Web Stories Tuesday, March 5

Republicans discuss impeaching DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Heavily disguised IDF troops kill 3 militants in a hospital raid. Plus, a person has a brain device implanted by Elon Musk’s startup. 

Here’s what to know today.

House Republicans push for Mayorkas impeachment, and Biden suggests border shutdown

House Republicans hope a hearing today will bring them a step closer to a vote to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, a push that comes after a yearlong investigation of the situation at the southern border. At today’s hearing, members of the House Homeland Security Committee will discuss the impeachment articles against Mayorkas. A formal impeachment vote in the full House could come as soon as next week, a source said. 

In the first impeachment article, Republicans contend that Mayorkas “willfully and systemically refused to comply with Federal immigration laws.” The GOP blames him for allowing millions of people to enter the U.S. illegally and says that many migrants have “unlawfully” remained. The second impeachment article accuses Mayorkas of breaching the “public trust” and knowingly making false statements to Congress that the border is “secure.”  

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Mayorkas and Democrats have pushed back, arguing that the impeachment effort is political. In a letter to Rep. Mark Green, chair of the Homeland Secretary committee, Mayorkas wrote, “The problems with our broken and outdated immigration system are not new.” Read the full story here.

In his letter, Mayorkas also mentioned he’s involved in bipartisan talks with senators over a bill that would include new border security measures. He’s not the only one to mention the bill in recent days. 

At a campaign event in South Carolina over the weekend, President Joe Biden said he wants the authority to “shut down” the border. According to two sources familiar with the negotiations of the bill under consideration, DHS would shut the border if migrant numbers get too high and stay shut until the numbers drop to a set level for two weeks. During a shutdown, certain rules would be in place for how many people would be allowed to cross into the U.S. legally. 

“If that bill were the law today, I’d shut down the border right now and fix it quickly,” Biden said.

However, current and former DHS officials, as well as some Customs and Border Protection rank-and-file officers, are upset over Biden’s comments. Here’s why.

Read more: 

  • It has been 148 years since the last successful impeachment of a Cabinet member, and Mayorkas’ impeachment would only be the second in U.S. history.

Congress calls out Biden’s Middle East airstrikes

Amid a widening Middle East conflict, President Joe Biden is facing fresh demands from Congress to vote on authorization for military action before proceeding further. The White House insists that the president already has approval to carry out strikes in the Middle East from two votes on the authorizations for use of military force, or AUMF, more than 20 years ago, in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But both senators and House representatives have questioned the recent strikes on the Houthis and demand he come to Congress before launching additional strikes. 

More on the Middle East conflict

  • Israeli troops disguised as women and doctors raided a hospital in the occupied West Bank this morning, killing three. The IDF says it ”neutralized” three members of a Hamas terror cell who they accused of using the hospital as a base to plan terror attacks. The Palestinian health ministry says the soldiers opened fire inside hospital wards, calling on the world to protect health facilities in Gaza. Follow live updates.
  • The three U.S. Army Reserve soldiers who were killed Sunday in an attack at a base in northeast Jordan were identified.
  • At least 12 U.N. workers played a direct role in the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel, according to Israeli intelligence dossiers.

Elon Musk announces first human Neuralink brain implant

Elon Musk’s brain-science startup company Neuralink has implanted a device in a human for the first time, the tech billionaire announced yesterday on X. If successful, the technology could result in a product that Musk said would allow people to control almost any external device “just by thinking.”

Neuralink received FDA approval eight months ago to conduct its first in-human clinical study. In September, the company said it would begin recruiting patients for the study. In yesterday’s announcement, Musk said the patient “received an implant” and “is recovering well.” So far, initial results showed “promising neuron spike detection.” 

A possible third way to develop Alzheimer’s

Five patients in the U.K. developed Alzheimer’s disease decades after receiving contaminated injections during their childhood, according to a newly published study, which its authors say could indicate a previously unknown way to develop the disease.

The study found that all five participants had received injections of human growth hormone from cadavers for several years. It wasn’t until later that scientists realized the injections contained amyloid-beta protein — the protein involved in the formation of brain plaques and tangles that cause Alzheimer’s disease.

Before now, Alzheimer’s cases were generally divided into two categories: those caused by genetics and those caused by risk factors such as smoking, obesity and high blood pressure. Now, the researchers say these findings suggest the disease can be developed through contaminated medical products.

Taylor Swift draws conservative ire

Taylor Swift is headed to the Super Bowl, and she’s triggering conservative pundits along the way. Her appearance at Sunday’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens was met with vitriol from some conservatives, who believe her dominating presence in pop culture is part of a psychological manipulation effort, known in fringe circles as a “psy-op.” And more recently, some right-wing pundits have suggested without evidence that all the hype around Swift could be part of an orchestrated election year plot.

Today’s Talker: Amelia Earhart’s long-lost plane may be…

… about halfway between Australia and Hawaii at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, about 100 miles from where the famous pilot and her navigator were expected to land in July 1937 during their trip around the world but never did. Tony Romeo, the CEO of Deep Sea Vision, said he believes that a blurry, plane-like shape caught by an underwater drone from his research voyage is Earhart’s plane. It’s too soon to determine whether it is indeed the missing aircraft. Romeo’s team is already planning their return and next steps.

Politics in Brief

Drug enforcement: Senate Democrats are asking the Biden administration in a new letter to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act “altogether, rather than simply placing it in a lower schedule.” 

Justice Department: Attorney General Merrick Garland will temporarily hand over his official duties to his deputy while he undergoes back surgery. 

IRS docs leak: Charles Littlejohn — a former IRS contractor who leaked the tax records of former President Donald Trump, as well as the tax records of billionaires — was sentenced to five years in prison.

Staff Pick: Decades of contamination, then a tragic end

Zack Wittman for NBC NBC News

Last year, I received an email from a man, who said his father, Gilbert Wyand, a Navy veteran, had been diagnosed with a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow that can be caused by radiation exposure. He asked me to look into radioactive materials that have contaminated the now-closed Long Beach Naval Shipyard in California for decades. It turns out the Navy had not alerted tens of thousands of veterans to the potential exposure. Two weeks ago, Gilbert Wyand died. His story, and its tragic end, highlights an issue that has only become more urgent since my reporting began. — Melissa Chan, reporter

In Case You Missed It

  • Convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh was denied a new trial based on allegations of jury tampering by a court clerk.
  • Federal authorities planted a phony advertisement seeking a yoga instructor to capture the Texas woman later convicted of murdering an elite bicyclist and perceived romantic rival, officials said.
  • A woman in Florida said her “medically fragile” father is hospitalized and unable to speak after he was falsely accused of stealing a banana at a grocery store last week and then seriously injured in an encounter with police.
  • Five people were arrested in the killings of six people found in California’s Mojave Desert, believed to have stemmed from a dispute over marijuana.
  • A “pandemic of snow” in Anchorage, Alaska has set a record for the earliest arrival of 100 inches of snow.
  • A Colorado man died while skydiving after his parachutes failed to deploy over the weekend, authorities said.

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