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Sen. John Kennedy. Photo: Susan Walsh / AP

After Sen. John Kennedy's round of questioning on basic legal questions for Matthew Petersen, one of Trump's judicial appointees, he withdrew his nomination. Sam Stein writes on The Daily Beast: "Political humiliations like these don't often happen in public view, let alone at the hands of a member of the same political party of the nominating administration."

Why it matters: "Kennedy was trying to send a larger message here. And it wasn't meant for Petersen but for the man chiefly responsible for his now-withdrawn nomination: White House Counsel Don McGahn."

  • McGahn has exerted an outsized influence over the nation's judiciary. He has put loyal allies in key positions at the Department of Justice and he has taken the leading role in pushing nominees for the bench."

N.Y. Times Quote of the Day goes to Sen. Kennedy:

  • "Just because you've seen 'My Cousin Vinny' doesn't qualify you to be a federal judge."
  • "The nominee, Matthew Petersen, was unable to answer many of the senator's questions and withdrew his nomination."

Go deeper

Biden to sign executive orders focused on women's rights

President Biden. Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Biden will sign executive orders Monday establishing a Gender Policy Council and directing the Department of Education to review the federal law Title IX, according to administration officials.

Why it matters: The Biden administration is signaling its priorities to advance gender equity and equality as women, particularly women of color, have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

3 hours ago - World

Report: U.S. calls for UN-led Afghan peace talks

Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the State Department in Washington, D.C., in February. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a letter outlining a plan to accelerate peace talks with the Taliban that the U.S. is "considering" a full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, Afghan outlet TOLOnews first reported Sunday.

Why it matters: In the letter to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, also obtained by Western news outlets, Blinken expresses concern that the Taliban "could make rapid territorial gain" after an American military withdrawal, even with the continuation of U.S. financial aid, as he urges him to embrace his proposal.

Harry and Meghan accuse British royal family of racism

Photo: Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via Reuters

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle delivered a devastating indictment of the U.K. royal family in their conversation with Oprah Winfrey: Both said unnamed relatives had expressed concern about what the skin tone of their baby would be. And they accused "the firm" of character assassination and "perpetuating falsehoods."

Why it matters: An institution that thrives on myth now faces harsh reality. The explosive two-hour interview gave an unprecedented, unsparing window into the monarchy: Harry said his father and brother "are trapped," and Markle revealed that the the misery of being a working royal drove her to thoughts of suicide.