Need to know: Here are the top national and international stories of June 14, 2021.
1. Putin: Don’t be mad at the mirror if you are ugly
Just days ahead of meeting with President Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin was interviewed by NBC – his first interview with a US news organization in three years. While the G7 Summit was occurring in Cornwall, England on Friday, Putin was answering questions in Moscow from NBC’s Keir Simmons.
In an hour and a half interview, Putin and Simmons discussed topics such as US-Russian relations and his involvement in the assassinations of his political rivals in Russia. When Simmons brought up these topics, Putin was quick to defend himself and demand proof that Russia was involved in the US elections. “We have been accused of all kinds of things,” he said. “Election interference, cyberattacks, and so on and so forth. And not once, not once, not one time, did they bother to produce any kind of evidence or proof. Just unfounded accusations.”
To the criticism Simmons brought up about Russian censorship and corruption, he simply pinned the actions on the US and claimed the US government reacts the same way. For example, when asked about Russian civilians being persecuted for their political opinions, Putin turned to the January 6th riots and claimed the US also suppressed their opinions by punishing those involved in the violence.
He added, “We have a saying: ‘Don’t be mad at the mirror if you are ugly,'” he said. “It has nothing to do with you personally. But if somebody blames us for something, what I say is, why don’t you look at yourselves? You will see yourselves in the mirror, not us.” Putin and Biden are expected to meet on Wednesday and discuss the tensions in the US-Russian relationship and possible solutions to help solve their problems.
2. Top DOJ National Security Official to Resign
Shortly after Attorney General Merrick Garland announced changes in the Department of Justice’s security to ensure the protection of voting rights, John Demers, top National Security Official of the DOJ announced his resignation on Monday. Currently, the DOJ is garnering heat due to the possibility of their attempt to secretly obtain phone records from both reporters and lawmakers. Two California Democrats, Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell had their records seized as well as a number of New York Times reporters and more.
The communication records come from the Trump era in 2018, during the Russian investigations. After Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer asked Demers to testify against these claims, his resignation was announced. However, his team and the DOJ claim his stepping down was a planned event and he was scheduled to work for a couple more months and resign during the summer. Demers is expected to leave by the end of the week. While his departure is seemingly unconnected to the investigations in the DOJ currently, many are skeptical of the timing of his resignation and the real reason behind his departure.
3. Israel Says Goodbye to PM Benjamin Netanyahu
Recently, the Prime Minister of Israel was voted out of office by a coalition of many of the opposing parties. PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been in power since 2009, is set to be replaced by Naftali Bennett, of the far-right Yamina party. Netanyahu is not happy about this result, but many Israelis took to the streets to celebrate the new government.
Bennett will be Prime Minister for two years and then pass the next two years of his term to centrist Yesh Atid Party leader Yair Lapid. The right-wing leader is extremely anti-Palestine and wishes to maintain control and expand the power of the Israeli government in the land it occupies. After a long, physical war with Palestine just recently, the Israeli people celebrated this decision and the new person in power, whose goal is to defend their security and expand their sovereignty. Some people, however, are not happy.
PM Netanyahu had a lot to say in his last speech as Prime Minister, and this included bashing the US for foreign policy decisions. The leader stated he would not hold his opinions on the US power “behind closed doors” any longer. Then, he turned his attention to the current coalition in power. He vowed to return to lead after their four-year term was completed. To the incoming government, he said, “I have just one, modest request, try to ruin the economy that we are leaving you as little as possible so that we can fix it as quickly as possible when we return to power.”