat told Powell at a hearing this morning. “Over and over, you have acted to make our banking system less safe, and that makes you a dangerous man to head up the Fed, and it’s why I will oppose your renomination.”

Maanvi will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

Florida is suing the Biden administration over its immigration policies, while Republican governor Ron DeSantis is barring state agencies from helping with relocating undocumented immigrants.

The AP reports:


DeSantis’ order authorized the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Florida Highway Patrol ‘to detain any aircraft, bus, or other vehicle within the State of Florida reasonably believed to be transporting illegal aliens to Florida from the Southwest Border.’

He also ordered the agencies to gather information on the identities of any immigrants arriving illegally in Florida from the Mexico border and told state agencies not to spend money assisting those immigrants unless required by law.

Attorney General Ashley Moody’s lawsuit claims the federal immigration policy will cost the state millions of dollars and cause harm to Florida.

Biden’s immigration agenda has come under harsh scrutiny in recent weeks, after alarming footage surfaced of border agents on horseback confronting Haitian migrants in the border city of Del Rio, Texas.

Homeland security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on Friday that there were no remaining migrants at the camp underneath the Del Rio bridge, and administration officials had previously said they would suspend the use of horses in Del Rio.

The US constitution gives the president little power to act unilaterally around voting. But the set of actions the White House announced on Tuesday signals an aggressive effort to use the power Joe Biden does have.

Voting rights groups have long advocated for expanded voter registration opportunities at federal agencies.

Expanding voter registration to the Indian Health Service could help 1.9m people register, according to a report issued last year by the Brennan Center for Justice. Expanding voter registration at naturalization ceremonies could help add a significant portion of the 760,000 people naturalized each year to the voter rolls, the report said.

The actions come six months after Biden issued an executive order instructing federal agencies to come up with plans to provide voter registration assistance.

The announcement also comes as the White House has faced some criticism from civil rights groups who say it is not pushing hard enough to get federal voting rights legislation through congress.

Federal agencies to take modest steps to expand voter registration

Federal agencies are going to take modest steps to expand voter registration, the White House announced on Tuesday.

Among the actions: The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Indian Health Service will provide voter registration opportunities and assistance to their patients.

The Justice Department will facilitate voting for those eligible who are in federal custody and help people understand the rules of voting in their states once they’re released from prison.

The Department of Homeland Security will invite local government officials and non-profit groups to register voters at naturalization ceremonies.

The Department of Transportation will encourage local transit agencies to weigh offering free or reduced fares on election day.

Updated

Meanwhile, on the issue of the debt ceiling, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said today that using reconciliation to raise or suspend the debt ceiling is “risky” and a “non-starter”.

But with Republicans digging in on their opposition, reconciliation may be the only option for Democrats to raise the debt ceiling in a party-line fashion.

House majority leader Steny Hoyer had suggested earlier today that reconciliation may be the path forward, but he then walked back those comments after Schumer and other Senate Democrats criticized the idea.

“Today I was asked whether reconciliation is an option to address the debt limit. It is certainly not the best option, nor the option we’re pursuing,” Hoyer said on Twitter, adding that Republicans “have a responsibility to the country to ensure the US does not default”.

Steny Hoyer
(@LeaderHoyer)

Today I was asked whether reconciliation is an option to address the debt limit. It is certainly not the best option, nor the option we’re pursuing. Senate GOP are putting our economy & families at risk. They have a responsibility to the country to ensure the US does not default.

September 28, 2021

Sanders urges House colleagues to vote against infrastructure bill

Progressive senator Bernie Sanders is urging his House counterparts to oppose the bipartisan infrastructure bill until a reconciliation package is passed.

Sanders, who chairs the Senate budget committee, said on Twitter, “Let’s be crystal clear. If the bipartisan infrastructure bill is passed on its own on Thursday, this will be in violation of an agreement that was reached within the Democratic Caucus in Congress.”

Sanders warned that approving the infrastructure bill would “end all leverage that we have to pass a major reconciliation bill,” meaning Democrats would not have an opportunity to expand Medicare or invest in affordable childcare.

Bernie Sanders
(@SenSanders)

Let’s be crystal clear. If the bipartisan infrastructure bill is passed on its own on Thursday, this will be in violation of an agreement that was reached within the Democratic Caucus in Congress.

September 28, 2021

“It also means that Congress will continue to ignore the existential threat to our country and planet with regard to climate change,” Sanders said.

“I strongly urge my House colleagues to vote against the bipartisan infrastructure bill until Congress passes a strong reconciliation bill.”

As of now, House progressives are standing firm to their position that they will vote against the infrastructure bill if it is taken up on Thursday without a plan to simultaneously advance the reconciliation package.

Given Democrats’ very narrow majority in the House, the progressives’ stance raises the possibility that both bills may fail.

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer told reporters that he would soon put forward a bill to fund the government past the end of the month.

If Congress does not pass a government funding bill in the next two days, the government will shut down on Friday.

“I think very soon we will put down a bill to deal with the shutdown and move forward,” Schumer said this afternoon.

CSPAN
(@cspan)

.@SenSchumer: “I think very soon we will put down a bill to deal with the shutdown and move forward.” pic.twitter.com/nM5Mpn4bMq

September 28, 2021

Asked whether he could assure the American people that the country will avoid a government shutdown, Schumer said, “We’re doing everything we can to avoid a shutdown, and we should put something on the floor.”

The majority leader expressed hope that Senate Republicans would help Democrats pass a government funding bill, accusing them of “playing games with the American people — political, nasty and destructive games”.

The White House press secretary reiterated that Democrats had previously hoped Republicans would help them raise the debt ceiling in a bipartisan fashion, which occurred during Donald Trump’s presidency.

Jen Psaki added, “It’s also our hope that, if Senator McConnell isn’t going to help us avoid a default and a shutdown, at least he’ll get out of the way and let Democrats do it alone, so we can avoid a default, and right now that question remains up in the air.”

But as Psaki held her briefing, McConnell threw another wrench into Democrats’ efforts to raise the debt ceiling along party lines.

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer requested unanimous consent to move toward a final vote on suspending the debt limit without having to overcome a filibuster. McConnell objected, and the saga over the debt limit continues.

CSPAN
(@cspan)

.@SenSchumer makes unanimous consent request to move to a final vote to suspend the debt limit without 60-vote threshold filibuster.@LeaderMcConnell objects. pic.twitter.com/7t7dPPhJev

September 28, 2021

A reporter asked Jen Psaki whether Joe Biden would consider supporting abolishing the Senate filibuster to raise the debt ceiling.

“The president’s position has not changed on that,” the White House press secretary said.

Senate Republicans remain adamant that they will not support any effort to raise the debt ceiling, intensifying concerns over a potential default next month.

Treasury secretary Janet Yellen said in a letter today that Congress must raise or suspend the debt ceiling by October 18 to avoid economic disaster.

The White House press secretary said Joe Biden had a “constructive meeting” with Democratic senator Kyrsten Sinema today to discuss the reconciliation package.

Jen Psaki noted that Biden was still meeting with senator Joe Manchin when she came out to the briefing room.

According to Psaki, the senators agreed that the country is at a “pivotal moment” right now, but it’s unclear whether any progress was made toward agreeing on a top-line cost for the legislation.

A CNN reporter spotted Sinema returning to the White House for another meeting as the press briefing started:

Kevin Liptak
(@Kevinliptakcnn)

Sinema is back at the White House (2: 10 p.m. ET) pic.twitter.com/TJSupZCh81

September 28, 2021

The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, is now holding her daily briefing, and she faced questions about Pentagon officials’ testimony before the Senate today.

A reporter asked Psaki to respond to the claim from Gen Kenneth McKenzie, the commander of US Central Command, that he recommended keeping 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan to help ensure the stability of the Afghan government.

The reporter asked whether Joe Biden misrepresented the military advice he received, given that the president previously said he did not hear anyone suggest an ongoing troop presence in Afghanistan.

Psaki said Biden heard “a range of viewpoints” on the matter, and she argued maintaining a troop presence would have risked further casualties.

Asked who recommended the complete troop withdrawal that occurred, Psaki said, “I’m not going to get into specific details of who recommended what.”

House progressives are sticking to their position that they will not support the bipartisan infrastructure bill unless the reconciliation package is simultaneously approved.

Congresswoman Cori Bush
(@RepCori)

Today is Tuesday.

The infrastructure vote is Thursday.

And I still will be voting “No” unless we first pass the Build Back Better Act to deliver universal pre-K, tuition-free community college, Medicare expansion, paid leave, climate action, and so much more.

September 28, 2021

Congresswoman Cori Bush said on Twitter, “Today is Tuesday. The infrastructure vote is Thursday. And I still will be voting ‘No’ unless we first pass the Build Back Better Act to deliver universal pre-K, tuition-free community college, Medicare expansion, paid leave, climate action, and so much more.”

But it seems virtually impossible that the reconciliation package can be advanced on that timeline, raising the possibility that both bills could fail.

Martin Pengelly

Away from the Milley-McKenzie-Austin hearing, things are not getting any easier for Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden when it comes to passing Biden’s ambitious domestic spending plans.

The House Progressive Caucus says in a new statement it won’t vote for the bipartisan $1tn infrastructure deal until the spending plan is passed via reconciliation.

Caucus leader Pramila Jayapal of Washington state said of the spending plan: “This agenda is not some fringe wish list: it is the president’s agenda, the Democratic agenda, and what we all promised voters when they delivered us the House, Senate, and White House.”

In a letter to colleagues, Pelosi writes: “The change in circumstance regarding the reconciliation bill has necessitated a change in our Build Back Better legislation but not in our values.”

Pelosi also said “negotiations are being led by President Biden to advance his vision”. Biden was expected to meet two key moderate senators: Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. Yesterday, prominent House progressive Ilhan Omar called the two senators “Republicans”.

Of course, no one’s word in Washington is final until it’s final. But there’s meant to be a vote on the infrastructure deal on Thursday.

Martin Pengelly

The hearings before the Senate armed services committee have resumed, with Gen Kenneth McKenzie facing questions about future operations and strike capabilities regarding Afghanistan from Senator Deb Fischer, a Nebraska Republican.

“Hard to do but we can talk more about it in the closed session,” the general says, referring to classified aspects of the US strike capacity, then admits that the US must still rely on co-operation from Pakistan – which hosted Taliban groups during the US occupation.

“They’re going to be very conflicted about this,” he says, “as they have been for the last 20 years.”

Defense secretary Lloyd Austin is asked how many US citizens are still in Afghanistan. He tells Tim Kaine of Virginia, a Democrat, that 21 just came out.

Here’s some essential reading from Julian Borger, about some essential reading from Craig Whitlock of the Washington Post:

Grisham book: Trump told Putin he had to pretend to be tough

Martin Pengelly

Donald Trump told Vladimir Putin he had to act tough next to the Russian president for the cameras, according to the former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham.

“OK, I’m going to act a little tougher with you for a few minutes,” Grisham says she heard Trump tell his Russian counterpart in Osaka in 2019. “But it’s for the cameras, and after they leave, we’ll talk. You understand.”

Grisham makes the claim in a new book, I’ll Take Your Questions Now, which will be published next week. The Washington Post obtained a copy.

Trump’s presidency was dogged by his relationship with Putin, the focus of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian election interference and links between Trump and Moscow.

Mueller did not establish a conspiracy but stressed that he did not exonerate Trump of seeking to obstruct justice. Speculation over the two leaders’ relationship remained rampant, particularly over a meeting alone save for interpreters in Helsinki in 2018.

In front of the media at the G20 summit in Osaka in 2019, with Grisham sitting nearby, Trump joked with Putin that they should both “get rid” of journalists who published “fake news”, saying: “You don’t have this problem in Russia.”

Putin said: “Yes, yes, we have too, the same.”

Trump later smirked, pointed at Putin and said: “Don’t meddle in the election.”

Grisham was Trump’s third press secretary, an unhappy reign in which she did not hold a single White House briefing. Her book has been extensively trailed, titbits including a comparison of Melania Trump to Marie Antoinette.

Full story:

Source:
Milley defends China calls and says ‘I am certain Trump did not intend to attack the Chinese’ – live