This article is adapted from today’s Morning Wire Afternoon Update. To listen to the podcast version, click here.
Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen testified before the U.S. Senate today regarding the state of the banking system. She tried to reassure lawmakers and the public that there’s no cause for concern.
“I can reassure the members of the committee that our banking system remains sound, and that Americans can feel confident that their deposits will be there when they need them,” she said.
Yellen also stated that inflation remains America’s number one economic issue. “I consider high inflation the number one economic problem that all of us need to face and address … I was very supportive of the American Rescue Plan.”
The Biden administration has demanded that TikTok parent company ByteDance sell the video application or face a possible ban in the United States.
Lawmakers from both parties are concerned over reports that the Chinese Communist Party has access to user data through TikTok, a hugely popular social media app among young Americans.
Those concerns drove the Biden administration to reportedly issue an ultimatum to TikTok’s parent company ByteDance: either sell TikTok to a company not linked to China, or risk a nationwide ban. ByteDance pledged in August of last year to spend $1.5 billion on building safeguards to protect American data from the Chinese government.
But that pledge doesn’t appear to have been enough for U.S. officials. President Joe Biden and dozens of state governors have banned the app from government devices. Officials in the European Union took a similar step last month.
DOD Releases Drone Crash Footage
The Department of Defense released video footage Thursday morning of the incident in which two Russian fighter jets harassed a U.S. military drone over international waters — leading to a collision and the complete loss of the U.S. drone. The U.S. European Command said in a statement that the two Russian aircraft conducted “an unsafe and unprofessional intercept” on March 14. One retired Brigadier General and former U.S. Military deputy representative to NATO, Blaine Holt, told Newsmax that the video looked more like an accident due to an unskilled pilot.
“What I just saw in that video was a pretty crappy Russian fighter pilot looking to get a close look at that drone and he clipped it. He just absolutely stinks at his job,” he said. “There’s no mastermind here. This is just a guy who needs to go back to pilot training and bring back a messed-up jet.”
"This is just a guy who needs to go back to pilot training and brought back a messed-up jet."
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) March 16, 2023
Some intelligence sources, however, told NBC that the Kremlin approved the fighter jets’ actions.
Biden Crime Family?
A new report from the House Oversight Committee claims that another Biden family member — this time Hallie Biden, the widow of Beau — profited off the president’s political connections by taking payouts from people associated with the Chinese Communist Party. House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer of Kentucky alleged Thursday that, “Over the course of several years, members of the Biden family and their companies received over $1.3 million in payments from accounts related to their associate, Rob Walker. Most of this money came as a result of a wire from a Chinese energy company and went not only to Hunter and James Biden, but also to Hallie Biden and an unknown ‘Biden.’”
Here he is on Fox News discussing the matter:
🚨@GOPoversight is going to continue to use Biden family bank records & suspicious activity reports to follow the money trail to determine the extent of the Biden family’s business schemes.
— Rep. James Comer (@RepJamesComer) March 16, 2023
FBI Raids Home Of Ex-Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s Former Chief Of Staff
The FBI raided the Florida home of the former chief of staff to ex-Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, on Wednesday. Roy McGrath was scheduled to appear in court on Monday for a criminal trial, but never showed up — prompting officials to launch a manhunt. McGrath has pleaded not guilty to an eight-count federal indictment on charges including wire fraud, as well as fraud and embezzlement charges relating to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
McGrath’s attorney says that he has no idea where his client is, noting that this decision to not appear at court on Monday is “out of the ordinary” behavior.
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