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Report: Defense Secretary expected to mandate COVID-19 vaccine for active duty troops

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Lloyd Austin

By Jenny Goldsberry

Secretary of Defense Gen. Lloyd Austin is expected to announce a controversial COVID-19 vaccine mandate for active duty troops soon, sources close to CNN confirmed.

Austin’s current view is to “seek authorization to make (vaccine) mandatory”

CNN Sources

Austin’s “inclination is towards making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory,” a defense official told CNN.

The Joint Chiefs have met to discuss how a mandatory vaccination plan might work, since President Biden’s last speech on the vaccine,. Austin has also been consulting with military medical authorities, the defense official said. Austin’s current view is to “seek authorization to make it mandatory,” according to those sources.

Biden even said he knew that Austin is “open to it.” With the president’s approval, he is likely to move forward with the mandate.

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You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @JennyJournalism

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Biden frees Venezuelan President Maduro’s drug dealing relatives in prisoner swap

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Joe Biden

President Biden freed two of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s relatives Saturday in exchange for seven jailed Americans. The two nephews of Maduro’s wife Cilia Flores, had been convicted in the United States for drug dealing and sentenced to 18 years in prison, according to the BBC.

According to the report, the swap was in exchange for five American oil executives. Those Americans were “exchanged for two of Mr Maduro’s wife’s nephews, who were serving 18-year sentences in the US on drug charges,” the officials told the BBC. Maduro’s nephews were convicted under the Trump administration and the Venezuelan government claims that they were “unjustly” jailed in the United States.

In a statement from the White House Saturday, Biden said the American’s were  “wrongfully detained.”  He said the American’s  would soon be reunited with their relatives, according to reports.

“Today, we celebrate that seven families will be whole once more. To all the families who are still suffering and separated from their loved ones who are wrongfully detained – know that we remain dedicated to securing their release,” the Biden statement added.

Meanwhile, 13 Republican members of Congress sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, requesting more information on “the intelligence report” that alleges Maduro is emptying his prisons and allowing them to head to the United States in the caravans that crossing the porous border.

The letter states that the report warns Border Patrol agents to be on the look-out for “violent criminals from Venezuela among the migrant caravans heading towards the U.S.-Mexico border.”

“It has been widely reported that the Venezuelan regime, under the control of Nicolás Maduro Moros, is deliberately releasing violent prisoners early, including inmates convicted of ‘murder, rape, and extortion,’ and pushing them to join caravans heading to the United States,” the letter states.

You can follow Sara A. Carter on Twitter @SaraCarterDC.

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