Psaki 'out of the office' as Biden remains silent on Taliban takeover of Afghanistan

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    Jen Psaki ‘out of the office’ as Biden remains silent on Taliban takeover of Afghanistan
    White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is taking a break from her duties at the same time as controversy surrounds the silence of President Joe Biden, who is on vacation while the Taliban quickly seizes control of Afghanistan.

    Fox News sent questions to Psaki’s White House email address Sunday morning and received an auto-reply. Hours later, on Sunday evening, Fox News attempted once again to reach the White House spokeswoman. The same auto-reply, stating that the voice of the White House would not be available for the next week, was sent.

    “I will be out of the office from August 15th-August 22nd,” read the email returned to Fox News. Instead, Psaki’s reply directs the press to reach out to other press officers in her absence.

    The timing of Psaki’s time off comes as Biden has faced criticism for remaining on vacation as the Taliban seize control of much of Afghanistan, even moving into the capital city of Kabul and seizing the presidential palace at a pace that has caught the White House off guard.

    Biden has remained mostly silent on the issue, a fact not lost on many of the president’s critics.

    “Where is Joe Biden,” asked Rep. Jim Banks, a Navy veteran who served in Afghanistan, asked on Twitter as the crisis unfolded Sunday.

    Meanwhile, the White House has only broken its silence to share a picture of the president being briefed on the situation by senior officials. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON OUR TOP STORY.

    In other developments:
    – Biden’s Afghanistan prediction fails spectacularly
    -Terrorist-linked Al Jazeera gets ‘exclusive’ access to Taliban storming presidential palace in Kabul
    – Trey Gowdy: ‘Have we kept our word’ to the Afghan people?
    – World leaders blame Biden, express disappointment with Afghanistan
    – Taliban frees thousands of prisoners from former US base: report
    – US prepares to house thousands of Afghan refugees on American military installations

    Death toll of powerful earthquake in Haiti soars to 1,297
    The death toll from a 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Haiti climbed to 1,297 on Sunday, a day after the powerful temblor turned thousands of structures into rubble and set off frantic rescue efforts ahead of a potential deluge from an approaching storm.

    Saturday’s earthquake also left at least 5,700 people injured in the Caribbean nation, with thousands more displaced from their destroyed or damaged homes. Survivors in some areas were forced to wait out in the open amid oppressive heat for help from overloaded hospitals.

    The devastation could soon worsen with the coming of Tropical Depression Grace, which is predicted to reach Haiti on Monday night. The U.S. National Hurricane Center warned that although Grace had weakened from tropical storm strength Sunday, it still posed a threat to bring heavy rain, flooding and landslides.

    The earthquake struck the southwestern part of the hemisphere’s poorest nation, almost razing some towns and triggering landslides that hampered rescue efforts in a country already struggling with the coronavirus pandemic, a presidential assassination and a wave of gang violence.

    The epicenter was about 125 kilometers (78 miles) west of the capital of Port-au-Prince, the U.S. Geological Survey said, and aftershocks continued to jolt the area Sunday. CLICK HERE FOR MORE.

    In other developments:
    – Western wildfires threaten thousands of homes, strain resources
    – Scientists challenge ‘alarm bells’ in IPCC climate change report: ‘Not the end of the world’

    Chicago weekend violence: 5 killed across city, including 7-year-old girl; at least 47 shot
    At least five people have been killed and 42 others were injured in shootings across Chicago this weekend, according to authorities. 

    Chicago police said nine teenagers and two young girls — were shot in the city from Saturday afternoon into Sunday.

    Around 3 p.m. Sunday, a 7-year-old girl was killed and her 6-year-old sister was wounded in a shooting in the Belmont Central neighborhood on the city’s Northwest Side, police said.

    The girls were sitting in a parked vehicle when someone opened fire, according to the Chicago Tribune. The 7-year-old was shot in the chest and taken to Loyola University Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead. The other girl was shot in the chest and armpit and stabilized at the same hospital.

    The first homicide of the weekend occurred at 5:15 p.m. Friday in Belmont Cragin on the Northwest Side. A man, 18, was in the middle of the street when someone drove by in a vehicle and shot him.

    On Friday evening, one person was killed and two others were injured in a shooting on the Eisenhower Expressway, police said. Two people, aged 21, suffered life-threatening injuries, and a 17-year-old boy died, Chicago’s WBBM-TV reported. 

    Around 12:30 a.m. Sunday, four people were shot while standing outside a residence in the Grand Crossing neighborhood. CLICK HERE FOR MORE.

    In other developments:
    – Texas sports bar shooting: At least 3 dead, 2 wounded, authorities say
    – Michigan deputy dies after being shot in chase with gunman
    – DC triple shooting leaves 1 dead, 2 wounded amid city’s crime wave

    CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

    TODAY’S MUST-READS:
    – Florida 911 calls released after woman killed by toddler while on Zoom call: ‘There’s blood everywhere’
    – Fully vaccinated Southwest flight attendant dies from COVID-19
    – NIH Director Collins: Unvaccinated Americans ‘are sitting ducks’ as delta variant causes ‘world of hurt’
    – SPLC keeps Christian group on ‘hate map’ 9 years after terrorist attack

    THE LATEST FROM FOX BUSINESS:
    – TSA unprepared as Taliban surges, 9/11 anniversary approaches, experts warn
    – Biden admin to announce historic increase in food stamp money
    – Hydrogen-powered vehicles: A realistic path to clean energy?
    – Costco fight ignites disturbing threat targeting kids

    CLICK HERE TO PLAY FOX NEWS’ CROSSWORD PUZZLE OF THE WEEK 

    SOME PARTING WORDS

    Steve Hilton reacted to the chaos in Afghanistan and President Biden’s attempt to abdicate responsibility, saying “Biden throws away everything that’s been spent these last two decades.”

    “Trillions of dollars wasted, thousands of American lives lost,” he said, adding “even more lives wrecked as the mothers and fathers and sons and daughters and friends and neighbors look on in disbelief and rage as this bumbling idiot in the White House, this barely lucid puppet of the establishment, this weak, incompetent, useless, apology for a president erases practically overnight whatever meager justification there ever was for this disastrous misadventure.”

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    Fox News First was compiled by Fox News’ Jack Durschlag. Thank you for making us your first choice in the morning! We’ll see you in your inbox first thing Tuesday.

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