VP Harris’ Team of Rising Stars


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Here’s what we’re talking about:

With Phil Rosen.


Kristine Lucius with Vice President Kamala Harris at the Senate in August.

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite


1. INSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE: Vice President Kamala Harris employs dozens of staffers. But unlike President Joe Biden, Harris isn’t required to disclose the names, titles, and salaries of those who work for her in the White House and in the Senate. Luckily, Insider has you covered.

Here’s a peek at the list of staffers my colleagues tracked down thanks to Senate records, press releases, and various LinkedIn accounts:

Nasrina Bargzie

The attorney Nasrina Bargzie in 2015.

Liz Hafalia/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images


Nasrina Bargzie, associate counsel (pictured above): Bargzie was born in Afghanistan during the Soviet war. Her father and uncle were prisoners of war, and she still doesn’t know where they are. She lived as a refugee in Pakistan until the US Refugee Resettlement Program accepted her family in 1985, and they moved to California. She told Glamour the experience taught her that “politics not working has come at such a high cost.”

Robert Buckman, advance associate lead: Buckman spent more than a year as the national advance manager for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. He later worked on Biden’s inauguration. Buckman is a veteran of the professional-sports world working for the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Yankees and managing US Open guest services.

Michael Collins

Michael Collins, left, was chief of staff to Rep. John Lewis, center, the civil-rights icon who died in 2020.

Rick Diamond/Getty Images


Michael Collins, director of public engagement and intergovernmental affairs (pictured above at left): Collins spent more than two decades working for the civil-rights icon Rep. John Lewis. Collins told ABC News over the summer that working for Harris “is an extension of the work that I did” with Lewis.

Nancy McEldowney, national security advisor: McEldowney has spent more than 30 years in the US foreign service. She recently served as director of the Foreign Service Institute. President George W. Bush appointed her to be the US ambassador to Bulgaria in 2008.

Check out Insider’s entire list of the 52 rising stars working for Harris.


2. Biden backs Milley after book’s bombshell reporting: Biden said he had “great confidence” in Gen. Mark Milley, throwing his full support behind America’s top general after critics and some GOP lawmakers called for Milley’s ouster. The coming book “Peril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa reports that Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, secretly called his Chinese counterpart twice during the final months of the Trump administration to assure Beijing the US was not seeking to attack China. A spokesman for Milley confirmed his conversations with Chinese officials. More on how the White House is defending Milley.


3. FDA adds to pushback on White House’s booster-shot plan: The Food and Drug Administration said the three COVID-19 vaccines currently in use in the US offered enough protection against severe disease and death without any additional doses, The Wall Street Journal reports. An outside panel of experts is set to review the FDA’s findings Friday, but the latest report is yet another setback for the White House’s desire for a widespread booster campaign. More details on the FDA’s skepticism and the public back-and-forth over booster shots.


4. Biden tries to nudge senators on $3.5 trillion plan: Biden met with the centrist Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema as top party leaders move forward on translating the broad outlines of the massive spending package into actual legislation, The Washington Post reports. But the two senators aren’t the only Democrats who aren’t fully on board. A small group of House Democrats blocked the passage of a provision meant to lower prescription-drug prices for seniors. And Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, has publicly fumed at colleagues like Manchin who want to significantly reduce the cost of the final package. Here’s where things stand as Democrats try to pass a once-in-a-generation bill with threadbare majorities and no Republican support.


Simone Biles speaks at a Senate hearing on the Larry Nassar abuse scandal

Simone Biles at a Senate hearing on the Larry Nassar abuse scandal.

Associated Press


5. Star gymnasts testified to Congress about Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse: Simone Biles joined three former elite gymnasts — McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols, and Aly Raisman — in testifying before lawmakers about the disgraced former USA Gymnastics doctor’s abuse. The gymnasts also lit into the FBI for its mishandling of the investigation into Nassar. Raisman accused an FBI agent of downplaying the sexual abuse she faced, saying the bureau made her feel as if “my abuse didn’t count.” Biles held back tears as she testified about the disgraced former USA Gymnastics doctor’s abuse. “The scars of this horrific abuse continue to live with us,” Biles said.


President Joe Biden, joined virtually by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, announces the new trilateral security initiative “AUKUS” at the White House on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021.

President Joe Biden, joined virtually by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, announcing the new trilateral security initiative “AUKUS” at the White House on Wednesday.

Andrew Harnik/AP


6. US, UK, and Australia team up in show of strength: The first major initiative of the AUKUS partnership will be to deliver a new nuclear-powered submarine fleet to Australia. Biden was joined virtually by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for the announcement, which was a not-so-subtle show of force to China, Politico reports. Morrison and Biden did stress that Australia did not want a nuclear weapon. More on what the alliance means for the region.

  • Sharing nuclear-powered submarine tech is a big deal: “Britain is the only other nation to share US nuclear-submarine propulsion technology, an agreement dating back decades and aimed largely at countering the old Soviet Union,” The Washington Post reports. Here’s how the new partnership deepens US-Australian ties.

7. A close ally of Peter Thiel is late disclosing his finances: Blake Masters, who is running for the Republican nomination to unseat Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona, is five weeks late in filing a federally mandated personal financial disclosure. Masters told my colleague he’s aware his documents were tardy and he’d submit them “in the next few days.” The financial documents could provide insight into some of Thiel’s companies and the sales of his book.


8. Inquiry following Elijah McClain’s death finds major issues with Aurora Police Department: An investigation by the Colorado attorney general’s office into the Aurora Police Department found a pattern of racially biased policing in the department. The investigation found the department “has a pattern and practice of violating state and federal law through racially biased policing, using excessive force, and failing to record legally required information when interacting with the community.” More on the findings.


9. Pope Francis weighs in on effort to deny Biden communion: Francis told reporters that Catholic bishops shouldn’t let politics enter into the decision about receiving communion. He also refused to give an explicit answer on whether Biden should be denied communion because of his stance on abortion rights, the Associated Press reports. Francis was unequivocal in condemning abortion, calling it “homicide.” Francis also commented on why he couldn’t fathom why some people were not getting vaccinated for COVID-19.


inspiration4 crew members pose in spacesuits in front of grey wall side-by-side image with falcon 9 rocket launches at night



Inspiration4/John Kraus; NASA/Aubrey Gemignani


10. Space X’s all-civilian crew made it into space: All four people aboard the Falcon 9 rocket are civilians with non-astronaut day jobs. They’re a billionaire high-school dropout, a geoscientist, a physician assistant, and an engineer. Now they’re in Earth’s orbit, where they’re expected to drift for three days, venturing farther from our planet than any human has since 2009. Watch the historic launch.


Today’s trivia question: Speaking of Vice President Kamala Harris, who was the first vice president to live in the Naval Observatory? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.





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