The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by AT&T - US enters nerve-wracking final hours in Afghanistan

 

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TALK OF THE MORNING

These next hours will be very nerve-wracking:

Via The Hill’s Brett Samuels and Alex Gangitano, “The remaining U.S. forces in Afghanistan are set to leave the country on Tuesday, marking an end to a nearly 20 year military engagement.” https://bit.ly/3gLu4xt

But this won’t be a clean break: “[The Biden administration] still must grapple with whether to continue evacuation missions for Americans and Afghan allies left behind, as well as the fallout from a deadly terrorist attack last week that killed more than a dozen U.S. service members.”

Biden is getting pushback from lawmakers who want him to extend the timeline: “Many Democrats have pushed Biden to do more to evacuate or help Afghan allies and refugees, while some GOP members have sought to drum up fears about who is being allowed into the U.S.” I.e. Republicans and Democrats want to make sure that all Americans are out of the country. 

On the complications — from Nathan Sales, who led the State Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau during the Trump administration: “We should brace ourselves for more chaos and disorder. It’s very difficult to do an evacuation at the same time you're doing a military retrograde, and that’s essentially the situation we’re in now.”

Will Biden extend the mission?: So far, the Biden administration has been adamant that the withdrawal will happen on Tuesday.  

What to expecthttps://bit.ly/3gLu4xt

It’s Monday. I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to cmartel@thehill.com — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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NEWS THIS MORNING

This should be a fun fight:

Via The Hill’s Harper Neidig and Rebecca Beitsch, “The House committee seeking executive branch documents in its investigation of the Jan. 6 attack is likely to force a standoff between Congress and former President TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE over the issue of executive privilege.” What to expect: https://bit.ly/38ofyHk

NEWS FROM AFGHANISTAN

US intercepted multiple rockets fired at the Kabul airport:

Via Reuters’s Idrees Ali, “As many as five rockets were fired at Kabul's international airport but were intercepted by a missile defense system, a U.S. official told Reuters, as the United States' nears the complete withdrawal of its troops from the city.” https://reut.rs/3t0twJi 

Were there U.S. casualties?: “Initial reports did not indicate any U.S. casualties, but that information could change, the official said.”

Over the weekend — Biden met with the families of the killed service members:

From The Washington Post in Dover, Del.: “[President BidenJoe BidenTrump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race On The Money: Democrats get to the hard part Health Care — GOP attorneys general warn of legal battle over Biden's vaccine mandate MORE] flew to an Air Force base here to receive the fallen service members, whose remains were returned to the United States on Sunday morning. He first met privately with their family members, including some who have expressed anger at him, and then watched quietly as flag-draped cases transporting the bodies were carried off a plane — a somber moment during the most volatile crisis of his presidency.”  https://wapo.st/3sYXdKr 

Photo of Biden honoring the fallen troopshttps://bit.ly/2WCFr3O

IF YOU HAVE SEEN ANY TWEETS CLAIMING THAT BIDEN DIDN’T SHOW UP WHEN TROOP’S REMAINS RETURNED TO THE US:

Those claims are completely false. Via CNN’s Daniel Dale, “President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill BidenJill BidenFirst Lady visits schools to discuss COVID-19 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Schumer: Dem unity will happen eventually; Newsom prevails The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Biden travels west as Washington troubles mount MORE -- along with Secretary of Defense Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinOversight Republicans seek testimony from Afghanistan watchdog Carbon reduction tax credit: An investment we can't afford not to make The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - What do Manchin and Sinema want? MORE, Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenOvernight Defense & National Security: US-Australian sub deal causes rift with France Oversight Republicans seek testimony from Afghanistan watchdog France cancels DC gala in anger over Biden sub deal: report MORE, and other administration officials -- attended the dignified transfer at Dover on Sunday morning.” 

“The viral tweets accusing the Biden administration of being absent at Dover were posted hours before the remains actually arrived at the base.” https://cnn.it/3jtoaDa

HERE IS THE NEW YORK TIMES’S SUNDAY FRONT PAGE:

With photos of the 13 fallen American troops from Thursday’s ISIS attack: https://bit.ly/2Y4sikB

‘As Biden winds down Afghanistan, a refugee backlash looms at home’:

Via Politico’s Anita Kumar, “An increasingly vocal group of Republicans — led by Donald Trump, who made immigration restrictions a hallmark of his presidency — oppose the resettlement of Afghan refugees in the U.S., claiming that they could be dangerous, or will change the make-up of the country. And they plan to make it an issue in next year’s midterm elections, along with broader attacks about Biden’s messy withdrawal from Afghanistan.” The full story:  https://politi.co/3ynPTcA

HOW MANY COUNTRIES ARE PLEDGING TO ACCEPT AFGHAN REFUGEES?:

98 countries, including the United States. https://nyti.ms/3gKZp3s 

Op-ed: https://bit.ly/2WvSXpM

HURRICANE IDA

You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here, Ida:

Via CNN’s Madeline Holcombe and Jason Hanna, “Hurricane Ida has ripped catastrophic gashes across southeastern Louisiana, killing at least one person, obliterating roofs, sapping power and sending rescuers scrambling Monday morning to untold numbers of flooded homes where people are anxiously calling for help.” https://cnn.it/3mLQnao

Where is Ida now?: Ida is now a tropical storm in southwestern Mississippi. Its projected path: https://wapo.st/2WFxIC8 

Live updates from CNNhttps://cnn.it/3mFi8Bk 

Yes, this!: CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - DC prepares for Saturday of festivals & Jan. 6 demonstration Overnight Health Care — Nicki Minaj stokes uproar over vaccines Fauci responds to Nicki Minaj's vaccine worries MORE tweeted, “A reminder for those in Hurricane Ida’s path that AFTER the storm can be even more dangerous because of downed power lines and the like — please be careful” https://bit.ly/3BjxKOM

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS:

A passenger ferry broke loose and floated down the Mississippi River during the storm: Video from WWL TV’s Paul Murphy: https://bit.ly/3mGzjm1

Nature is wild — this video has nearly 1 million views:

 

Hurricane Ida

 

Watch: https://bit.ly/3DFkMx4 

These poor houses: National Hurricane Center’s Eric Blake tweeted, “Mandeville was hit hard by #Ida— this is near Golden Glen. Most every house has a tree on it or near it. Awful…” Photos: https://bit.ly/3DsKLrf

Part of La Quinta hotel’s façade was blown off: Photos from The Washington Post’s Tim Craig: https://bit.ly/3gK9wp6

Praying this is widespread: The Post’s Tim Craig also tweeted, “A hotel employee who just drove downtown from New Orleans East said he encountered no flooding in the city, and most roads on his route were clear of debris. He said cell phones and Internet do not work in much of the city but he was relieved he saw ‘no flooding’ (in the city)” https://bit.ly/2WB3Hnb 

Video of Chef Jose Andres in New Orleans: https://bit.ly/3mK8z3X 

 

Hurricane Ida

 

Watch: https://bit.ly/2Y0yXw6

 

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LATEST WITH THE CORONAVIRUS

I repeat, GO HOME DELTA:

Via The Hill’s Justine Coleman, “The pandemic’s unpredictability has sparked high anxiety among children and teachers alike as they attempt to return to in-person school for the first time since March 2020, with lingering fears that COVID-19 could jeopardize educational routines again.” https://bit.ly/3gMD9Gy

The feeling among students and families as schools reopen — lots of mixed emotions: “Many are excited to return to in-person class after months of virtual learning, while some adults are keeping a wary eye on rising pediatric cases and hospitalizations.”  

Woof — not a great start: “Already, schools in 19 states have sent at least 90,000 students to quarantine, while others have shut down, just days and weeks into the year.”

CASE NUMBERS:

Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 38,812,728

U.S. death toll: 637,623 

Breakdown of the numbershttps://cnn.it/2UAgW3y

VACCINATION NUMBERS:

Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 369 million shots have been given.

Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 886,566 doses

For context: The U.S. population is roughly 331 million. 

Breakdown of the numbers: https://bloom.bg/3iVTPLH

NOTABLE TWEETS:

Getting traction — what a selection:

 

World War Z at vaccination event

 

Hyperlink https://bit.ly/2Yb21Bi

ON TAP:

The House and Senate are out. President Biden and Vice President Harris are in Washington, D.C. 

9:30 a.m. EDT: President Biden received the President’s Daily Brief.

10 a.m. EDT: President Biden and Vice President Harris met with their national security team to receive an update on the situation in Afghanistan.

Today: President Biden receives regular briefings from his homeland security team on the impacts of Hurricane Ida.

WHAT TO WATCH:

10:30 a.m. EDT: Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby and Army Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor gave a press briefing on Afghanistan. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/3gGDzOw 

1:30 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiOvernight Defense & National Security: US-Australian sub deal causes rift with France Psaki says White House offered 'early stage call' to Nicki Minaj Biden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week MORE holds a press briefing. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/3gJy7uu 

1:30 p.m. EDT: Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks on the situation in Afghanistan. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/3DuI9ZT 

^ Split screens at 1:30 p.m.

IN LIGHTER NEWS:

Today is National Toasted Marshmallow Day.

And because you made it this far on a Monday, here’s a dog who knows exactly what it wants: https://bit.ly/2WDiY6r