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Sec. Blinken says government-wide probe into ‘mysterious’ injuries afflicting US personnel ongoing

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday he is still conducting research surrounding the “directed” attacks and subsequent injuries of US diplomats. Blinken spoke about the “Havana Syndrome” during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing.

“We are in the midst, at the President’s direction, with the National Security Council in the lead, of coordinating a government-wide review, including the intelligence community, the State Department, the Defense Department, to try to get to the bottom of what caused them, who did it, if anyone did, and of course care for any people who may have been victimized by it,” Blinken said.

But, this early on, Blinken says intelligence officials are still not sure who or what is behind the injuries. “So certainly if we have concerns, suspicions or beliefs that any state actor, Russia or otherwise was involved … you can be sure that we will take it to them. But right now, we simply do not know,” Blinken said.

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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Immigration

BREAKING: Senate votes down both articles of impeachment against Mayorkas in party-line vote

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The Senate voted down two articles of impeachment Wednesday which alleged Department of Homeland Security Secretary  Alejandro Mayorkas engaged in the “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law” regarding the southern border in his capacity as DHS secretary. The second claimed Mayorkas had breached public trust.

What resulted in a party-line vote, began with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., proposing a point of order declaring the first article unconstitutional, to which the majority of senators agreed following several failed motions by Republicans. The article was deemed unconstitutional by a vote of 51-48, with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, voting present.

Fox News reports:

Schumer’s point of order was proposed after his request for unanimous consent, which would have provided a set amount of time for debate among the senators, as well as votes on two GOP resolutions and a set amount of agreed upon points of order, was objected to by Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Mo.

Schmitt stated in his objection that the Senate should conduct a full trial into the impeachment articles against Mayorkas, rather than the debate and points of order suggested by Schumer’s unanimous consent request, which would be followed by a likely successful motion to dismiss the articles. 

Republican senators took issue with Schumer’s point of order, as agreeing to it would effectively kill the first of the two articles. Several GOP lawmakers proposed motions, which took precedence over the point of order, to adjourn or table the point, among other things. But all GOP motions failed. 

After another batch of motions to avoid voting on Schumer’s second point of order, which would deem the second article unconstitutional, the Senate agreed to it. The vote was along party lines 51-49, with Murkowski rejoining the Republicans. 

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