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In addition, Schumer asked that the board provide a “complete and fulsome explanation” of the roles President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin played in selecting DeJoy.

DeJoy has come under fire in recent weeks from Democrats over delays in mail delivery, particularly after The Washington Post reported that USPS warned election officials in 46 states that some ballots in November may not be delivered in time because of inconsistencies with different state deadlines and the agency’s delivery capacity.

In addition, Democrats have criticized DeJoy for trying to make operational changes to the Postal Service ahead of the election and accused the USPS of trying to undermine the election by encouraging election administrators to move to a higher postal rate.

DeJoy said Tuesday he would suspend “long-standing operational initiatives” until after the election “to avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail.”

Schumer, who spoke with DeJoy Tuesday, also sent a follow-up letter to him Wednesday asking for more detail about which operational changes would be paused and a list of locations where mail processing equipment and collection boxes were recently removed, among other issues.

Some Senate Republicans have also raised concern about delays at USPS. In a letter sent this week, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) requested DeJoy work with Congress and meet with him to discuss potential reforms to the Postal Service.

DeJoy is scheduled to testify Friday before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The committee’s chair, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), said he wanted to provide DeJoy the opportunity to testify before the Republican-led committee ahead of his Monday appearance before the House Oversight Committee.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also spoke with DeJoy Wednesday and said she emphasized that his announcement was not a solution.

“The Postmaster General’s alleged pause is wholly insufficient and does not reverse damage already wreaked,” she said in a statement.

Pelosi will hold a rare Saturday vote on legislation that would provide $25 billion to USPS, briefly interrupting the August recess.

House Democratic leaders are hoping to pick up bipartisan support for the USPS bill, which would also block the controversial organizational and operational changes at the postal service. Democrats want to insulate themselves against GOP-led accusations that they’ve turned the Postal Service into a partisan issue in order to score political points.

But House GOP leaders informed Republican lawmakers during a conference call on Wednesday that they plan to formally whip against the Democrats’ postal package, according to sources on the call. And House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and his top deputies have begun referring to the postal service controversy as a “conspiracy.” That means widespread bipartisan support is unlikely, though a handful of Republicans — especially those in tough races — could still support the bill.

During the now-stalled coronavirus negotiations, GOP negotiators had agreed to $10 billion in funding for USPS. Trump has given mixed signals about his support for USPS funding, though chief of staff Mark Meadows has suggested that the president would sign off on more USPS money if it’s paired with other coronavirus-related priorities — a sentiment Meadows reiterated on the GOP conference call.

Trump on Wednesday assailed the House hearing, which will take place as the Republican National Convention begins, tagging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) who has no say on the House schedule.

“Why are Republicans allowing the Democrats to have ridiculous Post Office hearings on Saturday & Monday, just before and during our Convention,” Trump tweeted. “Let them hold them NOW (during their Convention) or after our Convention is over. Always playing right into their hands! @senatemajldr.”

McConnell said earlier this week that USPS would be “just fine” ahead of the November election.

Senate Republicans are currently reviewing text of a “skinny” coronavirus relief bill that is expected to provide $10 billion to USPS, by converting a loan into a grant. That smaller relief package is not expected to get support from Senate Democrats. A Senate Democratic aide said Wednesday, “It’s pretty clear that Republicans still don’t have a clue as to how to meet the urgent needs of Americans nor how to correct for President Trump’s total failure to effectively fight the spread of COVID-19.”

Zach Montellaro contributed to this story.

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Nagorno-Karabakh: The boy who swapped his piano for a gun

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The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is over, but some families are still waiting for news of their missing relatives.

Bodies are still being counted and identified, and there is no clear information on what has happened to the missing.

Twenty-two-year-old Soghomon was fighting on the Armenian frontline against Azerbaijan. The last time his family heard from him was 1 October.

He was a soldier, but also an artist and a talented piano player.

His father and sister say they can’t give up hope that he will return.

Video by: Sofia Bettiza, Gabriel Chaim and Aren Melikyan

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Afghan car bomb kills at least 40 soldiers

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An attacker detonated an explosive packed vehicle in front of a security base in the Deh Yak district of the province.

According to a statement from the Afghan Ministry of Defense, the attacker was confronted by security forces as he tried to enter the base. No group has claimed responsibility yet.

The blast targeted a compound of the public protection force, a wing of the Afghan security forces, local officials told Reuters. It damaged civilian residences around the compound, and there could be more casualties from there, they said.

Interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian confirmed that there had been a car bomb blast but did not provide further information on the target or possible casualties.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, when contacted by Reuters, did not confirm or deny responsibility.

Afghanistan has seen a spate of car bombings over the last few months, despite peace talks being under way between negotiation teams of the insurgent Taliban and the government in the Qatari capital of Doha.

Violence in the country, at war for two decades, remains unacceptably high, foreign governments and institutions say, calling for an immediate ceasefire between the Afghan government and Taliban.
Afghan President orders resumption of offensive operations against the Taliban in blow to Trump's deal

Another bombing on Sunday, in the eastern province of Zabul, targeting a top provincial official, killed at least one person and injured 23, said Gul Islam Syaal, the spokesman for the province’s governor.

Haji Ata Jan Haqbayan, head of the provincial council of Zabul, suffered minor injuries in the attack on his convoy.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack on Haqbayan, an outspoken critic of the Taliban.

The Trump administration’s peace deal with the Taliban was dealt a blow in May as the Afghan government announced it was resuming offensive operations against the insurgent group following a spate of deadly terrorist attacks.

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Incoming GOP congresswoman to take aim at AOC with conservative ‘squad’

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Malliotakis, who frequently attacked Ocasio-Cortez during her campaign against Democratic Rep. Max Rose, took aim again at her New York counterpart when asked about the future of the Republican Party.

“I think one of the reasons why we were so motivated to run is seeing the Democratic women being elected in 2018 that don’t necessarily reflect our values, particularly those who are self-described socialists,” Malliotakis said. “I think there’s just a stark contrast between what we’re offering and what people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are offering. And that’s something that needs to be debated in Washington.”

House Republicans more than doubled the number of women in their conference in November, bringing the number to at least 28 from 13. Democrats, who added a record number of women to their ranks during the 2018 election, have at least 89.

A number of House races still remain uncalled, including New York Republican Claudia Tenney’s challenge against Rep. Anthony Brindisi; Tenney’s lead has narrowed significantly to just 13 votes as of Friday.

Malliotakis, who will be the only Republican to represent New York City in Congress, credited House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Liz Cheney for their efforts in recruiting “qualified women who have something to share with the American people” for the gains.

“What we stand for are freedom, liberty. We love this nation. We want to see it prevail. We want to see it remain the land of opportunity, what has, in essence, attracted millions of immigrants from around the world, to pursue that American dream,” Malliontakis said. “Somebody like me, daughter of a Cuban refuge, I want to be there to be a part of the discussion, debate and provide a counterview.”

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