Happy Wednesday! Everyone send out your thoughts and prayers to Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb, whose knee injury in a Monday matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers was so brutal the ABC broadcast team judged it too gruesome to show on instant replay.
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed a gathering of the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday, warning that Russian aggression could extend beyond Ukrainian borders if it is not beaten back. He also called the kidnappings and forced displacement of Ukrainian children to Russia “clearly a genocide.” Before departing Ukraine for the U.S.—where he’ll also meet with President Joe Biden at the White House and U.S. senators later this week—Zelensky fired all six of his deputy defense ministers as part of an ongoing crackdown on graft. Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials denied the findings of a New York Times investigation suggesting that a midday rocket that killed more than a dozen people after hitting a busy market in eastern Ukraine earlier this month was a tragic Ukrainian misfire, not a Russian attack.
- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said earlier this week Canadian authorities were investigating “credible allegations” that India’s government was behind the June shooting death of a Canadian Sikh leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in British Columbia. Canada’s minister of foreign affairs said the country expelled an Indian diplomat Monday, a move India reciprocated Tuesday in a diplomatic tit-for-tat.
- Azerbaijan’s military launched an attack against the unrecognized breakaway state of Nagorno-Karabakh on Tuesday, calling the bombardment against the ethnically Armenian region’s de facto capital an “anti-terrorist” operation. Azerbaijan’s defense ministry also said they’d be evacuating Armenians from “dangerous areas,” sparking fears of ethnic cleansing. A 2020 war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the region left thousands dead, and the latest salvo—which Armenian state media reported had killed five people and injured 80–threatens to restart the conflict over control of the territory.
- A Moscow court on Tuesday declined to hear jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich’s third attempt to appeal his pretrial detention. Gershkovich—who was arrested on March 29 in Yekaterinburg, Russia, and charged with espionage—will remain in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison until at least November 30, and no trial date has yet been set.
- The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday China’s former foreign minister Qin Gang—removed from his post last month over what the Chinese Communist Party described as “health issues,” after a mysterious weeks-long absence from public view—had engaged in an extramarital affair during his time as his country’s ambassador to the U.S., from July 2021 to January of this year. The affair reportedly resulted in a child born in the U.S., though the identities of the woman and child have not been publicly disclosed. Qin was once a close ally of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
- President Joe Biden on Monday announced $11 million in additional humanitarian aid to Libya after devastating flooding in the country’s northeast last week left more than 11,000 people dead—and more than 10,000 missing in one city alone. The funds, administered by the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, will bolster United Nations humanitarian efforts through the UN World Food Program and High Commissioner for Refugees, as well as other partners.
- The U.S. national debt surpassed $33 trillion this week for the first time in history, in part due to a 50 percent increase in federal spending between fiscal year 2019 and 2021, the Treasury Department said. The milestone comes as House Republicans battle over government funding, with federal spending driving much of the debate.
- The first impeachment hearing in House Republicans’ inquiry into President Biden is slated for September 28, when the House Oversight Committee chaired by Rep. James Comer will focus on “corruption and abuse of public office.” The committee also plans to subpoena the bank records of the president’s son, Hunter Biden, and his brother, James Biden.
Border Crossings Are Surging… Again
As the number of migrants crossing the border has surged in the past two months, the leaders of large cities absorbing part of the new wave are continuing to sound the alarm. “Never in my life have I had a problem that I did not see an ending to,” Eric Adams—the mayor of New York—said earlier this month of the migrant crisis. “This issue will destroy New York City.” And a growing number of Democrats—especially Adams—are placing blame squarely on the Biden administration. Even progressives like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has objected to Adams’ rhetoric on the issue and articulates what might be called a “pro-migrant” view, have knocked the White House. “Immigration is arguably this administration’s weakest issue,” Ocasio-Cortez said last month.
The Biden administration’s border policies are back in the spotlight as record numbers of migrants cross the border and end up in major cities across the country, overwhelming urban social services. There’s no indication the flow will slow any time soon.
The story has changed quite a bit since the spring. Title 42—a pandemic-era policy that allowed border officials to quickly expel migrants without letting them apply for asylum—expired in May, and federal officials were bracing for a huge surge in migrants as a result. The wave, however, didn’t materialize as expected, with illegal border crossings dropping in May and June. The Biden administration touted the decrease as the product of their suite of border policies, which include stiffer penalties for illegal entry, tighter rules around asylum claims, new legal immigration pathways for citizens of select countries, and a new app to streamline migrant applications.