Bernie Sanders Ends Candidacy for President
On April 8, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders announced the suspension of his presidential campaign
in a live-streamed speech to the public. Stating that Joe Biden’s campaign is backed by 300 more delegates than his own campaign in the primary elections, Sanders acknowledged that “the path toward victory is virtually impossible.”
Despite Sanders’ victories in New Hampshire and Nevada in February, Biden’s win in South Carolina consolidated many moderate voters around the former vice president. Super Tuesday saw the victory of Biden in 10 out of 14 voting states, including critical general-election states such as Michigan. Sanders’ choice to withdraw from the race has thus cleared the path for Biden to become the Democratic nominee who will face President Donald Trump in the 2020 elections in November
Acknowledging the state of the primary elections as of now, Sanders announced his support for Biden in the coming Presidential race. He will also remain on the ballot to collect delegates for the convention while retaining a significant influence over the party platform.
“If I believed we had a feasible path to the nomination, I would certainly continue the campaign, but it’s just not there. I congratulate Joe Biden, a very decent man, who I will work with to move our progressive ideas forward.”
Regardless of his withdrawal from the race, Sanders maintains that his campaign has been “a major step forward in the neverending struggle for economic justice, social justice, racial justice and environmental justice,” which reaches beyond the campaign itself.
“While this campaign is coming to an end, our movement is not,” Sanders emphasizes.
Intelligence Chief Involved in Trump impeachment Fired
Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community, was fired by U.S. President Donald Trump
on April 3. President Trump cited his lack of trust in Atkinson as the reason for his dismissal.
Atkinson was the first to alert Congress last September when he received a complaint from an intelligence official concerning Trump pressuring Ukraine’s president to investigate Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate. The abuse of his office
alleged by the complaint prompted an impeachment trial, ultimately ending in Trump’s acquittal.
Trump stated that Atkinson will be leaving his job in 30 days, during which he has been placed on administrative leave. While Thomas Monheim
, an intelligence professional, will be acting in Atkinson’s stead, a successor for the post has yet to be named.
According to CNN
, Atkinson’s dismissal is part of Trump’s wider bid to remove government officials associated with his impeachment trial. Among others who were fired are Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council official who testified in the proceedings and Gordon Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union.
Responses to the dismissal were largely negative, with the chair of the impeachment hearings, Congressman Adam Schiff
stating that “President Trump’s decision to fire intelligence community inspector General Michael Atkinson is yet another blatant attempt by the president to gut the independence of the intelligence community and retaliate against those who dare to expose presidential wrongdoing.”
NASA Launching First U.S. Mission in Last Decade
On April 17, NASA announced SpaceX’s plans to launch its first crewed mission
to the International Space Station in the last decade. Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, former military test pilots and veteran NASA astronauts, will lift off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center on May 27.
Jim Bridenstine, a NASA Administrator, tweeted
that SpaceX, a company owned by entrepreneur Elon Musk, will launch the astronauts in the Falcon 9 rocket, which will make this the first mission in which SpaceX has sent humans to space.
After retiring its space shuttle program
in 2011, NASA has been relying on Russia’s space program to carry astronauts to the ISS. The Falcon 9 rocket and the Crew Dragon spacecraft which it will house are a result of a commission request by NASA for the private sector to develop new spacecrafts. Boeing and SpaceX were both commissioned, with SpaceX producing a ready-to-launch spacecraft quicker than its competitor.
The Crew Dragon, once launched in May, will take approximately 24 hours to reach the ISS. Once there, Hurley and Behnken will spend around 110 days in the station, with NASA stating that the “specific mission duration will be determined once on station based on the readiness of the next commercial crew launch.”
Tracy Vavrova is Senior News Editor. Email her at email@example.com