13 US Troops Killed in Kabul – More than 100 people were killed, including at least 13 U.S. service members and 90 Afghans, at the Kabul airport Thursday when two blasts ripped through crowds trying to enter the American-controlled facility, disrupting the final push of the U.S.-led evacuation effort. A suicide bomb attack at the airport’s Abbey Gate was followed by an assault by gunmen, officials said. Another bomb attack took place nearby, at a hotel outside the airport, officials said. Eighteen U.S. service members were injured, the Pentagon said. The attack marked the deadliest day for the U.S. military in Afghanistan since 2011, and came just five days before the Biden administration’s deadline for the complete military withdrawal from the country. The military expects more attacks, Marine Corps Gen. Frank McKenzie told reporters. President Biden on Thursday evening said he was heartbroken by the violence and vowed to retaliate for the attacks while promising to continue evacuation efforts. “We will hunt you down and make you pay,” Mr. Biden said in remarks at the White House. He said he had instructed his national security advisers to develop response plans to the attack.
Supreme Court Strikes Down Biden’s Eviction Moratorium – The Supreme Court’s conservative majority is allowing evictions to resume across the United States, blocking the Biden administration from enforcing a temporary ban that was put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic. The court’s action late Thursday ends protections for roughly 3.5 million people in the United States who said they faced eviction in the next two months, according to Census Bureau data from early August. The court said in an unsigned opinion that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reimposed the moratorium Aug. 3, lacked the authority to do so under federal law without explicit congressional authorization. The justices rejected the administration’s arguments in support of the CDC’s authority.
House Dems Advance $3.5 Trillion Budget – House Democrats on Tuesday rallied behind a new strategy to advance President Biden’s economic agenda shortly after Speaker Nancy Pelosi struck a deal with a small group of moderates that was threatening to blow up leadership’s carefully laid plans to pass trillions of dollars in federal spending. The House voted 220-212, strictly along party lines, to adopt a rule that allows Democrats to immediately begin work on a massive $3.5 trillion social benefits package. The rule also requires the lower chamber to take up the Senate-passed bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill by Sept. 27. In addition, the rule clears the way for the House to vote later Tuesday on legislation that would restore the portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that required localities with histories of voter suppression to get federal clearance before making changes to election laws.
Officer Who Shot Capitol Rioter Defends Action – In the chaotic minutes before he shot and killed Ashli Babbitt during the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, Lt. Michael Byrd focused his attention on the glass doors leading into the lobby of the House of Representatives chamber. About 60 to 80 House members and staffers were holed up inside, and it was Byrd’s job to protect them. As rioters rampaged through the Capitol, Byrd and a few other officers of the U.S. Capitol Police set up a wall of furniture outside the doors. “Once we barricaded the doors, we were essentially trapped where we were,” Byrd said in an exclusive interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt, speaking publicly for the first time since the riot. “There was no way to retreat. No other way to get out. If they get through that door, they’re into the House chamber and upon the members of Congress,” added Byrd, who gave NBC News permission to use his name after authorities had declined to release it.
US Q2 GDP Growth Upgraded to 6.6% – The U.S. economy grew at a robust 6.6% annual rate last quarter, slightly faster than previously estimated, the government said Thursday in a report that pointed to a sustained consumer-led rebound from the pandemic recession. But worries are growing that the delta variant of the coronavirus is beginning to cause a slowdown. The report from the Commerce Department estimated that the nation’s gross domestic product — its total output of goods and services — accelerated slightly in the April-June quarter from the 6.5% it had initially reported last month. The economy’s expansion last quarter followed a solid 6.3% annual growth rate in the January-March period. In recent weeks, many economists have been downgrading their estimates of GDP growth for this quarter, and for 2021 as a whole, as the now-dominant delta variant has sent confirmed COVID-19 cases rising throughout the country.
Trump, Allies Sued Over Jan. 6 – Seven Capitol Police officers filed a lawsuit Thursday accusing former President Donald Trump and supporters of planning what led to the Jan. 6 attack in Washington D.C. The suit ranks as the most expansive civil effort to date seeking to hold Trump and his allies legally accountable for the Capitol assault, The New York Times reported. Although three similar lawsuits were filed in recent months, Thursday’s filing is the first to allege that Trump worked in concert with political organizers to promote claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election.
Charleston Church Shooter Death Sentence Upheld – A federal appeals court Wednesday upheld Dylann Roof’s conviction and death sentence for the 2015 racist slayings of nine members of a Black South Carolina congregation, saying the legal record cannot even capture the “full horror” of what he did. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond ruled unanimously against Roof in the shootings at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. In 2017, Roof became the first person in the U.S. sentenced to death for a federal hate crime. Authorities have said Roof opened fire during the closing prayer of a Bible study at the church, raining down dozens of bullets on those assembled. He was 21 at the time.
Covid Origin Report Inconclusive – A classified U.S. intelligence report delivered to the White House on Tuesday was inconclusive on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, in part due to a lack of information from China, according to media reports. The assessment, ordered by President Joe Biden 90 days ago, was unable to definitively conclude whether the virus that first emerged in central China had jumped to humans via animals or escaped a highly secure research facility in Wuhan, two U.S. officials familiar with the matter told The Washington Post. They said parts of the report could be declassified in the coming days. The debate over the origins of the virus that has killed more than 4 million people and paralysed economies worldwide has become increasingly contentious. When Biden assigned the investigation, he said U.S. intelligence agencies were split over the “two likely scenarios” — animals or lab.