5 Things for Friday
An official associated with the Trump administration came forward yesterday and said the Pentagon will send almost 4,000 additional American troops to Afghanistan. This comes in the wake of the top U.S. commander saying that he doesn’t have enough forces to help the country’s army.
This is Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ decision, and could be announced as early as next week. The President is following through with his plan to give Mattis more control over troop levels. This is the biggest deployment so far during Mr. Trump’s young presidency.
Everybody keep your fingers crossed that the special session will finally end today. We are just one step away! The Senate finance committee approved the House’s version of the budget yesterday (the House gave in and agreed to save just $60 million from the budget instead of the original $206 million wanted). Today that budget goes to the full Senate, and if it’s approved- THE SPECIAL SESSION IS OVER (cue applause).
The additional session time, which is estimated to cost Louisiana taxpayers an estimated $60,000 per day, will be prolonged if the Senate decides to amend the House’s budget. Whatever happens, the session must end by Monday.
There is still a lot of confusion surrounding whether ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead. Just this morning, the Russian military claimed it killed the leader back in a raid on May 28- which they say also killed hundreds of other ISIS fighters.
But the U.S. spokesman for the anti-Islamic State coalition then came out to say he couldn’t confirm whether this actually happened. Not only that, but shortly after Russia’s own foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said he can’t definitively confirm the military’s claim either. This is not the first report of al-Baghdadi’s death- there have been several false reports in the past, but if this is true it is a big deal- the leader is the United States’ #1 enemy in the fight against the terror group.
President Donald Trump will get to test more of his deal-making skills as he revises the United States’ relations with Cuba. Mr. Trump wants to keep diplomatic relations open with the country (allowing flights and cruises to Cuba), but wants to change the trend of U.S. money going to Cuba’s military and security.
The verdict of the case that accused an 18-year-old woman of manslaughter for texting her then-boyfriend to kill himself is coming out today. Michelle Carter’s boyfriend did kill himself after her urges, and this case creates a difficult question for the judge on how much blame can be put on a person that wasn’t even there.