The House of Representatives has approved a bill aimed at combating domestic terrorism, following last weekend’s attack by a white supremacist who killed 10 Black people in a Buffalo supermarket. The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act passed on a vote of 222 to 203 Wednesday with the support of just one Republican lawmaker. It calls for the creation of domestic terrorism offices within the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security.
In Ukraine, the International Committee of the Red Cross has begun registering hundreds of Ukrainian fighters as prisoners of war after they surrendered in Mariupol. Russia now says over 1,700 Ukrainians have surrendered since May 16, after a weeks-long standoff at the Azovstal steel plant. Russia has threatened to hold war crimes trials for some of the captured soldiers. Meanwhile, a 21-year-old Russian soldier has pleaded guilty in the first war crimes trial conducted by Ukraine since the start of the invasion. The soldier admitted to shooting dead a 62-year-old Ukrainian man in the region of Sumy.
For the first time in three years, the United States has an ambassador to Ukraine. On Wednesday, the Senate confirmed Bridget Brink by a unanimous voice vote without a formal roll call. The post has been vacant since then-President Trump forced Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch out of the role in 2019, as Trump sought to pressure Ukraine’s government into providing dirt on Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.
The Kremlin said Wednesday it would expel 85 embassy staff from French, Italian and Spanish diplomatic missions after the three countries expelled hundreds of Russian diplomats. Russia has also closed the Moscow bureau of the Canadian broadcaster CBC and stripped its journalists of their visas and accreditation. A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said the decision came after Canada’s telecommunications regulator stopped distributing two Kremlin-sponsored channels.
Maria Zakharova: “A recent example was the ban imposed by the Canadian authorities on Russian TV channels Russia Today and Russia Today France from broadcasting in the country. We said that we would respond symmetrically, in a similar way — however you like to call it — adequately. And now we are responding.”
The U.S. Air Force says it carried out a successful test of a new type of hypersonic missile over the weekend. The Pentagon says a B-52 bomber off the coast of Southern California successfully test-fired an “Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon” that reached five times the speed of sound. The test of the nuclear-capable missile follows similar tests by China and after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he’s deployed hypersonic missiles during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Finland and Sweden have agreed to a joint purchase of new weapons and ammunition. The arms deal was announced Wednesday as the two nations formally submitted their applications to join the NATO military alliance. The deal would include the purchase of anti-tank weapons from the Swedish weapons maker Saab. President Biden is meeting in Washington today with the leaders of Finland and Sweden in a show of support for their applications to join NATO.
Later today, Biden departs on a six-day trip to Asia, where he’s scheduled to meet with leaders of South Korea, Japan, India and Australia. Biden’s trip comes amid increased naval tensions with China and as analysts say North Korea is preparing an underground nuclear weapons test in the coming days — which would be the first such test since 2017.
Israel’s military has decided not to open a criminal investigation into the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh — that’s according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Witnesses and fellow journalists say the Palestinian American journalist was killed by an Israeli soldier while reporting on an Israeli military raid in Jenin in the occupied West Bank. Abu Akleh’s family had told Al Jazeera that they would not be surprised if Israel failed to investigate her killing.
The Kansas Supreme Court has upheld a Republican-created congressional voting map rejected by voting rights groups as the result of partisan and racial gerrymandering. Kansas’s new map lowers the reelection chances of Democratic Representative Sharice Davids, who made history in 2018 by becoming one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress.
In Wisconsin, two Democrats who served as Electoral College delegates have filed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit against a slate of fake electors put forward by allies of Donald Trump in a bid to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 victory.
President Biden has invoked the Defense Production Act in order to address the nationwide baby formula shortage, in hopes that the Korean War-era law will boost the domestic manufacturing of formula. Biden’s decision to invoke the DPA underscores the severity of the shortage, which has left store shelves bare and many parents desperate to feed their infants.
President Joe Biden: “The Defense Production Act gives the government the ability to require suppliers to direct needed resources to infant formula manufacturers before any other customer who may have ordered that good. And I’m also announcing Operation Fly Formula. That’s to be able to speed up the import of infant formula and start getting more formula in stores as soon as possible.”
Click here to see our interview with David Dayen on monopolies. On Wednesday, the House passed a $28 million emergency funding bill for the Food and Drug Administration in order to address the formula crisis.
Here in New York, a 31-year-old Rikers Island prisoner has died of what officials at the jail said was a drug overdose. Mary Yehudah was discovered in medical distress in a women’s unit at Rikers Island on Tuesday; she died early Wednesday in a nearby hospital in Queens. Yehudah is the fifth Rikers prisoner to die this year and the 21st since the start of 2021. Last month, the U.S. Justice Department said it might take control of the Rikers Island complex, citing an “extraordinary level of violence and disorder at the jails.”
In Minnesota, former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane has pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree manslaughter over his role in the murder of George Floyd two years ago. Video of the 2020 killing shows Lane helped to restrain Floyd as then-officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes, killing him. Lane faces a suggested sentence of 36 months in prison. Two other former officers, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng, still face charges of aiding and abetting George Floyd’s murder at a trial scheduled in a state court next month.
In a new landmark labor agreement, the U.S. Soccer Federation will be paying members of its women’s and men’s teams equally. The deal stipulates that soccer players will receive the same pay when competing in international matches and, in an historic provision, dictates that U.S. Soccer will address the gender disparity in the amount of prize money awarded by soccer’s governing body FIFA by pooling the prizes and redistributing them equally across members of both teams.
As the Supreme Court appears poised to strike down Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion across the U.S., Democratic Congressmember Lucy McBath made an emotional appeal Wednesday highlighting how attacks on abortion rights can impact treatments available to patients who, like her, have experiences with miscarriage and stillbirth. McBath spoke at a meeting of the House Judiciary Committee.
Rep. Lucy McBath: “After which failed pregnancy should I have been imprisoned? Would it have been after the first miscarriage, after doctors used what would be an illegal drug to abort the lost fetus? Would you have put me in jail after the second miscarriage? Perhaps that would have been the time, forced to reflect in confinement at the guilt I felt, the guilt that so many women feel after losing their pregnancies. Or would you have put me behind bars after my stillbirth, after I was forced to carry a dead fetus for weeks, after asking God if I was ever going to be able to raise a child? And I ask because the same medicine used to treat my failed pregnancies is the same medicine states like Texas would make illegal.”