DEPARTMENT OF STATE
What we know about American deaths in the Israel stampede
The State Department on Friday confirmed reports that “multiple U.S. citizens were among the casualties” when a stampede broke out late Thursday at a Jewish festival in northern Israel, leaving dozens of people dead or injured.washingtonpost.com
Trump State Department aide charged with assault at Capitol
A former State Department aide in President Donald Trumps administration has been charged with participating in the deadly siege at the Capitol. Authorities say Klein pushed his way toward the doors, where he physically and verbally engaged with officers trying to keep the mob back. AdKlein became a staff assistant in the State Department shortly after Trump's inauguration in 2017, according to a financial disclosure report. One of Klein's State Department coworkers helped authorities identify him, officials said. The Department of State official identified Klein in photos and video shown by the FBI, officials said.
US diplomats in extraordinary protest against Trump for riot
The cables were an extraordinary protest against a sitting U.S. president by American diplomats, who have long complained that the Trump administration has ignored and diminished their role and expertise. The cables also reflect anger at the response to the riot by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a loyal Trump ally. Trump himself has railed about what he sees as disloyalty at the State Department. It was not immediately clear how many diplomats signed the cables, both of which were viewed by The Associated Press. The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Maryland Man Pleads Guilty to Submitting False Claim to Steal Funds Intended for Afghanistan Reconstruction
A Maryland man pleaded guilty today to filing a false claim for his role in a scheme to divert hundreds of thousands of dollars in State Department funds to his own use. Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John F. Sopko, and the Department of State’s Assistant Inspector General for Investigations Michael Ryan made the announcement. Fagbenro admitted that about $775,000 of the funds he sent outside Afghanistan went to relatives, friends, and corporate entities he controlled with no connection to the purposes of the grants. Fagbenro has admitted that the State Department lost about $775,000 as a result of his fraud. This case was investigated by the State Department Office of Inspector General and the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction.justice.gov
MDOS, Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness provide voting resources to less fortunate Michiganders
LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of State announced Wednesday it will be providing resources to educate Michiganders facing homelessness about their voting rights. The outreach includes an online toolkit curated to provide accurate information about homelessness and voting, a webinar hosted in partnership with the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness and voter registration drives at shelters. "Our work to provide resources and information to voters in this community will help ensure they can vote with confidence that their ballot will count.”A new toolkit will dispel misconceptions and provide accurate voting information and guidance for homeless individuals. The department joined with the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness to promote voter education and registration. As part of this partnership, MDOS will join the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness and Communities First, Inc. to host a webinar aimed at educating homelessness advocacy organizations in how to assist their clients with voter registration, early voting and getting to the polls on Election Day.
Judge Rules To Extend Absentee Ballot Postmark Deadline
(CBS DETROIT) – Michigan voters are being encouraged by the Department of State to return absentee ballots as soon as possible to avoid a late rush following a court’s decision to extend the postmark deadline. Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens made the ruling Friday mandating clerks to count all absentee votes with a Nov. 2 postmark even if it arrives after polls close. “Some of the changes the judge just ruled on are sitting in the legislature right now and they just haven’t moved. However we still want voters to make a plan to vote now, and not wait until the last minute if they want to vote by mail. That’s why we will continue to strongly encourage voters to request and return their absentee ballots as soon as possible.”detroit.cbslocal.com
Michigan bill could make driver lines shorter, save money
Michigan drivers would no longer need a hard copy of a vehicles registration or an annual sticker on license plates under pending legislation. The bill's sponsor testified in a state House Transportation Committee this past week that the change would shorten lines at secretary of state branches and save the state money. The Department of State estimates in the bills analysis that the state could save $500,000 by eliminating the physical requirements of registration. Michigan State Police legislative liaison Sgt. Department of State spokesman Matt Levin said the department opposes allowing financial institutions to provide secretary of state services.
State Department confirms its first coronavirus case in Washington, DC
The US Department of State building is seen in Washington, DC, on July 22, 2019. WASHINGTON The State Department was notified on Wednesday of its first confirmed coronavirus case in Washington, D.C., as the deadly outbreak spreads. "Staff who work in the impacted area were directed by supervisors, in coordination with the Bureau of Medical Services, to take the necessary precautions. In addition, the Bureau of Medical Services is working closely with D.C. Public Health for coordination of contact tracing and care," a State Department spokesperson told CNBC. On Thursday, the State Department issued a level 4 warning to U.S. citizens to not travel internationally and to return immediately to the United States if abroad, or prepare to 'shelter in place.'cnbc.com
Trump administration ratchets up advisory: Avoid international travel
But the advisory issued Thursday by the State Department, believed to be the widest of its kind, could trigger the greatest disruption yet on travel by Americans. However, it presumably would absolve the State Department of some responsibility in bringing home stranded Americans who ignore the warning. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel.AdvertisementThere are hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad at any one time. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) called on the State Department to set up charter flights to transport Americans home to the United States. Even before the new restrictions, the U.S. airline industry had eliminated or dramatically reduced the frequency of most international flights.latimes.com
U.S. authorizes departure of some employees from diplomatic facilities in China
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department has authorized the departure of family members and all non-emergency U.S. government employees at the American embassy in Beijing and consulates in Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenyang due to the coronavirus outbreak, a department representative said on Thursday. The Department of State made the decision to put the U.S. Embassy and Consulates General on authorized departure status out of an abundance of caution related to logistical disruptions stemming from restricted transportation and availability of appropriate health care related to the novel coronavirus, the representative said in a statement.feeds.reuters.com
Watch: Michigan Secretary of State discusses customer service challenges
LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson held a news conference Thursday to discuss the Department of State’s progress in addressing customer service challenges. Benson said the focus has been on getting more people to use the Secretary of State’s online services so they don’t have to go to a branch office. She also said the goal is to have anyone who makes an appointment at a branch wait in line no longer than 30 minutes. Benson is working to build the branch office of the future, which involves bringing pieces of the branch to the people. At the kiosks, users can handle vehicle transactions, and registration renewals for cars, boats and motorcycles.
Top US diplomat struggles to shrug off impeachment inquiry
WASHINGTON, DC Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tries to shrug off the impeachment inquiry that has ensnared the State Department and raised questions about his leadership. Pompeo portrays the inquiry, which centers on President Donald Trump's attempt to link U.S. military aid to Ukraine to a corruption probe of a political rival, as unworthy of his attention. But behind the scenes, officials say morale is plummeting at the State Department over the whole affair. Steven Pifer, a retired career diplomat and former ambassador to Ukraine who now teaches at Stanford University, shared the frustration of his former colleagues. Pompeo has said the impeachment process is unfair to State employees because they are not allowed to have department lawyers with them when they testify.
Yovanovitch is latest casualty of Trump war on career diplomats
Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch - disparaged by President Donald Trump and abruptly recalled from Ukraine - exemplifies what current and former U.S. officials describe as a campaign by Trump against career diplomats. Attempts to reach Yovanovitch and other State Department officials also went unanswered. Pompeo has tried to improve morale at the State Department. The State Department has been whipsawed by major policy decisions abruptly announced by Trump over Twitter. Asked why so many senior State Department positions are held by acting assistant secretaries, Armitage replied: Because they dont care about personnel.feeds.reuters.com
Pompeo rips Democrats' attempts to 'bully' State Department officials over deposition requests in impeachment inquiry
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday pushed back on House Democrats' attempt to depose State Department officials as part of the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. Pompeo said in a tweet that he is "concerned with aspects" of House committee leaders' requests "that can be understood only as an attempt to intimidate, bully, & treat improperly the distinguished professionals of the Department of State." "I will use all means at my disposal to prevent and expose any attempts to intimidate the dedicated professionals whom I am proud to lead and serve alongside at the Department of State," Pompeo wrote. On Friday, leaders from three Democrat-led House committees subpoenaed Pompeo for documents related to the impeachment inquiry into Trump, which was formally announced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., earlier in the week. The panels also told Pompeo that they had scheduled depositions over the next two weeks with five State Department officials.cnbc.com
Pompeo says any U.S. response to Iran will comply with international law
Speaking to reporters at State Department headquarters, Pompeo was asked several times about Mr. Trump's threat, which legal experts have said would be a violation of international law. "Every target that's being reviewed, every effort that's being made will always be conducted inside the international laws of war," Pompeo said. But Mr. Trump told reporters Sunday aboard Air Force One, "They're allowed to kill our people. They're allowed to torture and maim our people. they're allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people.cbsnews.com