Republicans have made it no secret that they believe President Biden's recent $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan contains a far-too-broad definition of infrastructure. The Republican National Committee, for example, is reportedly moving forward with the viewpoint that only "roads, bridges, waterways, ports, and airports" count. As some folks have pointed out, it may be unnecessary to haggle over semantics on some issues, but not even electric grid, water systems, school buildings, broadband, and public housing make the RNC's cut.
Biden, unsurprisingly, is standing by his administration's plan, and on Wednesday he provided several reasons why he believes going beyond traditional infrastructure spending makes sense for the U.S. right now. For starters, he argued infrastructure is an evolving concept and should meet the needs of the moment, likely referring to more modern developments like broadband.
Biden argues trains and highways once weren't seen as infrastructure, but the definition has always changed to meet the moment: "The idea of infrastructure has always evolved to meet the aspirations of the American people and their needs. And it is evolving again today."
He also appealed to safety and health concerns, specifically mentioning schools. "How many of you know when you send your child to school the fountain they're drinking out of is not fed by lead pipe? How many of you know the school your child is in still has asbestos in the walls? Is that not infrastructure?"
Finally, he turned to China. Beijing, Biden said, is "counting on American democracy to be too slow, too limited, and too divided to keep pace" with its digital infrastructure and research and development programs, so the U.S. needs to invest in those things to prove them wrong. Tim O'Donnell
Biden: “Do you think China is waiting around to invest in its digital infrastructure or in research and development? I promise you, they are not waiting. But they’re counting on American democracy to be too slow, too limited and too divided to keep pace.” https://t.co/Sht2c5jEVSpic.twitter.com/2UV9ZEDTAE
The Biden administration has reached a deal with Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala to increase security at their borders in order to curb increased migration at the U.S. southern border.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Monday said Mexico will keep 10,000 troops stationed at its southern border and Honduras has deployed 7,000 police officers and members of the military to its border. Guatemala has sent 1,500 police officers and troops to its southern border and will also set up 12 checkpoints inside the country, along a route taken by migrants.
Psaki said the "objective is to make it more difficult to make the journey" to the U.S. "and make crossing the borders more difficult." Last month, Border Patrol agents encountered almost 170,000 migrants at the U.S. southern border, the highest number since March 2001, The Guardian reports.
Migrants are fleeing poverty, violence, corrupt governments, and extreme weather. Security forces in Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala have all been accused of abusing migrants and targeting them for extortion and robbery, The Guardian says. Catherine Garcia
A student in a bathroom at Austin-East Magnet High School in Knoxville, Tennessee, opened fire on officers Monday afternoon when police responded to a report of a possible shooter on campus, authorities said.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director David Rausch said during a Monday night news conference that officers ordered the student to leave the bathroom, but he refused and reportedly opened fire. Police returned fire, killing the student.
An officer was shot in the upper leg and was rushed into surgery, authorities said; he is expected to recover. There were no other injuries reported. "It's a sad day for Knoxville, and it's tough for Austin-East," Rausch said. It is not clear why the student brought a gun to school or fired it at officers.
There has been an increase in gun violence affecting Austin-East students, with three being shot and killed less than three weeks apart earlier this year, The Associated Press reports. State Rep. Sam McKenzie (D) represents the district where Austin-East is located and also attended the school, and released a statement saying he is "at a loss to describe my sadness as yet another horrific act of gun violence has happened in my community." He called on neighbors to "make sure we take every step and make every effort to prevent these tragedies from continuing to occur." Catherine Garcia
For the second night in a row, hundreds of people are protesting the officer-involved shooting of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man who was shot and killed Sunday afternoon during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.
Brooklyn Center is a suburb of Minneapolis, and about 10 miles away from the courthouse where the Derek Chauvin trial is being conducted. On Monday morning, Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said it appears the officer who shot Wright intended to fire a Taser, but accidentally grabbed her gun. Demonstrators have been stationed outside of the Brooklyn Center Police Department headquarters all day, and a fence and concrete barriers have been put up; there are also members of the Minnesota State Patrol and Minnesota National Guard on site.
As night fell, protesters began chanting and banging drums, ignoring a 7 p.m. curfew put in effect by Gov. Tim Walz (D). NBC News reports there have been projectiles and tear gas fired into the air, and there are people looting a Dollar Store across the street from the police department.
Earlier in the evening, at least 300 people attended a vigil for Wright, the Star Tribune reports, and his mother, Katie Wright, addressed the crowd. "I just need everyone to know that he was my life," she said. "He was my son. And I can never get that back. Because of a mistake? Because of an accident?" Catherine Garcia
Use-of-force expert Seth Stoughton testified on Monday that no "reasonable" officer would have done what former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin did during the arrest of George Floyd last May.
Chauvin, a 45-year-old white man and 19-year police veteran, is facing murder and manslaughter charges in the death of Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed Black man who died while being arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill. Video recorded by a witness shows Floyd facedown, with Chauvin's knee on his neck for more than nine minutes.
Stoughton, a professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law, said that "no reasonable officer would have believed that that was an appropriate, acceptable, or reasonable use of force." There were several times during the arrest where Chauvin should have been aware that Floyd was in distress, Stoughton said, and it was unreasonable for the officers at the scene to think Floyd could escape or cause them harm once he was handcuffed and on the ground.
Dr. Jonathan Rich, a cardiology expert from Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, testified that Floyd died due to low oxygen levels, saying it was "truly the prone restraint and positional restraints that led to his asphyxiation." The defense has theorized that Floyd's death could have been the result of his high blood pressure and narrowing arteries, plus methamphetamine and fentanyl found in his system.
The prosecution also called to the stand Floyd's younger brother, Philonise Floyd, who provided "spark of life" testimony, sharing stories about their bond as a way to show the jury Floyd was a person, not just a victim. He talked about how they played football together, and called his brother "a leader in our household." George Floyd was also charismatic, Philonise said, and people would attend their church because he went there. "He just was like a person everybody loved around the community," Philonise added. "He just knew how to make people feel better." Catherine Garcia
President Biden plans on nominating Christine Wormuth, a top Defense Department policy official during the Obama administration, as Army secretary, the White House announced Monday.
If confirmed by the Senate, Wormuth will be the first woman to lead the Army. She started working at the Pentagon in 1996, and in 2014, became policy chief, shaping the military's campaign against the Islamic State, Politico reports. Wormuth has also served on the National Security Council, directing defense policy and strategy, and was director at Rand, the international security and defense policy center.
The White House also announced three other nominations on Monday: Susanna Blume as head of the Pentagon's Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office; former Rep. Gil Cisneros (D-Calif.) as undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness; and Christy Abizaid as director of the National Counterterrorism Center at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Catherine Garcia
A police officer was also wounded, and is now undergoing surgery after being shot in the hip, a person with knowledge of the matter told Knox News. That source also said one person has been detained in connection with the shooting. Officials have not publicly announced how many people were shot or their conditions.
Austin-East Magnet High School is now secure, Knox County Schools Superintendent Bob Thomas tweeted, and classes have been canceled for the next two days. In the last few months, four Knoxville teens have been shot and killed, including two Austin-East students. Catherine Garcia
While nothing is definitive, "all indications are pointing to the fact" that Israel was behind a cyberattack that knocked out power at Iran's Natanz uranium enrichment facility over the weekend, retired U.S. Navy Adm. William McRaven said Monday, and he finds the allegations "a little disturbing" given that the U.S. and other countries are currently trying to renegotiate the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
"Frankly, I'm not exactly sure what it accomplishes," McRaven told CNN's Jake Tapper. "It's a little bit of a shot across the bow, but Natanz will only be down for maybe a week or so."
McRaven didn't sound too worried about significant retribution from Iran, noting that Tehran doesn't often follow through on its threats, but he expressed concerns about whether this could hamper efforts to strike an agreement on the nuclear pact. However, the blame shouldn't be placed squarely on Israel, McRaven suggested. Tapper asked him if he thought it was plausible that Israel carried out the alleged "act of sabotage without informing the U.S. government, either before or after." That, indeed, "is the problem," McRaven responded. "It implies that [the U.S. was] either complicit or we were ignorant, and neither one of those is a good look for us," he said. Tim O'Donnell
Iran's Foreign Minister has vowed revenge against Israel after an apparent attack on an Iranian nuclear site caused a blackout at the facility. Ret. Adm. William McRaven says the situation is "not helpful" as the US is trying to renegotiate the JCPOA. https://t.co/rhF6IfAUx0pic.twitter.com/tMxnLkhAjR