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Politics Hawley says he'll hold up State and Defense Department nominee unless Blinken and Austin resign over Afghanistan exit

03:40  15 september  2021
03:40  15 september  2021 Source:   cnn.com

Poland, Belgium end Afghan evacuation as clock ticks down

  Poland, Belgium end Afghan evacuation as clock ticks down WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland and Belgium ended their evacuations from Afghanistan, but other European nations vowed Wednesday to press on for as long as possible, as the clock ticks down on a dramatic airlift of people fleeing Taliban rule ahead of a full American withdrawal. President Joe Biden said he will stick to his Aug. 31 deadline for completing the U.S. pullout, as the Taliban insisted he must, ramping up pressure on the already risky operation to fly people out of Kabul. © Provided by Associated Press Hundreds of people gather near an evacuation control checkpoint outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug.

Republican Sen. Josh Hawley said Tuesday that he will place a hold on "every single civilian nominee" for the State and Defense Departments unless Secretary Antony Blinken and Secretary Lloyd Austin resign from their posts, citing their roles in overseeing the US' chaotic exit from Afghanistan.

a bag of luggage sitting on top of a table: Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, is seen on the Senate floor. © Drew Angerer/Getty Images Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, is seen on the Senate floor.

The Missouri Republican told CNN that his holds will apply to any civilian nominee at the deputy and secretary levels, as well as ambassadors.

The move would force Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to take time-consuming procedural steps required to advance many uncontroversial nominees. And with scant floor time, it could be enough to indefinitely delay any number of nominees who normally would be quickly confirmed by voice vote.

Latest on Afghanistan: Biden says US 'on a pace' for Aug. 31 pullout; Taliban block Afghans from airport

  Latest on Afghanistan: Biden says US 'on a pace' for Aug. 31 pullout; Taliban block Afghans from airport Biden added the deadline depends on Taliban cooperation, and added that he has asked the Depts. of State and Defense to prepare contingency plans.His remarks from the White House came the same day the Taliban said it would stop Afghans from trying to go to the Kabul airport and told women to stay home to stay for a time to stay safe, fueling worries about how the Taliban will treat women.

Speaking earlier Tuesday on the Senate floor, Hawley demanded President Joe Biden's national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, also resign, arguing that "the failure of these individuals, the failure of this administration, has cost Americans their lives and has left American civilians to the enemy."

"There must be accountability and then there must be a new start," he said.

CNN has reached out to the White House for comment. The senator's threat will likely cause concerns within the Biden administration, which has already been slow to announce some key nominations and has yet to have confirmed ambassadors installed in key countries such as China, India, France or Israel.

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Menendez scoffed at Hawley's plans on Tuesday, charging his fellow senator with risking US national security.

Overnight Defense & National Security — Blinken heads to the hot seat

  Overnight Defense & National Security — Blinken heads to the hot seat It's Tuesday, welcome to Overnight Defense & National Security, your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to appear before both chambers of Congress as questions remain on the Biden administration's messy Afghanistan withdrawal and the future of those left behind in the war-torn country.We'll share how manySecretary of State Antony Blinken is set to appear before both chambers of Congress as questions remain on the Biden administration's messy Afghanistan withdrawal and the future of those left behind in the war-torn country.

"That would undermine US national security and its interests," said Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat. "That would be a brilliant idea on behalf of Sen. Hawley."

But Hawley pushed back at the notion that his move would jeopardize national security efforts, telling CNN that his concern was, among other things, with the 13 US service members killed in a terrorist attack in Afghanistan last month as troops raced to evacuate Americans and vulnerable Afghans.

"I'm concerned that hundreds of American civilians were left behind enemy lines and are still there. And I'm concerned the President of the United States said it was an extraordinary success ... I can't think of another example in American history when a commander in chief has celebrated that kind catastrophe as a success," the senator said. "He should resign."

Among the people who could get caught up in Hawley's plans are Scott Miller, an LGBTQ rights activist and philanthropist who Biden nominated last month to be the next US ambassador to Switzerland, and Rahm Emanuel, Biden's pick to be ambassador to Japan.

What China, Iran, Pakistan, Other Afghanistan Neighbors Have to Say About New Taliban Government

  What China, Iran, Pakistan, Other Afghanistan Neighbors Have to Say About New Taliban Government The most senior working diplomats of China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan took part in their first-ever virtual summit to discuss a common approach to Afghanistan's new Islamic Emirate.All six nations are grappling with the fallout.

The threat could also complicate the confirmation processes for Melissa Dalton, Biden's pick to be assistant secretary for Homeland Defense and Global Security Affairs at the Defense Department, and a host of other State Department nominees, including David Cohen to be the US ambassador to Canada, Karen Donfried to be the assistant secretary of European and Eurasian Affairs and Anne Witkowsky to be the assistant secretary for Conflict and Stabilization Operations.

The Senate on Monday confirmed three State Department nominees: Donald Lu for assistant secretary for South Asian Affairs, Brett Holmgren for assistant secretary for Intelligence and Research, and Brian Nichols for assistant secretary for the Western Hemisphere.

The anguish of US veterans as Afghan forces surrender to the Taliban .
IT’S OVER. IT’S ‘TALIBANISTAN’ NOW: After a weekend of stunningly fast-moving developments, the Taliban now control all of Afghanistan except for the airport in Kabul, where the United States and other foreign governments are ramping up a massive airlift effort to get their citizens and a small number of fortunate Afghans out of the country. © Provided by Washington Examiner DOD header 2020 The fall of Kabul came less than two days after the Pentagon said the city, the last remaining capital not conquered by the Taliban, was “not under an imminent threat of collapse,” and just before Afghan President Asraf Ghani fled the country with his w

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