Rebuilding Ukraine

Happy Thursday! Responding to accusations he only listens to the American pop star’s music for social media clout, Mexican Supreme Court Justice Arturo Zaldivar posted a three-page statement Wednesday entitled “This Is Why I Like Taylor Swift.”

In related news, Esther suddenly has a brilliant idea about what we should do for tomorrow’s TMD. [Editor: The Dispatch remains institutionally opposed to clickbait.]

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • House Republican leadership clashed with Freedom Caucus members Wednesday over an attempt to bring an impeachment resolution against President Joe Biden to a vote. Speaker Kevin McCarthy opposed the move, reportedly telling Republican members yesterday an impeachment should go through the regular committee process. Reps. Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Andy Ogles—all House Freedom Caucus members—have filed impeachment resolutions, but Boebert’s was introduced Tuesday night as a privileged resolution, a parliamentary move that allows her to bypass House leadership to bring it to a vote. If the vote moves forward, Democrats are expected to introduce a motion to table the resolution.
  • The House voted 213-209 on Wednesday—with six members voting “present” and six not voting at all—to censure Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California over his role in the probe of Russian connections to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and his actions as lead prosecutor during Trump’s first impeachment trial. The resolution accuses Schiff—the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee until Speaker McCarthy removed him earlier this year—of “abusing his privileged access to classified information” and “purposely deceiving” Congress and Americans about Russian connections to Trump’s campaign, an accusation Schiff dismissed as “false and defamatory” despite his 2017 assertion on “Meet the Press” that he’d seen “direct evidence” of collusion. The censure vote—which was approved entirely along party lines—also triggers a House Ethics Committee investigation into Schiff’s actions.
  • Former special counsel John Durham—tapped by then-Attorney General Bill Barr to probe the FBI and Department of Justice’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election—testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday about the results of his work. Republicans lauded his findings about the seemingly political origins of Operation Crossfire Hurricane—Durham claimed a “number” of current and former FBI agents have since apologized to him for “the manner in which that investigation was undertaken”—while Democrats questioned the value of the four-year, $6.5-million investigation that brought only three indictments, two of which ended in acquittals.
  • ProPublica published a report Tuesday night alleging Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito in 2008 took an undisclosed fishing trip with Paul Singer—a billionaire hedge fund manager and major Republican donor—that violated gift disclosures, though Alito published a preemptive rebuttal in the Wall Street Journal pointing out such “personal hospitality” was not required to be disclosed at the time. The ProPublica report also claims Alito later heard cases involving parties with ties to Singer from which the justice should have recused himself; Alito claimed he did not know Singer was involved in the cases and never spoke with him about them.
  • U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika—a Trump-appointee whose nomination received bipartisan support—will oversee the Justice Department’s case against Hunter Biden and be tasked with deciding whether to approve the plea deal and diversion agreement reached Tuesday by prosecutors and the younger Biden’s legal team. Hunter’s initial court appearance is scheduled for July 26.
  • The Federal Trade Commission announced yesterday it is suing Amazon over charges the company deceptively enrolled millions of customers in Amazon Prime. The suit alleges the company “used manipulative, coercive, or deceptive user-interface designs known as ‘dark patterns’ to trick consumers into enrolling in automatically-renewing Prime subscriptions” and that the online retailer designed its cancellation process to deter people from ending their subscriptions. An Amazon spokesperson denied the assertions.

A Marshall Plan for Ukraine? 

An aerial view of Bakhmut, Ukraine after hostilities. (Photo by Yan Dobronosov/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
An aerial view of Bakhmut, Ukraine after hostilities. (Photo by Yan Dobronosov/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)

There’s no rest for the weary—or for American secretaries of state. As soon as Antony Blinken wrapped his trip to Beijing earlier this week, he hopped back on a plane bound for London to attend the two-day Ukrainian Recovery Conference that kicked off on Wednesday. 

Although Kyiv’s counter-offensive seemingly just began along a 900-mile-long front line in the south and east of the country, Ukrainian and world leaders are already preparing for what comes after the war ends. Recovery will be a heavy lift economically and politically, especially when any physical reconstruction that does begin could be pounded back into rubble by Russian missiles. Despite those challenges, global leaders are continuing to move towards what some are calling a “Marshall Plan” for Ukraine—putting their (taxpayer) money where their mouth is when it comes to promises to stick with Ukraine for the long haul. 

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