Aftermath of the Trump Administration, August 2022


My daily chronicle of news about the Trump administration (20 January 2017 – 20 January 2021), Republicans, Democrats, corporations, courts, resistance, and persistence continues. I am still posting important articles, especially ones that reflect the differences between the Biden administration and the Trump administration and ones that address the toxic legacy of the Trump administration and Republicans. However, I hope to devote more of my time to posting muckraking articles on my site and to working with my local activist group in pursuit of progressive change and a stronger democracy. Thanks for reading!


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Monday, 1 August 2022:


War in Ukraine: First grain shipment leaves Ukraine as Zelensky urges security for future food exports, The Washington Post, Dalton Bennett, Jennifer Hassan, Kareem Fahim, Kendra Nichols, Adam Taylor, and Reis Thebault, Monday, 1 August 2022: “A ship carrying grain left the Ukrainian city of Odessa for the first time since Russia’s invasion and blockade of the country’s ports. The shipment is the result of a U.N.-backed deal meant to ease the global hunger crisis. World leaders heralded it as a badly needed glimmer of hope in the race to combat soaring prices, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said international monitors must guarantee the safety of future food-hauling freighters. ‘We cannot have the illusions that Russia will simply refrain from trying to disrupt Ukrainian exports,’ he said.

  • The cargo vessel is carrying more than 28,000 tons of corn. It is expected to arrive in Turkish territorial waters Tuesday, en route to Lebanon. A Russian missile strike on Odessa one day after the U.N.-brokered grain-export deal was signed in late July had raised fears that the arrangement would crumble.
  • The key Black Sea port of Mykolaiv was hit over the weekend by ‘one of the most brutal shellings’ since the war began, Zelensky said after dozens of Russian rockets destroyed homes, schools and infrastructure. Among those killed in the city was one of Ukraine’s richest business executives, who founded an agriculture company that helped facilitate the country’s grain exports.
  • The success of grain exports going forward will depend on the United Nations and Turkey, which helped broker the deal with Russia, ensuring safe passage of ships from ports such as Odessa and Mykolaiv, Zelensky said late Monday.
  • Ukraine on Monday confirmed the delivery of precision multiple-launch rocket systems from Germany, bolstering a growing arsenal that has been credited with destroying dozens of strategically important Russian targets. German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht recently said that an initial delivery of German Gepard antiaircraft weapons has arrived in Ukraine and that Germany is sending more self-propelled howitzers than initially planned. Several German IRIS-T air defense systems are also slated for delivery in the autumn.
  • The White House on Monday announced an additional $550 million in security assistance for Ukraine. The latest package will include ammunition for howitzer and high-mobility rocket systems, or HIMARS, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said at a news briefing. The United States has now provided about $8.8 billion in security assistance to Ukraine during the Biden administration. The European Union also announced that $1 billion in aid will be delivered to Ukraine by Tuesday.
  • Brittney Griner is due back in a Russian court Tuesday, where she will make her first appearance since the United States publicly acknowledged it had proposed a prisoner exchange to free the WNBA star, along with security consultant Paul Whelan. Griner faces charges of cannabis possession, and U.S. officials say there has been no major progress on securing her release since they proposed the swap.

Russia-Ukraine War: With Its First Grain-Loaded Ship in Months En Route, Ukraine Readies More. A Ukrainian Official said 16 more ships were waiting to depart with grain, but experts warned that even if the deal with Russia that opened Ukraine’s ports holds, the global food crisis will persist. The New York Times, Monday, 1 August 2022:

  • A ship loaded with Ukrainian grain leaves the Port of Odesa for the first time since the war began.
  • ‘One miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation’: The U.N. chief issues a grim warning, citing war.
  • Russia has turned Europe’s largest nuclear power plant into a fortress.
  • Ukraine wages a ‘deep war’ to degrade Russian forces as Moscow continues its scorched-earth campaign.
  • Hunger is so widespread that Ukraine’s resumed grain exports will barely make a dent, experts say.
  • Here’s what we know about the deadly blast at a prisoner camp in eastern Ukraine.
  • A blast hit a warehouse belonging to a Bulgarian arms merchant previously targeted by Russia.

Russia-Ukraine War: A weekly recap and look ahead (August 1), NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 1 August 2022: “As the week begins, here’s a roundup of key developments from the past week and a look ahead. What to watch this week: Monday: As a ship loaded with Ukrainian grain left Odesa for the first time since the war began, there are hopes that it will be the first of many resuming the country’s exports. Tuesday: The trial of WNBA star Brittney Griner continues in Moscow. Wednesday: ASEAN-led meetings get underway in Cambodia, where Ukraine will be on the agenda. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be among top diplomats gathering in Phnom Penh. Friday: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are expected to meet in Sochi, Russia. What happened last week: Monday, July 25: Russia’s Gazprom said it would reduce the amount of gas it sends through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to 20% of capacity. On the same day, Russia announced it would quit taking part in the International Space Station after 2024. Tuesday, July 26: European Union energy ministers agreed on an emergency deal to ration natural gas to help EU countries get through the coming winter. Wednesday, July 27: On the same day that Brittney Griner’s trial continued in Moscow, the U.S. proposed a prisoner swap in which Moscow would free Griner and Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine imprisoned in Russia, in exchange for the U.S. release of imprisoned Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. Thursday, July 28: Russian missile strikes targeted Ukraine’s Kyiv and Chernihiv regions on the same day that Ukrainian authorities announced an operation to liberate the occupied region of Kherson in the south. Friday, July 29: Ukraine and Russia blamed one another for shelling that killed dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war in eastern Ukraine. Also, Blinken spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for the first time since the war began, urging Russia to accept the proposal aimed at bringing home Griner and Whelan. Blinken also pressed Russia on allowing Ukrainian grain exports. Saturday, July 30: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced a mandatory evacuation of people in the eastern Donetsk region. Also, Gazprom cut off gas shipments to Latvia. Russia demands payment in rubles and has already stopped gas shipments to other EU countries after their refusal to do so. Sunday, July 31: Marking Russia’s Navy Day, President Vladimir Putin approved a new naval doctrine highlighting the U.S. and NATO as the biggest threats to Russia.

Continue reading Aftermath of the Trump Administration, August 2022:

Guy Wesley Reffitt, First Capitol Rioter to Face Trial, Gets 7 Years, Longest Sentence So far. Reffitt was convicted in March on five counts in a case viewed as a test for the Justice Department. The New York Times, Zach Montague, Monday, 1 August 2022: “A federal judge on Monday sentenced Guy Wesley Reffitt, the first defendant to go on trial in the Justice Department’s sprawling criminal inquiry into the Jan. 6 attack, to more than seven years in prison, the longest sentence to date in a case stemming from the Capitol riot. After a six-hour hearing, Judge Dabney L. Friedrich handed down a sentence at the low end of the guideline range. She noted that was still significantly longer than any given so far to any of the more than 800 people arrested in connection with the riot, many of whom have struck plea bargains. Prosecutors had asked that Mr. Reffitt be given 15 years after adding a sentencing enhancement used in cases of domestic terrorism. But Judge Friedrich rejected those terms, sentencing him to seven years and three months in prison with three years of probation, and ordering him to pay $2,000 in restitution and receive mental health treatment. A jury found Mr. Reffitt guilty on five felony charges in March, including obstructing Congress’s certification of the 2020 presidential election, carrying a .40-caliber pistol during the riot and two counts of civil disorder. Unlike others who breached the building, Mr. Reffitt did not go inside.” See also, Guy Reffitt, First January 6 defendant convicted at trial, receives sentence of 7 years. Reffitt was a recruiter for the Texas Three Percenters who was found guilty of coming armed to the riot, threatening his children, and leading a mob that broke in to the U.S. Capitol. The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu and Tom Jackman, Monday, 1 August 2022: “The first U.S. Capitol riot defendant convicted at trial was sentenced to more than seven years in prison Monday, the longest punishment handed down to date over the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on Congress. Guy Reffitt, a recruiter for the right-wing Three Percenters movement in Texas, was convicted March 8 of five felony offenses, including obstruction of Congress as it met to certify the 2020 election result, interfering with police and carrying a firearm to a riot, and threatening his teenage son, who turned him in to the FBI. Prosecutors said Reffitt led a mob while armed at the Capitol and asked a judge to sentence him to 15 years after applying a terrorism sentencing penalty. U.S. District Judge Dabney L. Friedrich condemned Reffitt’s conduct in handing down an 87-month sentence, saying in a nearly six-hour-long hearing that his views espousing political violence were ‘absurd,’ ‘delusional’ and ‘way outside of the mainstream.’ What Reffitt and others did at the Capitol ‘is the antithesis of patriotism,’ Friedrich said, adding: ‘Not only are they not patriots, they are a direct threat to our democracy, and will be punished as such.'”

U.S. kills al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in drone strike in Kabul, The Washington Post, Shane Harris Dan Lamothe, Karen DeYoung, Souad Mekhennet, and Pamela Constable, Monday, 1 August 2022: “The United States has killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda and one of the world’s most-wanted terrorists, who, alongside the group’s founder, Osama bin Laden, oversaw the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, President Biden announced Monday evening. Zawahiri was killed in a CIA drone strike in Kabul over the weekend, according to U.S. officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence. When U.S. forces withdrew from Afghanistan last August, Biden administration officials said they would retain capability for ‘over-the-horizon’ attacks from elsewhere on terrorist forces inside Afghanistan. The attack against Zawahiri is the first known counterterrorism strike there since the withdrawal. Speaking in a live television address from a balcony at the White House, Biden announced that days ago he had authorized a strike to kill Zawahiri. ‘Justice has been delivered, and this terrorist leader is no more,’ Biden said.” See also, U.S. Drone Strike in Kabul Kills Top Qaeda Leader, Ayman al-Zawahri. After the death of Osama bin Laden, al-Zawahri took over the leadership of Al Qaeda. President Biden addressed the nation on Monday night, saying, ‘Justice has been delivered, and this terrorist leader is no more.’ The New York Times, Peter Baker, Helene Cooper, Julian E. Barnes, and Eric Schmitt, Monday, 1 August 2022: “An American drone strike killed Ayman al-Zawahri, a key plotter of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks who took over as the leader of Al Qaeda after Osama bin Laden’s death, at an urban safe house in Afghanistan, President Biden announced on Monday night. The early-morning strike in the heart of downtown Kabul over the weekend capped a 21-year manhunt for an Egyptian radical who more than anyone besides Bin Laden was deemed responsible for the deadliest foreign attack on the United States in modern times and never gave up targeting Americans.”


Tuesday, 2 August 2022:


War in Ukraine: Ukraine says at least 140,000 residential buildings have been destroyed and 3.5 million Ukrainians are homeless, The Washington Post, Jennifer Hassan, Sean Fanning, Kendra Nichols, Dalton Bennett, Robyn Dixon, Claire Parker, and Reis Thebault, Tuesday, 2 August 2022: “The war in Ukraine has been measured in lives lost and money spent. But on Tuesday, Kyiv released a new figure to calculate the conflict’s terrible toll: at least 140,000 houses, apartments and other residential buildings have been destroyed since Russia invaded, leaving more than 3.5 million Ukrainians homeless, the country’s defense ministry said. Authorities are bracing for more devastation, and this week they began coordinating mandatory civilian evacuations from the eastern region of Donetsk, where some of the war’s fiercest fighting is now raging. An estimated 200,000 people must make the trip west, racing Russian advances.

  • The United States and Canada on Tuesday announced new rounds of sanctions on Russian business elites, a yacht and the majority owner of one of the world’s largest steel producers. Canada’s measures target 43 military officials and 17 entities ‘that are complicit in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s senseless bloodshed,’ including atrocities in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha in March.
  • Included on the Treasury Department’s list of sanctioned Russian nationals: Putin’s reported romantic partner, Alina Kabaeva. The 39-year-old retired Russian gymnastics star has been linked to Putin for more than a decade. The Kremlin has long denied that Putin and Kabaeva have a romantic relationship. The Biden administration signaled in April that it was considering sanctioning Kabaeva.
  • The first ship to leave Ukraine carrying grain arrived safely in Turkish waters Tuesday evening, the country’s defense ministry said. The cargo vessel, carrying more than 26,000 metric tons of corn, is en route to Lebanon under a deal brokered by the United Nations. On Tuesday, it anchored at the Black Sea entrance to the Bosporus strait, which it will pass through on its way to Lebanon. A second ship, carrying 50,000 tons of grain, will sail to Turkey.
  • Brittney Griner appeared in a Moscow court Tuesday for the first time since news broke of a possible prisoner swap between the United States and Russia to bring the WNBA player home. The countries’ top diplomats have discussed the proposal, but have not made any major breakthroughs. Griner is likely to be convicted, but her lawyers have urged a lenient sentence, arguing that she unwittingly brought a cannabis product into the country.
  • Russia’s Supreme Court designated the Ukrainian Azov Battalion as a terrorist group, Russian state media reported. The designation paves the way for Russian authorities to charge some of the fighters captured from Mariupol with terrorism, which could lead to longer prison sentences, according to the Associated Press. The regiment protested the ruling and urged countries to declare Russia a terrorist state.

Russia-Ukraine War: U.S. Hits Russian Oligarchs and Companies With New Sanctions. The latest round of economic punishments are aimed at business figures close to the Kremlin, technology institutions with ties to the military, and a woman believed to be President Vladimir V. Putin’s romantic partner. The New York Times, Tuesday, 2 August 2022:

  • The U.S. imposes a new round of sanctions on Russians, including a woman close to Putin.
  • As the fighting spreads, 140,000 residential buildings have been damaged, leaving millions homeless, Ukraine says.
  • Russia backs China’s stance on Taiwan, calling Pelosi’s visit ‘provocative.’
  • Zelensky says Ukraine’s government may allow civil partnerships for same-sex couples.
  • The first grain ship leaving Ukraine sails smoothly to Turkish waters as more prepare voyages.
  • Brittney Griner appears in a Russian court as her lawyers plead for leniency.
  • Ukrainians bracing for a difficult winter are stockpiling timber and coal.

Kansas Votes to Preserve Abortion Rights Protections in Its Constitution, The New York Times, Mitch Smith and Katie Glueck, Tuesday, 2 August 2022: “Kansas voters resoundingly decided against removing the right to abortion from the State Constitution, according to The Associated Press, a major victory for the abortion rights movement in one of America’s reliably conservative states. The defeat of the ballot referendum was the most tangible demonstration yet of a political backlash against the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that had protected abortion rights throughout the country. The decisive margin — 59 to 41 percent, with about 95 percent of the votes counted — came as a surprise, and after frenzied campaigns with both sides pouring millions into advertising and knocking on doors throughout a sweltering final campaign stretch.” See also, Here’s how abortion rights supporters won in conservative Kansas, The New York Times, Maggie Astor and Nate Cohn, published on Wednesday, 3 August 2022. See also, Kansans resoundingly reject amendment aimed at restricting abortion rights, The Washington Post, Annie Gowen and Colby Itkowitz, Tuesday, 2 August 2022: “In a major victory for abortion rights, Kansas voters on Tuesday rejected an effort to strip away their state’s abortion protections, sending a decisive message about the issue’s popularity in the first political test since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. The overwhelming support for abortion rights in a traditionally conservative state bolsters Democrats’ hopes that the historic Supreme Court ruling will animate their voters in an otherwise difficult election year for their party. The Kansas vote signals that abortion is an energizing issue that could affect turnout in the November midterms. The question presented to voters here was whether abortion protections should be stripped from the state constitution. A ‘yes’ vote would allow Kansas’s Republican-led legislature to pass future limits on abortion — or ban it altogether — in its coming session in January. A ‘no’ vote would leave those protections in place. With 90 percent of the vote counted, 60 percent of voters wanted to maintain those abortion protections compared with 40 percent who wanted to remove them from the state constitution. Turnout for Tuesday’s primary election far exceeded other contests in recent years, with around 900,000 Kansans voting, according to an Associated Press estimate. That is nearly twice as many as the 473,438 who turned out in the 2018 primary election.” See also, Tracking the States Where Abortion Is Now Banned, The New York Times, Tuesday, 2 August 2022: “Abortion is now banned in at least ten states as laws restricting the procedure take effect following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Another four states now ban abortion at six weeks of pregnancy, before most women know they are pregnant. More bans are expected in the coming weeks, and in many states the fight over abortion access is taking place in courtrooms, where advocates have sued to block enforcement of laws that restrict the procedure. The New York Times is tracking abortion laws in each state following the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which ended the constitutional right to an abortion.”

Election Victories by Trump Allies Show His Grip on the Republican Base, The New York Times, Shane Goldmacher, published on Wednesday, 3 August 2022: “Primary victories in Arizona and Michigan for allies of Donald J. Trump on Tuesday reaffirmed his continued influence over the Republican Party, as the former president has sought to cleanse the party of his critics, install loyalists in key swing-state offices and scare off potential 2024 rivals with a show of brute political force. In Arizona, Mr. Trump’s choice for Senate, Blake Masters, won a crowded primary as did his pick for secretary of state, Mark Finchem, an election denier who has publicly acknowledged his affiliation with the far-right Oath Keepers militia group. By Wednesday morning, Mr. Trump’s pick in the governor’s race, Kari Lake, had taken a narrow lead over Karrin Taylor Robson, the candidate backed by Mike Pence, his former vice president. And in a particularly symbolic victory for Mr. Trump, Rusty Bowers, the Republican speaker of the Arizona House who gained national attention after testifying against Mr. Trump at the Jan. 6 congressional hearings, lost his bid for State Senate. In Michigan, a House Republican who voted to impeach Mr. Trump, Representative Peter Meijer, was defeated by a former Trump administration official, John Gibbs, and Mr. Trump’s last-minute choice for governor, the conservative commentator Tudor Dixon, who has echoed his false claims of election fraud, easily won her primary. The former president and his allies have been particularly focused on the vote-counting and certification process in both Arizona and Michigan, seeking to oust those who stood in the way of their attempts to overturn the 2020 election. The victory of Mr. Finchem, who marched on the Capitol on Jan. 6, was a key sign of how the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement that was formed on a falsehood about 2020 has morphed into a widespread campaign to try to take control of the levers of democracy ahead of the coming elections.” See also, Five Takeaways From Tuesday’s Elections, The New York Times, Jonathan Weisman and Jazmine Ulloa, published on Wednesday, 3 August 2022. See also, Takeaways from primaries in Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Arizona, The Washington Post, Amber Phillips, published on Wednesday, 3 August 2022. See also, Several election deniers backed by Trump prevail in hotly contested primaries. The results came amid a nationwide battle over the future of the Republican Party that raged in primaries across five states Tuesday. The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, Tuesday, 2 August 2022:  “Several election deniers backed by former president Donald Trump prevailed in closely-watched primaries held Tuesday, as a nationwide battle over the future of the GOP played out in state and federal races across five states.” See also, In 4 Swing States, Republican Election Deniers Could Oversee Voting, The New York Times, Jennifer Medina, Reid J. Epstein, and Nick Corasaniti, published on Wednesday, 3 August 2022: “With Tuesday’s primary victories in Arizona and Michigan added to those in Nevada and Pennsylvania, Republicans who have disputed the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election and who could affect the outcome of the next one are on a path toward winning decisive control over how elections are run in several battleground states. Running in a year in which G.O.P. voters are energized by fierce disapproval of President Biden, these newly minted Republican nominees for secretary of state and governor have taken positions that could threaten the nation’s traditions of nonpartisan elections administration, acceptance of election results and orderly transfers of power. Each has spread falsehoods about fraud and illegitimate ballots, endorsing the failed effort to override the 2020 results and keep former President Donald J. Trump in power. Their history of anti-democratic impulses has prompted Democrats, democracy experts and even some fellow Republicans to question whether these officials would oversee fair elections and certify winners they didn’t support. There is no question that victories by these candidates in November could lead to sweeping changes to how millions of Americans vote. Several have proposed eliminating mail voting, ballot drop boxes and even the use of electronic voting machines, while empowering partisan election observers and expanding their roles.”

According to Emails Reviewed by The New York Times, Two Arizona Republicans Recruited by Allies of former President Donald Trump to Keep Him in Office After He Lost the 2020 Election Grew So Concerned About the Plan That They Told Lawyers Working on It That They Feared Their Actions Could Be Seen as Treason, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Luke Broadwater, Tuesday, 2 August 2022: “Kelli Ward, the chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, and Kelly Townsend, a state senator, were both said to have expressed concerns to Mr. Trump’s lawyers in December 2020 about participating in a plan to sign on to a slate of electors claiming that Mr. Trump had won Arizona, even though Joseph R. Biden Jr. had won the state. The scheme was part of a broader bid — one of the longest running and most complicated that Mr. Trump undertook as he sought to cling to power after losing the 2020 presidential election — to falsely manufacture a victory for him by creating fake slates of electors in battleground states who would claim that he had been the true winner. Some of the lawyers who undertook the effort doubted its legality, and the emails, which have not been previously reported, were the latest indication that other key players also knew they were on shaky legal ground, and took pains to create a rationale that could justify their actions. Kenneth Chesebro, a lawyer working for Mr. Trump’s campaign, wrote in a Dec. 11, 2020, email to other members of the legal team that Ms. Ward and Ms. Townsend had raised concerns about casting votes as part of an alternate slate of electors because there was no pending legal challenge that could flip the results of Arizona’s election. ‘Ward and Townsend are concerned it could appear treasonous for the AZ electors to vote on Monday if there is no pending court proceeding that might, eventually, lead to the electors being ratified as the legitimate ones,’ Mr. Chesebro wrote to the group, which included Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer. Mr. Chesebro wrote the word ‘treasonous’ in bold.”

First on CNN: January 6 text messages wiped from phones of key Trump Pentagon officials, CNN Politics, Tierney Sneed and Zachary Cohen, Tuesday, 2 August 2022: “The Defense Department wiped the phones of top departing DOD and Army officials at the end of the Trump administration, deleting any texts from key witnesses to events surrounding the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, according to court filings. The acknowledgment that the phones from the Pentagon officials had been wiped was first revealed in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit American Oversight brought against the Defense Department and the Army. The watchdog group is seeking January 6 records from former acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, former chief of staff Kash Patel, and former Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, among other prominent Pentagon officials — having filed initial FOIA requests just a few days after the Capitol attack. Miller, Patel and McCarthy have all been viewed as crucial witnesses for understanding government’s response to the January 6 Capitol assault and former President Donald Trump’s reaction to the breach. All three were involved in the Defense Department’s response to sending National Guard troops to the US Capitol as the riot was unfolding. There is no suggestion that the officials themselves erased the records. The government’s assertion in the filings that the officials’ text messages from that day were not preserved is the latest blow to the efforts to bring transparency to the events of January 6. It comes as the Department of Homeland Security is also under fire for the apparent loss of messages from the Secret Service that day.” See also, Phones of top Pentagon officials were wiped of January 6 messages. The Department of Defense (DOD) is the latest part of the federal government to have deleted official phone communications relevant to investigations into the events of the January 6 attack on the Capitol. The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian and Jacqueline Alemany, Tuesday, 2 August 2022: “The Pentagon erased a potential trove of material related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol from the phones of senior defense officials in the Trump administration, according to legal filings. Court records published on the website of the watchdog group American Oversight indicate that the Pentagon ‘wiped’ the government-issued phones of senior Defense Department and Army officials who were in charge of mobilizing the National Guard to respond to the Capitol attack, including then-acting defense secretary Christopher C. Miller and then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy. The erasing apparently was done in keeping with Defense Department and Army policy for departing employees, according to filings that state: ‘the text messages were not preserved.’ The admission comes as a blow not just to American Oversight’s efforts to unearth critical communications regarding the attack, but also to the House’s Jan. 6 special committee, which had asked Pentagon leaders to preserve and share all documents related to the riot. It also makes the Defense Department the latest known part of the federal government, including the Secret Service and other parts of the Department of Homeland Security, to have deleted records that could have helped investigators piece together what happened on Jan. 6 — and the degree to which President Donald Trump was responsible for delays in responding.”

Former Trump White House counsel subpoenaed by federal grand jury investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Pat Cipollone spoke to the House January 6 select committee last month. ABC News, Katherine Faulders, John Santucci, and Alexander Mallin, Tuesday, 2 August 2022: “A federal grand jury has subpoenaed former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone in its investigation into the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol and efforts to overturn the 2020 election, sources with direct knowledge of the matter told ABC News. The sources told ABC News that attorneys for Cipollone — like they did with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol — are expected to engage in negotiations around any appearance, while weighing concerns regarding potential claims of executive privilege. The move to subpoena Cipollone signals an even more dramatic escalation in the Justice Department’s investigation of the Jan. 6 attack than previously known, following appearances by senior members of former Vice President Mike Pence’s staff before the grand jury two weeks ago.” See also, Justice Department Subpoenas Pat Cipollone, Trump White House Counsel. Mr. Cipollone is the highest-ranking White House official in the lead-up to January 6 who is known to have been called to testify by federal investigators. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Luke Broadwater, Tuesday, 2 August 2022: “Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel under former President Donald J. Trump who tried to stop some of his more extreme efforts to overturn the 2020 election, has been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury investigating activities in the lead-up to the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, a person familiar with the subpoena said. It was unclear which grand jury had called Mr. Cipollone to testify as a witness. Two are known to be hearing evidence and testimony — one looking at the scheme by some of Mr. Trump’s lawyers and advisers to assemble slates of electors who would falsely claim that Mr. Trump was the actual winner of the election, and another focused on the events of Jan. 6. But Mr. Cipollone is the highest-ranking White House official working for Mr. Trump during his final days in office who is known to have been called to testify by federal investigators. He was in the West Wing as Mr. Trump’s supporters violently stormed the Capitol and the president refused repeatedly to call them off. Mr. Cipollone also attended several meetings in the run-up to the riot in which Mr. Trump and his allies discussed how they could overturn the election and keep him in office. Mr. Cipollone repeatedly pushed back on those efforts. The subpoena was reported earlier by ABC News. An aide to Mr. Cipollone did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for the Justice Department declined to comment.”

Justice Department Sues Idaho Over Its Abortion Restrictions. The Biden administration filed its first new litigation to protect access to abortion since the Supreme Court ruling in June that ended the constitutional right to terminate pregnancies. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Tuesday, 2 August 2022: “The Biden administration sued Idaho on Tuesday over a strict state abortion law set to take effect this month that the Justice Department said would inhibit emergency room doctors from performing abortions that are necessary to stabilize the health of women facing medical emergencies. The lawsuit, announced by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, is the first Biden administration has filed to protect access to abortion since the Supreme Court ruling in late June that ended the constitutional right to terminate pregnancies. Since then, Mr. Garland noted at a news conference on Tuesday, ‘there have been widespread reports of delays and denials of treatment to pregnant women experiencing emergencies.’ The lawsuit argues that a federal law, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, bars states from imposing restrictions that would prevent emergency room doctors from treating those women. ‘If a patient comes into the emergency room with a medical emergency jeopardizing the patient’s life or health, the hospital must provide the treatment necessary to stabilize that patient,’ Mr. Garland said. ‘This includes abortion when that is the necessary treatment.'” See also, Justice Department sues Idaho over abortion ban in first post-Roe litigation. Attorney General Merrick Garland has repeatedly said the Department of Justice ‘is going to use every tool we have to ensure reproductive freedom’ and was reviewing its options. NBC News, Rebecca Sahbad and Ken Dilanian, Tuesday, 2 August 2022: “The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit Tuesday arguing that Idaho’s near-total abortion ban violates federal law — the Biden administration’s first legal action to protect abortion access since the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision in late June. In making the announcement at DOJ’s headquarters, Attorney General Merrick Garland told reporters that Idaho’s ban violates a federal law that requires medical providers to offer emergency medical treatment. Under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), every hospital in the U.S. that receives Medicare funds must provide ‘necessary stabilizing treatment to patients who arrive at their emergency departments while experiencing a medical emergency,’ the 17-page complaint reads. In some circumstances, the necessary medical treatment is an abortion.” See also, Biden Justice Department sues Idaho over state’s abortion restrictions in first post-Dobbs lawsuit, CNN Politics, Hannah Rabinowitz and Veronica Stracqualursi, Tuesday, 2 August 2022: “The Biden administration filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against Idaho for restricting access to abortion to patients who need lifesaving medical treatment, the first such Justice Department challenge since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade this summer. Idaho’s near-total abortion ban, which will take effect later this month, would make it nearly impossible, according to the Justice Department, for patients who need an abortion in emergency medical situations, such as an ectopic pregnancy or other complications, from receiving potentially lifesaving treatment.”

Senate Passes Bill to Expand Benefits for Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits. Republicans who had blocked the bill, which would extend benefits to an estimated 3.5 million veterans, allowed it to pass after trying unsuccessfully to limit funding for the treatments. The New York Times, Stephanie Lai, Tuesday, 2 August 2022: “The Senate on Tuesday approved a bill to create a new entitlement program to treat veterans who may have been exposed to toxic substances from burning trash pits on U.S. military bases, sending President Biden legislation that would expand medical care eligibility to an estimated 3.5 million people. The bill was approved on a lopsided bipartisan vote, 86 to 11, only days after Republicans pulled their support in a dispute over how to pay for the benefits, imperiling the legislation and drawing days of angry protests from veterans who gathered outside the Capitol to demand action. The measure would be the biggest expansion of veterans’ benefits since the Agent Orange Act of 1991, which increased access to care for Vietnam War veterans who had been exposed to the toxic herbicide that endangered generations of Vietnamese, Laotians and Cambodians. The new legislation would effectively presume that any American service member stationed in a combat zone for the last 32 years could have been exposed to toxic substances, allocating a projected $280 billion over the next decade to treat ailments tied to those exposures and streamlining veterans’ access to such care.” See also, Republicans reverse course as Senate passes burn pits legislation after days of pressure, The Washington Post, Paul Kane, Tuesday, 2 August 2022: “The Senate overwhelmingly gave the final sign-off Tuesday on legislation designed to aid veterans fighting diseases they believe are linked to toxic exposure, particularly those who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. On an 86-11 roll call, the vote served as a political surrender by Senate Republicans, a week after they blocked consideration of the popular legislation seemingly out of political pique because Democrats clinched a party-line deal on an unrelated massive domestic policy bill that could be considered later this week. Republicans tried for several days to contend that last Wednesday’s blockage of the PACT Act had to do with a technical argument about which portion of the federal budget would fund $280 billion worth of new allocation for veterans health programs. But 25 Republicans who had recently supported the exact same bill switched their votes last Wednesday, less than an hour after Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) announced their deal on the ambitious legislation unrelated to the PACT Act. Republicans absorbed a series of political blows, led by comedian Jon Stewart and several prominent veterans groups, that, by lunchtime Tuesday, left many ready to settle the matter and vote to send the legislation quickly to President Biden’s desk.”

Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting law is upheld by the state’s Supreme Court, NPR, Hansi Lo Wang, Tuesday, 2 August 2022: “Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting law has been upheld by the state’s Supreme Court, allowing all voters in the key swing state to cast ballots by mail in November and for other future elections. In a 5-2 decision released Tuesday, the Democratic-majority court overturned a lower court’s ruling from January that found Pennsylvania’s Act 77 to be in violation of the state’s constitution. ‘We find no restriction in our Constitution on the General Assembly’s ability to create universal mail-in voting,’ Justice Christine Donohue wrote in the majority opinion.”


Wednesday, 3 August 2022:


War in Ukraine: Russia is using nuclear plant as ‘shield,’ situation ‘out of control,’ U.N. nuclear chief says, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Ellen Francis, Kareem Fahim, Sean Fanning, Claire Parker, and Sammy Westfall, Wednesday, 3 August 2022: “International officials are increasingly alarmed about the security situation at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia power station, the largest nuclear plant in Europe, with the American ambassador to Ukraine on Wednesday accusing Russian forces of using it as ‘a nuclear shield’ — firing at Ukrainians from around the facility, knowing they can’t shoot back out of fear of triggering a nuclear catastrophe. The U.N. nuclear chief said the plant is ‘completely out of control.’

  • The U.S. Senate on Wednesday gave final approval to a measure ratifying the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO, an overwhelming and bipartisan vote that endorsed the military alliance’s most significant expansion in years. ‘Putin has tried to use his war in Ukraine to divide the West,’ said Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). ‘Instead, today’s vote shows our alliance is stronger than ever.’
  • Sixteen more cargo ships are loaded with grain and ready to depart Ukrainian ports, officials said Wednesday. The ships are awaiting final approval as countries around the world struggle with skyrocketing prices of food. Earlier Wednesday, the first ship to leave Ukraine with grain since the war began passed inspection in Turkey and carried on to Lebanon. Ukraine’s prime minister also increased the nation’s 2022 grain harvest forecast from 60 million metric tons to at least 65 million.
  • The United Nations will launch a fact-finding mission into the attack at a pro-Russian detention facility that killed at least 53 Ukrainian prisoners of war, who were captured during the siege of Mariupol, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said Wednesday. The terms of the investigation are still being negotiated, he said. International monitors have reported being denied access to the site, located in the eastern town of Olenivka.
  • Russian forces near the Zaporizhzhia plant have violated ‘every principle of nuclear safety,’ Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency said in an interview with the Associated Press. He called the situation ‘extremely grave and dangerous’ and implored Russia and Ukraine to allow the IAEA to inspect the site.
  • Brittney Griner will return to a Russian court on Thursday, where she awaits a verdict on drug charges. The basketball superstar faces up to a 10-year sentence, but her legal team has argued for leniency, saying she did not intend to bring cannabis products into the country. Her case in recent weeks has graduated from the courtroom to the highest diplomatic levels, as U.S. and Russian officials haggle over a potential prisoner swap.
  • Former German chancellor and friend of Putin Gerhard Schroeder said Moscow wanted a ‘negotiated solution’ to the war. Kyiv officials quickly fired back. Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak called Schroeder a ‘voice of the Russian royal court,’ adding that a Russian cease-fire and troop withdrawal must come first. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said it is ‘simply disgusting when former leaders of powerful states with European values work for Russia, which is fighting against these values.'”

Russia-Ukraine War: Ukraine Braces for Attack as Russian Troops Mass in South. As Ukraine has pushed forward around Kherson, Russia appears to be pouring forces in. With striking Republican support, the U.S. Senate voted to approve NATO’s expansion to include Finland and Sweden. The New York Times, Wednesday, 3 August 2022:

  • Russia is preparing its forces for an attack on the southern battlefront, Ukraine says.

  • The U.S. Senate votes overwhelmingly to accept Sweden and Finland into NATO.

  • On China, the normally forceful Zelensky offers a nuanced view.

  • About a third of Ukraine’s population has been forced from their homes by Russia’s onslaught.

  • Switzerland, a leader in gold refining, bans Russian gold imports.

  • The U.N. secretary general slams oil companies for ‘grotesque greed.’

  • The first grain ship to leave Ukraine under a new deal is cleared to head to Lebanon.

Biden Issues Executive Order on Abortion Access, Calling for More Study. The order is short on specifics, directing federal officials to consider how to help those traveling out of state for abortions. The New York Times, Peter Baker, Wednesday, 3 August 2022: “Since even before the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, Democrats have pressured President Biden to take action to protect abortion rights. And he has been looking for ways to do so, convening a task force to monitor state crackdowns on the procedure, authorizing court action against states that in his view go too far and issuing guidance to pharmacists and other health care providers to reinforce existing laws on privacy and access to medicine. Then on Wednesday, after weeks of study by his administration, Mr. Biden took further action by signing an executive order to protect abortion rights — by further studying what he could do to protect abortion rights. The order directed the secretary of health and human services to ‘consider actions’ to guard access to abortion and other health services, including for women who travel over state lines, to ‘consider all appropriate actions’ to advise doctors unsure of their legal obligations and to ‘evaluate the adequacy’ of data collection about abortion. As unilateral exertions of presidential power go, this was neither particularly remarkable nor what abortion rights supporters have been hoping for. But executive orders directing members of an administration to study this or that issue have become common in recent years as a way for chief executives to project the image of bold action even in areas where their power may be limited.” See also, Biden signs executive order aimed at helping patients travel for abortions, The Washington Post, Tyler Pager, Wednesday, 3 August 2022: “President Biden signed an executive order Wednesday directing his health secretary to consider actions to assist patients traveling out of state for abortions. The order’s travel-related provision calls on Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to consider inviting states to apply for Medicaid waivers when treating patients who cross state lines for reproductive health services. The executive order, the second Biden has signed on reproductive health since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, follows the administration’s call for the Department of Health and Human Services to explore all options to support Americans who live in states that have severely limited abortion access. The president’s actions came a day after Kansas voters rejected an effort to strip away their state’s abortion protections.” See also, Biden signs new executive order on abortion rights: ‘Women’s health and lives are on the line,’ CNN Politics, Donald Judd and Kate Sullivan, Wednesday, 3 August 2022: “President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed an executive order to help ensure access to abortion in light of the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this summer to eliminate the constitutional right to the procedure. The President said the order helps women travel out of state to receive abortions, ensures health care providers comply with federal law so women aren’t delayed in getting care and advances research and data collection ‘to evaluate the impact that this reproductive health crisis is having on maternal health and other health conditions and outcomes.’ Biden spoke of the ‘chaos and uncertainty’ that has ensued in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision and said, ‘Women’s health and lives are on the line.’ ‘Emergency medical care being denied to women experiencing miscarriages, doctors uncertain about what they can do to provide for their patients, pharmacists unsure whether they can fill prescriptions that they’ve always filled before, a tragic case of rape survivors, including a 10-year-old girl forced to travel to another state for care,’ Biden said before signing the order.”

Trump Lawyer John Eastman Proposed Challenging Georgia Senate Elections in Search of Fraud. On the day of President Biden’s inauguration, Eastman suggested looking for voting irregularities in Georgia–and asked for help in getting paid the $270,000 he had billed the Trump campaign. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Luke Broadwater, Wednesday, 3 August 2022: “John Eastman, the conservative lawyer whose plan to block congressional certification of the 2020 election failed in spectacular fashion on Jan. 6, 2021, sent an email two weeks later arguing that pro-Trump forces should sue to keep searching for the supposed election fraud he acknowledged they had failed to find. On Jan. 20, 2021, hours after President Biden’s inauguration, Mr. Eastman emailed Rudolph W. Giuliani, former President Donald J. Trump’s personal lawyer, proposing that they challenge the outcome of the runoff elections in Georgia for two Senate seats that had been won on Jan. 5 by Democrats. ‘A lot of us have now staked our reputations on the claims of election fraud, and this would be a way to gather proof,” Mr. Eastman wrote in the previously undisclosed email, which also went to others, including a top Trump campaign adviser. ‘If we get proof of fraud on Jan. 5, it will likely also demonstrate the fraud on Nov. 3, thereby vindicating President Trump’s claims and serving as a strong bulwark against Senate impeachment trial.’ The email, which was reviewed by The New York Times and authenticated by people who worked on the Trump campaign at the time, is the latest evidence that even some of Mr. Trump’s most fervent supporters knew they had not proven their baseless claims of widespread voting fraud — but wanted to continue their efforts to delegitimize the outcome even after Mr. Biden had taken office. Mr. Eastman’s message also underscored that he had not taken on the work of keeping Mr. Trump in office just out of conviction: He asked for Mr. Giuliani’s help in collecting on a $270,000 invoice he had sent the Trump campaign the previous day for his legal services. The charges included $10,000 a day for eight days of work in January 2021, including the two days before Jan. 6 when Mr. Eastman and Mr. Trump, during meetings in the Oval Office, sought unsuccessfully to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to go along with the plan to block congressional certification of the Electoral College results on Jan. 6. (Mr. Eastman appears never to have been paid.)”

Over 1,000 election-worker threats reported in past year, official says. Witnesses at a Senate judiciary hearing Wednesday said the threats could deter workers who are needed to keep elections functioning. The Washington Post, Perry Stein and Tom Hamburger, Wednesday, 3 August 2022: “The Justice Department has reviewed more than 1,000 hostile threats against election workers over the past year, leading to federal charges in five cases and one conviction, Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. Polite, who heads the department’s criminal division, described an increasingly rampant problem across the country, detailing for lawmakers repeated and often graphically violent threats that have targeted election officials in Nevada, Michigan, Arizona and other states. The hearing focused on the findings of a Justice Department task force that convened last summer to examine threats against election workers, which officials say increased sharply after President Donald Trump and his supporters falsely claimed that the results of the 2020 election were tainted.”

Alex Jones, Under Questioning, Is Confronted With Evidence of Deception. The Infowars conspiracy theorist was presented with text messages from his own cellphone that his lawyers appeared to have accidentally sent to lawyers for Sandy Hook parents indicating he withheld evidence in defamation lawsuits. The New York Times, Elizabeth Williamson, Wednesday, 3 August 2022: “In a brutal cross-examination on Wednesday in the trial of the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, a lawyer for Sandy Hook parents produced text messages from Mr. Jones’s cellphone showing that he had withheld key evidence in defamation lawsuits brought by the families for lies he had spread about the 2012 school shooting. The messages were apparently sent in error to the families’ lawyers by Mr. Jones’s legal team. ‘Mr. Jones, did you know that 12 days ago, your attorneys messed up and sent me an entire digital copy of your entire cellphone with every text message you’ve sent for the past two years?’ the parents’ lawyer, Mark Bankston, asked Mr. Jones. The text messages were significant because Mr. Jones had claimed for years that he had searched his phone for texts about the Sandy Hook cases and found none. ‘You know what perjury is, right?’ Mr. Bankston asked Mr. Jones, who indicated that he did. The disclosure of the texts provided a striking capstone to the final day of testimony in a trial to determine how much Mr. Jones must pay the parents of a child who died in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., for broadcasting conspiracy theories that the shooting was a hoax and that the families were ‘actors.’ The jury began deliberating late Wednesday. The texts also revealed that Mr. Jones was warned about posting a false report about the coronavirus by a staff member calling the report ‘another Sandy Hook’ for spreading disinformation about an event. He acknowledged the staff member’s concerns, but Mr. Bankston said the false report remained live on his Infowars website on Wednesday. Mr. Jones is also under scrutiny for his role in planning events around the attack on the Capitol, so the texts could be of interest to the House Jan. 6 committee.”

Exclusive: January 6 Committee Prepares to Subpoena Alex Jones’ Texts and Emails. Jones’ lawyers in a Sandy Hook defamation case fumbled three years worth of texts and emails. The committee would like to know more about any contacts with Donald Trump’s team regarding the January 6 Capitol attack. Rolling Stone, Adam Rawnsley and Asawin Suebsaeng, Wednesday, 3 August 2022: “The January 6th House committee is preparing to request the trove of Alex Jones’s text messages and emails revealed Wednesday in a defamation lawsuit filed by victims of the Sandy Hook massacre, Rolling Stone has learned. On Wednesday, Sandy Hook victims’ attorney Mark Bankston told Jones that his attorney had mistakenly sent Bankston three years worth of the conspiracy theorist’s emails and text messages copied from his phone. Now — a source familiar with the matter and another person briefed on it tell Rolling Stone — the January 6th committee is preparing to request that data from the plaintiff attorneys in order to aid its investigation of the insurrection. These internal deliberations among the committee, which is probing former President Donald Trump’s role in causing the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot, began within minutes of the lawyer’s revelation being heard on the trial’s livestream on Wednesday afternoon.”

Democratic Senator Richard J. Durbin Seeks Inspector General Inquiry Into Pentagon’s Missing January 6 Texts. Messages from the phones of top Trump administration officials at the Defense Department who were involved in the response to the Capitol riot appear to have been erased. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Wednesday, 3 August 2022: “The No. 2 Senate Democrat on Wednesday called for an inspector general investigation into missing text messages from top Defense Department officials in the Trump administration related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said he was sending a letter to Sean O’Donnell, the Defense Department’s inspector general, seeking an investigation into the disappearance of text messages from the phones of at least five former Trump administration officials, including Christopher C. Miller, the acting defense secretary; Kash Patel, the Pentagon’s chief of staff; and Ryan D. McCarthy, the Army secretary. The officials were involved in discussions about sending the National Guard to the Capitol during the mob violence. ‘The disappearance of this critical information could jeopardize efforts to learn the full truth about Jan. 6,’ Mr. Durbin said in a statement. ‘I don’t know whether the failure to preserve these critical government texts from Jan. 6 is the result of bad faith, stunning incompetence or outdated records management policies, but we must get to the bottom of it.'”

Homeland Security watchdog Joseph V. Cuffari was previously accused of misleading investigators, report says, The Washington Post, Lisa Rein, Carol D. Leonnig, and Maria Sacchetti, Wednesday, 3 August 2022: “The Homeland Security watchdog now under scrutiny for his handling of deleted Secret Service text messages from the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol previously was accused of misleading federal investigators and running ‘afoul’ of ethics regulations while he was in charge of a Justice Department inspector general field office in Tucson, according to a newly disclosed government report. In the 2013 report from the Justice Department’s inspector general, which was never publicly released, investigators said they did ‘not believe’ Joseph V. Cuffari’s explanation for why he failed to inform his supervisors — against federal rules — about his testimony in a lawsuit brought by a federal prisoner. Separately, they found that Cuffari broke ethics rules by referring law firms to the prisoner’s family, including firms where some of his close friends worked. ‘We concluded Cuffari’s actions violated the [inspector general] manual’s prohibition on unethical conduct,’ said the report, which also noted that he may have violated guidelines by using his government email to lobby for a position as inspector general for the Arizona National Guard, among other issues. For a federal agent, failing to be truthful with investigators can lead to discipline, suspension and possible termination from federal service. An internal team recommended referring Cuffari to the inspector general’s investigations unit for a deeper review of his actions, the report said — but he quickly retired and the following month joined the administration of then-Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) as a policy adviser for public safety. When he was nominated five years later by President Donald Trump to become the Homeland Security watchdog, Cuffari told Senate lawmakers in a questionnaire that he had been fully truthful to investigators in their probe. Senators in both parties did not press him for details of the investigation before his confirmation by a voice vote in July 2019. The new details in the report, which was obtained by The Washington Post, raise questions about how thoroughly Cuffari was vetted for one of the most important oversight jobs in government, experts said, and about his suitability to lead a staff of 750 auditors and investigators with oversight of an agency with a workforce of 240,000 and a $50 billion budget.”


Thursday, 4 August 2022:


War in Ukraine: U.S. officials condemn ‘reprehensible’ sentence in Griner’s ‘sham trial,’ The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Ellen Francis, Kendra Nichols, Robyn Dixon, John Hudson, and Karina Tsui, Thursday, 4 August 2022: “Top U.S. officials denounced the harsh prison sentence WNBA superstar Brittney Griner received in a Russian court on Thursday, accusing Moscow of using the basketball player as a political pawn and urging the Kremlin to accept a prisoner exchange that would bring her home. ‘It’s unacceptable,’ President Biden said in a statement, calling for Griner’s immediate release. The case centers on a small quantity of cannabis oil that Griner says she brought into Russia by accident, and her trial has become a focal point amid rising tensions between Washington and Moscow following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby called Griner’s 9½-year sentence ‘reprehensible’ and said the proceeding was ‘a sham trial.’

  • American negotiators ‘put forth a serious proposal’ for a prisoner swap, Kirby said, and Russia ‘should’ve accepted it weeks ago when we first made it.’ He declined to discuss negotiations but said they ‘are ongoing at various levels.’
  • Griner’s defense team said that they will ‘certainly file an appeal.’ The United States has urged Russia to accept a deal to free Griner and former security consultant Paul Whelan, an American former Marine serving a 16-year sentence. Moscow has said the talks involve a prisoner exchange, but Washington has declined to say whether the U.S. pair could be exchanged for Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout.
  • In response to Griner’s conviction and sentencing, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: ‘Nothing about today’s decision changes our determination that Brittney Griner is wrongfully detained,’ and that bringing Griner home ‘is an absolute priority of mine and the Department’s.’
  • Amnesty International accused Ukrainian forces of endangering civilians by setting up military bases in schools and hospitals and launching strikes from populated areas. Amnesty said the violations ‘in no way justify Russia’s indiscriminate attacks,’ yet the report prompted fierce criticism from Ukrainian officials. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the report shifts ‘the responsibility from the aggressor to the victim.’ Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak wrote on Twitter: ‘The only thing that poses a threat to Ukrainians is Russia’s army of executioners and rapists coming to Ukraine to commit genocide.’
  • A new U.S. intelligence finding says Russia may plant fabricated evidence at the site of the attack that killed Ukrainian prisoners who were captured in Mariupol. At a Thursday briefing, Kirby said Russia may blame advanced rocket systems that the United States provided Ukraine. The United Nations said it will investigate the blast, which took place last week at a detention facility run by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, but the terms of the fact-finding mission are still under negotiation.

Russia-Ukraine War: Russia Steps Up Attacks on Ukrainian Fortifications in the East. Ukraine’s strong defensive positions have slowed the Russian Army’s advance to a crawl. Russia’s forces have also been diverting to the south to fend off a Ukrainian counteroffensive there. The New York Times, Thursday, 4 August 2022:

  • Russia intensifies its assault on Ukrainian fortifications in the east but is stretched by fighting elsewhere.

  • Brittney Griner is found guilty in Russian trial.

  • Amnesty International says Ukraine’s tactics have endangered civilian lives, drawing a fierce rebuke.

  • Three more ships carrying grain depart from Ukraine.

  • The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog warns of an ‘extremely grave’ situation at a power plant in Ukraine.

  • Viktor Orban avoids criticizing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and casts the U.S. as weak.

  • Germany’s conservative leaders push for nuclear power to stay on as the country breaks from Russian fuels.

  • Ukraine is building a case that a deadly prison camp explosion was a Russian war crime.

Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema Agrees to Climate and Tax Deal, Clearing the Way for Votes. Sinema had been her party’s last remaining holdout on the package, now slated to move forward on Saturday and pass the Senate within days. The New York Times, Emily Cochrane, Thursday, 4 August 2022: “Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Democrat of Arizona, announced on Thursday evening that she would support moving forward with her party’s climate, tax and health care package, clearing the way for a major piece of President Biden’s domestic agenda to move through the Senate in the coming days. To win Ms. Sinema’s support, Democratic leaders agreed to drop a $14 billion tax increase on some wealthy hedge fund managers and private equity executives that she had opposed, change the structure of a 15 percent minimum tax on corporations, and include drought money to benefit Arizona. Ms. Sinema said she was ready to move forward with the package, provided that the Senate’s top rules official signed off on it. Ms. Sinema had been the final holdout on the package after Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, struck a deal with top Democrats last week that resurrected a plan that had appeared to have collapsed.” See also, Arizona Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema sys she will move forward with Senate Democrats’ climate, health, and tax bill, NPR, Deepa Shivaram, Thursday, 4 August 2022: “Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema announced late Thursday she will ‘move forward’ with Democrats’ massive climate, prescription drug and spending bill, after Democrats appeared to reach an agreement about Sinema’s concerns with the legislation. Sinema’s announcement all but locks in the bill for Democrats, who need all 50 Democratic votes on board in order for the bill to pass, with a tie-breaker vote from Vice President Kamala Harris. The legislation solidifies key portions of President Biden’s domestic agenda. In a statement, Sinema said, ‘We have agreed to remove the carried interest tax provision, protect advanced manufacturing, and boost our clean energy economy in the Senate’s budget reconciliation legislation. Subject to the Parliamentarian’s review, I’ll move forward.’ In recent days, Sinema had expressed concern over the portion of the bill about narrowing the carried interest tax loophole. Democrats say the measure would have added about $14 billion in funding. In the agreement, Sinema was also able to secure an increase in drought resilience funding and a 1% excise tax on stock buybacks, according to a source familiar with the agreement.”

Federal Officials Charge Four Officers In Raid on Breonna Taylor’s Apartment. The police in Louisville, Kentucky, fatally shot Ms Taylor during a nighttime raid on her apartment. Prosecutors said officers had lied in order to obtain a search warrant for Ms. Taylor’s home. The New York Times, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Thursday, 4 August 2022: “More than two years after police officers killed Breonna Taylor during a late-night raid of her apartment in Louisville, Ky., the Justice Department announced a series of federal charges on Thursday against four of the officers involved in the operation that set off racial justice protests across the country. Federal prosecutors accused three officers of knowingly including false information in an affidavit used to justify the raid and a fourth officer of firing blindly into Ms. Taylor’s apartment from outside, sending bullets flying into a unit next door where an unsuspecting family slept. The indictments unsealed on Thursday do not charge either of the two white officers who shot Ms. Taylor, a Black 26-year-old emergency room technician whose former boyfriend the police were investigating for possibly selling drugs. But the charges are the most aggressive effort yet to hold police officers accountable in a case that has become a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement. The officer accused of firing into Ms. Taylor’s apartment, Brett Hankison, had been tried and acquitted on state charges of endangering her neighbors — the only officer to have faced charges until now. None had been charged for what prosecutors say was the use of false information to obtain the search warrant that authorized officers to burst into Ms. Taylor’s home as she slept next to her new boyfriend. The police used a battering ram to force their way through the door of the apartment shortly after midnight on March 13, 2020. Ms. Taylor’s boyfriend, who feared they were intruders, fired a shot that struck one of the officers in the leg. Three officers returned fire, spraying the apartment with more than 30 bullets, six of which struck Ms. Taylor. She was pronounced dead at the scene. ‘Breonna Taylor should be alive today,’ U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a news conference announcing the charges. He said that the officers’ false statements on the search warrant affidavit had set in motion the events that led to Ms. Taylor’s death.” See also, Four officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s killing face federal charges. They are the first federal charges in connection with Taylor’s killing, which sparked racial justice protests across the country. The Washington Post, David Nakamura, Marisa Iati, and Timothy Bella, Thursday, 4 August 2022: “The Justice Department on Thursday filed federal civil rights charges against four current and former Louisville police officers in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, amid mounting anger from civil rights activists and Taylor’s family that no one has been convicted of a crime in the 28 months since her death. Former detective Joshua Jaynes and two current police officers, detective Kelly Goodlett and Sgt. Kyle Meany, are accused of falsifying information on a search warrant before and after Taylor was fatally shot in a March 2020 raid on her apartment, sparking a wave of racial justice protests across the country that intensified with the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis that May. Former detective Brett Hankison, who fired 10 shots through Taylor’s patio door even though he could not see who he was shooting at, is charged with two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law. Hankison, the only officer to face state charges in connection with the case, was acquitted in March on three counts of wanton endangerment of Taylor’s neighbors. The charges announced Thursday are the first federal counts stemming from Taylor’s death. The Justice Department also has pursued criminal cases in other high-profile killings of Black people that sparked the 2020 demonstrations, convicting four former Minneapolis officers of violating Floyd’s civil rights and successfully prosecuting three White men on hate crimes charges related to the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery earlier that year. At Justice Department headquarters in downtown Washington on Thursday, Attorney General Merrick Garland said the accused Louisville officers not only violated Taylor’s Fourth Amendment rights but also knew the allegations listed in the indictments would lead to a dangerous situation — one that ‘resulted in Ms. Taylor’s death. Breonna Taylor should still be alive,’ Garland said.”

Alex Jones Trial: Jurors Award Sandy Hook Parents $4 Million. The jury decreed that the Infowars conspiracy theorist should pay compensatory damages to the parents of a 6-year-old killed in the elementary school shooting, which Mr. Jones claimed was a hoax. The New York Times, Elizabeth Williamson, Thursday, 4 August 2022: “A Texas jury on Thursday awarded the parents of a child killed in the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School more than $4 million in compensatory damages from the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, the first time he has been held financially liable for defaming the victims’ parents by spreading lies that they were complicit in a government plot to stage the shooting as a pretext for gun control. The decision was the first in a series of potential awards against Mr. Jones. On Friday the jury will consider evidence of Mr. Jones’s net worth to determine how much, if anything, to award the parents, Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, in punitive damages. Two other trials by Sandy Hook parents seeking damages from Mr. Jones have been scheduled for next month, though they may be delayed because his company filed for bankruptcy last week. Mr. Jones has become increasingly emblematic of how misinformation and false narratives have gained traction in American society. He has played a role in spreading some of recent history’s most pernicious conspiracy theories, such as Pizzagate — in which an Infowars video helped inspire a gunman to attack a pizzeria in Washington, D.C. — as well as coronavirus myths and ‘Stop the Steal’ falsehoods about election fraud before the Capitol assault on Jan. 6, 2021. The verdict came after several days of emotional testimony, including 90 minutes on Tuesday when Ms. Lewis personally addressed Mr. Jones, asking him why he knowingly spread lies about the death of her child, Jesse, 6, who died along with 19 other first graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. ‘Jesse was a real boy. And I am a real mom,’ Ms. Lewis told Mr. Jones. Later she admonished him: ‘Alex, I want you to hear this. We’re more polarized than ever as a country. Some of that is because of you.’ But the most explosive revelation came Wednesday, when the family’s lawyer, Mark Bankston, revealed that Mr. Jones’s legal team had mistakenly sent him the entire contents of Mr. Jones’s cellphone, including at least two years’ worth of incriminating text messages now of interest to the House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol. The committee is scrutinizing Mr. Jones’s role in planning events surrounding the insurrection, and Mr. Bankston is now seeking the judge’s approval to deliver the text records to prosecutors and the Jan. 6 committee.” See also, Alex Jones concedes Sandy Hook attack was ‘100% real,’ Associated Press, Jim Vertuno, Thursday, 4 August 2022: “For years, bombastic far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones ranted to his millions of followers that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax, that children weren’t killed and that parents were crisis actors in an elaborate ruse to force gun control. Under oath and facing a jury that could hit him with $150 million or more in damages for his false claims, Jones said Wednesday he now realizes that was irresponsible and believes that what happened in the deadliest school shooting in American history was ‘100% real.’ Jones’ public contrition came on the final day of testimony in a two-week defamation lawsuit against him and his Austin-based media company, Free Speech Systems, brought by Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, the parents of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis. Their son was a first grader who was among the 20 students and six teachers killed at the school in Newtown, Connecticut, on Dec. 14, 2012. ‘I unintentionally took part in things that did hurt these people’s feelings,’ said Jones, who also acknowledged raising conspiracy claims about other mass tragedies, from the Oklahoma City and Boston Marathon bombings to the mass shootings in Las Vegas and Parkland, Florida, ‘and I’m sorry for that.’ But an apology isn’t enough for Heslin and Lewis. They said Jones and the media empire he controls and used to spread his false assertions must be held accountable. ‘Alex started this fight,’ Heslin said, ‘and I’ll finish this fight.’ The parents testified Tuesday about a decade of trauma, inflicted first by the murder of their son and what followed: gun shots fired at a home, online and telephone threats, and harassment on the street by strangers, all fueled by Jones and his conspiracy theory spread to his followers via his website Infowars. A forensic psychiatrist testified the parents suffer from ‘complex post-traumatic stress disorder’ inflicted by ongoing trauma, similar to what might be experienced by a soldier at war or a child abuse victim. At one point in her testimony, Lewis looked directly at Jones, who was sitting barely 10 feet away. ‘It seems so incredible to me that we have to do this — that we have to implore you, to punish you — to get you to stop lying,’ Lewis told Jones. Courts in Texas and Connecticut have already found Jones liable for defamation for his portrayal of the Sandy Hook massacre as a hoax involving actors aimed at increasing gun control.”

An attorney for the parents of a child killed in the Sandy Hook elementary School massacre who are suing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones over his false claims about the attack said Thursday that the U.S. House January 6 committee has requested two years’ worth of records from Jones’ phone, Associated Press, Jim Vertuno, Thursday, 4 August 2022: “Attorney Mark Bankston told the Texas court where Jones is on trial to determine how much he owes for defaming the parents. [He also said] that the committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol has requested the digital records. He later said outside of court that he plans to comply with the request. A spokesperson for the committee declined to comment Thursday. As Jones testified at the trial on Wednesday, Bankston revealed that the Infowars host’s lead attorney, Andino Reynal, had mistakenly sent him the last two years’ worth of texts from Jones’ cellphone.” See also, Lawyer Says He Intends to Give Alex Jones’s Texts to House January 6 Committee, The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Maggie Haberman, Thursday, 4 August 2022: “The lawyer for plaintiffs who are suing the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones said Thursday that he plans to turn over two years of text messages from Mr. Jones’s phone to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The lawyer, Mark Bankston, who represents Sandy Hook parents suing Mr. Jones in defamation lawsuits for lies he had spread about the 2012 school shooting, said in court in Austin, Texas, that he planned to turn over the texts unless a judge instructed him not to do so.”

Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis suspends Tampa prosecutor who took stance against criminalizing abortion providers, CNN Politics, Steve Contorno, Thursday, 4 August 2022: “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday suspended Tampa’s elected prosecutor, Andrew Warren, for pledging not to use his office to go after people who seek and provide abortions or on doctors that provide gender affirming care to transgender people. In his executive order, DeSantis accused Warren of ‘neglect of duty’ and ‘incompetence’ as the state attorney of Hillsborough County. ‘To take a position that you have veto powers over the laws of the state is untenable,’ DeSantis said at a press conference in Tampa surrounded by law enforcement. Warren responded hours later, accusing DeSantis of ‘trying to overthrow democracy here in Hillsborough County.'” See also, Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis Suspends Tampa Prosecutor Who Vowed Not to Criminalize Abortion. The stance of Andrew H. Warren, the elected state attorney of Hillsborough County, was reflected by several other prosecutors across the country. The New York Times, Patricia Mazzei, Thursday, 4 August 2022: “Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida suspended the top prosecutor in Tampa on Thursday, accusing him of incompetence and neglect of duty for vowing not to prosecute those who seek or provide abortions. In a startling announcement, Mr. DeSantis, a Republican, suspended from office Andrew H. Warren, the elected state attorney of Hillsborough County. In June, Mr. Warren, a Democrat, was among 90 elected prosecutors across the country who vowed not to prosecute those who seek or provide abortions after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Florida imposed a 15-week abortion ban in April. The decision immediately raised concerns among Democrats, including Mr. Warren, who say that the governor has become increasingly heavy-handed.”

Exclusive: Trump lawyers in talks with Justice Department about January 6 criminal investigation, CNN Politics, Katelyn Polantz, Kara Scannell, Gabby Orr, and Kristen Holmes, Thursday, 4 August 2022: “Former President Donald Trump’s legal team is in direct communication with Justice Department officials, the first sign of talks between the two sides as the criminal probe into January 6, 2021, accelerates, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN. The talks revolve around whether Trump would be able to shield conversations he had while he was president from federal investigators. In recent weeks, investigators have moved aggressively into Trump’s orbit, subpoenaing top former White House officials, focusing on efforts to overturn the 2020 election and executing searches of lawyers who sought to aid those efforts. The Trump team’s discussions are with the US attorney’s office in Washington, DC, which is in charge of the investigation, and its top January 6 prosecutor Thomas Windom, the sources said. The conversations have not been previously reported. At this stage, the conversations are focused mostly on whether any communications that witnesses from the Trump West Wing had with the former President can be kept from a federal criminal grand jury under Trump’s claims of executive privilege, the people said.”

The Administration of Former President Donald Trump Directed the One-Week, Follow-Up Background Investigation of Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, According to Sworn Testimony From U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray, Snopes, Jordan Liles, Thursday, 4 August 2022: “At the time of the probe, Kavanaugh was in the process of being nominated to be an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. The brief background investigation was conducted after allegations of sexual misconduct and sexual assault were brought by Christine Blasey Ford, who testified at the time before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Kavanaugh has also faced other allegations. In testimony given in front of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Aug. 4, 2022, Wray answered a series of questions about the Kavanaugh investigation that came from U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. During the hearing, which was being held for the purpose of oversight of the FBI, Wray said that Trump‘s White House directed the investigation into Kavanaugh’s past. He also said that this practice was consistent with the way such investigations were held under previous Democratic and Republican administrations.” See also, 4,500 Tips About Brett Kavanaugh Sexual Assault Were Punted to Trump White House, FBI Director Christopher Wray Admits. Wray confirmed on Thursday that the FBI sent thousands of tips to Trump’s team, who then decided whom the FBI could interview in their investigation. Jezebel, Laura Bassett, Thursday, 4 August 2022. See also, FBI Director Christopher Wray Says the Trump White House Guided Investigation into Brett Kavanaugh’s Background, Esquire, Charles P. Pierce, Thursday, 4 August 2022. See also, The FBI Confirms Its Brett Kavanaugh Investigation Was a Total Sham, Vanity Fair, Bess Levin, published on Friday, 5 August 2022.

Revealed: How climate breakdown is supercharging toll of extreme weather. Guardian analysis shows human-caused global heating is driving more frequent and deadly disasters across the planet, in the most comprehensive compilation to date. The Guardian, Damian Carrington, Thursday, 4 August 2022: “The devastating intensification of extreme weather is laid bare today in a Guardian analysis that shows how people across the world are losing their lives and livelihoods due to more deadly and more frequent heatwaves, floods, wildfires and droughts brought by the climate crisis. The analysis of hundreds of scientific studies – the most comprehensive compilation to date – demonstrates beyond any doubt how humanity’s vast carbon emissions are forcing the climate to disastrous new extremes. At least a dozen of the most serious events, from killer heatwaves to broiling seas, would have been all but impossible without human-caused global heating, the analysis found. Most worryingly, all this is happening with a rise of just 1C in the planet’s average temperature. The role of global heating in supercharging extreme weather is happening at ‘astonishing speed,’ scientists say. ‘The world is changing fast and it’s already hurting us – that is the blunt summary,’ said Prof Maarten van Aalst, the director of the International Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre. The world is currently on track for a rise of at least 2.5C. Based on what we have experienced so far, that would deliver death and destruction far greater than already suffered. The studies analysed used a scientific technique called attribution to determine how much worse, or more likely, an extreme weather event was made by human-caused global heating. The technique’s power is in drawing a direct link between the disasters that people suffer through and the often abstract increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases caused by the mass burning of fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution. It brings the scientific reality of the climate crisis crashing home.”

The Distinct Shame of Senate Republicans. Think about what Republican senators must have known when they voted not to convict Trump during the second impeachment. The Bulwark, A.B. Stoddard, Thursday, 4 August 2022: “Watching the House Select Committee on January 6th hearings I was struck by one overriding question. As the various members of the White House staff and counsel’s office testified to witnessing a deranged president trying to overturn an election by sending a mob he knew was armed to sack the Capitol and harm his vice president—how much of this did Senate Republicans know when they voted to acquit Trump in his second impeachment on February 13, 2021? Probably most of it. Maybe even all of it. And what have they rushed to condemn since this all became public? None of it.”


Friday, 5 August  2022:


War in Ukraine: Three grain ships set sail, and Russia mulls Griner prisoner swap, The Washington Post, Ellen Francis, Grace Moon, Robyn Dixon, Karina Tsui, and Meryl Kornfield, Friday, 5 August 2022: “Three ships laden with grain left Ukraine’s Black Sea ports Friday — a sign of incremental progress in the wake of a deal between Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Nations to restore grain shipments amid a global food crisis. In Moscow, WNBA superstar Brittney Griner’s lawyers pledged to appeal a 9½-year prison sentence, as U.S. officials urge Moscow to accept an offer to free Griner.

  • The deal to lift a Russian blockade on millions of tons of Ukrainian grain is moving ahead. A Panama-flagged vessel left Odessa with corn for Ireland, a Malta-flagged ship departed the port of Chornomorsk for Britain, and a Turkey-flagged vessel will also export corn from Chornomorsk, according to Ankara — which helped broker the deal with the United Nations.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the Russian resort city of Sochi on Friday, their second meeting in 2½ weeks. A Russian proposal intercepted ahead of the meeting — and shared with The Washington Post by Ukrainian intelligence — indicated that Russia hoped Turkey would agree to new channels to help avoid restrictions on its banking, energy and industrial sectors.
  • In a joint statement, the leaders said they had agreed to increase the volume of trade between their countries, and reaffirmed the Ukraine grain deal. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak told Russian state media outlets that the leaders had agreed to ‘boost cooperation’ across transportation, agriculture, construction and energy, but specifics were not forthcoming.
  • Ukraine’s Amnesty International director Oksana Pokalchuk said she resigned Friday after her organization accused Ukrainian forces of endangering civilians by setting up military bases and launching strikes from populated areas, such as near schools and hospitals. Amnesty said the violations ‘in no way justify Russia’s indiscriminate attacks,’ yet the report published Thursday prompted fierce criticism from Ukrainian officials.

Russia-Ukraine War: Blasts Reported at Nuclear Plant Seized by Russia. Artillery duels around a huge power plant on the Dnipro river raised the risk of an accident, as each side blamed the other for the explosions on Friday. The top Russian and U.S. diplomats said they were ready to discuss a deal to secure the release of the American basketball star Brittney Griner. The New York Times, Friday, 5 August 2022:

  • Russia and Ukraine trade accusations of terrorism after blasts at a giant nuclear complex.

  • Washington and Moscow are ready to negotiate over Griner, officials say.

  • A U.S. diplomat warns African countries against buying anything from Russia except grain and fertilizer.

  • An appeal in Griner’s case could take months, her lawyer says.

  • Mykolaiv officials take a drastic decision to shut down the city to hunt for collaborators.

  • Three more ships carrying grain depart from Ukraine.

  • Brittney Griner’s team plays while struggling with her conviction.

How Republicans Are ‘Weaponizing’ Public Office Against Climate Action. A Times investigation revealed a coordinated effort by state treasurers to use government muscle and public funds to punish companies trying to reduce greenhouse gasses. The New York Times, David Gelles, Friday, 5 August 2022: “Nearly two dozen Republican state treasurers around the country are working to thwart climate action on state and federal levels, fighting regulations that would make clear the economic risks posed by a warming world, lobbying against climate-minded nominees to key federal posts and using the tax dollars they control to punish companies that want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Over the past year, treasurers in nearly half the United States have been coordinating tactics and talking points, meeting in private and cheering each other in public as part of a well-funded campaign to protect the fossil fuel companies that bolster their local economies. Last week, Riley Moore, the treasurer of West Virginia, announced that several major banks — including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo — would be barred from government contracts with his state because they are reducing their investments in coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel. Mr. Moore and the treasurers of Louisiana and Arkansas have pulled more than $700 million out of BlackRock, the world’s largest investment manager, over objections that the firm is too focused on environmental issues. At the same time, the treasurers of Utah and Idaho are pressuring the private sector to drop climate action and other causes they label as ‘woke.’ And treasurers from Pennsylvania, Arizona and Oklahoma joined a larger campaign to thwart the nominations of federal regulators who wanted to require that banks, funds and companies disclose the financial risks posed by a warming planet. At the nexus of these efforts is the State Financial Officers Foundation, a little-known nonprofit organization based in Shawnee, Kan., that once focused on cybersecurity, borrowing costs and managing debt loads, among other routine issues.”

Jury Orders Alex Jones to Pay $45.2 Million in Sandy Hook Case. The New York Times, Elizabeth Williamson, Tiffany Hsu, and Michael Levenson, Friday, 5 August 2022: “A Texas jury ordered the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on Friday to pay the parents of a child killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting $45.2 million in punitive damages for spreading the lie that they helped stage the massacre. The jury announced its decision a day after awarding the parents more than $4 million in compensatory damages and after testimony on Friday that Mr. Jones and Free Speech Systems, the parent company of his misinformation-peddling media outlet, Infowars, were worth $135 million to $270 million. Mr. Jones was found liable last year for defaming the victims’ families while spreading bogus theories that the shooting had been part of a government plot to confiscate Americans’ firearms and that the victims’ families had been complicit in the scheme. This week’s trial was the first of three to determine how much Mr. Jones owes the families for the suffering he has caused, and the size of the award is sure to be contested. Jurors deliberated for about four hours before reaching Friday’s verdict. Compensatory damages are based on proven harm, loss or injury, and are often calculated based on the fair market value of damaged property, lost wages and expenses, according to Cornell Law School. Punitive damages are intended to punish especially harmful behavior and tend to be granted at the court’s discretion, and are sometimes many multiples of a compensatory award.”

Indiana Governor Signs First Post-Roe Abortion Ban, With Limited Exceptions. The law passed despite dividing Republicans. Some of them said the measure was too restrictive; others objected to limited exceptions for rape and incest. The New York Times, Mitch Smith and Julie Bosman, Friday, 5 August 2022: “Indiana lawmakers passed and the governor signed a near-total ban on abortion on Friday, overcoming division among Republicans and protests from Democrats to become the first state to draw up and approve sweeping new limits on the procedure since Roe v. Wade was struck down in June. The law’s passage came just three days after voters in Kansas, another conservative Midwestern state, overwhelmingly rejected an amendment that would have stripped abortion rights protections from their State Constitution, a result seen nationally as a sign of unease with abortion bans. And it came despite some Indiana Republicans opposing the measure for going too far, and others voting no because of its exceptions.” See also, Indiana passes near-total abortion ban, the first state to do so post-Roe, The Washington Post, Amy Cheng, published on Saturday, 6 August 2022: “Indiana became the first state in the country after the fall of Roe v. Wade to pass sweeping limits on abortion access, after Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) signed into law Friday a bill that constitutes a near-total ban 0n the procedure. The Republican-dominated state Senate approved the legislation 28-19 on Friday in a vote that came just hours after it passed Indiana’s lower chamber. The bill, which will go into effect Sept. 15, allows abortion only in cases of rape, incest, lethal fetal abnormality or when the procedure is necessary to prevent severe health risks or death. Supporters of abortion rights crowded into the corridors of the Indiana Statehouse throughout the day as lawmakers cast their votes, some holding signs that read ‘You can only ban safe abortions’ and ‘Abortion is health care.’ Moments after the vote, some protesters hugged and others stood stunned before the crowd broke out into chants of ‘We will not stop.'”


Saturday, 6 August 2022:


War in Ukraine: Russia and Ukraine accuse each other of shelling Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, The Washington Post, Hari Raj, Adela Suliman, and Praveena Somasundaram, Saturday, 6 August 2022: “Russia and Ukraine are accusing one another of shelling Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, the Zaporizhzhia plant, triggering fears of an international nuclear crisis. In his nightly address Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia carried out the shelling, calling it ‘one of the most dangerous crimes’ against all Europeans. Russia’s Defense Ministry has said Ukrainian nationalists attacked the nuclear plant. Ships laden with grain continue to leave Ukraine as a deal with Russia holds and fighting continues to shift toward southeast Ukraine along the Dnieper River. Here’s the latest on the war and its impact across the globe.

  • Russia and Ukraine are accusing each other of shelling the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, located in southeast Ukraine. It was seized by Russian forces in March and its closeness to front-line fighting is triggering international fears of a nuclear crisis. The U.N. nuclear watchdog has appealed for access to the plant and called the situation ‘extremely grave and dangerous.’
  • There has been no damage to reactors and no radiological release from the attack, Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said in a statement Saturday. He repeated his call to send an IAEA mission of experts to help secure the nuclear plant. ‘But this will need the cooperation, understanding and facilitation from both Ukraine and Russia,’ Grossi’s statement said.
  • The deal to lift a Russian blockade on millions of tons of Ukrainian grain appears to be working. Zelensky said about 60,000 tons of corn are on board a vessel en route to consumers in Turkey, Britain and Ireland, and will ease a food crisis in parts of Africa and Asia. Ukraine is predicting it can ship 3 to 5 million tons of grain a month if the agreement with Russia holds.
  • Ukraine’s security services, the SBU, detained two men who it says were spying for Russia in the Mykolaiv region, according to a Telegram message from the agency posted Saturday. The SBU said the men helped Russia launch targeted strikes and destroy shipbuilding infrastructure.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the Russian resort city of Sochi on Friday, their second meeting in 2½ weeks. In a joint statement, the leaders said they had agreed to increase the volume of trade between their countries, and reaffirmed the Ukraine grain deal.

Russia-Ukraine War: The Children of War. Young lives cut short. Families separated. Futures clouded by pain and loss. The trauma of war hangs over a generation of Ukrainian children. The New York Times, Saturday, 6 August 2022:

  • In Ukraine, young lives are shaped, or ended, by the ravages of war.
  • ‘I’ve already gotten used to it’: The girl on the front line.
  • On a basement wall, drawings show the spirit, and grief, of imprisoned children.
  • His son was dead. She stayed and held his hand.
  • Gutted schools, dislocated families and fearful parents: Education is another casualty of war.
  • The troops who kill and die are little more than children, as in every war.
  • A time for war, a time for play: Ukraine’s children bear the burdens of the conflict.
  • A game called checkpoint: Children mimic what they see.
  • New mothers worry for their children’s futures.

State Legislatures Are Torching Democracy. Even in moderate places like Ohio, gerrymandering has let unchecked Republicans pass extremist laws that could never make it through Congress. The New Yorker, Jane Mayer, Saturday, 6 August 2022: “As the Supreme Court anticipated when it overturned Roe v. Wade, the battle over abortion rights is now being waged state by state. Nowhere is the fight more intense than in Ohio, which has long been considered a national bellwether. The state helped secure the Presidential victories of Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, then went for Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020. Its residents tend to be politically moderate, and polls consistently show that a majority of Ohio voters support legal access to abortion, particularly for victims of rape and incest. Yet, as the recent ordeal of a pregnant ten-year-old rape victim has illustrated, Ohio’s state legislature has become radically out of synch with its constituents. In June, the state’s General Assembly instituted an abortion ban so extreme that the girl was forced to travel to Indiana to terminate her pregnancy. In early July, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, the Indiana obstetrician who treated the child, told me that she had a message for Ohio’s legislature: ‘This is your fault!’ Longtime Ohio politicians have been shocked by the state’s transformation into a center of extremist legislation, not just on abortion but on such divisive issues as guns and transgender rights. Ted Strickland, a Democrat who served as governor between 2007 and 2011, told me, ‘The legislature is as barbaric, primitive, and Neanderthal as any in the country. It’s really troubling.’ When he was governor, he recalled, the two parties worked reasonably well together, but politics in Ohio ‘has changed.’ The story is similar in several other states with reputations for being moderate, such as Wisconsin and Pennsylvania: their legislatures have also begun proposing laws so far to the right that they could never be passed in the U.S. Congress.”

Republican Lawmakers Lobby Oil Industry to Denounce Tax-and-Climate Bill. Democrats’ plan includes measures lauded by some in the oil-and-gas industry, frustrating Republicans. The Wall Street Journal, Timothy Puko, Sunday, 6 August 2022: “Congressional Republicans are ramping up pressure on the oil-and-gas industry to take an aggressive stance against the Democrats’ tax-and-climate bill, frustrated that the industry hasn’t done more to help Republicans defeat a cornerstone of President Biden’s agenda. Minority leaders in both chambers are coordinating what one aide called ‘a full-court press,’ cajoling lobbyists in Washington and energy executives around the country, according to aides and lobbyists familiar with the outreach.”


Sunday, 7 August 2022:


War in Ukraine: Ukrainian official says radiation levels remain normal after shelling at nuclear plant, The Washington Post, Paulina Villegas, Jennifer Hassan, Praveena Somasundaram, and Reis Thebault, Sunday, 7 August 2022: “Radiation levels at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant are still within normal range, a Ukrainian official said Sunday, after Kyiv accused Russia of carrying out artillery strikes on the grounds of the facility, damaging monitoring sensors and heightening concerns of a ‘nuclear disaster.’ The situation remains ‘tense,’ the official said. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky demanded a forceful reaction from international organizations. ‘There is no such nation in the world that can feel safe when a terrorist state fires at a nuclear plant,’ he said during his evening address.

  • Power unit No. 4 was disconnected from the grid after Saturday’s shelling attack due to ‘partial destruction’ of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant’s infrastructure, regional governor Oleksandr Starukh said Sunday. ‘Everything is more or less under control,’ he told government television. ‘Our country has lived through Chernobyl,’ he said. ‘And, understandably, every person and the country has a special attention to these issues.’
  • The Russian shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant injured one person in Marhanets, a town across the Dnieper River, and damaged 50 houses, the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office said. Barns, cars, a public transportation stop, a church, a gas pipeline and power lines were also damaged.
  • Ukraine and Russia on Sunday traded blame for the latest attack at the plant. Ukraine’s state nuclear power company, Energoatom, said that radiation-monitoring sensors were damaged and that at least one worker was injured. ‘This time a nuclear catastrophe was miraculously avoided, but miracles cannot last forever,’ the company said.
  • Energoatom said the Russian shelling was aimed at 174 containers of spent nuclear fuel stored in the open air at the Zaporizhzhia plant. Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has underscored that Russian strikes on the plant could have ‘catastrophic consequences,’ including a ‘nuclear disaster.’
  • Zelensky, seeking a united response from Europe and other allies, portrayed the strike on the plant as a threat to the continent. ‘God forbid, if something irreparable happens, no one will stop the wind that will spread the radioactive contamination,’ he said in his address.
  • The head of Amnesty International in Ukraine resigned after a report from the human rights organization accused Ukraine’s military of repeatedly endangering civilians by operating in heavily populated areas. Zelensky and other officials swiftly condemned the investigation, arguing that it unfairly blames the victims in Russia’s war and is likely to fuel Russian propaganda.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken began his three-country tour of Africa on Sunday, seeking to shore up support on the continent for Ukraine and its allies after a recent Russian charm offensive there. The West is battling Moscow for influence across Africa and the diplomatic maneuvering is another sign that Russia’s war in Ukraine is ‘taking the world back to Cold War postures and risking making Africa a proxy battleground again,’ the Institute for Security Studies noted recently.

Russia-Ukraine War: Ukraine and Russia Trade Blame After Rockets Hit Near Nuclear Site. A strike landed near spent-fuel storage at the Zaphorzhzhia power plant, which Russian forces have held since March. Moscow blamed Ukraine, while Ukrainian intelligence says it was a Russian move to destroy power infrastructure. The New York Times, Sunday, 7 August 2022:

  • Rockets strike near spent-fuel storage at an occupied nuclear site. Ukraine and Russia blame each other.

  • As Blinken visits Africa, the revival of Cold War-style politics is in full swing.

  • An Amnesty International assessment that Ukraine ‘put civilians in harm’s way’ stirs outrage.

  • Ukraine’s farmers confront the ravages of war.

  • When home is a ferry ship: An influx from Ukraine strains Europe.

  • Four more grain ships leave Ukrainian ports.

  • Biden faces conflicting demands after the Brittney Griner verdict.

Senate Passes Climate, Health, and Tax Bill, With All Republicans Opposed, The New York Times, Emily Cochrane, Sunday, 7 August 2022: “The Senate passed legislation on Sunday that would make the most significant federal investment in history to counter climate change and lower the cost of prescription drugs, as Democrats banded together to push through major pieces of President Biden’s domestic agenda over unified Republican opposition. The measure, large elements of which appeared dead just weeks ago amid Democratic divisions, would inject more than $370 billion into climate and energy programs. Altogether, the bill could allow the United States to cut greenhouse gas emissions about 40 percent below 2005 levels by the end of the decade. It would achieve Democrats’ longstanding goal of slashing prescription drug costs by allowing Medicare for the first time to negotiate the prices of medicines directly and capping the amount that recipients pay out of pocket for drugs each year at $2,000. The measure also would extend larger premium subsidies for health coverage for low- and middle-income people under the Affordable Care Act for three years. And it would be paid for by substantial tax increases, mostly on large corporations, including establishing a 15 percent corporate minimum tax and imposing a new tax on company stock buybacks. Initially pitched as ‘Build Back Better,’ a multi-trillion-dollar, cradle-to-grave social safety net plan on the order of the Great Society, Democrats scaled back the legislation in recent months and rebranded it as the Inflation Reduction Act. It was projected to lower the federal deficit by as much as $300 billion over a decade, though it remained to be seen whether it would counter inflation or lower costs for Americans in the long term.” See also, What’s in the Climate, Tax, and Health Care Package, The New York Times, Emily Cochrane and Lisa Friedman, Sunday, 7 August 2022. See also, Democrats passed a major climate, health, and tax bill. Here’s what’s in it. NPR, Deepa Shivaram, Sunday, 7 August 2022. See also, Senate approves Inflation Reduction Act, clinching long-delayed health and climate bill. The party-line vote marks a major achievement for Democrats, after more than a year of wrangling over a centerpiece of President Biden’s economic agenda. It now awaits a vote in the House. The Washington Post, Tony Romm, Sunday, 7 August 2022: “The Senate on Sunday approved a sweeping package to combat climate change, lower health-care costs, raise taxes on some billion-dollar corporations and reduce the federal deficit, as Democrats overcame months of political infighting to deliver the centerpiece to President Biden’s long-stalled economic agenda. The party-line vote was a milestone in a tumultuous journey that began last year when Democrats took control of Congress and the White House with a promise to bring financial relief to ordinary Americans. With a tiebreaking vote from Vice President Harris, the 50-50 Senate sent the bill to the House, which aims to approve it and send it to the White House for Biden’s signature later this week. Dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, the package would authorize the biggest burst of spending in U.S. history to tackle global warming — about $370 billion to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below their 2005 levels by the end of this decade. The proposal also would make good on Democrats’ years-old pledge to reduce prescription drug costs for the elderly. In part by tweaking federal tax laws — chiefly to target tax cheats and some billion-dollar companies that pay nothing to the government — the bill is expected to raise enough money to cover its new spending. Democrats say the measure is also expected to generate an additional $300 billion for reducing projected budget deficits over the next 10 years, though they have not yet furnished a final fiscal analysis of their legislation.”

Senator Joe Manchin’s Donors Include Pipeline Giants That Win in His Climate Deal. The controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline is one of several projects the senator has negotiated major concessions for, benefiting his financial supporters. The New York Times, Hiroko Tabuchi, Sunday, 7 August 2022: “After years of spirited opposition from environmental activists, the Mountain Valley Pipeline — a 304-mile gas pipeline cutting through the Appalachian Mountains — was behind schedule, over budget and beset with lawsuits. As recently as February, one of its developers, NextEra Energy, warned that the many legal and regulatory obstacles meant there was ‘a very low probability of pipeline completion.’ Then came Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and his hold on the Democrats’ climate agenda. Mr. Manchin’s recent surprise agreement to back the Biden administration’s historic climate legislation came about in part because the senator was promised something in return: not only support for the pipeline in his home state, but also expedited approval for pipelines and other infrastructure nationwide, as part of a wider set of concessions to fossil fuels. It was a big win for a pipeline industry that, in recent years, has quietly become one of Mr. Manchin’s biggest financial supporters.”


Monday, 8 August 2022:


F.B.I Searches Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Residence in Florida. The search appears to be focused on materials Trump took from the White House. The former president called the search an ‘assault’ and complained that the authorities had broken into a safe. The news appeared to come as a surprise to top aides at the White House. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Ben Protess, and Adam Goldman, Monday, 8 August 2022: “Former President Donald J. Trump said on Monday that the F.B.I. had searched his Palm Beach, Fla., home and had broken open a safe — an account signaling a major escalation in the various investigations into the final stages of his presidency. The search, according to multiple people familiar with the investigation, appeared to be focused on material that Mr. Trump had brought with him to Mar-a-Lago, his private club and residence, when he left the White House. Those boxes contained many pages of classified documents, according to a person familiar with their contents. Mr. Trump delayed returning 15 boxes of material requested by officials with the National Archives for many months, only doing so when there became a threat of action to retrieve them. The case was referred to the Justice Department by the archives early this year. The search marked the latest remarkable turn in the long-running investigations into Mr. Trump’s actions before, during and after his presidency — and even as he weighs announcing another candidacy for the White House. It came as the Justice Department has stepped up its separate inquiry into Mr. Trump’s efforts to remain in office after his defeat at the polls in the 2020 election and as the former president also faces an accelerating criminal inquiry in Georgia and civil actions in New York. Mr. Trump has long cast the F.B.I. as a tool of Democrats who have been out to get him, and the search set off a furious reaction among his supporters in the Republican Party and on the far right of American politics. Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the Republican leader in the House, suggested that he intended to investigate Attorney General Merrick B. Garland if Republicans took control of the House in November. The F.B.I. would have needed to convince a judge that it had probable cause that a crime had been committed, and that agents might find evidence at Mar-a-Lago, to get a search warrant. Proceeding with a search on a former president’s home would almost surely have required sign-off from top officials at the bureau and the Justice Department. The search, however, does not mean prosecutors have determined that Mr. Trump committed a crime. An F.B.I. representative declined to comment, as did Justice Department officials. The F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, was appointed by Mr. Trump.” See also, Republican officials reacted with fury to news of the search, The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Monday, 8 August 2022: “Top Republicans and prominent conservatives reacted with outrage on Monday night to the news that the F.B.I. had searched the private residence of former President Donald J. Trump, with some suggesting that federal agents should be arrested and others hinting that the court-approved law-enforcement action against Mr. Trump was pushing the country toward political chaos…. The attacks on the search of Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s beachfront domain in southern Florida, continued a longstanding reflex among his supporters to assail federal law-enforcement officials as biased and corrupt. Mr. Trump and his allies have relentlessly disparaged the F.B.I. for taking the lead in the investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. And more recently, the former president’s allies in Congress and the media have sought to deflect blame from him by baselessly depicting the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol as a ‘false flag’ operation run by the bureau and abetted by the Justice Department.” See also, If Trump broke a law on the removal of official records, would he be barred from future office? The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Monday, 8 August 2022. See also, FBI searches Trump safe at Mar-a-Lago for possible classified documents. The search was court-authorized and related to long-running investigation, person familiar with the probe said. The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Mariana Alfaro, Josh Dawsey, and Jacqueline Alemany, Monday, 8 August 2022: “Former president Donald Trump said Monday that the FBI had raided his Mar-a-Lago Club and searched his safe — activity related to an investigation into the potential mishandling of classified documents, according to two people familiar with the probe. One of the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss its details, said agents were conducting a court-authorized search as part of a long-running investigation of whether documents — some of them top-secret — were taken to the former president’s private golf club and residence instead of sent to the National Archives when Trump left office. That could be a violation of the Presidential Records Act, which requires the preservation of memos, letters, notes, emails, faxes and other written communications related to a president’s official duties. Searching a former president’s property to look for possible evidence of a crime is highly unusual and would require approval at the top levels of the Justice Department. It represents a historic moment in Trump’s tortured relationship with the Justice Department, both in and out of the White House. A department spokeswoman declined to comment when asked whether Attorney General Merrick Garland approved the search. The FBI also declined to comment. In a lengthy statement in which he equated the raid to Watergate, Trump accused the FBI of ‘even’ breaking into his safe. He provided no further details on what federal agents were looking for, or what else happened during their visit. ‘My beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,’ Trump said in a statement released through his political action committee, Save America. Trump said the raid was ‘unannounced’ and claimed it was not ‘necessary or appropriate.’ The former president, without evidence, accused Democrats of weaponizing the ‘justice system’ against him. Many Republican lawmakers and political candidates also reacted with outrage Monday night, declaring the search of Mar-a-Lago a politically motivated attack intended to impede Trump’s chances if he runs for president again. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who is poised to possibly become speaker should Republicans win the majority in November’s midterm elections, vowed to launch oversight investigations into the Justice Department. ‘The Department of Justice has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization,’ he said on Twitter. ‘Attorney General Garland, preserve your documents and clear your calendar.'” See also, Top Republicans echo Trump’s evidence-free claims to discredit FBI search. Their quick defense of Trump and combative posture underlined the former president’s status as a standard-bearer in the party, even as he was tainted anew by another investigation. The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, David Weigel, and Josh Dawsey, Monday, 8 August 2022: “Top Republicans on Monday rallied quickly behind Donald Trump’s efforts to discredit the FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago Club, embracing his claims, presented without evidence, that it was a political attack intended to impede Trump’s chances if he runs for president again. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), a top Trump ally, responded with a threat to the Justice Department, vowing to investigate the agency if the Republicans win back the House in the midterm elections. Claiming without evidence that the department has ‘reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization,’ McCarthy warned, ‘Attorney General Garland, preserve your documents and clear your calendar.’ The quick defense of Trump and combative posture by leading Republican officeholders and potential 2024 presidential aspirants underlined the former president’s status as a standard-bearer in the party, even as he was tainted anew by another investigation. With fewer than 100 days before the midterm elections, many Republicans continue to rally around Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election, his baseless attacks on a slew of officeholders and his divisive rhetoric. Democrats, meanwhile, weighed in more slowly, applauding the news of the search and urging the Justice Department to fully investigate the former president’s handling of classified information.” See also, Trump says FBI agents searched his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida, NPR, Deepa Shivaram and Ryan Lucas, Monday, 8 August 2022: “Former President Donald Trump said on Monday that FBI agents had searched his Mar-a-Lago club and residence in Palm Beach, Fla., and opened his safe. The FBI and Department of Justice declined to comment, although Eric Trump said Monday night that he was told the search was related to the possible mishandling of government secrets the Justice Department is known to be investigating after the National Archives retrieved White House records from Mar-a-Lago. ‘The purpose of the raid was, from what they said, was because the National Archives wanted to corroborate whether or not Donald Trump had any documents in his possession,’ the former president’s son told Fox News…. The younger Trump said he got a call about the search being executed on Monday morning and informed his father. The search, which would have required a court order from a federal judge, signals the former president is under greater scrutiny from federal investigators than was previously known.”

Inside the War Between Trump and His Generals. How Mark Milley and others in the Pentagon handled the national-security threat posed by their own Commander-in-Chief. The New Yorker, Susan B. Glasser and Peter Baker, Monday, 8 August 2022: “[T]he gulf between Trump and the generals was not really about money or practicalities, just as their endless policy battles were not only about clashing views on whether to withdraw from Afghanistan or how to combat the nuclear threat posed by North Korea and Iran. The divide was also a matter of values, of how they viewed the United States itself. That was never clearer than when Trump told his new chief of staff, John Kelly—like Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general—about his vision for Independence Day. ‘Look, I don’t want any wounded guys in the parade,’ Trump said. ‘This doesn’t look good for me.’ He explained with distaste that at the Bastille Day parade there had been several formations of injured veterans, including wheelchair-bound soldiers who had lost limbs in battle. Kelly could not believe what he was hearing. ‘Those are the heroes,’ he told Trump…. The four years of the Trump Presidency were characterized by a fantastical degree of instability: fits of rage, late-night Twitter storms, abrupt dismissals. At first, Trump, who had dodged the draft by claiming to have bone spurs, seemed enamored with being Commander-in-Chief and with the national-security officials he’d either appointed or inherited. But Trump’s love affair with ‘my generals’ was brief, and in a statement for this article the former President confirmed how much he had soured on them over time. ‘These were very untalented people and once I realized it, I did not rely on them, I relied on the real generals and admirals within the system,’ he said. It turned out that the generals had rules, standards, and expertise, not blind loyalty. The President’s loud complaint to John Kelly one day was typical: ‘You fucking generals, why can’t you be like the German generals?’  ‘Which generals?’ Kelly asked. ‘The German generals in World War II,’ Trump responded. ‘You do know that they tried to kill Hitler three times and almost pulled it off?’ Kelly said. But, of course, Trump did not know that. ‘No, no, no, they were totally loyal to him,’ the President replied. In his version of history, the generals of the Third Reich had been completely subservient to Hitler; this was the model he wanted for his military. Kelly told Trump that there were no such American generals, but the President was determined to test the proposition.” See also, Trump Asked John Kelly, His Chief of Staff, Why His Generals Couldn’t Be Like Hitler’s, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Monday, 8 August 2022: “President Donald J. Trump told his top White House aide that he wished he had generals like the ones who had reported to Adolf Hitler, saying they were ‘totally loyal’ to the leader of the Nazi regime, according to a forthcoming book about the 45th president. ‘Why can’t you be like the German generals?’ Mr. Trump told John Kelly, his chief of staff, preceding the question with an obscenity, according to an excerpt from ‘The Divider: Trump in the White House,’ by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser, published online by The New Yorker on Monday morning. (Mr. Baker is the chief White House correspondent for The New York Times; Ms. Glasser is a staff writer for The New Yorker.) The excerpt depicts Mr. Trump as deeply frustrated by his top military officials, whom he saw as insufficiently loyal or obedient to him. In the conversation with Mr. Kelly, which took place years before the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the authors write, the chief of staff told Mr. Trump that Germany’s generals had ‘tried to kill Hitler three times and almost pulled it off.’ Mr. Trump was dismissive, according to the excerpt, apparently unaware of the World War II history that Mr. Kelly, a retired four-star general, knew all too well.” See also, New book says Trump wanted ‘totally loyal’ generals like Hitler’s, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang, Monday, 8 August 2022: “President Donald Trump once told a top adviser that he wanted ‘totally loyal’ generals like the ones who had served Adolf Hitler — unaware that some of Hitler’s generals had tried to assassinate the Nazi leader several times, according to a new book about the Trump presidency. Trump complained to John Kelly, then his chief of staff and a retired Marine Corps general, ‘why can’t you be like the German generals?’ according to ‘The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021’ by journalists Peter Baker and Susan Glasser. When Kelly asked which generals he meant, Trump replied: ‘The German generals in World War II.’ ‘You do know that they tried to kill Hitler three times and almost pulled it off?’ Kelly said, according to the book. Trump didn’t believe him, the book says. ‘No, no, no, they were totally loyal to him,’ Trump insisted. An excerpt of the book, published Monday in the New Yorker, paints a picture of a president at conflict with his own military leaders, who were torn between resigning in protest and staying on as members of the Trump administration to prevent greater catastrophe. According to those interviewed for the book, Trump’s military leaders and advisers were regularly trying to pull back on Trump’s desire to inflate his image and power, and to reconcile that desire with the values of the United States.”

War in Ukraine: U.S. to send $1 billion in weapons to Ukraine; U.N. demands access to targeted nuclear plant, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Jennifer Hassan, Kendra Nichols, and Adam Taylor, Monday, 8 August 2022:  “The United States is sending Ukraine another $1 billion in weapons and ammunition, the Pentagon said Monday, providing Kyiv with its largest military assistance package yet as Ukrainian forces prepare to mount a counteroffensive in the country’s south. The new aid comes after an artillery strike at a Ukrainian nuclear power plant over the weekend raised international alarm, with U.N. Secretary General António Guterres calling the attacks ‘suicidal’ and demanding that inspectors be granted access to the facility.

  • The latest American aid package brings the total amount of military assistance the United States has sent to Ukraine to more than $9 billion since Russia’s invasion in February. This tranche includes ammunition for the high-mobility artillery rocket systems known as HIMARS and 75,000 howitzer rounds, as well as mortar systems, surface-to-air missiles, Javelins, Claymore mines and demolition explosives.
  • In a separate move, the United States is also providing another $4.5 billion in financing to the Ukrainian government, the U.S. Agency for International Development said Monday. The money, which will be sent through the World Bank, will help the country keep up essential services like gas and electricity, along with paying for humanitarian support and the salaries of civil servants and health-care workers, USAID said.
  • Between 70,000 and 80,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or injured during the full-scale war in Ukraine, Colin Kahl, the U.S. undersecretary of defense for policy, said at a Monday briefing. The figure is ‘pretty remarkable,’ Kahl said, ‘considering that the Russians have achieved none of Vladimir Putin’s objectives at the beginning of the war.’
  • Russia indicated Monday that it would allow international observers into the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, which it captured in March, but such a visit would require a pause in fighting in the area. Russian state media reported that Moscow has offered to facilitate an inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog.
  • The Russian-appointed administration of the Zaporizhzhia province moved ahead with steps to hold a referendum on joining Russia. Evgeny Balitsky, head of the occupation administration in Zaporizhzhia, signed a decree Monday to kick-start the process as a crowd cheered, Russian media reported. Analysts and officials have for weeks warned that Moscow’s proxies in Ukraine would conduct sham referendums and use the falsified results as a pretext to annex Ukrainian territory.

Russia-Ukraine War: U.S. to Send Ukraine More Weapons in Latest Round of Aid. The new shipments, coming directly from the Pentagon’s stockpiles, will bring the total amount of U.S. military aid to more than $9 billion. The World Bank announced an additional $4.5 billion in financing for Ukraine’s government through a U.S.A.I.D. grant. The New York Times, Monday, 8 August 2022:

  • The U.S. will send another $1 billion in aid to Ukraine, including more rockets.

  • Ukraine says its bet on diverting Russian attention to the south is slowly paying off on the battlefield.

  • In war-battered Mykolaiv, the authorities search for informers helping the Russians.

  • Blinken says it will be ‘open season’ around the world if Russia’s aggression in Ukraine is not stopped.

  • The U.N. secretary general warns that attacks on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear complex could be ‘suicidal.’

  • Ukraine’s east and south come under fire.

  • Rumors spread quickly in wartime Ukraine.

  • The U.S. Open commits to a fund-raising exhibition match and $2 million for Ukraine relief.

Russia-Ukraine war: A weekly recap and look ahead (August 8), NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 8 August 2022: “As the week begins, here’s a roundup of key developments from the past week and a look ahead. What to watch this week: On Wednesday, the European Union’s Russian coal ban comes into effect. On Thursday, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and Denmark are hosting allies for an international donors conference in Copenhagen. What happened last week:  Monday, Aug. 1: The first Ukrainian grain shipment since Russia’s invasion left the Odesa port. Also, the U.S. announced an additional $550 million in military aid to Ukraine, including more ammunition for U.S.-provided high mobility artillery rocket systems or HIMARS, as well as howitzers. Since the beginning of the Biden administration, Washington has committed some $8.7 billion in security assistance to Ukraine. Tuesday, Aug. 2: Washington imposed new sanctions on Russian figures and defense- and technology-related entities. Wednesday, Aug. 3: Russian airstrikes hit the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, damaging residential buildings, an industrial enterprise, a pier, a supermarket, a pharmacy and other sites, the local governor said. Thursday, Aug. 4: A Russian court sentenced U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner to nine years in prison on drug charges. Russia has said it is ready to discuss freeing Griner in a prisoner swap. Amnesty International issued a report accusing the Ukrainian military of endangering civilians by stationing troops and artillery near hospitals, schools and residential buildings. Ukrainian and Western officials and analysts denounced the report, and Amnesty International’s Ukraine chapter head quit in opposition to its claims. Friday, Aug. 5: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia, and said Turkey would switch part of its payments for Russian gas to rubles and extend the use of Russia’s Mir payment system. The leaders discussed boosting trade, as well as coordinating efforts in fighting militants in Syria. Also, Ukraine said Russian shelling damaged structures at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, leading to risks of hydrogen leakage, radioactive emissions and fire. Russia said Ukraine was behind the shelling. Saturday, Aug. 6: A foreign-flagged cargo ship entered a Ukrainian port to receive grain for the first time since Russia’s full-scale invasion began in late February, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister said. Sunday, Aug. 7: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said there’s no possibility for talks with Moscow if referendums go forward on the future status of Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, and warned that anyone who ‘helps the occupiers’ to hold such a vote would be held accountable. He also said he met with American actress Jessica Chastain in Kyiv.”

Michigan Officials Detail a Brazen Voting Machine Scheme by Trump Supporters. Revelations of possible meddling have set off a political tsunami in a critical battleground state, as the attorney general seeks an independent inquiry into her likely rival on the ballot this fall. The New York Times, Nick Corasaniti, Alan Feuer, and Alexandra Berzon, Monday, 8 August 2022: “In early 2021, with the turmoil of a bitterly contested presidential contest still fresh, several election clerks in Michigan received strange phone calls. The person on the other end was a Republican state representative who told them their election equipment was needed for an investigation, according to documents from the Michigan attorney general’s office. They obliged. Soon, the machines were being picked apart in hotels and Airbnb rentals in Oakland County, outside Detroit, by conservative activists hunting for what they believed was proof of fraud, the documents said. Weeks later, after the equipment was returned in handoffs in highway car-pool lots and shopping malls, the clerks found that it had been tampered with, and in some cases, damaged. The revelations of possible meddling with voting machines have set off a political tsunami in Michigan, one of the most critical battleground states in the country. The documents detail deception of election officials and a breach of voting equipment that stand out as extraordinary even among the volumes of public reporting on brazen attempts by former President Donald J. Trump’s supporters to scrutinize and undermine the 2020 results. But one of the most politically striking elements of the case is the identity of one of the people implicated in the scheme by the office of the attorney general: Matthew DePerno, who is now the presumptive Republican nominee for that very post. Mr. DePerno, a lawyer who rose to prominence challenging the 2020 results in Antrim County and has been endorsed by Mr. Trump, is vying to unseat Dana Nessel, a Democrat who is Michigan’s top law enforcement official and who fought attempts to undermine the state’s election. Now, evidence provided by her office places Mr. DePerno at one of the ‘tests’ of voting equipment and suggests that he was a key orchestrator of ‘a conspiracy’ to gain improper access to machines in three counties, Roscommon and Missaukee in Northern Michigan and Barry, a rural area southeast of Grand Rapids. The tampering resulted in physical damage, but the attorney general’s office indicated that there was no evidence that there was ‘any software or firmware manipulation’ of the equipment.” See also, Matthew DePerno, Republican nominee for Michigan Attorney General, named in election security breach investigation. Trump-backed candidate DePerno was allegedly ‘one of the prime instigators’ of an effort to gain unauthorized access to voting machines. The Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman, Emma Brown, and Tom Hamburger, Monday, 8 August 2022: “Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) is seeking the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the Republican nominee for her job after a state police investigation found evidence that he helped orchestrate an effort last year to gain unauthorized access to voting equipment in an effort to prove there was fraud in the 2020 presidential election. In a petition filed Friday with a Michigan agency that coordinates prosecutors, a Nessel representative wrote that her office has a conflict of interest because a preliminary investigation by state police has determined that her opponent — lawyer Matthew DePerno — was ‘one of the prime instigators’ of a conspiracy to persuade Michigan clerks to allow unauthorized access to voting machines. She asked that an independent prosecutor be named to review the investigation and determine whether to file criminal charges against DePerno and eight others. They include a Michigan state representative and a county sheriff, as well as other key figures in the election-denier movement.”

Maps in Four States, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Ohio, Were Ruled Illegal Gerrymanders. They’re Being Used Anyway. A Supreme Court shift, frowning on changes close to elections, gives House Republicans a big advantage in November. The New York Times, Michael Wines, Monday, 8 August 2022: “Since January, judges in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Ohio have found that Republican legislators illegally drew those states’ congressional maps along racial or partisan lines, or that a trial very likely would conclude that they did. In years past, judges who have reached similar findings have ordered new maps, or had an expert draw them, to ensure that coming elections were fair. But a shift in election law philosophy at the Supreme Court, combined with a new aggressiveness among Republicans who drew the maps, has upended that model for the elections in November. This time, all four states are using the rejected maps, and questions about their legality for future elections will be hashed out in court later. The immediate upshot, election experts say, is that Republicans almost certainly will gain more seats in midterm elections at a time when Democrats already are struggling to maintain their bare majority.”

First on CNN: Alex Jones’ texts have been turned over to the January 6 committee, CNN Politics, Oliver Darcy, Monday, 8 August 2022: “Approximately two years’ worth of text messages sent and received by right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones have been turned over to the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, a person familiar with the matter told CNN on Monday. The messages were handed over to the committee by Mark Bankston, the attorney who represented two Sandy Hook parents who successfully sued Jones in Texas and won nearly $50 million in a civil trial that concluded last week. Bankston would only tell CNN that he is ‘cooperating with the committee.’ The select committee declined to comment.”

Travis and Gregory McMichael Sentenced Again to Life in Prison for Murdering Ahmaud Arbery. Their Neighbor, William Bryan, Gets 35 Years. The men were convicted of federal hate crimes after state murder convictions in 2021. Their lawyers tried without success to have part of their sentences served in federal prison. The New York Times, Richard Fausset, Monday, 8 August 2022: “Before the three men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery were sentenced on Monday on federal hate crime charges, they asked a judge to consider not only the length of the sentences, but also the location, with one lawyer arguing that if her client went straight to Georgia’s dangerous state prison system, he would be subject to ‘vigilante justice.’ The men did not get what they asked for. U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood said she had ‘neither the authority nor the inclination’ to send the three white men to federal prison in lieu of the Georgia prison system, where safety issues are so dire that they are the subject of an investigation by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department. Judge Wood said that the men would go to state prison first, because they were first prosecuted for murder by state authorities. At the same time, the judge handed down severe sentences to the men for their federal crimes, which included the hate-crime charge of ‘interference with rights,’ and attempted kidnapping. Travis McMichael, the 36-year-old who fired on Mr. Arbery with a shotgun, was given a life sentence. So was Mr. McMichael’s 66-year-old father, Gregory McMichael. Their neighbor William Bryan, 52 — who joined the McMichaels in chasing Mr. Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, through their neighborhood on a Sunday afternoon in February 2020 — received a sentence of 35 years. The federal sentences will run concurrently with the life sentences stemming from each man’s murder conviction in state court, for which only Mr. Bryan is deemed eligible for parole — and then only after 30 years. In a statement, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said that the sentences ‘make clear that hate crimes have no place in our country, and that the department will be unrelenting in our efforts to hold accountable those who perpetrate them.'” See also, Father and son sentenced to life in prison, neighbor gets 35 years for federal hate crimes in killing of Ahmaud Arbery. Travis and Greg McMichael and their neighbor William ‘Roddie’ Bryan must serve their sentences in state prison, a judge ruled. NBC News, Daniella Silva, Monday, 8 August 2022: “The father and son convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery were both given an additional sentence of life in prison Monday on federal hate crime charges, while their neighbor was sentenced to 35 years in prison. A judge also required that Travis McMichael, 36, Greg McMichael, 66, and William ‘Roddie’ Bryan, 52, serve their sentences in state prison, not federal prison as had been requested by their attorneys. ‘A young man is dead. Ahmaud Arbery will be forever 25. And what happened, a jury found, happened because he’s Black,’ U.S. District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood said during Greg McMichael’s sentencing. The McMichaels and Bryan, who are all white, were found guilty in February on federal hate crime charges in the killing of Arbery, a Black man who was running in their neighborhood when the defendants confronted him in February 2020. The three men were convicted of all of the federal charges against them, including hate crimes, attempted kidnapping and the use of a firearm to commit a crime. Prosecutors sought life sentences for all three men. However, Godbey Wood said she thought it was necessary to distinguish Bryan from the McMichaels, in part because unlike his neighbors, he did not bring a gun with him when the men chased Arbery.”

Paul Manafort admits sharing information with the Russians during 2016 Trump campaign, Raw Story, Tom Boggioni, Monday, 8 August 2022: “In an interview with Business Insider, former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort admitted he was in contact with the Russians and sharing information during the former president’s 2016 presidential run. For years, questions have been raised about Russian involvement in the campaign that saw the New York businessman beat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Manafort is now stating that he handed polling data over to the Russians — in particular to ‘Konstantin Kilimnik, a longtime business associate with suspected ties to Russian intelligence.’ According to the report, ‘Kilimnik then passed the data on to Russian spies, according to the US Treasury Department, which has characterized the data as ‘sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy.’ In the interview, Manafort excused his actions stating he wasn’t looking for help getting Trump elected and did it purely to make money, with Business Insider reporting, ‘Manafort told Insider that he directed his deputy, Rick Gates, to feed Kilimnik polling data via email to keep Konstantin informed.’ The goal was to use his access to Trump to drum up business for himself.”

Exclusive photos: Trump’s telltale toilet, Axios, Mike Allen, Monday, 8 August 2022: “Remember our toilet scoop in Axios AM earlier this year? Maggie Haberman’s forthcoming book about former President Trump will report that White House residence staff periodically found wads of paper clogging a toilet — and believed the former president, a notorious destroyer of Oval Office documents, was the flusher. Why it matters: Destroying records that should be preserved is potentially illegal. Trump denied it and called Haberman, whose New York Times coverage he follows compulsively, a ‘maggot.’ Well, it turns out there are photos. And here they are, published for the first time. Haberman — who obtained the photos recently — shared them with us ahead of the Oct. 4 publication of her book, ‘Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America.'”


Tuesday, 9 August 2022:


FBI Search of Trump Property Prompted by Concerns Over Sensitive Documents. The search was conducted about two months after Trump lawyers met with Department of Justice officials. The Wall Street Journal, Sadie Gurman, Alex Leary, and Aruna Viswanatha, Tuesday, 9 August 2022: “Federal agents searched former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home on Monday in part because they believed additional classified information remained at the private club after the National Archives retrieved more than a dozen boxes of White House documents from the resort earlier this year, people familiar with the matter said. Mr. Trump was in New York at the time, as the resort is mostly dormant during the summer months. The Federal Bureau of Investigation met U.S. Secret Service employees on Monday morning outside Mar-a-Lago to alert them they were executing the warrant. After the search, the federal agents hauled away roughly 10 more boxes, a person with knowledge of the operation said.” See also, Trump lawyer says federal agents took about a dozen boxes from Mar-a-Lago. Christina Bobb also said that Florida magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart signed off on the warrant that allowed FBI agents to search the former president’s Florida residence. Politico, Meridith McGraw and Myah Ward, Tuesday, 9 August 2022: “Federal agents removed about a dozen boxes of materials from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate and issued a warrant indicating the search pertained to possible violations surrounding classified information and the Presidential Records Act, a Trump lawyer confirmed to POLITICO on Tuesday. News of the specifics of the search were first reported by The Wall Street Journal, which wrote that agents walked away with roughly 10 boxes of material after the Monday search.The details add an additional layer of intrigue to a storyline that has sparked outrage among Trump allies and raised eyebrows within the legal community. The former president has called the search unprecedented and politically motivated. But experts on national security law have cautioned that the FBI would not have undertaken such a high-stakes move without firm belief that a possible criminal violation was at issue.” See also, F.B.I. Search of Trump’s Home Pushes Long Conflict Into Public View. Justice Department officials were worried that the former president had not fully complied with requests to return material taken from the White House that included possible classified information. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Ben Protess, Michael S. Schmidt, Luke Broadwater, and William K. Rashbaum, Tuesday, 9 August 2022: “The search carried out on Monday by the F.B.I. at former President Donald J. Trump’s Florida home, a law enforcement action with explosive legal and political implications, was the culmination of a lengthy conflict between a president proud of his disdain for rules and officials charged with protecting the nation’s records and secrets. On one side were officials from the National Archives, which is responsible for making sure all presidential records are preserved according to the law, and the Justice Department, which some people familiar with the inquiry said had grown concerned about the whereabouts of possible classified information and whether Mr. Trump’s team was being fully forthcoming. On the other was Mr. Trump, who, in apparent contravention of the Presidential Records Act, had taken a trove of material with him to his home at Mar-a-Lago when he left the White House that included sensitive documents — and then, in the Justice Department’s view, had failed to fully comply with requests that he return the disputed material. After the investigation bubbled along largely out of public view for months, word that agents had arrived early Monday morning at the gates of Mar-a-Lago with a search warrant raised new questions about Mr. Trump’s vulnerability to prosecution and fueled further partisan division.” See also, Never Before in U.S. History: The F.B.I. Searches a Former President’s Home. The search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate is a high-risk gamble by the Justice Department, but Mr. Trump faces risks of his own. The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Tuesday, 9 August 2022: “The fight between former President Donald J. Trump and the National Archives that burst into the open when F.B.I. agents searched Mr. Trump’s Palm Beach estate has no precedent in American presidential history. It was also a high-risk gamble by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland that the law enforcement operation at Mar-a-Lago, the former president’s sprawling home in Florida, will stand up to accusations that the Justice Department is pursuing a political vendetta against President Biden’s opponent in 2020 — and a likely rival in 2024. Mr. Trump’s demonization of the F.B.I. and the Justice Department during his four years in office, designed to undermine the legitimacy of the country’s law enforcement institutions even as they pursued charges against him, has made it even more difficult for Mr. Garland to investigate Mr. Trump without a backlash from the former president’s supporters. The decision to order Monday’s search put the Justice Department’s credibility on the line months before congressional elections this fall and as the country remains deeply polarized. For Mr. Garland, the pressure to justify the F.B.I.’s actions will be intense. And if the search for classified documents does not end up producing significant evidence of a crime, the event could be relegated by history to serve as another example of a move against Mr. Trump that backfired. Mr. Trump faces risks of his own in rushing to criticize Mr. Garland and the F.B.I., as he did during the search on Monday, when he called the operation ‘an assault that could only take place in broken, Third-World Countries.’ Mr. Trump no longer has the protections provided by the presidency, and he would be far more vulnerable if he were found to have mishandled highly classified information that threatens the nation’s national security. A number of historians said that the search, though extraordinary, seemed appropriate for a president who flagrantly flouted the law, refuses to concede defeat and helped orchestrate an effort to overturn the 2020 election. ‘In an atmosphere like this, you have to assume that the attorney general did not do this casually,’ said Michael Beschloss, a veteran presidential historian. ‘And therefore the criminal suspicions — we don’t know yet exactly what they are — they have to be fairly serious.'” See also, F.B.I. Search of Trump’s Home: Search of Trump’s Florida Residence Signals Depth of Federal Investigation, The New York Times, Tuesday, 9 August 2022. This link contains multiple articles about the F.B.I. search of Trump’s residence. See also, The Timeline Leading Up to the F.B.I’s Search of Mar-a-Lago, The New York Times, Zach Montague, Tuesday, 9 August 2022. See also, Republicans Rally Behind Trump, Who Reprises His Favored Role: Victim. Arguments used against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 email inquiry are long forgotten as Republican officials rush to condemn the F.B.I’s search of Mar-a-Lago. The New York Times, Michael C. Bender, Shane Goldmacher, and Maggie Haberman, Tuesday, 9 August 2022: “Republicans sought Tuesday to turn the F.B.I.’s search of Donald J. Trump’s Florida home into a rallying point, positioning the former president in his political comfort zone as a partisan target and victim, while effectively suspending the party’s efforts to focus on other issues heading into the midterm elections. The immediacy with which Republicans closed ranks and focused on the political ramifications of the search of Mar-a-Lago — without a full understanding of the direction of the F.B.I.’s investigation or the potential criminality that could be uncovered — underscored Mr. Trump’s role as keystone of the party, the single figure upon whom its elected leaders and midterm candidates depend most heavily for support. Some party officials tried to channel conservatives’ rage about the search of the former president’s winter home into productive energy for the coming midterms. Within hours of the news that Mr. Trump’s home had been searched, the Republican National Committee texted an urgent appeal about the search to supporters asking for cash to ‘take back Congress.’ Mr. Trump also sought to capitalize financially. His political committee, Save America, followed Tuesday morning with a fund-raising text message suggesting that the F.B.I. search was proof of a corrupt ‘radical left.’ It added: ‘Return the power to the people! Will you fight with me?'” See also, The investigation into Trump’s handling of classified material is just one of several inquiries he is facing, The New York Times, Annie Karni, Tuesday, 9 August 2022. See also, The F.B.I. search ignited the language of violence and civil war on the far right, The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Tuesday, 9 August 2022: “For the past six years, Donald J. Trump’s most loyal backers have, as though by reflex, attacked federal law-enforcement officials whenever they have sought to investigate the former president or his allies. But the reaction to the F.B.I.’s court-approved search of Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s beachfront residence in Palm Beach, Fla., went far beyond the usual ire and indignation. Pro-Trump influencers, figures in the media and even some Republican candidates for office employed the language of violence to rally opposition. ‘Tomorrow is war,’ Steven Crowder, a conservative commentator with nearly two million Twitter followers, wrote on the site within hours of the F.B.I.’s search. ‘Sleep well.’ This aggressive language was pervasive on the right as Monday night turned into Tuesday morning. ‘This. Means. War,’ The Gateway Pundit, a pro-Trump outlet, wrote in an online post that was quickly amplified by a Telegram account connected to Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s onetime political adviser. Hours later, on the podcast ‘Bannon’s War Room,’ Joe Kent, a Trump-endorsed House candidate in Washington, was asked by the host for his assessment of the search. ‘This just shows everyone what many of us have been saying for a very long time,’ Mr. Kent said. ‘We’re at war.'” See also, Mar-a-Lago search appears focused on whether Trump and his aides withheld items. A lawyer for Trump said agents seized about a dozen boxes on Monday, months after 15 boxes of items were returned. The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Josh Dawsey, Rosalind S. Helderman, Jacqueline Alemany, and Spencer S. Hsu, Tuesday, 9 August 2022: “In the months before the FBI’s dramatic move to execute a search warrant at former president Donald Trump’s Florida home — and open his safe to look for items — federal authorities grew increasingly concerned that Trump or his lawyers and aides had not, in fact, returned all the documents and other material that were government property, according to people familiar with the discussions. Officials became suspicious that when Trump gave back items to the National Archives about seven months ago, either the former president or people close to him held on to key records — despite a Justice Department investigation into the handling of 15 boxes of material sent to the former president’s private club and residence in the waning days of his administration. Over months of discussions on the subject, some officials also came to suspect Trump’s representatives were not truthful at times, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. On Tuesday, a lawyer for Trump said the agents who brought the court-approved warrant to Mar-a-Lago a day earlier took about 12 more boxes after conducting their search.” See also, Simmering threat of violence comes to fore with search of Trump property. Calls from the right for militant action in response to FBI raid span mainstream and extremist circles. The Washington Post, Hannah Allam, Tuesday, 9 August 2022: “For months, right-wing agitators with millions of followers have peddled the idea that a moment was coming soon when violence would become necessary — a patriotic duty — to save the republic. With the FBI search Monday of Donald Trump’s compound in Florida, that moment is now, according to enraged commentators’ all-caps, exclamation-pointed screeds urging supporters of the former president to take up arms. Within hours of the search at Mar-a-Lago, a chorus of Republican lawmakers, conservative talk-show hosts, anti-government provocateurs and pro-Trump conspiracy theorists began issuing explicit or thinly veiled calls for violence. ‘Today is war. That is all you will get on today’s show,’ right-wing podcaster Steven Crowder announced Tuesday to his nearly 2 million followers on Twitter, referring to the program that goes to his YouTube audience of 5.6 million. Extremist organizers have tried to hold on to the momentum they built in recent years by finding big-tent causes disparate factions could rally around, such as opposition to pandemic restrictions, ‘Stop the Steal’ election denial, or an imagined socialist ‘indoctrination’ of schoolchildren. With each iteration, analysts say, the networks have grown more sophisticated and more violent, as evidenced by the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021. The FBI’s search at Mar-a-Lago for classified documents is now presented as a tipping point, an existential threat to the United States that true patriots must thwart.”

A Federal Appeals Court Ruled That the House Could Gain Access to Former President Donald Trump’s Tax Returns, Upholding a District Court Judge’s Decision Last Year, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Tuesday, 9 August 2022: “In a 28-page ruling, a panel of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that a federal law gives a House committee chairman broad authority to request them despite Mr. Trump’s status as a former president. The Treasury Department refused to turn over the records during his administration. But after President Biden took office last year, the department determined that a renewed request from the House Ways and Means Committee, which said that it was studying a program that audits presidents, was valid. The appeals court’s ruling does not necessarily mean that Congress will obtain the records. Mr. Trump’s legal team has vowed to fight the congressional effort ‘tooth and nail,’ and he is virtually certain to appeal to the Supreme Court. If at least four justices on the court vote to take any such appeal, that would effectively shield Mr. Trump from a final judgment until next year. If in the meantime Republicans retake the House in the midterm elections, the Ways and Means Committee would be led by a Republican and would most likely drop the request. The taxes case is rooted in Mr. Trump’s decision — first as a presidential candidate in the 2016 election and then in office — to break with modern precedent by refusing to make his tax returns public.” See also, Appeals court says House can obtain Trump’s taxes from the IRS, CNN Politics, Tierney Sneed and Katelyn Polantz, Tuesday, 9 August 2022: “A federal appeals court on Tuesday signed off on a House Ways and Means Committee request to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service. The 3-0 ruling from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals is a blow to Trump, who has argued for years in court against releasing his tax returns to any investigators. A trial-level judge he appointed while president previously rejected his arguments in the case. The appeals court said the mandate in the case would be issued seven days after any appeal Trump makes in the circuit court is resolved. Trump may also appeal the case directly to the Supreme Court. This litigation is separate from the House select committee’s investigation into the January 6 riot.” See also, Appeals court rules House can view Trump’s tax records, The Washington Post, Paul Duggan, Tuesday, 9 August 2022: “A federal appeals court panel ruled Tuesday that House Democrats are entitled to review Donald Trump’s tax returns for 2015 to 2020, rejecting several legal arguments by the former president, who has sought for years to keep his financial records private. The decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit was a victory for the House Ways and Means Committee, whose chairman, Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.), first requested in 2019 that the Internal Revenue Service turn over copies of Trump’s tax returns to the committee. The Treasury Department initially declined, and the issue has been tied up in litigation ever since. The former president has a week to appeal the panel’s ruling, including asking the full appellate court to hear the case, before the judgment takes effect. Trump’s attorney Cameron T. Norris, who is handling the appeal, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) applauded the decision, calling it ‘an important victory for the rule of law. Access to the former president’s tax returns is crucial to upholding the public interest, our national security and our Democracy,’ Pelosi said in a statement. ‘We look forward to the IRS complying with this ruling and delivering the requested documents so that Ways and Means can begin its oversight responsibilities of the mandatory presidential audit program.'”

Mike Pompeo meets with January 6 House committee, CNN Politics, Kara Scannell, Tuesday, 9 August 2022: “Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with the House January 6 committee on Tuesday, according to panel member Rep. Zoe Lofgren. The California Democrat confirmed CNN’s earlier reporting that Pompeo would be deposed by the committee, according to a source familiar with the matter. CNN has previously reported on Pompeo’s negotiations with the committee about his testimony. The panel has shown an increased interest in members of former President Donald Trump’s Cabinet, particularly regarding conversations among Cabinet members about invoking the 25th Amendment after January 6, 2021, and the committee’s focus in the Pompeo interview was expected to be on the 25th Amendment, the source said. A portion of the 25th Amendment, which addresses presidential succession, allows a vice president and a majority of the Cabinet to vote to remove a president from office due to his inability to ‘discharge the powers and duties of his office.'”

War in Ukraine: Explosions rock Russian air base in Crimea, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Jennifer Hassan, Sean Fanning, Adam Taylor, Robyn Dixon, and Sammy Westfall, Tuesday, 9 August 2022: “An attack on a Russian air base in occupied Crimea on Tuesday sent plumes of smoke over a city on the peninsula’s western coast, and Ukrainian government officials warned the blasts were ‘just the beginning,’ vowing to liberate the territory Moscow annexed in 2014. But Ukrainian leaders did not openly claim credit for the explosions, and it was not immediately clear who was responsible. A U.S. official said it appeared Ukrainian forces had carried out the strike using a weapon not provided by the United States.

  • Russia said the explosions occurred at an ammunition storage site. The Defense Ministry told Russian reporters that no one was injured in the explosions and that aviation equipment was not damaged. However, Sergei Aksyonov, the Russian-backed head of Crimea, said that one person had died. Russian state media reported earlier that five were injured.
  • Top Ukrainian officials stopped short of claiming responsibility for the attack but said that Russian troops must be expelled from Crimea. The peninsula is ‘not a military base for terrorists,’ Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on Twitter. In an apparent reference to Tuesday’s strike, he added: ‘It is just the beginning.’ Later, in an interview with an independent Russian outlet, Podolyak sought to distance Ukrainian forces from the carnage, saying it was possible anti-Russian partisans were responsible. Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said the explosions were ‘another reminder of who Crimea belongs to. Because it is Ukraine.’
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in his evening address, said: ‘Crimea is Ukrainian, and we will never give it up.’ Zelensky said Russian occupying forces in Crimea are a threat to all of Europe and that the Ukrainian government is working toward the ‘liberation of Crimea.’ He did not say whether Ukraine had carried out Tuesday’s attack.
  • If conducted by Ukraine the strike would be a dramatic escalation in the nearly 6-month-old war. It would demonstrate Ukrainian forces’ ability to hit Russia far from front lines, deep inside territory where Russian tourists are so comfortable with their security that they lounge near the base on Black Sea beaches.
  • Between 70,000 and 80,000 Russian troops have been killed or wounded during the conflict, Colin Kahl, the U.S. undersecretary of defense for policy, said at a briefing Monday. The figure is ‘pretty remarkable,’ he said, ‘considering that the Russians have achieved none of [Russian President] Vladimir Putin’s objectives at the beginning of the war.’

Russia-Ukraine War: Explosion Rocks Russian Air Base in Crimea. An official said the blast on the Russian-occupied peninsula was the result of a Ukrainian strike. Moscow said only that munitions had exploded. In Washington, President Biden signed a measure giving U.S. approval to Sweden and Finland’s bid to join NATO. The New York Times, Tuesday, 9 August 2022:

  • Explosions kill 1 and injure 9 at a Russian air base in Crimea.

  • Biden signs measures giving U.S. approval to Sweden and Finland’s bids to join NATO.

  • A Ukrainian official calls for U.N. monitors to visit a nuclear plant occupied by Russia.

  • Russia says oil flows to three European Union members have been halted.

  • After being trapped for months, ships loaded with grain have left Ukraine. Where are they going?

  • Canada and Sweden join a British-led effort to train Ukrainian forces.


Wednesday, 10 August 2022:


War in Ukraine: Russia ‘cannot feel safe in Crimea’ after air base blasts, The Washington Post, Adela Suliman, Isabelle Khurshudyan, Kendra Nichols, Karina Tsui, Sammy Westfall, and Meryl Kornfield, Wednesday, 10 August 2022: “A deadly strike on a Russian air base in occupied Crimea was carried out by Ukrainian special forces, a Ukrainian government official told The Washington Post on Wednesday. In central Ukraine, at least 13 people were killed when Russian strikes hit Dnipropetrovsk overnight, local officials said.

  • Tuesday’s airfield explosion in Crimea was the work of Ukrainian special forces, a Ukrainian official told The Post. The official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and confirmed Ukraine’s role on the condition of anonymity, did not disclose details of how the attack was carried out. The Ukrainian air force said in a separate statement that nine Russian aircraft were destroyed in the blast, without any claim of responsibility. The attack reportedly killed one person and injured at least 13, including two children.
  • A Ukrainian attack in Crimea would mark a dramatic escalation in the war. It would demonstrate a remarkable ability by Ukrainian forces, or their allies, to strike at Russia far from the front lines. Russia said the blast at the air base was caused by an ammunition explosion. A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The Post that Ukrainian forces apparently had carried out the strike but did not use a weapon provided by the United States.
  • A day after the attack Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the end of the war ‘directly depends on the question of the losses that Russia will suffer. The more losses the occupiers suffer, the sooner we will be able to liberate our land and guarantee Ukraine’s security.’
  • The Russian TV journalist who staged an on-air protest in March faces criminal charges for allegedly spreading fake information about Russia’s armed forces, her lawyer said. Marina Ovsyannikova was detained and her home was raided, the lawyer wrote, adding that the charges relate to a photograph she posted holding up an antiwar poster on July 15. ‘More than 350 children died in Ukraine, are these fake?’ she wrote in a Wednesday post detailing the house search.

Russia-Ukraine War: Satellite Images Show Damage at Air Base in Crimea Worse Than Russia Claimed. Russian authorities had previously portrayed the blast as minor, but the satellite images show three major craters and at least eight destroyed warplanes. Local officials listed dozens of damaged buildings and declared a state of emergency. The New York Times, Wednesday, 10 August 2022:

  • Explosions at a base in Crimea destroyed at least eight Russian jets, satellite photos indicate.

  • A Russian missile attack kills 13 in a district near a key nuclear plant, a Ukrainian official says.

  • Ukraine’s experimentation with drones gives it a technological advantage.

  • Russia detains a former state television journalist who protested over the war.

  • Hungary settles Russia’s bill with Ukraine to restore oil flows.

  • Russia wants to divert electricity from a nuclear plant to Crimea, says a Ukrainian official.

  • In parts of Russia-occupied Ukraine, Moscow controls the internet. Here’s how.

  • A Russian filmmaker finds himself trapped between Hollywood and Moscow.

Trump Invokes Fifth Amendment, Attacking Legal System as Troubles Mount, The New York Times, Jonah E. Bromwich, Ben Protess, and William K. Rashbaum, Wednesday, 10 August 2022: “Donald J. Trump has long derided public figures who invoke their constitutional right against self incrimination, but on Wednesday he took full advantage of the Fifth Amendment. For hours under oath, Mr. Trump sat across from the New York State attorney general, Letitia James, responding to every question posed by her investigators by repeating the phrase ‘same answer’ over and over again. Mr. Trump’s refusal to respond substantively to any questions in the court-ordered deposition was an unexpected twist that could determine the course of Ms. James’s three-year civil investigation into whether the former president fraudulently inflated the value of his assets to secure loans and other benefits. It was also an extraordinary moment in an extraordinary week, even by the former president’s standards. Two days after his home was searched by the F.B.I. in an unrelated investigation, Mr. Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment right while openly questioning the legitimacy of the legal process — as he has with the nation’s electoral system — and insulting a law enforcement official sitting just a few feet away. Mr. Trump’s only detailed comment, people with knowledge of the proceeding said, was an all-out attack on the attorney general and her inquiry, which he called a continuation of ‘the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country. I once asked, If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?’ he said while reading from a prepared statement, which overlapped significantly with one he released to the public. ‘I now know the answer to that question.’ He said that he was being targeted by lawyers, prosecutors and the news media, and that left him with ‘absolutely no choice’ but to do so. Ms. James is now left with a crucial decision: whether to sue Mr. Trump, or seek a settlement that could extract a significant financial penalty. And while declining to answer questions might have offered the safest route for the former president, it could strengthen Ms. James’s hand in the weeks to come. In a statement on Wednesday, a spokeswoman for Ms. James said, ‘Attorney General James will pursue the facts and the law wherever they may lead. Our investigation continues.'” See also, What Happens Next in the New York Attorney General Letitia James’ Inquiry? Trump Takes the Fifth Amendment in New York Deposition. Donald J. Trump answered only one question, about his name, during a daylong interview with the New York attorney general, repeatedly invoking his right against self-incrimination as he was pressed about his business practices. The New York Times, William K. Rashbaum, Jonah E. Bromwich, and Benjamin Protess, Wednesday, 10 August 2022. See also, Trump: ‘If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?’ The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Carly Olson, Wednesday, 10 August 2022: “Over the years, former President Donald J. Trump has generally criticized other politicians for taking the Fifth Amendment. But on Wednesday, he invoked the right himself during a deposition at the office of the New York attorney general, and it wasn’t the first time. Mr. Trump previously contended that invoking one’s Fifth Amendment rights was virtually an admission of wrongdoing. ‘So there are five people taking the Fifth Amendment, like you see on the mob, right? You see the mob takes the Fifth. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?’ Mr. Trump said at a rally in Iowa in 2016, referring to investigations into Hillary Clinton’s handling of potentially classified material as secretary of state. Soon after, at a presidential debate, Mr. Trump doubled down on criticizing Ms. Clinton for using a private email server as secretary of state, again referencing the Fifth Amendment. ‘When you have your staff taking the Fifth Amendment, taking the Fifth, so they’re not prosecuted, when you have the man that set up the illegal server taking the Fifth, I think it’s disgraceful,’ he said.” See also, During tumultuous week, Trump takes the Fifth more than 400 times, The Washington Post, Shayna Jacobs, Josh Dawsey, and Devlin Barrett, Wednesday, 10 August 2022: “Donald Trump spent hours in a deposition Wednesday with the New York attorney general and repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions, the latest in a series of ominous legal developments that would have once been considered devastating for a former president considering another run for the White House. Trump emerged from the question-and-non-answer session with praise for the ‘very professional’ way Attorney General Letitia James’s team handled the meeting, in which he refused more than 400 times to answer questions about his businesses, property valuations and loans, according to a person with knowledge of the discussion. This person, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe the closed session, said Trump stated his name, formally declared his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself, and from then on replied to many questions with two words: ‘Same answer.’ Less than two years after leaving office, Trump faces legal jeopardy from multiple directions, with criminal probes into his possible withholding of classified documents and efforts to overturn the 2020 election results; James’s civil probe; and congressional inquiries into his taxes and his conduct related to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.” See also, Former President Donald Trump invokes Fifth Amendment rights and declines to answer questions from New York Attorney General Letitia James, CNN Politics, Kara Scannell, Wednesday, 10 August 2022: “Former President Donald Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and declined to answer questions from the New York attorney general at a scheduled deposition Wednesday. ‘Under the advice of my counsel and for all of the above reasons, I declined to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States Constitution,’ Trump said in a statement. Trump was to be deposed by lawyers from New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office as part of a more than three-year civil investigation into whether the Trump Organization misled lenders, insurers and tax authorities by providing them misleading financial statements. Trump said in a post on Truth Social earlier Wednesday morning that he would be ‘seeing’ James ‘for a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in U.S. history! My great company, and myself, are being attacked from all sides. Banana Republic!'”

Trump Claims He’s a Victim of Tactics He Once Deployed. Trump’s efforts to politicize the law enforcement system have now become his shield as he tries to deflect accusations of wrongdoing. The New York Times, Peter Baker, Wednesday, 10 August 2022: “Two days after the 2020 election that Donald J. Trump refused to admit he lost, his oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., made an urgent recommendation: ‘Fire Wray.’ The younger Mr. Trump did not explain in the text he sent why it was necessary to oust Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director his father himself had appointed more than three years earlier. He did not have to. Everyone understood. Mr. Wray, in the view of the Trump family and its followers, was not personally loyal enough to the departing president. Throughout his four years in the White House, Mr. Trump tried to turn the nation’s law enforcement apparatus into an instrument of political power to carry out his wishes. Now as the F.B.I. under Mr. Wray has executed an unprecedented search warrant at the former president’s Florida home, Mr. Trump is accusing the nation’s justice system of being exactly what he tried to turn it into: a political weapon for a president, just not for him. There is, in fact, no evidence that President Biden has had any role in the investigation. Mr. Biden has not publicly demanded that the Justice Department lock up Mr. Trump the way Mr. Trump publicly demanded that the Justice Department lock up Mr. Biden and other Democrats. Nor has anyone knowledgeably contradicted the White House statement that it was not even informed about the search at Mar-a-Lago beforehand, much less involved in ordering it. But Mr. Trump has a long history of accusing adversaries of doing what he himself does or would do in the same situation. His efforts to politicize the law enforcement system have now become his shield to try to deflect accusations of wrongdoing. Just as he asserted on Monday that the F.B.I. search was political persecution, he made the same claim on Wednesday about the New York attorney general’s unrelated investigation of his business practices as he invoked his Fifth Amendment right to avoid testifying because his answers could incriminate him. ‘Now to flip the script and falsely claim that he’s the victim of the exact same tactics that he once deployed is just the rankest hypocrisy,’ said Norman L. Eisen, who served as special counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during the first Trump impeachment. ‘But consistency, logic, evidence, truth — those are always the first to go by the board when a democracy comes under assault from within.'”

Exclusive: An Informer Told the FBI What Documents Trump Was Hiding, and Where, Newsweek, William M. Arkin, Wednesday, 10 August 2022: “The raid on Mar-a-Lago was based largely on information from an FBI confidential human source, one who was able to identify what classified documents former President Trump was still hiding and even the location of those documents, two senior government officials told Newsweek. The officials, who have direct knowledge of the FBI’s deliberations and were granted anonymity in order to discuss sensitive matters, said the raid of Donald Trump‘s Florida residence was deliberately timed to occur when the former president was away.

FBI takes Pennsylvania Representative Scott Perry’s phone as part of fake-elector investigation. Perry is a Trump ally who played a key role in promoting the former president’s false claims of election fraud. The Washington Post, Perry Stein, Wednesday, 10 August 2022: “Federal agents seized the cellphone of Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) while he was traveling with his family Tuesday, executing a court-authorized search warrant that a person familiar with the situation said was part of a criminal probe into efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Perry, an ally of Donald Trump who played a key role in promoting the former president’s false claims of election fraud, wrote in a statement that the contents of his phone are not the ‘government’s business.’ Perry said federal law enforcement agents did not attempt to reach his attorneys before the seizure, but he wrote in his statement that they would have handed over his phone had they been contacted. A spokeswoman for the Justice Department declined to comment Tuesday evening. The person familiar with the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said the phone was taken as part of a Justice Department investigation into the use of fake electors to try to overturn President Biden’s victory. Perry is the first member of Congress known to have his phone seized as part of that inquiry.” See also, Seizure of Congressman Scott Perry’s Phone Is Latest Sign of Escalating Election Inquiry. Perry’s lawyer said he was told he is not a target of the Justice Department’s expanding inquiry into one element of the effort to keep Trump in power after his loss in 2020. The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Luke Broadwater, and Katie Benner, Wednesday, 10 August 2022: “The F.B.I.’s seizure of Representative Scott Perry’s phone this week was at least the third major action in recent months taken in connection with an escalating federal investigation into efforts by several close allies of former President Donald J. Trump to overturn the 2020 election, according to two people familiar with the matter. The inquiry, which was begun last year by the Justice Department’s inspector general’s office, has already ensnared Jeffrey Clark, a former department official whom Mr. Trump wanted to install atop the agency to help him press his baseless claims of election fraud, and John Eastman, an outside lawyer who advised Mr. Trump on brazen proposals to overturn the vote result. In June, federal agents acting on search warrants from the inspector general’s office seized phones and other electronic devices from Mr. Clark and Mr. Eastman. That same tactic was used on Tuesday to seize the phone of Mr. Perry, a Republican of Pennsylvania.”

Biden signs bill to expand benefits for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits. The bill, dubbed the PACT Act, is the most significant expansion of veterans’ health care and benefits in more than 30 years, a White House official said. NBC News, Rebecca Shabad and Lauren Egan, Wednesday, 10 August 2022: “President Joe Biden signed legislation on Wednesday expanding health care benefits for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits. The bipartisan bill, known as the PACT Act, is the most significant expansion of veterans’ health care and benefits in more than 30 years, a White House official said. Speaking at a White House ceremony, Biden said that ‘veterans of the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan not only faced dangers in battle — they were breathing toxic smoke from burn pits.’ Biden said he traveled to Iraq over 20 times over the course of the war, both as a senator and later as vice president, and could ‘actually see some of it in the air. Burn pits the size of football fields, an incinerated waste of war such as tires, poisonous chemicals, jet fuel, and so much I won’t even mention,’ he said. ‘A lot of places where our soldiers were sleeping were literally a quarter mile half mile away from it.’ Veterans who have been exposed to burn pits attended the signing ceremony along with their families, advocates and members of Congress.” See also, Biden signs bill to aid veterans exposed to toxins from burn pits, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang, Matt Viser, and Paul Kane, Wednesday, 10 August 2022: “President Biden on Wednesday signed into law bipartisan legislation to help veterans exposed to toxic burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan, calling it a long-overdue step toward fulfilling the country’s ‘truly sacred obligation’ of caring for its veterans. ‘This is the most significant law our nation has ever passed to help millions of veterans who are exposed to toxic substances during their military services,’ Biden said. ‘I was going to get this done, come hell or high water.’ The bill, known as the ‘Pact Act,’ dramatically expands the benefits and services for veterans exposed to such toxins, mainly in the two wars, who may develop injuries and illnesses that take years to manifest themselves. Those realities often made it difficult for veterans to establish a direct connection between their service and disabilities, preventing them from getting the care they needed, the White House said in a statement. The bill’s signing is a significant achievement for Biden, who has long spoken of the country’s duty to care for its veterans after they return home. He has occasionally invoked the 2015 death of his son Beau of a glioblastoma while wondering whether that cancer was linked to his son’s exposure to burn pits during his service in the Iraq War. In his first State of the Union address, Biden called on Congress to pass burn pits legislation.” See also, Biden Signs Bill To Help Veterans Who Were Exposed to Toxic Burn Pits. Biden, who has long advocated the expanded benefits, has speculated that his son Beau developed brain cancer because of exposure to burn pits when he served in Iraq. The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Wednesday, 10 August 2022: “President Biden on Wednesday signed into law a bill that expands medical benefits for veterans who were exposed to toxins from burning pits of trash on military bases, ending a yearslong quest for support by veterans and their families. The issue is deeply personal for the president, who has long speculated that his son Beau developed brain cancer because of exposure to burn pits when he served in Iraq as a member of the Delaware National Guard. Before signing the legislation, Mr. Biden described the lingering effects of the exposures. ‘Toxic smoke, thick with poisons, spreading through the air and into the lungs of our troops,’ he said. ‘When they came home, many of the fittest and best warriors that we sent to war were not the same. Headaches, numbness, dizziness, cancer. My son, Beau, was one of them.’ In a ceremony packed with veterans and their families in the East Room of the White House, Mr. Biden called the new law progress toward fulfilling ‘a sacred obligation’ to those who defended the nation and their families. The law passed despite a last-minute delay by Republican senators, who blocked its passage but backed down after an intense backlash.”

Historians privately warn Biden that democracy in the U.S. is teetering. When Biden met with historians last week at the White House, they compared the threat facing the U.S. to the pre-Civil War era and to pro-fascist movements before World War II. The Washington Post, Michael Scherer, Ashley Parker, and Tyler Pager, Wednesday, 10 August 2022: “President Biden paused last week, during one of the busiest stretches of his presidency, for a nearly two-hour private history lesson from a group of academics who raised alarms about the dire condition of democracy at home and abroad. The conversation during a ferocious lightning storm on Aug. 4 unfolded as a sort of Socratic dialogue between the commander in chief and a select group of scholars, who painted the current moment as among the most perilous in modern history for democratic governance, according to multiple people familiar with the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a private meeting. Comparisons were made to the years before the 1860 election when Abraham Lincoln warned that a ‘house divided against itself cannot stand’ and the lead-up to the 1940 election, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt battled rising domestic sympathy for European fascism and resistance to the United States joining World War II. The diversion was, for Biden, part of a regular effort to use outside experts, in private White House meetings, to help him work through his approach to multiple crises facing his presidency.”

When America Joined the Cult of the Confederacy, The New York Times, Brent Staples, Wednesday, 10 August 2022: “President Woodrow Wilson transformed government into an engine of white supremacy when he took office in 1913. His administration segregated a federal work force that had been integrated for 50 years and imposed separate white and “colored” bathrooms in federal buildings. As the historian Eric S. Yellin shows in his iconic book ‘Racism in the Nation’s Service,’ segregation was just a prelude. The goal was to drive African Americans from influential jobs and confine them to a ‘controlled and exploitable class of laborers.’ The Wilsonians paid homage to the icons of white supremacy when they named military bases for Confederate traitors who had waged war on this country with the aim of keeping Black people in chains. This gesture of federal fealty ratified the ‘Southern way of life’ at a time when African Americans were being hanged, shot and burned alive before cheering crowds all over the former Confederacy. The naming honor was part of the alchemy that transformed America’s best-known enemies of the republic into secular saints. The long-running myth that the rebel generals had no connection to racism became insupportable when contemporary white supremacists swaddled themselves in Confederate symbols. Congress broke with the myth of the noble Confederates last yearwhen it voted to expunge from Defense Department assets ‘names, symbols, displays, monuments and paraphernalia’ that commemorate the Confederate States of America. The same legislation established the Naming Commission, which has proposed new names for nine Army installations in the South. This exercise has thrown a spotlight onto the Wilsonian role in the process that granted treasonous generals their federal halos. By the time the Virginia-born Wilson came to office, a cult of the Confederacy known as the Lost Cause had succeeded in popularizing an extravagantly racist version of Southern history. This telling cast slavery as a benign institution beloved by the enslaved, and it valorized the Ku Klux Klan for violently suppressing Black political expression after Emancipation. The Lost Cause presented Confederate generals as honorable men who fought to secure ‘states’ rights’ instead of human bondage.”


Thursday, 11 August 2022:


Sources say FBI searched Trump’s residence in Mar-a-Lago to look for nuclear documents and other items. The former president said on social media that he won’t oppose a Justice Department request to unseal the search warrant. The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Josh Dawsey, Perry Stein, and Shane Harris, Thursday, 11 August 2022: “Classified documents relating to nuclear weapons were among the items FBI agents sought in a search of former president Donald Trump’s Florida residence on Monday, according to people familiar with the investigation. Experts in classified information said the unusual search underscores deep concern among government officials about the types of information they thought could be located at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club and potentially in danger of falling into the wrong hands. The people who described some of the material that agents were seeking spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. They did not offer additional details about what type of information the agents were seeking, including whether it involved weapons belonging to the United States or some other nation. Nor did they say if such documents were recovered as part of the search. A Trump spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. The Justice Department and FBI declined to comment. Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday that he could not discuss the investigation. But in an unusual public statement at the Justice Department, he announced he had personally authorized the decision to seek court permission for a search warrant. Garland spoke moments after Justice Department lawyers filed a motion seeking to unseal the search warrant in the case, noting that Trump had publicly revealed the search shortly after it happened. ‘The public’s clear and powerful interest in understanding what occurred under these circumstances weighs heavily in favor of unsealing,’ the motion says. ‘That said, the former President should have an opportunity to respond to this Motion and lodge objections, including with regards to any ‘legitimate privacy interests’ or the potential for other ‘injury’ if these materials are made public.'” See also, Justice Department Moves to Unseal Warrant in Trump Search. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said he had personally approved the decision to seek the warrant and was asking to unseal it because of ‘substantial public interest.’ The former president has until 3 p.m. on Friday to oppose the motion. The New York Times, Glenn Thrush, Thursday, 11 August 2022: “All week, former President Donald J. Trump’s allies pressed Attorney General Merrick B. Garland to explain the basis for the search warrant federal agents had executed at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence — and he refused to break the silence he wears like his unwrinkled, federal blue suit. On Thursday, Mr. Garland finally responded, summoning the news media to a seventh-floor briefing room at the headquarters of the Justice Department to offer a public rationale. The new information he provided was extremely limited, and largely dependent on whether Mr. Trump’s lawyers choose to block the release of the warrant and other documents sealed by a federal judge. But the fact that he felt compelled to speak at all says much about the high stakes and the depth of the possible pitfalls in a closely watched investigation.” See also, Trump Search Said to Be Part of Effort to Find Highly Classified Material. The former president said he would not object to the Justice Department’s move to release the search warrant used to carry out the search of his Florida residence. The New York Times, Glen Thrush, Maggie Haberman, and Ben Protess, Thursday, 11 August 2022: “Attorney General Merrick B. Garland moved on Thursday to make public the legal authorization for the F.B.I.’s search of former President Donald J. Trump’s home in Florida, which was carried out as part of the government’s effort to account for documents that one person briefed on the matter said related to some of the most highly classified programs run by the United States. Mr. Garland said he had personally approved the search after the failure of ‘less intrusive’ attempts to retrieve material taken from the White House by Mr. Trump. Mr. Garland provided no details. But the person briefed on the matter said investigators had been concerned about material from what the government calls ‘special access programs,’ a designation that is typically reserved for extremely sensitive operations carried out by the United States abroad or for closely held technologies and capabilities. Government officials have expressed concern that allowing highly classified materials to remain at Mr. Trump’s home could leave them vulnerable to efforts by foreign adversaries to acquire them, according to another person familiar with the Justice Department’s thinking. Late on Thursday night, Mr. Trump said he would not oppose the motion to release the warrant and the inventory.” See also, Attorney General Merrick Garland Calls Trump’s Bluff as Justice Department Moves to Unseal Warrant, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Thursday, 11 August 2022. See also, Attorney General Merrick Garland says Department of Justice (DOJ) filed motion to unseal Trump Mar-a-Lago warrant and property receipt, CNN Politics, Tierney Sneed, Evan Perez, Hannah Rabinowitz, and Zachary Cohen, Thursday, 11 August 2022: “In his first public statement since federal agents searched former President Donald Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago earlier this week, Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday said that the Justice Department had filed in court a request that the search warrant and property receipt from the search be unsealed. Garland also said he ‘personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter.’ He noted that the department did not comment on the search on the day that it occurred. He pointed out that the search was confirmed by Trump that evening. He said that copies of the warrant and the warrant receipt were provided to the Trump lawyers who were on site during the search.” See also, The most informative–and sensitive–document connected to the search of Mar-a-Lago will not be made public for now, The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Thursday, 11 August 2022: “As remarkable as it was for the Justice Department to ask a federal judge on Thursday to unseal the warrant it used this week to search Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald J. Trump’s private residence in Florida, the materials that prosecutors have agreed to make public are not the most informative or sensitive connected to the case. The government is not yet seeking to release what is known as the affidavit in support of the warrant, a document that lays out all sorts of telling details about the larger investigation of Mr. Trump — chief among them the reasons prosecutors believed there was probable cause that evidence of a crime could be found at Mar-a-Lago. Affidavits for warrants are typically sworn to by federal agents and are used to persuade judges that it is worth invading someone’s privacy to collect proof of violations of the law. The affidavit supporting the search warrant for Mr. Trump’s home and members-only club presumably contains things like the specific laws that the government believes were broken and a brief narrative of the inquiry into Mr. Trump’s storage of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. It also likely includes a recitation of other methods — like grand jury subpoenas — that the government sought to use to retrieve the documents in an effort to persuade the judge that the search warrant was necessary. Search warrant affidavits are almost never made public before charges and often remain permanently under seal if charges are never filed. However, once prosecutors open a criminal case, any warrant affidavits used during the inquiry will generally be turned over to the defense — though not in a public manner — as part of the discovery process.” See also, Now Trump Loyalists Are Calling for Violence. They have reacted to the search of the ex-president’s Mar-a-Lago residence with unhinged fury. The Atlantic, Peter Wehner, Thursday, 11 August 2022: “In a sane world, a partisan Republican reaction to the FBI’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home on Monday would be something like this: We don’t believe Trump did anything wrong. We’re skeptical about the Department of Justice’s actions, but we’ll wait to see the evidence before we make any sweeping claims or definitive judgments. Unfortunately, the reaction online, in the right-wing media, and even among lawmakers has been far from sane. It’s been unhinged and ominous. MAGA-world denizens have called for violence and civil war, so much so that the phrase civil war was trending on Twitter Monday night. One user on Trump’s social-media platform, Truth Social, said, ‘Fuck a civil war, give them a REVOLUTION. We out number all of the 10 to 1.'”

Armed man who was at the Capitol on January 6 is fatally shot after firing into an FBI field office in Cincinnati, NBC News, Elisha Fieldstadt, Ken Kilanian, Tim Stelloh, and Ryan J. Reilly, Thursday, 11 August 2022: “The man who fired a nail gun into an FBI field office in Cincinnati on Thursday before he was killed by officers was at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, officials said. Two officials familiar with the matter identified the suspect as Ricky Walter Shiffer. Officers fatally shot the suspect after failing to negotiate with him, an Ohio State Highway Patrol spokesman, Lt. Nathan Dennis, told reporters. The man raised a gun and officers opened fire, Dennis said. It wasn’t clear whether he fired, Dennis said, nor was it clear who fired the fatal shot. The man was pronounced dead at the scene, which Dennis described as a rural area off Interstate 71. No officers were injured, and a motive is still under investigation, Dennis said. The two officials said Shiffer appeared to have posted in recent days about his desire to kill FBI agents after former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence was searched.” See also, Man suspected of trying to breach the F.B.I.’s Cincinnati office may have January 6 ties, The New York Times, Alan Feuer and Adam Goldman, Thursday, 11 August 2022: “Investigators are looking into whether the man who tried to breach the F.B.I.’s field office in Cincinnati on Thursday had ties to extremist groups, including one that participated in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the matter. The suspect, identified by the officials as Ricky Shiffer, 42, seems to have appeared in a video posted on Facebook on Jan. 5, 2021, showing him attending a pro-Trump rally at Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington the night before the Capitol was stormed. In May, a Twitter user named Ricky Shiffer replied to a photograph of rioters scaling the walls of the Capitol on Jan. 6 with a message that claimed he was present at the building and seemed to place the blame for the attack on people other than supporters of former President Donald J. Trump.”

First on CNN: Elaine Chao, Trump’s former Transportation Secretary, met with January 6 House committee as other Cabinet members engage with panel, CNN Politics, Zachary Cohen, Jamie Gangel, Sara Murray, and Pamela Brown, Thursday, 11 August 2022: “The House select committee investigating January 6, 2021, has recently interviewed former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and has been in talks with former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as well as former National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, multiple sources tell CNN. Chao and DeVos, both members of former President Donald Trump’s Cabinet, resigned a day after the attack on the US Capitol and discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from power. News of Chao’s cooperation, and the committee’s discussions with DeVos and O’Brien have not been previously reported. O’Brien is expected to appear virtually before the panel on Friday, according to a source familiar with the probe. CNN has reached out to O’Brien. The development comes after former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with the panel on Tuesday. The 25th Amendment was a topic of focus during Pompeo’s meeting, CNN previously reported.”

The Department of Homeland Security’s Internal Watchdog Took Months to Alert Congress to Missing Secret Service Text Messages Around the January 6 Attack on the Capitol Even After Lawyers Had Approved a Draft Notification, Leaving the Information Out of a Key Report and Eventually Releasing Only a Milder Version, Newly Released Documents Show, The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Eileen Sullivan, Thursday, 11 August 2022: “The draft alert, obtained by the Project on Government Oversight, a government watchdog group, is the latest evidence to raise questions about the Office of Inspector General’s handling of the missing texts, and is sure to anger House Democrats, some of whom have accused the inspector general of a cover-up as they investigate the attack. The approved notification is scathing. Congress was to be alerted that the Secret Service had deleted texts related to the investigation into the attack, delayed answering investigators and unnecessarily redacted documents. But even though lawyers at the inspector general’s office approved the draft notification on April 1, the agency, which is assigned to watch over the Secret Service, waited until July 13 to raise the alarm. Joseph V. Cuffari, the agency’s inspector general, also did not include the alert in a June semiannual report even though that report must disclose when an agency ‘has resisted or objected to oversight activities’ or ‘restricted or significantly delayed access to information,’ according to a report from the Project on Government Oversight on the draft alert.”

The Arctic Is Warming Much Faster Than Previously Described Compared With the Global Average, The New York Times, Henry Fountain, Thursday, 11 August 2022: “The rapid warming of the Arctic, a definitive sign of climate change, is occurring even faster than previously described, researchers in Finland said Thursday. Over the past four decades the region has been heating up four times faster than the global average, not the two to three times that has commonly been reported. And some parts of the region, notably the Barents Sea north of Norway and Russia, are warming up to seven times faster, they said. One result of rapid Arctic warming is faster melting of the Greenland ice sheet, which adds to sea-level rise. But the impacts extend far beyond the Arctic, reaching down to influence weather like extreme rainfall and heat waves in North America and elsewhere. By altering the temperature difference between the North Pole and the Equator, the warming Arctic appears to have affected storm tracks and wind speed in North America.” See also, Study finds the arctic is heating up nearly four times faster than the whole planet, NPR, Rebecca Hersher, Thursday, 11 August 2022: “The Arctic is heating up nearly four times faster than the Earth as a whole, according to new research. The findings are a reminder that the people, plants and animals in polar regions are experiencing rapid, and disastrous, climate change. Scientists previously estimated that the Arctic is heating up about twice as fast as the globe overall. The new study finds that is a significant underestimate of recent warming. In the last 43 years, the region has warmed 3.8 times faster than the planet as a whole, the authors find. The study focuses on the period between 1979, when reliable satellite measurements of global temperatures began, and 2021. ‘The Arctic is more sensitive to global warming than previously thought,’ says Mika Rantanen of the Finnish Meteorological Institute, who is one of the authors of the study published in the journal Communications Earth & Environment.” See also, Climate change’s impact intensifies as the U.S. prepares to take action; the planet isn’t waiting around, The Washington Post, Chris Mooney, Brady Dennis, and Sarah Kaplan, Thursday, 11 August 2022: “For residents of the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, the United States’ recent success in clinching a major piece of climate change legislation may feel like too little, too late. Over the past 40 years, as the world’s largest historical emitter of greenhouses gases repeatedly failed to take significant action on the climate, the region surrounding Svalbard has warmed at least four times as fast as the global average, according to significant research published Thursday. The study suggests that warming in the Arctic is happening at a much faster rate than many scientists had expected. And while U.S. lawmakers this summer hashed out the details of a massive bill to speed their nation’s shift toward cleaner energy — the culmination of months of deliberations — the new findings were just the latest visceral reminder that the planet’s changing climate isn’t waiting around for human action.”

War in Ukraine: U.N. Secretary General António Guterres calls for cease-fire at nuclear plant as ‘catastrophic consequences’ loom, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Ellen Francis, Sean Fanning, Robyn Dixon, and Adam Taylor, Thursday, 11 August 2022: “The chief of the United Nations on Thursday called for an immediate end to fighting around a nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine, warning that damage to Europe’s largest nuclear power facility could have ‘catastrophic consequences.’ Yet attacks on the Zaporizhzhia plant continued, with the site’s operator reporting multiple instances of Russian shelling: ‘The situation is getting worse,’ the company wrote.

  • ‘This is wholly unacceptable,’ U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said in a statement on the escalating hostilities around the Zaporizhzhia plant. Guterres urged an end to the fighting there and a withdrawal of all military personnel and equipment.
  • The U.N. Security Council discussed the crisis at a meeting Thursday. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, called it a ‘grave hour’ and pleaded with Russia and Ukraine to demilitarize the area and allow international inspectors onto the site. Moscow and Kyiv have traded blame for the attacks, and Grossi said they have issued contradictory statements to his agency about the plant’s operations. Russian forces captured the facility earlier in the war.
  • Ukraine’s state-owned nuclear firm, Enerhoatom, said the Zaporizhzhia site had been hit several times Thursday, blaming Russian artillery attacks. One strike hit ‘quite close to the first power unit,’ the operator said on Telegram. ‘The occupiers keep methodically destroying the infrastructure,’ it added.
  • New satellite images appeared to show charred aircraft after a strike on a Russian air base in Crimea, a region that Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014. The pictures, by U.S.-based Planet Labs, were followed by more images from Maxar showing part of the base burned out, along with destroyed fighter and bomber planes, a day after a Ukrainian official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The Washington Post that Ukrainian special forces were behind the attack on the Russian base. One person was killed and 13 injured, including two children, Russian media said.
  • Russia and the United States are negotiating a prisoner exchange, a Russian Foreign Ministry official said, confirming that talks are ongoing, without elaborating. Washington has urged Moscow to accept a deal to free WNBA star Brittney Griner, who was handed a 9½-year prison sentence in Russia. The Kremlin signaled willingness to discuss a potential exchange last week while warning the Biden administration against conducting diplomacy in public.

Russia-Ukraine War: Fresh Shelling at Nuclear Plant in Southern Ukraine Deepens Grave Safety Concerns. As shelling continued at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, the U.N. secretary general, António Gutteres, said he was ‘gravely concerned’ the hostilities might lead to a disaster. Satellite images show Russia lost at least eight warplanes in blasts at a Crimean air base on Tuesday. The New York Times, Thursday, 11 August 2022:

  • New blasts at a Russian-occupied nuclear plant prompt calls for an end to attacks there.

  • A thunderous blast, and then, in the strange rhythm of war, a coffee break. 

  • Cages are built inside the Mariupol Philharmonic, as Russia appears to prepare for trials of Ukrainians.

  • A Russian missile attack kills 7 civilians in Bakhmut, Ukraine’s prosecutor general says.

  • Blasts hit a military airfield in Belarus used by Russian forces.

  • Defense ministers pledge $1.5 billion to Ukraine as Britain promises more long-range weapons.

  • How the war changed a Kyiv museum’s view of its past.

  • The Golden Arches will return to Ukraine after a 6-month hiatus.


Friday, 12 August 2022:


House Passes Sweeping Climate, Tax, and Health Care Package. The passage of the bill, which appeared dead just weeks ago, caps a Democratic effort to deliver on major components of President Biden’s agenda. The New York Times, Emily Cochrane, Friday, 12 August 2022: “Congress gave final approval on Friday to legislation that would reduce the cost of prescription drugs and pour billions of dollars into the effort to slow global warming, as House Democrats overcame united Republican opposition to deliver on key components of President Biden’s domestic agenda. With a party-line vote of 220 to 207, the House agreed to the single largest federal investment in the fight against climate change and the most substantial changes to national health care policy since passage of the Affordable Care Act. The bill now goes to Mr. Biden for his signature. The legislation would inject more than $370 billion into climate and energy programs aimed at helping the United States cut greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 40 percent below 2005 levels by the end of the decade. It would also extend for three years subsidies to help people afford insurance under the Affordable Care Act, as well as fulfill a long-held Democratic goal to lower the cost of prescription drugs by allowing Medicare to directly negotiate prices and capping recipients’ annual out-of-pocket drug costs. The package would be financed largely by tax increases, including a new tax on company stock buybacks and a 15 percent corporate minimum tax for wealthy companies. Initial analyses of the legislation found that it could reduce the nation’s deficit by as much as $300 billion over a decade.” See also, House passes Inflation Reduction Act, sending climate and health bill to Biden. The successful vote Friday marked the end of a debate that spanned more than a year and a half at times pitting Democrats against each other over the final major component of the president’s agenda. The Washington Post, Tony Romm, Friday, 12 August 2022: “House Democrats on Friday approved a sprawling bill to lower prescription drug costs, address global warming, raise taxes on some billion-dollar corporations and reduce the federal deficit, sending to President Biden the long-delayed, last component of his economic agenda in time for this year’s elections. The 220-to-207 vote marked the culmination of roughly a year and a half of debate that at times pitted the party’s lawmakers against each other, revealing Democrats’ fierce ideological divides. In the end, though, the often-fractious caucus banded together to overcome unanimous Republican opposition, adopting a measure to improve Americans’ finances originally premised on Biden’s 2020 campaign pledge to ‘build back better.’ The bill, known as the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, secures the largest-ever investment to tackle climate change, with roughly $370 billion dedicated to curbing harmful emissions and promoting green technology. The bill also moves to cap and lower seniors’ drug costs while sparing about 13 million low- and middle-income Americans from increases in their insurance premiums that otherwise would occur next year. To pay for the spending, Democrats rely on revisions to tax laws, including a new minimum tax on some billion-dollar corporations that now pay nothing to the U.S. government. That change — along with another new tax on stock buybacks and fresh funding for the Internal Revenue Service to pursue tax cheats — is expected to cover the costs of the bill. Democrats say it also can reduce the federal deficit by about $300 billion, but they have yet to furnish a final fiscal analysis.” See also, Democrats passed a major climate, health, and tax bill. Here’s what’s in it. NPR, Deepa Shivaram, Friday, 12 August 2022: “The House gave final congressional approval on Friday to a spending bill which would attempt to tackle climate change, the high cost of prescription drugs and lower the deficit by roughly $300 billion. It was passed without any Republican support and now goes to President Biden for his signature. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called it a ‘glorious day,’ adding, ‘We sent to the president’s desk a monumental bill that will be truly for the people.’ Senate Democrats revived the bill, a year in the making, with a furious few final weeks of negotiations mainly between Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Its final major hurdle was a marathon voting session last weekend in the Senate. The legislation was passed through the budget reconciliation process, which meant that all 50 Democrats in the Senate and one tie-breaker vote from Vice President Harris were needed, since none of the 50 Republican senators voted for the bill. It also restricted the measures in the bill to those that directly change federal spending and revenue.” See also, House passes Democrats’ health care and climate bill, clearing the measure for Biden’s signature, CNN Politics, Clare Foran and Kristin Wilson, Friday, 12 August 2022: “The House of Representatives voted Friday to pass Democrats’ $750 billion health care, energy and climate bill, in a significant victory for President Joe Biden and his party. The final vote was 220-207, along party lines. Four Republicans did not vote. Now that the Democratic-controlled House has approved the bill, it will next go to Biden to be signed into law. Final passage of the bill marks a milestone for Democrats and gives the party a chance to achieve long-sought policy objectives ahead of the upcoming midterm elections. It comes at a critical time as Democrats are fighting to retain control of narrow majorities in Congress. The sweeping bill — named the Inflation Reduction Act — would represent the largest climate investment in US history and make major changes to health policy by giving Medicare the power for the first time to negotiate the prices of certain prescription drugs and extending expiring health care subsidies for three years. The legislation would reduce the deficit, be paid for through new taxes — including a 15% minimum tax on large corporations and a 1% tax on stock buybacks — and boost the Internal Revenue Service’s ability to collect. It would raise over $700 billion in government revenue over 10 years and spend over $430 billion to reduce carbon emissions and extend subsidies for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and use the rest of the new revenue to reduce the deficit.”

Inventory Shows FBI Recovered 11 Sets of Classified Documents in Trump Search. Trump allies claim the former president declassified the documents recovered from Mar-a-Lago. Wall Street Journal, Alex Leary, Aruna Viswanatha, and Sadie Gurman, Friday, 12 August 2022: “FBI agents who searched former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home Monday removed 11 sets of classified documents, including some marked as top secret and meant to be only available in special government facilities, according to a search warrant released by a Florida court Friday. The Federal Bureau of Investigation agents took around 20 boxes of items, binders of photos, a handwritten note and the executive grant of clemency for Mr. Trump’s ally Roger Stone, a list of items removed from the property shows. Also included in the list was information about the ‘President of France,’ according to the three-page list. The list is contained in a seven-page document that also includes the warrant to search the premises which was granted by a federal magistrate judge in Florida.” See also, Files Seized From Trump’s Residence in Florida Are Part of Espionage Act Inquiry. The materials included some marked as top secret and meant to be viewed only in secure government facilities, according to a copy of the warrant. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Glenn Thrush, and Charlie Savage, Friday, 12 August 2022: “Federal agents removed top secret documents when they searched former President Donald J. Trump’s Florida residence on Monday as part of an investigation into possible violations of the Espionage Act and other laws, according to a search warrant made public on Friday. F.B.I. agents seized 11 sets of documents in all, including some marked as ‘classified/TS/SCI’ — shorthand for ‘top secret/sensitive compartmented information,’ according to an inventory of the materials seized in the search. Information categorized in that fashion is meant to be viewed only in a secure government facility. It was the latest stunning revelation from the series of investigations swirling around his efforts to retain power after his election loss, his business practices and, in this case, his handling of government material that he took with him when he left the White House. The results of the search showed that material designated as closely guarded national secrets was being held at an unsecured resort club, Mar-a-Lago, owned and occupied by a former president who has long shown a disdain for careful handling of classified information. The documents released on Friday also made clear for the first time the gravity of the possible crimes under investigation in an inquiry that has generated denunciations of the Justice Department and the F.B.I. from prominent Republicans and fueled the anger of Mr. Trump, a likely 2024 presidential candidate.” See also, Documents Taken From Trump’s Home Included Classified Material. Items removed from Mar-a-Lago included files marked as top secret and meant to be viewed only in secure government facilities, according to a copy of the warrant. These are the three top takeaways from the unsealed documents about the Mar-a-Lago search. The New York Times, Glenn Thrush, Friday, 12 August 2022: “Millions of words have been written about former President Donald J. Trump, but few may prove as consequential for the man, or the country, as seven pages of federal code citations and document inventories that make up the Mar-a-Lago search warrant. The Justice Department’s warrant and two critical supporting memos were first leaked, then officially unsealed by a federal judge in Florida on Friday afternoon, four days after F.B.I. agents had gone through Mr. Trump’s residence in search of materials he was thought to have removed improperly from the White House. The importance of what they found remains to be seen. But the warrant — remarkable in both its execution and publication — sheds considerable light on an investigation that had seemed to take a back seat to the inquiry into Mr. Trump’s actions on the day of the Capitol riot, Jan. 6, 2021, and leading up to that. Here are key takeaways from the latest developments: The Justice Department is investigating violations of the Espionage Act…. The big question: Why did Mr. Trump hoard government documents?… Attorney General Merrick Garland had the right to remain silent. Not anymore.” See also, Laws and Lists in Search Warrant Offer Clues to Trump Document Investigation, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Friday, 12 August 2022: “The warrant that authorized the F.B.I. to search former President Donald J. Trump’s Florida residence on Monday listed three criminal laws as the basis of its investigation, offering a glimpse of an inquiry into his possession of government documents. The search warrant, which was unsealed and made public on Friday in response to a motion by the Justice Department, showed that the magistrate judge who issued it found that there was probable cause to believe the F.B.I. would uncover evidence of all three crimes. Mr. Trump, who had declined to make the documents public himself but did not object to their release, said that the materials listed in an inventory of items seized from his home had all been declassified. The inventory included multiple caches of documents that the F.B.I. described as top secret along with other government files. Even if it is true that Mr. Trump deemed the files declassified before the end of his presidency, however, none of the three crimes depends on whether the documents are classified. The first law, Section 793 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, is better known as the Espionage Act. It criminalizes the unauthorized retention or disclosure of information related to national defense that could be used to harm the United States or aid a foreign adversary. Each offense can carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison. Despite its name, the Espionage Act is not limited to instances of spying for a foreign power and is written in a way that broadly covers mishandling of security-related secrets…. The other two laws invoked in the warrant do not have to do with national security. The second, Section 1519, is an obstruction law that is part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a broad set of reforms enacted by Congress in 2002 after financial scandals at firms like Enron, Arthur Andersen and WorldCom…. The third law that investigators cite in the warrant, Section 2071, criminalizes the theft or destruction of government documents. It makes it a crime, punishable in part by up to three years in prison per offense, for anyone with custody of any record or document from federal court or public office to willfully and unlawfully conceal, remove, mutilate, falsify or destroy it.” See also, Read the Search Warrant for Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Residence, The New York Times, Friday, 12 August 2022. See also, FBI collected multiple sets of classified documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, NPR, Deepa Shivaram, Friday, 12 August 2022: “A federal judge in Florida has unsealed the documents related to an FBI search of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home that took place earlier this week. The documents include both the search warrant and the property receipt, which outlines what was taken by authorities. They outline that agents recovered top secret and classified documents in Monday’s search. Read the full warrant and property receipt below, or click here. The search warrant also reveals that FBI agents were looking for evidence relating to three statutes. The first, Section 793, applies to gathering, losing or sharing with an unauthorized person information that relates to national defense. Sections 2071 and 1519 address concealing, destroying or removing documents. The warrant allows for the seizure of ‘all physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed in violation of’ various aspects of the Espionage Act.” See also, Court filing shows FBI agents seized 11 sets of classified documents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence. Search warrant unsealed Friday lists potential crimes including mishandling defense information and destruction of records. The Washington Post, Devlin Barrrett and Josh Dawsey, Friday, 12 August 2022: “The FBI search of former president Donald Trump’s Florida home earlier this week found four sets of top-secret documents and seven other sets of classified information, according to a list of items seized in the high-profile raid and unsealed by a federal magistrate judge on Friday. The written inventory — a document provided by investigators after a search — says the FBI took about 20 boxes of items from the Mar-a-Lago Club on Monday, including photo binders, information about the president of France, and a variety of classified material. One set of documents is listed as ‘Various classified TS/SCI documents,’ a reference to top secret/sensitive compartmented information, a highly classified category of government secrets, in addition to the four sets of top-secret papers. Agents also took three sets of documents classified as secret, and three sets of papers classified as confidential — the lowest level of classification. The list of seized material doesn’t further describe the subject matter of any of the classified documents. ‘Some of what was in Trump’s possession is mind-boggling,’ said Javed Ali, a senior official at the National Security Council during the Trump administration who now teaches at the University of Michigan. ‘Whenever you leave government — including probably a former president — you can’t just take it with you.'”

National Archives counters Trump’s baseless claims about Obama records, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Friday, 12 August 2022: “The National Archives and Records Administration issued a statement Friday in an attempt to counter misstatements about former president Barack Obama’s presidential records after several days of misinformation that had been spread by former president Donald Trump and conservative commentators. Since the FBI search of his Florida home and club this week for classified documents, Trump has asserted in social media posts that Obama ‘kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified’ and that they were ‘taken to Chicago by President Obama.’ In its statement, NARA said that it obtained ‘exclusive legal and physical custody’ of Obama’s records when he left office in 2017. It said that about 30 million pages of unclassified records were transferred to a NARA facility in the Chicago area and that they continue to be maintained ‘exclusively by NARA.’ Classified records from Obama are kept in a NARA facility in Washington, the statement said. ‘As required by the [Presidential Records Act], former President Obama has no control over where and how NARA stores the Presidential records of his Administration,’ the statement said. Despite the official statement, Trump continued to peddle his false claims in light of The Washington Post report that classified documents relating to nuclear weapons were among the items FBI agents sought in a search of Trump’s Florida residence Monday, according to people familiar with the investigation. Within minutes of the statement from the Archives, Trump again pushed his evidence-free claim in response to the latest reports, saying, ‘What are they going to do with the 33 million pages of documents, many of which are classified, that President Obama took to Chicago?'” See also, The National Archives Confirms Obama Did Not Keep Classified Documents, The New York Times, Maggie Astor, Friday, 12 August 2022: “Seeking to deflect attention from reports that the classified documents he had kept in his Florida home might have contained materials related to nuclear weapons, former President Donald J. Trump claimed on Friday that his predecessor, Barack Obama, had done the same thing. ‘President Barack Hussein Obama kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified,’ Mr. Trump said in a statement. ‘How many of them pertained to nuclear? Word is, lots!’ But the National Archives and Records Administration, or NARA, which preserves and maintains records after a president leaves office, confirmed on Friday afternoon that Mr. Obama had turned over his documents — classified and unclassified — as required under the Presidential Records Act of 1978. The National Archives ‘assumed exclusive legal and physical custody of Obama presidential records when President Barack Obama left office in 2017, in accordance with the Presidential Records Act,’ the statement said. ‘NARA moved approximately 30 million pages of unclassified records to a NARA facility in the Chicago area, where they are maintained exclusively by NARA. Additionally, NARA maintains the classified Obama presidential records in a NARA facility in the Washington, D.C., area. As required by the P.R.A.,’ the statement added, referring to the Presidential Records Act, ‘former President Obama has no control over where and how NARA stores the presidential records of his administration.’ A spokesman for Mr. Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.”

Judge Denies Trump Executive’s Request to Dismiss Manhattan Tax Case. Allen H. Weisselberg, who was indicted last summer, and the Trump Organization are scheduled to stand trial in October. The New York Times, Jonah E. Bromwich, Ben Protess, William K. Rashbaum, and Lola Fadulu, Friday, 12 August 2022: “A Manhattan state court judge on Friday declined to throw out the criminal case against Donald J. Trump’s family business and its longtime chief financial officer, Allen H. Weisselberg, clearing the way for a trial in the case scheduled for the fall. Mr. Weisselberg and the business, the Trump Organization, were charged last year by the Manhattan district attorney’s office with having engaged in a 15-year scheme in which executives were compensated with hidden benefits so that they could evade taxes. The charges stemmed from the office’s long-running investigation into the company’s business practices. In February, Mr. Weisselberg and the company filed motions to dismiss the charges, arguing that the case was politically motivated and that the defendants were charged only because of their link with former president Donald J. Trump.” See also, New York judge rules criminal case against  the Trump Organization and former CFO Allen Weisselberg can proceed, CBS News, Graham Kates, Friday, 12 August 2022: “A New York State judge ruled Friday that a criminal fraud and tax evasion prosecution against the Trump Organization and its former CFO, Allen Weisselberg, can proceed. Weisselberg and the company asked a judge in February to dismiss all 15 counts charged against them. Judge Juan Merchan dismissed one of several tax fraud counts against the Trump Organization, but allowed all others to remain.” See also, Jury selection will start in October for Trump Organization criminal trial, NPR, Ilya Marritz, Friday, 12 August 2022: “A judge has cleared the way for a trial in the criminal case against the Trump Organization and its longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, to begin this fall. The case has the potential to shine a bright light on the business practices of former President Donald Trump, through internal company records that he fought hard to keep secret. In the first public courtroom proceeding in this case in almost a year, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan denied multiple defense motions to dismiss the case and ordered jury selection to begin Oct. 24. Weisselberg and the Trump Organization were indicted in July 2021 on charges they conspired through a variety of gimmicks and deceptions to evade federal, state and local taxes, an alleged scheme that stretched over 16 years and allegedly saved Weisselberg close to $1 million.”

FBI attacker was prolific contributor to Trump’s Truth Social website. Civil war and violence in support of the former president were frequent topics on an account opened in April and bearing the gunman’s name and photo. The Washington Post, Drew Harwell and Meryl Kornfield, Friday, 12 August 2022: “In the minutes after an armed man in body armor tried to breach an FBI field office in Cincinnati, an account with the suspect’s name, Ricky Shiffer, posted to former president Donald Trump’s social network, Truth Social: ‘If you don’t hear from me, it is true I tried attacking the F.B.I.’ The Shiffer account appeared to be one of Truth Social’s most prolific posters, writing 374 messages there in the past eight days — mostly to echo Trump’s false claims about election fraud and, in the hours after FBI agents searched Trump’s Florida home, call for all-out war. ‘Be ready to kill the enemy,’ Shiffer had posted on Tuesday. ‘Kill [the FBI] on sight.’ Shiffer was killed Thursday in a shootout, police said, and the Truth Social account has since been taken down. But the calls for pro-Trump violence are still a common presence online — including on Truth Social, where the top ‘trending topics’ Friday morning were ‘#FBIcorruption’ and ‘DefundTheFBI.’ Truth Social’s parent company, Trump Media & Technology Group, did not respond to requests for comment. The Cincinnati shooting offers a glimpse at the real-world dangers of constant attacks from Trump and allied Republicans against federal officials in the days since FBI agents searched Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Palm Beach, Fla., estate and the center of his post-presidential operations. It also showcased how such violent anger could be encouraged in plain sight in loosely moderated online refuges such as Truth Social, where Trump supporters frequently tear down perceived enemies and call for civil war.”

Law enforcement leaders are raising alarms about threats to federal agents as prominent republicans attack the FBI for its search of Donald Trump’s residence and as authorities investigate an attempted breach at an FBI field office in Ohio, The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, Friday, 12 August 2022: “In interviews Thursday, Larry Cosme, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, expressed alarm at GOP warnings to Americans that federal agents are ‘coming for you.’ Politicians’ rhetoric could lead to more violence, regardless of what fueled the Ohio attack, he said, noting that online messages have advocated killing FBI agents. ‘The rank-and-file officers on the street and agents, they are career employees that … cherish the Constitution like the average American,’ he said. ‘So for them to be attacked by these individuals that believe something else — or they’re believing, you know, someone’s rhetoric that’s uncalled for — to me, it’s shameful and disgusting.'”

War in Ukraine: Senior military official says the U.S. doesn’t know what weapons hit base in Crimea, The Washington Post, Karina Tsui, Ellen Francis, Katerina Ang, Karoun Demirjian, and Praveena Somasundaram, Friday, 12 August 2022: “The Pentagon does not know what weapons were used in a powerful attack that hit a Russian air base in Crimea this week, a senior military official told reporters Friday. The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity under terms set by the Pentagon, provided a list of the various items that the United States finds to have been damaged in the incident, including ‘a number of Russian aircraft, fighters, fighter bombers, surveillance aircraft,’ and ‘a pretty significant cache of munitions,’ along with an ammunition dump, some other structures and the airfield.

  • The attack on the Saki air base in Crimea would hurt ‘the Russians’ ability to prosecute any air ability out of the airfield,’ the senior U.S. military official said, adding that the Ukrainians had selected the target themselves. Earlier this week, a U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation said it appeared the weapon used in the attack had not been provided by the United States. A Ukrainian government official told The Washington Post on Wednesday that Ukrainian special forces had carried out the attack.
  • The U.N. chief called for the withdrawal of military forces and equipment from around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, which Russia seized from Ukraine. As the two countries accuse each other of shelling near the facility, the global atomic energy watchdog, the IAEA, warned of potential disaster as U.N. officials urged a cease-fire at a Security Council emergency meeting. Russia’s U.N. envoy said the IAEA may visit the nuclear plant soon but shifted the blame on others for preventing access to the facility, which sits in a part of Ukraine that Russian forces control.
  • The Brave Commander, a cargo vessel chartered by the United Nations, is set to export more than 23,000 metric tons of grain to Ethiopia through the port of Djibouti. Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine’s minister of infrastructure, said on Friday that the bulk carrier had arrived at the country’s Pivdennyi Sea Port. The cargo vessel will deliver the shipment under a deal to lift Russia’s blockade on Ukrainian grain, as the war drives up prices and worsens a global food crisis. Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are also dealing with their worst drought in decades, with more than 18 million people facing acute food insecurity.
  • A Russian journalist who protested the Ukraine war has been put under house arrest until Oct. 9. Marina Ovsyannikova, who worked as an editor for Russian state TV Channel One, held an antiwar picket on July 15, holding a poster showing children who died in Ukraine with the inscription: ‘How many more children must die before you stop?’ Any show of protest over the Russian military’s involvement in Ukraine can be punishable by up to 15 years in prison, under Moscow’s draconian ‘fake news’ law.

Russia-Ukraine War: Ukraine Estimates Sharply Higher Russian Casualty Toll in Crimea Blasts. A senior Ukrainian official said there were 60 dead and 100 wounded in a series of explosions that destroyed several Russian warplanes in a Moscow-controlled region. The New York Times, Friday, 12 August 2022:

  • A Ukrainian official’s account of the Crimea explosions further contradicts Russia’s.

  • Russia’s economy contracts sharply as war and sanctions take hold.

  • More rockets land in areas near the site of a nuclear power plant, Ukrainian officials say.

  • Here are the risks as shelling continues at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.

  • Russian attack in eastern Ukraine kills 2 civilians, regional military leader says.

  • Heavy losses leave Russia short of its goal, U.S. officials say.

  • Gerhard Schröder, Germany’s former leader, sues Parliament over perks that he lost because of ties to Russia.


Saturday, 13 August 2022:


War in Ukraine: Shelling near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant; Ukraine strikes last key bridge in the Kherson area, The Washington Post, Ellen Francis, Katerina Ang, Meena Venkataramanan, and Praveena Somasundaram, Saturday, 13 August 2022: “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the European Union to halt visas for Russians, and missiles hit a city in southern Ukraine near the Zaporizhzhia site, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

  • Ukrainian forces will target Russian soldiers who shoot at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, or shoot from the facility, Zelensky said in his nightly address Saturday. He said the Russian soldiers are becoming a ‘special target,’ and repeated his call for sanctions against Russia’s nuclear industry.
  • Russian forces in the Kherson area are retreating to the eastern bank of the Dnipro River after Ukrainian forces destroyed the bridge over Nova Kakhovka Dam, according to the Mykolayiv regional governor, Vitaliy Kim. The bridge was the last one Russians could use to transport supplies to several thousand troops on the Dnipro’s western bank, and the damage comes just weeks after Ukrainian forces destroyed the Antonovsky Bridge.
  • The Kremlin has condemned calls to ban all Russian travelers after Zelensky told The Washington Post he wants Western countries to deny visas to Russians in a bid to deter Moscow from annexing Ukrainian territory. Latvia and Estonia have decided to stop issuing tourist visas, closing off two vital land routes for Russians to access the European Union since the bloc closed its airspace to Russian aircraft.

Russia-Ukraine War: Outgunned by Russia, Ukraine Aims for Death by a Thousand Cuts. Kyiv says it isn’t trying to beat the Russians head on, but is instead fighting on its own terms. In the country’s south, Ukraine hit the last of four bridges spanning the Dnipro River, isolating Russian forces on the western side. The New York Times, Saturday, 13 August 2022:

  • Ukraine, facing Russia’s greater military might, aims to ‘fight in a different way.’

  • The West has urged a demilitarized zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.

  • A Russian official warns of ‘serious collateral damage’ if the U.S. designates Russia a sponsor of terrorism.

  • Some see the Kremlin at work in Balkans flare-ups, aiming to deflect NATO’s attention from Ukraine war.

  • Russian attack in eastern Ukraine kills 2 civilians, regional military leader says.

  • The Ukrainian military condemns Russia’s apparent plans to try captured soldiers.

  • A Ukrainian boy starts a new life in England through chess.

In June Trump Lawyer Told Justice Department That Classified Material Had Been Returned. The lawyer signed a statement in June that all documents marked as classified and held in boxes in storage at Mar-a-Lago had been given back. The search at the former president’s home on Monday turned up more. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush, Saturday, 13 August 2022: “At least one lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump signed a written statement in June asserting that all material marked as classified and held in boxes in a storage area at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and club had been returned to the government, four people with knowledge of the document said. The written declaration was made after a visit on June 3 to Mar-a-Lago by Jay I. Bratt, the top counterintelligence official in the Justice Department’s national security division. The existence of the signed declaration, which has not previously been reported, is a possible indication that Mr. Trump or his team were not fully forthcoming with federal investigators about the material. And it could help explain why a potential violation of a criminal statute related to obstruction was cited by the department as one basis for seeking the warrant used to carry out the daylong search of the former president’s home on Monday, an extraordinary step that generated political shock waves. It also helps to further explain the sequence of events that prompted the Justice Department’s decision to conduct the search after months in which it had tried to resolve the matter through discussions with Mr. Trump and his team.”

Top lawmakers seek intelligence assessment of documents from Mar-a-Lago. In a letter, House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff call for intelligence officials to conduct a damage assessment of the highly classified information found at Trump’s club. The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany, Saturday, 13 August 2022: “The House Democrats’ top investigators on Saturday asked the director of National Intelligence to conduct a review and damage assessment of the boxes of highly classified information seized by the FBI this week from former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. The letter was sent to National Intelligence Director Avril Haines by House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) and cites the search warrant cataloguing the classified documents of various levels of sensitivity found at Mar-a-Lago. ‘Former President Trump’s conduct has potentially put our national security at grave risk,’ the two wrote, asking also for a classified briefing on the assessment as soon as possible. ‘This issue demands a full review, in addition to the ongoing law enforcement inquiry.’ The two also voiced concern that the FBI is looking in part at highly classified documents related to nuclear weapons, as first reported by The Washington Post. ‘If this report is true, it is hard to overstate the national security danger that could emanate from the reckless decision to remove and retain this material,’ the letter states.” See also, The Trump search warrant focuses on classified information. Here’s some information about classified materials to help you decode some of the items included in the inventory list. The Washington Post, Perry Stein, Saturday, 13 August 2022.

As Right-Wing Rhetoric Escalates, So Do Threats and Violence, The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Saturday, 13 August 2022: “The armed attack this week on an F.B.I. office in Ohio by a supporter of former President Donald J. Trump who was enraged by the bureau’s search of Mr. Trump’s private residence in Florida was one of the most disturbing episodes of right-wing political violence in recent months. But it was hardly the only one. In the year and a half since a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, threats of political violence and actual attacks have become a steady reality of American life, affecting school board officialselection workers, flight attendants, librarians and even members of Congress, often with few headlines and little reaction from politicians.” See also, FBI is investigating an ‘unprecedented’ number of threats against the bureau in the wake of Mar-a-Lago search, CNN Politics, Josh Campbell, Jessica Schneider, Donie O’Sullivan, Paul P. Murphy, and Priscilla Alvarez, Saturday, 13 August 2022: “The FBI is investigating an ‘unprecedented’ number of threats against bureau personnel and property in the wake of the search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, including some against agents listed in court records as being involved in the recent search, a law enforcement source tells CNN. The bureau, along with the Department of Homeland Security, also has issued a joint intelligence bulletin warning of ‘violent threats’ against federal law enforcement, courts and government personnel and facilities. On Friday, the names of the two agents who signed the search warrant paperwork circulated online. The names had been included in a version of the search warrant that was leaked prior to the official unsealing of the documents. The version released by the court redacted the agents’ names. Officials at the FBI headquarters division responsible for the security of personnel also have observed efforts by online actors to publicly post — also known as ‘doxxing’ — the personal information of other bureau employees, including those involved in the search of Trump’s residence, a law enforcement source tells CNN.”

Responding to FBI search, Trump and allies return to his familiar strategy: flood the zone with nonsense, CNN Politics, Daniel Dale, Saturday, 13 August 2022: “In response to the FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s home in Florida on Monday, Trump and his allies in Congress and right-wing media have returned to his preferred strategy for communicating in a crisis: say a whole bunch of nonsense in rapid succession. From his battles against impeachment to his effort to limit the political fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, Trump has attempted to flood the zone with such a quantity and variety of lies, conspiracy theories and distractions that Americans will tune out, turn away or cease to know what is true and not. And he has regularly been joined by a large cast of eager defenders.”

Europe’s rivers run dry as scientists warn drought could be the worst in 500 years, The Guardian, Jon Henley, Saturday, 13 August 2022: “In places, the Loire can now be crossed on foot; France’s longest river has never flowed so slowly. The Rhine is fast becoming impassable to barge traffic. In Italy, the Po is 2 metres lower than normal, crippling crops. Serbia is dredging the Danube. Across Europe, drought is reducing once-mighty rivers to trickles, with potentially dramatic consequences for industry, freight, energy and food production – just as supply shortages and price rises due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine bite. Driven by climate breakdown, an unusually dry winter and spring followed by record-breaking summer temperatures and repeated heatwaves have left Europe’s essential waterways under-replenished and, increasingly, overheated.”


Sunday, 14 August 2022:


War in Ukraine: Shelling near nuclear plant in southeastern Ukraine kills worker as world leaders call on Russia to retreat, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Rachel Pannett, Annabelle Timsit, and Meena Venkataramanan, Sunday, 14 August 2022: “Shelling near a nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine continued through the weekend, threatening the security of Europe’s largest nuclear facility and alarming the leaders of countries around the world, who called on Russia to withdraw its troops from the hotly contested site. A volley of rockets struck the city surrounding the plant on Sunday, killing one of its foremen and injuring two other workers, Ukrainian officials said.

  • Forty-two countries are calling on Russia to withdraw troops from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, according to a statement by the European Union dated Friday and posted Sunday. The statement says Russia’s military aggression at and near the plant poses a threat to nuclear safety.
  • The latest round of shelling near the plant killed one plant employee and injured two others, Ukraine’s nuclear power regulator said on Telegram. The city of Enerhodar was hit at least six times, the regulator said, further shaking the enclave where many nuclear power employees live.
  • Ukrainian forces will target Russian troops who shoot at the nuclear plant or from it, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address Saturday, as Russia and Ukraine traded accusations of additional shelling in the area. He said Russian soldiers are becoming a ‘special target,’ and he repeated his call for sanctions against Russia’s nuclear industry.
  • The cities of Nikopol and Marhanets faced additional attacks overnight into Sunday, according to the governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, who reported property damage but no casualties. Zelensky said Saturday that Russian soldiers are hiding behind the nuclear plant to fire at the two cities, which lie across from Zaporizhzhia on the Dnieper River.
  • Three of six turbines at a hydropower plant were damaged by HIMARS missiles, Russian state TV said. The network, run by the Russian Defense Ministry, said the damage to the Kakhovka plant could affect the cooling of nuclear reactors at Zaporizhzhia. The reports could not be independently verified.

Russia-Ukraine War: Shelling Kills One in Ukrainian Town Near Nuclear Site Amid Accelerating Exodus. A foreman at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power complex died after a shell struck his home, officials said. More than 1,000 cars were lined up in the area, seeking to exit Russian-controlled territory, witnesses said. The New York Times, Sunday, 14 August 2022:

  • ‘They are shooting day and night’: Civilians flee the contested region around a nuclear power complex.

  • Shelling on a nearby town kills an employee of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.

  • The first U.N. ship carrying Ukrainian grain for Africa prepares to depart.

  • Determined and defiant, Kyiv tries to regain its summer groove.

  • The Ukrainian military condemns Russia’s apparent plans to try captured soldiers.

  • A Ukrainian boy starts a new life in England through chess.

Trump’s Shifting Explanations Follow a Familiar Playbook. The former president and his allies have given often conflicting defenses of his retention of classified documents, without addressing why he had kept them. The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Maggie Haberman, Sunday, 14 August 2022: “First he said that he was ‘working and cooperating with’ government agents who he claimed had inappropriately entered his home. Then, when the government revealed that the F.B.I., during its search, had recovered nearly a dozen sets of documents that were marked classified, he suggested the agents had planted evidence. Finally, his aides claimed he had a ‘standing order’ to declassify documents that left the Oval Office for his residence, and that some of the material was protected by attorney-client and executive privilege. Those are the ever-shifting explanations that former President Donald J. Trump and his aides have given regarding what F.B.I. agents found last week in a search of his residence at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla. Mr. Trump and his allies have cast the search as a partisan assault while amplifying conflicting arguments about the handling of sensitive documents and failing to answer a question at the center of the federal investigation: Why was he keeping documents, some still marked classified, at an unsecured Florida resort when officials had sought for a year to retrieve them? The often contradictory and unsupported defenses perpetuated by Mr. Trump and his team since the F.B.I. search follow a familiar playbook of the former president’s. He has used it over decades but most visibly when he was faced with the investigation into whether his campaign in 2016 conspired with Russians and during his first impeachment trial. In both instances, he claimed victimization and mixed some facts with a blizzard of misleading statements or falsehoods. His lawyers denied that he had tied his administration’s withholding of vital military aid to Ukraine to Mr. Trump’s desire for investigations into Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son, Hunter Biden.”


Monday, 15 August 2022:


War in Ukraine: U.N. warns of danger at nuclear plant and rejects Russian claims that U.N. officials had blocked inspectors at the International Atomic Energy Agency from visiting the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the latest development in the global, high-stakes bid to secure the site of Europe’s largest nuclear facility, The Washington Post, Bryan Pietsch, Annabelle Timsit, Reis Thebault, Robyn Dixon, and Sammy Westfall, Monday, 15 August 2022: “The plant remains under Russian occupation and experts have warned of catastrophic disaster risks amid ongoing fighting and artillery fire in the area. U.N. leaders have pushed for the site’s demilitarization and have demanded access for international monitors.

  • Ukrainian troops struck a base used by a shadowy, Kremlin-linked mercenary firm, the Wagner Group, in eastern Ukraine on Sunday, Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Haidai said. The number of casualties from the strike was not known, he said. Ukrainian forces were able to target the site, in the city of Popasna, after a Russian journalist posted photos to social media identifying it as a Wagner Group base, Haidai said.
  • Brittney Griner’s defense team has appealed the Russian court’s verdict that sentenced her to more than nine years in prison for drug charges. A top Russian diplomat told state-run media over the weekend that the names of Griner and detained American Paul Whelan were mentioned in discussions of a potential prisoner swap between Washington and Moscow, along with Russia’s Viktor Bout, who is incarcerated in the United States.
  • The trial of five captured European citizens began on Monday in a Kremlin-backed court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, a separatist region in eastern Ukraine. The group — three men from the United Kingdom, one from Croatia and another from Sweden — pleaded not guilty to charges of acting as mercenaries and training to ‘seize power by force,’ Russian media reported. A separatist court in June sentenced three foreign fighters to death on mercenary charges, and international observers denounced the proceedings as sham trials.
  • Vladimir Putin said Moscow is ready to arm its allies with modern, combat-tested weapons. At the ‘Army-2022’ arms show outside Moscow on Monday, Putin emphasized Russia’s ‘truly trusting ties’ with countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa, and said Russia is ready to offer allies and partners ‘the most modern types of weapons — from small arms to armored vehicles and artillery, combat aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles,’ reported the Moscow Times.
  • Putin told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that the two countries will expand their bilateral relations, North Korean state media reported Monday. The leaders exchanged congratulatory letters to mark Korea’s Liberation Day.
  • Forty-two countries are calling on Russia to withdraw troops from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, according to a statement by the European Union dated Friday and posted Sunday. The statement says Russia’s military aggression around the plant poses a threat to nuclear safety. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Moscow’s troops have hidden ammunition inside the nuclear facilities. Without tough new sanctions in response, he said, ‘the world loses, loses to terrorists’ and ‘gives in to nuclear blackmail.’

Russia-Ukraine War: Ukraine Claims Strike on Russian Mercenary Base. Reports of a strike in the Luhansk region of Ukraine’s east emerged on Sunday night. In the Kherson region in the south, Russia has withstood a barrage of Ukrainian  attacks, but little territory has exchanged hands. The New York Times, Monday, 15 August 2022:

  • Images of damage have been posted on a social media channel linked to the shadowy Wagner Group.

  • The U.N. chief discusses nuclear safety concerns at Zaporizhzhia with Russia’s defense minister.

  • Ukraine makes gains in Kherson, but Russia’s advantage holds.

  • Brittney Griner appeals her conviction on drug charges in Russia, her defense team says.

  • Oil has fallen to under $90 a barrel, but it could be too soon to celebrate.

  • Putin, amid setbacks in Ukraine, offers arms to Russia’s ‘many allies.’

Russia-Ukraine war: A weekly recap and look ahead (August 15), NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 15 August 2022: “As the week begins, here’s a roundup of key developments from the past week and a look ahead. What to watch this week: The world follows as ships finally carry Ukrainian-grown food to global customers and destinations gripped by hunger, including in the Horn of Africa. This week, Russian-backed separatists in the Donetsk region are expected to begin a criminal trial for captured foreigners, including men from the United Kingdom, Sweden and Croatia, accused of working as mercenaries, Interfax reported. On Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry holds its Moscow Conference on International Security. NPR will also keep an eye out for developments in talks over a possible prisoner exchange between Russia and the United States. What happened last week: Monday, Aug. 8: The U.S. Agency for International Development said it’s providing $4.5 billion more in budgetary support for Ukraine’s government. And the Pentagon announced an additional $1 billion in security assistance to the country. Russia suspended weapons inspections under its START nuclear arms control treaty with the U.S., saying Western sanctions on travel made the checks on U.S. compliance impossible. Tuesday, Aug. 9: Ukraine said nine Russian warplanes were destroyed at a Crimea air base. Satellite images showed several damaged fighter planes. Neither Ukraine or Russia officially divulged how it happened, but some U.S. media quoted unnamed Ukrainian officials as saying Ukraine did it. President Biden signed the U.S. ratification measure approving NATO membership for Finland and Sweden. And the State Department announced $89 million to help Ukraine clear landmines and unexploded ordnance. Wednesday, Aug. 10: Annual inflation in Ukraine reached 22.2%The Kyiv Independent reported, citing official figures for July. Thursday, Aug. 11: Ukraine and Russia blamed each other for more shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Russian-occupied southern Ukraine. The United Nations Security Council met to discuss the situation, with calls from the heads of the U.N. and the International Atomic Energy Agency to stop military action around the site and allow a mission to inspect it. The European Union and 42 countries issued a joint statement calling on Russia to remove its military forces from the facility. Russia’s government confirmed talks were underway for a possible prisoner exchange that could free U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner and fellow jailed American Paul Whelan. Lawyers for imprisoned WNBA star Griner said Monday they filed an appeal against her conviction and nine-year sentence on drug charges. Friday, Aug. 12: Battles in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region continued, with Russian forces conducting ground attacks in different locations including around the city of Bakhmut, east of Siversk and northwest of the city of Donetsk, the think tank the Institute for the Study of War said. Saturday, Aug. 13: Ukrainian forces destroyed a bridge on a hydroelectric power dam in Russian-controlled territory in southern Ukraine’s Kherson region, aiming to disrupt Russia’s ability to resupply its military. Sunday, Aug. 14: A ship left the Ukrainian port of Yuzhne with grain bound for Africa as part of a World Food Programme initiative. The Lebanese-flagged Brave Commander is heading to Djibouti, from where the grain will be transferred to Ethiopia. It’s one of more than two dozen ships reported to have left Ukraine in the past two weeks after Ukraine’s grain exports had been mostly trapped in the country by the war.”

Justice Department Objects to Releasing Affidavit Used to Search Trump’s Home. Prosecutors say its release would compromise the investigation into Donald J. Trump’s handling of secret documents after he left office. Now a judge must decide. The New York Times, Glenn Thrush, Maggie Haberman, Alan Feuer, and Katie Benner, Monday, 15 August 2022: “The Justice Department objected on Monday to making public the affidavit used to justify the search of former President Donald J. Trump’s home in Florida, saying its release would ‘compromise future investigative steps’ and ‘likely chill’ cooperation with witnesses. In a 13-page pleading, filed in a federal court in southern Florida in response to requests by The New York Times and other news organizations to make public the evidence included in the document, prosecutors suggested that the department has undertaken a broad, intensive inquiry into Mr. Trump’s handling of some of the most secret documents of the government after he left office. The prosecutors acknowledged interviewing witnesses in connection with the investigation of Mr. Trump’s retention of the material. They also wrote that releasing the document could compromise the continuing investigation. ‘Disclosure of the government’s affidavit at this stage would also likely chill future cooperation by witnesses whose assistance may be sought as this investigation progresses,’ prosecutors wrote. They added that releasing the affidavit could harm ‘other high-profile investigations’ as well. One of the reasons proposed by the government for not releasing the affidavit was to protect the identities of witnesses against death threats. On Monday, prosecutors in Pennsylvania unsealed charges against a man accused of repeatedly threatening to kill F.B.I. agents in the days after Mr. Trump’s property was searched.” See also, Justice Department opposes release of Mar-a-Lago affidavit. Media outlets have asked a judge to unseal the document, which probably includes key details about the FBI’s decision to search former president Donald Trump’s Florida residence. The Washington Post, Perry Stein, Monday, 15 August 2022: “The Justice Department on Monday asked a judge to keep sealed the sworn affidavit underpinning last week’s extraordinary FBI search of former president Donald Trump’s Florida residence, a document thought to hold key details about the government’s investigation into the potential mishandling of classified materials. Monday’s court filing was made in response to requests from multiple media outlets, including The Washington Post, seeking the affidavit’s public release. Law enforcement officials submit such documents to a judge as part of their application for a search warrant. Affidavits typically contain information addressing why authorities think there is evidence at a certain property and other details about an investigation, including sometimes the identities of witnesses. The Justice Department argued that releasing the affidavit could hamper its investigation and potentially harm those involved. ‘Even when the public is already aware of the general nature of the investigation, revealing the specific contents of a search warrant affidavit could alter the investigation’s trajectory, reveal ongoing and future investigative efforts, and undermine agents’ ability to collect evidence or obtain truthful testimony,’ the 13-page filing states. ‘In addition to the implications for the investigation, the release of this type of investigative material could have ‘devastating consequences’ for the reputations and rights of individuals whose actions and statements are described.'”

Rudy Giuliani Is Told He Is a Target in Trump Election Inquiry in Georgia. Giuliani, as former President Donald J. Trump’s personal lawyer, spearheaded efforts to keep Mr. Trump in power. The New York Times, Richard Fausset and Danny Hakim, Monday, 15 August 2022: “The legal pressures on Donald J. Trump and his closest allies intensified further on Monday, as prosecutors informed his former personal attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, that Mr. Giuliani was a target in a wide-ranging criminal investigation into election interference in Georgia. The notification came on the same day that a federal judge rejected efforts by another key Trump ally, Senator Lindsey Graham, to avoid giving testimony before the special grand jury hearing evidence in the case in Atlanta. One of Mr. Giuliani’s lawyers, Robert Costello, said in an interview that he was notified on Monday that his client was a target. Being so identified does not guarantee that a person will be indicted; rather, it usually means that prosecutors believe an indictment is possible, based on evidence they have seen up to that point. Mr. Giuliani, who as Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer spearheaded efforts to keep Mr. Trump in power, emerged in recent weeks as a central figure in the inquiry being conducted by Fani T. Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County, Ga., which encompasses most of Atlanta.” See also, Rudy Giuliani is target in Georgia criminal probe of 2020 election, lawyer says, The Washington Post, Tom Hamburger and Eugene Scott, Monday, 15 August 2022: “Prosecutors in Fulton County, Ga., have told Rudy Giuliani’s lawyers that he is a target of their ongoing criminal probe into efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, a Giuliani lawyer said Monday. Attorney Robert Costello said lawyers for the former New York mayor were told by the office of Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis on Monday that Giuliani is a target of the ongoing probe, signaling that he could be indicted if the case moves forward. Giuliani has served as a lawyer for former president Donald Trump and was one of the leaders of the effort to overturn the 2020 vote. Costello said he and Giuliani ‘plan to be in Atlanta on Wednesday’ to testify as scheduled before the special grand jury that has been hearing the case. Giuliani is considered a key witness in the sprawling inquiry. The targeting of Giuliani is just the latest example of Willis moving aggressively with her probe. Willis also won a federal court victory Monday in a related matter involving Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who a judge ruled must testify in the case.” See also, Federal judge rules that Lindsey Graham must testify in Georgia 2020 investigation, CNN Politics, Jason Morris and Nick Valencia, Monday, 15 August 2022: “A federal judge in Atlanta has denied GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham’s motion to quash a subpoena, ruling that he must testify before a Fulton County grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. In her written decision on Monday, US District Judge Leigh Martin May sent the case to the Superior Court of Fulton County to hear further proceedings on the US Constitution’s ‘Speech or Debate’ clause, the centerpiece that Graham’s attorneys argued immunized the US senator from South Carolina from having to testify in this case.”

Trump Executive Allen H. Weisselberg Nears Plea Deal With Manhattan Prosecutors. Weisselberg, who was charged with participating in a tax scheme, will not cooperate with the district attorney’s investigation into Donald J. Trump. The New York Times, Ben Protess, William K. Rashbaum, and Jonah E. Bromwich, Monday, 15 August 2022: “A senior executive at Donald J. Trump’s family business who was charged with participating in a yearslong tax scheme is nearing a deal with Manhattan prosecutors but will not cooperate with a broader investigation into Mr. Trump, according to three people with knowledge of the matter. If it becomes final, a plea deal for the executive, Allen H. Weisselberg, would bring prosecutors no closer to indicting the former president but would nonetheless brand one of his most trusted lieutenants a felon. On Monday, Mr. Weisselberg’s lawyers and prosecutors met with the judge overseeing the case, according to a court database. The judge scheduled a hearing for Thursday, a possible indication that a deal has been reached and a plea could be entered then. While Mr. Weisselberg, 75, is facing financial penalties as well as up to 15 years in prison if convicted by a jury, a plea deal would avoid a high-profile trial and spare him a lengthy sentence. Two people with knowledge of the matter said that Mr. Weisselberg was expected to receive a five-month jail term. With time credited for good behavior, he is likely to serve about 100 days.” See also, Ex-Trump Organization official Allen Weisselberg is expected to plead guilty in tax case. Weisselberg is expected to be sentenced to five months in the case brought by Manhattan prosecutors over a tax avoidance scheme they allege ran for 15 years, sources say. NBC News, Tom Winter, Jonathan Dienst, Adam Reiss, and Ryan J. Reilly, Monday, 15 August 2022: “Former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg is expected to plead guilty to criminal charges tied to his indictment by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in an investigation of former President Donald Trump’s businesses, according to two people familiar with the matter and a public court filing. Weisselberg is expected to be sentenced to 5 months in jail as part of that plea which could come as soon as Thursday morning, the two sources said. Other terms of the plea were not immediately disclosed, but the sources said that Weisselberg is expected to cooperate against the Trump Organization itself. There is no indication he will cooperate in any investigation into the former president, however. Weisselberg and the Trump Organization were charged as part of what prosecutors described as an ‘off the books’ scheme over 15 years to help top officials in the Trump Organization avoid paying taxes. Weisselberg, 74, was accused of avoiding paying taxes on $1.7 million of his income.”

Records reveal Trump-allied lawyers pursued voting machine data in multiple states, The Washington Post, Emma Brown, Jon Swaine, Aaron C. Davis, and Amy Gardner, Monday, 15 August 2022: “A team of computer experts directed by lawyers allied with President Donald Trump copied sensitive data from election systems in Georgia as part of a secretive, multistate effort to access voting equipment that was broader, more organized and more successful than previously reported, according to emails and other records obtained by The Washington Post. As they worked to overturn Trump’s 2020 election defeat, the lawyers asked a forensic data firm to access county election systems in at least three battleground states, according to the documents and interviews. The firm charged an upfront retainer fee for each job, which in one case was $26,000. Attorney Sidney Powell sent the team to Michigan to copy a rural county’s election data and later helped arrange for it to do the same in the Detroit area, according to the records. A Trump campaign attorney engaged the team to travel to Nevada. And the day after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol the team was in southern Georgia, copying data from a Dominion voting system in rural Coffee County.”

Election deniers march toward power in key 2024 battlegrounds. Republican nominees who dispute the 2020 results could be positioned to play a critical role in the next presidential election. The Washington Post, Amy Gardner, Monday, 15 August 2022: “Across the battleground states that decided the 2020 vote, candidates who deny the legitimacy of that election have claimed nearly two-thirds of GOP nominations for state and federal offices with authority over elections, according to a Washington Post analysis…. A close presidential contest that comes down to the outcome in states where officials are willing to try to thwart the popular will could throw the country into chaos. It would potentially delay the result, undermine confidence in the democratic system and sow the seeds of civil strife on a scale even greater than what the nation saw on Jan. 6, 2021…. In the 41 states that have held nominating contests this year, more than half the GOP winners so far — about 250 candidates in 469 contests — have embraced Trump’s false claims about his defeat two years ago, according to a Post analysis of every race for federal and statewide office with power over elections. The proportion of election-denying nominees is even higher in the six critical battlegrounds that ultimately decided the 2020 presidential contest, where Trump most fiercely contested the results. In Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, at least 54 winners out of 87 contests — more than 62 percent of nominees — have embraced the former president’s false claims. The count covers offices with direct supervision over election certificationsuch as secretaries of stateas well as the U.S. House and Senate, which have the power to finalize — or contest — the electoral college count every four years. Lieutenant governors and attorneys general are also included, with each playing a role in shaping election law, investigating alleged fraud or filing lawsuits to influence electoral outcomes. Among the six battlegrounds, only Arizona, Michigan and Pennsylvania have nominated statewide candidates who would have direct power over the certification process and who worked to overturn the 2020 result or have said they would not have certified it.”


Tuesday, 16 August 2022:


Biden Signs Expansive Health, Climate, and Tax Law. The president returned briefly from vacation to sign a bill that passed the House and Senate on party lines after more than a year of fraught negotiations. The New York Times, Jim Tankersley, Tuesday, 16 August 2022: “President Biden on Tuesday signed a long-awaited bill meant to reduce health costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and raise taxes on corporations and wealthy investors, capping more than a year of on-again, off-again negotiations and cementing his early economic legacy. ‘This bill is the biggest step forward on climate ever,’ Mr. Biden said, after drawing a standing ovation from a White House crowd filled largely with aides and allies. The bill, which Democrats named the Inflation Reduction Act, invests $370 billion in spending and tax credits in low-emission forms of energy to fight climate change. It extends federal health-insurance subsidies, allows the government to negotiate prescription drug prices for seniors on Medicare and is expected to reduce the federal budget deficit by about $300 billion over 10 years. The legislation would increase taxes by about $300 billion, largely by imposing new levies on big corporations. The law includes a new tax on certain corporate stock repurchases and a minimum tax on large firms that use deductions and other methods to reduce their tax bills. It also bolsters funding for the Internal Revenue Service in an effort to crack down on tax evasion and collect potentially hundreds of billions of dollars that are currently owed to the government but not paid by high earners and corporations. It passed the House and Senate earlier this month entirely along party lines, as Democrats employed a legislative process to bypass a Republican filibuster. The bill represents America’s largest investment to fight climate change. It is aimed at helping the United States cut greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. That would put the country within striking distance of Mr. Biden’s goal of cutting emissions at least 50 percent over that time period.” See also, A Detailed Picture of What’s in the Democrats’ Climate and Health Bill, The New York Times, Francesca Paris, Alicia Parlapiano, Margot Sanger-Katz and Eve Washington, Tuesday, 16 August 2022. See also, Biden signs sweeping bill to tackle climate change and to lower health-care costs, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang, Tuesday, 16 August 2022: “President Biden on Tuesday signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act, an ambitious measure that aims to tamp down on inflation, lower prescription drug prices, tackle climate change, reduce the deficit and impose a minimum tax on profits of the largest corporations. At a bill signing ceremony in the State Dining Room of the White House, Biden praised the legislation as among the most significant measures in the history of the country. ‘Let me say from the start: With this law, the American people won and the special interests lost,’ Biden said. His administration had begun amid ‘a dark time in America,’ Biden added, citing the coronavirus pandemic, joblessness and threats to democracy.  ‘And yet we’ve not wavered, we’ve not flinched and we’ve not given in,’ Biden said. ‘Instead, we’re delivering results for the American people. We didn’t tear down. We built up. We didn’t look back. We look forward. And today — today offers further proof that the soul of America is vibrant, the future of America is bright, and the promise of America is real.’ The House passed the bill Friday in a 220-207 vote, days after the Senate narrowly passed it on a party-line vote, with Vice President Harris serving as the tiebreaker. The bill’s passage marked one of the most successful legislative efforts by congressional Democrats this session, ahead of contentious midterm elections — and also one that seemed increasingly unlikely for about a year and a half.” See also, Biden signs inflation Reduction Act into law, CNN Politics, Maegan Vazquez and Donald Judd, Tuesday, 16 August 2022: “President Joe Biden signed a sweeping $750 billion health care, tax and climate bill into law at the White House on Tuesday — marking a major victory for his administration and the Democratic Party ahead of the midterm elections. Biden said during a signing ceremony in the State Dining Room that the legislation, called the Inflation Reduction Act, is ‘one of the most significant laws in our history.’… The bill signing is the latest celebration of a major legislative accomplishment for Biden this summer, having already held bill signings at the White House last week for a bill aimed at increasing domestic semiconductor production and increasing benefits for veterans affected by toxic burn pits in Afghanistan and Iraq. Biden has also chalked up wins on several other fronts in the last few months, including a bipartisan gun reform bill, ordering the successful mission to kill al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, sending billions in aid to Ukraine to help that nation defend itself against Russia’s invasion and helping Finland and Sweden begin the process of joining NATO.”

F.B.I. Interviewed Top White House Lawyers About Missing Trump Documents. Pat A. Cipollone and Patrick F. Philbin are the most senior former Trump aides known to have been interviewed in the investigation into his handling of classified material. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Tuesday, 16 August 2022: “Pat A. Cipollone and Patrick F. Philbin, the White House counsel and his deputy under President Donald J. Trump, were interviewed by the F.B.I. in connection with boxes of sensitive documents that were stored at Mr. Trump’s residence in Florida after he left office, three people familiar with the matter said. Mr. Cipollone and Mr. Philbin are the most senior people who worked for Mr. Trump who are known to have been interviewed by investigators after the National Archives referred the matter to the Justice Department this year. The interviews are a sign of the intensity of the investigation into how sensitive government material left the White House with Mr. Trump and remained at his Palm Beach, Fla., residence, Mar-a-Lago, for more than a year. Mr. Philbin was interviewed in the spring, according to two of the people familiar with the matter, as investigators reached out to members of Mr. Trump’s circle to find out how 15 boxes of material — some of it marked as classified — made its way to Mar-a-Lago. It was unclear when Mr. Cipollone was interviewed. Mr. Cipollone and Mr. Philbin were two of Mr. Trump’s representatives to deal with the National Archives; they were named to the positions shortly before the president’s term ended, in January 2021. Another was Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff. At some point after National Archives officials realized they did not have Trump White House documents, which are required to be preserved under the Presidential Records Act, they contacted Mr. Philbin for help returning them…. Mr. Philbin tried to help the National Archives retrieve the material, two of the people familiar with the discussions said. But the former president repeatedly resisted entreaties from his advisers. ‘It’s not theirs; it’s mine,’ several advisers say Mr. Trump told them. Among the items in the boxes packed up from the White House residence as Mr. Trump was departing was Mr. Trump’s correspondence with the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, as well as a letter to Mr. Trump from former President Barack Obama when Mr. Obama departed the White House. See also, Former White House lawyers, Pat Cipollone and Patrick Philbin, interviewed by FBI over Mar-a-Lago documents, CNN Politics, Evan Perez and Gabby Orr, Tuesday, 16 August 2022: “The FBI interviewed former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and his former deputy Patrick Philbin earlier this year as part of the investigation into federal records taken to Donald Trump’s Palm Beach home, two people briefed on the matter said. The two are the most senior former Trump officials interviewed in what is now a criminal investigation of possible mishandling of classified information and obstruction. The two men are among a group of former Trump aides whom the FBI interviewed after the criminal probe got underway this spring, the people briefed on the matter said. The New York Times earlier reported the interviews.” See also, A Timeline of Trump’s False and Misleading Statements on the Mar-a-Lago Search. The former president has pushed frenetic and sometimes contradictory claims about the F.B.I.’s search of his Florida home. The New York Times, Stuart A. Thompson, Tuesday, 16 August 2022: “In the days since former President Donald J. Trump’s Florida home was searched by federal agents last week, he has posted dozens of messages on Truth Social, his social media platform, about the Democrats, the F.B.I. and other perceived foes. Those statements reflect the strategy Mr. Trump has long used to address controversy, by turns denying any wrongdoing while directing attention elsewhere. Some of the messages also reflect his penchant for false and misleading claims.”

Top Democrats Accuse Homeland Security Watchdog of Blocking Testimony in January 6 Inquiry. The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general is under criticism for his handling of an investigation into missing Secret Service text messages from around the time of the Capitol attack. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Eileen Sullivan, Tuesday, 16 August 2022: “The Department of Homeland Security’s internal watchdog, who is under criticism for his handling of an investigation into missing Secret Service text messages around the time of the Capitol attack, is refusing to cooperate with congressional demands, even blocking his employees from testifying before Congress, two top Democrats said on Tuesday. Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York and the chairwoman of the Oversight Committee, and Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, sent a letter to Joseph V. Cuffari, the Homeland Security inspector general, demanding that his office comply with their requests for documents and transcribed interviews.” See also, Homeland Security watchdog Cuffari faces rebukes from lawmakers in missing texts case, The Washington Post, Maria Sacchetti, Tuesday, 16 August 2022: “The Department of Homeland Security’s chief watchdog has rejected calls from leading Democratic legislators to recuse himself from the investigation into the erasure of text messages that Secret Service agents exchanged during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, drawing fresh rebukes from lawmakers on Tuesday. Inspector General Joseph Cuffari said in a letter made public Tuesday that he would not share investigative documents or allow his top lieutenants to sit for transcribed interviews before House committees investigating the attack, nor would he provide documents that lawmakers requested. Cuffari said forcing him to step aside ‘has no legal basis’ and ‘would upend the very independence that Congress has established for Inspectors General,’ according to the letter he sent to House oversight committees on Aug. 8. The House committees on Homeland Security and Oversight and Reform published his letter Tuesday, along with their response accusing Cuffari of delaying their inquiry into one of the most grievous attacks in U.S. history. Cuffari surprised legislators last month with a letter accusing the Secret Service of erasing text messages from the time of the attack after he had asked for them.”

Liz Cheney Is Defeated by Trump-Backed Harriet Hageman in Wyoming, The New York Times, Jonathan Martin, Tuesday, 16 August 2022: “Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming was resoundingly defeated by Harriet Hageman in her Republican primary on Tuesday, handing Donald J. Trump his most prized trophy yet in his long campaign to purge the Republican Party of his critics. Ms. Hageman, a lawyer in Cheyenne with little political following before she was lifted by Mr. Trump’s endorsement, trounced Ms. Cheney, the daughter of a former vice president, by more than 30 percentage points, with more than 90 percent of the vote counted. Ms. Cheney’s loss was as anticipated as it was consequential. The leading Republican voice against Mr. Trump, and vice chairwoman of the committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, next year will no longer have her perch in Congress from which to battle a figure she believes poses a grave threat to American democracy. Ms. Cheney conceded defeat just as The Associated Press called the race, suggesting she was setting a model for accepting the will of voters. ‘Harriet Hageman has received the most votes in this primary — she won,’ Ms. Cheney told supporters gathered outdoors on a ranch here. Standing alone on the stage, she went on to implore Americans to fight back against Mr. Trump and others who deny his loss in the 2020 presidential election. ‘No citizen of this republic is a bystander,’ she said, adding: ‘We cannot abandon the truth and remain a free nation.'” See also, What Liz Cheney’s Lopsided Loss Says About the State of the Republican Party. She hoped January 6 would be a turning point for Republicans. And while it did prove to be a dividing line, it was those who crossed Donald Trump who have faced electoral consequences. The New York Times, Shane Goldmacher, published on Wednesday, 17 August 2022: “Representative Liz Cheney’s martyr-like quest to stop Donald J. Trump has ensured her place in Republican Party history. But her lopsided defeat in Wyoming on Tuesday also exposed the remarkable degree to which the former president still controls the party’s present — and its near future. Ten House Republicans voted to impeach Mr. Trump in early 2021 for his role inciting the mob that stormed the Capitol. Only two have survived the 2022 Republican primaries, a breathtaking run of losses and forced retirements in a chamber where incumbents typically prevail with ease. No single defeat was as freighted with significance as Ms. Cheney’s, or as revealing of the party’s realignment. The sheer scope of her loss — the daughter of a former vice president was defeated in a landslide — may have only strengthened Mr. Trump’s hand as he asserts his grip over the Republican Party, by revealing the futility among Republican voters of even the most vigorous prosecution of the case against him. Casting her mission of combating election denialism as a moral imperative and her work as just beginning, Ms. Cheney pledged to ‘do whatever it takes’ to prevent a second Trump presidency. ‘Freedom must not, cannot and will not die here,’ she declared in her concession speech on Tuesday night in Jackson.”

War in Ukraine: Ukraine strikes Crimea targets twice in a week, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Annabelle Timsit, Katerina Ang, and Sammy Westfall, Tuesday, 16 August 2022: “For the second time in a week, Ukraine’s special forces struck targets in Russian-occupied Crimea, audacious attacks that demonstrate Kyiv’s ability to carry out covert operations deep behind enemy lines. The peninsula, which Moscow illegally annexed in 2014, has been a key military supply hub for Russian forces and remains a popular destination for the country’s tourists. The Kremlin claimed the Tuesday explosion, which destroyed an ammunition depot, was an ‘act of sabotage,’ while a Ukrainian official said the blast was the work of the same Ukrainian special forces team believed responsible for a strike last week on a Russian air base in Crimea.

  • Social media videos of the strike’s aftermath showed a raging fire at the storage depot. At least two people were injured and 3,000 residents living nearby were evacuated, according to local media outlets.
  • The blast, near the Crimean town of Dzhankoi, was ‘demilitarization in action,’ Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, tweeted. Russia’s Defense Ministry, meanwhile, said a fire at the depot caused ammunition stored inside to detonate.
  • The United Nations and Russia discussed safety around Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. U.N. Secretary General António Guterres spoke with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Monday about how to ensure the safe functioning of Europe’s largest nuclear plant, which is under Russian control, as strikes around the plant have intensified in recent days. Kyiv and Moscow have blamed each other for the strikes, which have sent local residents fleeing. In a Tuesday call with French President Emmanuel Macron, Zelensky said he denounced ‘Russia’s nuclear terrorism.’
  • Russia has ‘no need to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine,’ Shoigu said Tuesday at a conference in Moscow. Russia’s nuclear arsenal exists mainly ‘to deter a nuclear attack,’ and its use ‘is limited to emergency circumstances’ outlined in publicly available documents, he said.
  • The U.N.’s Guterres, Zelensky and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are set to meet Thursday in Lviv, Ukraine, a U.N. spokesperson announced. Guterres also plans to visit a Black Sea port used to transport grain under a U.N. backed deal brokered in Turkey.
  • Russia and Britain traded accusations of unsafe and provocative aircraft activity on Tuesday. Russia’s Defense Ministry said a British plane entered Russian airspace on Monday and had to be escorted out by a fighter jet. But a U.K. defense official denied the claim and said its aircraft was in international airspace when Russia’s jet ‘conducted an unsafe pass.’

Russia-Ukraine War: Ukraine Defies Russia With Attacks on Crimea, a ‘Holy Land’ to Putin. A senior Ukrainian official said that an elite military unit was responsible for the attack on an ammunition storage site, the latest to directly target the peninsula that holds special meaning for Russian President Vladimir Putin. The New York Times, Tuesday, 16 August 2022:

  • Ukraine targets a ‘sacred place’ Russia has vowed would have consequences if attacked.

  • The blasts at an ammunition storage site are near a Russian military base in Crimea.

  • Russia strikes along Ukraine’s front lines, with Kharkiv reporting widespread damage.

  • More than a sun-splashed resort, Crimea holds a key place in Russia’s war effort.

  • The operator of Ukraine’s nuclear plants says it faced an ambitious cyberattack.

  • A court in Russia fines one of the country’s biggest rock stars for criticizing the war.

  • The first U.N. ship transporting Ukrainian grain to Africa has set sail.


Wednesday, 17 August 2022:


War in Ukraine: U.N. chief arrives in Ukraine to review month-old grain export deal, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Ellen Francis, Rachel Pannett, and Sammy Westfall, Wednesday, 17 August 2022: “The U.N. chief arrived in Ukraine on Wednesday ahead of a summit to review the breakthrough agreement signed nearly one month ago that allowed for the export of Ukrainian grain and offered a sign of hope during a global food crisis. U.N. Secretary General António Guterres will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday in the western city of Lviv.

  • Guterres is expected to visit a Black Sea port at the center of the Ukrainian grain deal. Five ships arrived in Ukrainian waters on Wednesday, where they will load more than 70,000 tons of agricultural products, including wheat, corn and sunflower oil, Ukraine’s sea ports authority said in a statement. It will be the largest caravan yet under the U.N.-backed deal.
  • The Ukrainian nuclear energy agency accused Russia of a cyberattack on its website, which it said had failed. Energoatom said the hacking efforts did not ‘significantly affect’ the company’s official site. While Tuesday’s attack did not appear to impact Ukraine’s power grid, the state company that oversees the country’s nuclear plants described it as ‘unprecedented.’
  • Satellite images appeared to show the first grain ship from Ukraine under the deal docked in Syria, where the government is a close ally of Russia. A photo published by U.S.-based firm Planet Labs shows the Razoni vessel at Syria’s port of Tartus, according to the Associated Press, which said the buyer in Lebanon, where the shipment was initially headed, had refused the order.
  • Deadly Russian strikes continue to shake Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city. The northeast metropolis was an early target for Moscow’s troops, and artillery fire has increased there in recent weeks, prompting the Human Rights Watch to denounce the assault in a report this week. Shelling in a residential district of the city on Wednesday killed at least six and injured another 16, regional governor Oleh Synyehubov said.
  • Ukraine’s top military commander said fighting along the war’s front line is ‘intense but fully controlled.’ In a Wednesday assessment, the head of Ukraine’s armed forces, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, reported that Russia ‘continues to advance’ while conducting relentless daily shelling. The most intense fighting is happening around the city of Donetsk in the province of the same name, he said. Zaluzhnyi also warned that Russia is amassing more firepower in Belarus.

Russia-Ukraine War: Missile Strike Kills 6 Civilians in Kharkiv. The missile hit a residential building in Ukraine’s second largest city, and the death toll was expected to rise The U.N. Secretary General arrived in Ukraine for high-level meetings. The New York Times, Wednesday, 17 August 2022:

  • A missile strike on a residential building in Kharkiv kills at least 6 people as Russia’s offensive stalls.

  • As Russia falters in eastern and southern Ukraine, Kyiv eyes a threat from the north.

  • The U.N. secretary general arrives in Ukraine to review the grain deal’s progress.

  • Across from an occupied nuclear plant, a heavily shelled town has little choice but to clean up and wait.

  • The world cannot stay quietly neutral on Ukraine, says Ban Ki-moon.

  • The operator of Ukraine’s nuclear plants says it faced an ambitious cyberattack.

Pence Calls on Republicans to Stop Assailing the F.B.I. After mar-a-Lago Search. Former Vice President Mike Pence also said he would consider talking to the January 6 committee if he were ‘summoned to testify.’ The New York Times, Alan Feuer and Luke Broadwater, Wednesday, 17 August 2022: “Former Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday called on Republicans to stop attacking the nation’s top law enforcement agencies over the F.B.I.’s search of Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald J. Trump’s Palm Beach, Fla., home. Congressional Republicans, including members of leadership, have reacted with fury to the Aug. 8 search, which is part of an investigation into Mr. Trump’s handling of classified material. Some lawmakers have called to ‘defund’ or ‘destroy’ the F.B.I., even as more moderate voices have chastised their colleagues for their rhetoric. Speaking at a political event in New Hampshire, Mr. Pence said that Republicans could hold the Justice Department and the F.B.I. accountable for their decisions ‘without attacking the rank-and-file law enforcement personnel.’ ‘Our party stands with the men and women who stand on the thin blue line at the federal and state and local level, and these attacks on the F.B.I. must stop,’ Mr. Pence went on. ‘Calls to defund the F.B.I. are just as wrong as calls to defund the police.’ The remarks by Mr. Pence, who appears to be positioning himself to run for president, highlight his readiness to separate himself from the wing of the Republican Party most loyal to Mr. Trump. They also illustrate the political dangers in criticizing a law enforcement agency, particularly for a party that purportedly bills itself as a defender of law and order.” See also, Pence pushes back against Republican calls to ‘defund the FBI,’ The Washington Post, John Wagner, Wednesday, 17 August 2022: “Former vice president Mike Pence pushed back Wednesday against those in his party who have called to ‘defund the FBI’ after the bureau’s search of former president Donald Trump’s residence in Florida last week. Pence, appearing at a Politics & Eggs breakfast in New Hampshire, said he was ‘deeply troubled’ that a search warrant had been issued and called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to release more information about its justification. The Justice Department filed a motion to unseal the search warrant, which was released last Friday. But Pence said the attacks on the FBI are unwarranted. ‘I also want to remind my fellow Republicans we can hold the attorney general accountable for the decision that he made without attacking the rank-and-file law enforcement personnel at the FBI,’ Pence said, asserting that ‘the Republican Party is the party of law and order. These attacks on the FBI must stop,’ Pence said to applause. ‘Calls to defund the FBI are just as wrong as calls to defund the police.’ Shortly after Pence’s remarks, Trump posted an American Spectator piece on Truth Social, his social media network, that carried the headline, ‘The Fascist Bureau of Investigation.’ The piece by Jeffrey Lord argued that ‘a once-honorable organization’ had been corrupted. ‘The FBI has become the Fascist Bureau of Investigation, a government agency weaponized against American citizens it doesn’t like,’ Lord wrote.”

January 6 Grand Jury Has Subpoenaed White House Documents. The subpoena, issued in May to the National Archives, demanded all of the documents the agency had provided to the House committee’s parallel investigation. The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Maggie Haberman, and Luke Broadwater, Wednesday, 17 August 2022: “Federal prosecutors investigating the role that former President Donald J. Trump and his allies played in the events leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol have issued a grand jury subpoena to the National Archives for all the documents the agency provided to a parallel House select committee inquiry, according to a copy of the subpoena obtained by The New York Times. The subpoena, issued to the National Archives in May, made a sweeping demand for ‘all materials, in whatever form’ that the archives had given to the Jan. 6 House committee. Those materials included records from the files of Mr. Trump’s top aides, his daily schedule and phone logs and a draft text of the president’s speech that preceded the riot. It was signed by Thomas P. Windom, the federal prosecutor who has been leading the Justice Department’s wide-ranging inquiry into what part Mr. Trump and his allies may have played in various schemes to maintain power after the former president’s defeat in the 2020 election — chief among them a plan to submit fake slates of pro-Trump electors in states actually won by Joseph R. Biden Jr. The subpoena was not related to a separate investigation into Mr. Trump’s retention and handling of classified documents that were removed from the White House at the end of his tenure and taken to Mar-a-Lago, his private club and residence in Palm Beach, Fla. That inquiry led this month to a court-approved search of Mar-a-Lago during which federal agents carted off several boxes of sensitive materials. Asking the National Archives for any White House documents pertaining to the events surrounding Jan. 6 was one of the first major steps the House panel took in its investigation. And the grand jury subpoena suggests that the Justice Department has not only been following the committee’s lead in pursuing its inquiry, but also that prosecutors believe evidence of a crime may exist in the White House documents the archives turned over to the House panel.”

Giuliani Appears Before Atlanta Grand Jury Investigating Trump. The former New York mayor has been told that he is a target in the investigation concerning whether Donald J. Trump and his associates tried to illegally influence the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia. The New York Times, Richard Fausset, Wednesday, 17 August 2022: “Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former lawyer for Donald J. Trump and a target in the criminal investigation into Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn Georgia’s results in the 2020 presidential election, spent hours behind closed doors on Wednesday taking questions as part of a special grand jury proceeding. But a lawyer for Mr. Giuliani declined to say whether he answered any of them. It is unclear what crimes Mr. Giuliani could be charged with in the sprawling investigation of Mr. Trump and his allies being led by Fani T. Willis, the district attorney in Fulton County, Ga. Mr. Giuliani, 78, made numerous false claims about election fraud after the November 2020 election in Georgia state legislative hearings. He also participated in a scheme to create slates of fake presidential electors in 2020 in numerous states, including Georgia, that is now the subject of an intensifying investigation by the Justice Department.”

Liz Cheney is ‘thinking about’ White House run after primary loss; she vows to do ‘whatever it takes’ to defeat Trump. In an exclusive interview on NBC’s ‘TODAY’ show, Cheney confirmed that she’s considering running for president and will make a decision ‘in the coming months.’ NBC News, Rebecca Shabad, Wednesday, 17 August 2022: “Fresh off her congressional primary loss, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said Wednesday that she plans to be part of a bipartisan coalition whose goal is to ensure former President Donald Trump never holds office again. ‘I believe that Donald Trump continues to pose a very grave threat and risk to our republic. And I think that defeating him is going to require a broad and united front of Republicans, Democrats and independents, and that’s what I intend to be a part of,’ she said in an exclusive interview with Savannah Guthrie on NBC’s ‘TODAY’ show. She reiterated that she will be doing ‘whatever it takes’ to keep Trump from returning to the Oval Office in future elections. Overnight, Cheney formed a new leadership political action committee called ‘The Great Task,’ an aide confirmed to NBC. She filed with the Federal Election Commission to transfer remaining cash from her federal campaign account to the new PAC. At the end of July, she had more than $7 million cash on hand, according to FEC filings.” See also, Liz Cheney Invokes Lincoln and Grant in Impassioned Concession Speech, The New York Times, Maggie Astor, Wednesday, 17 August 2022: “It was just two years ago that Representative Liz Cheney won a primary with 73 percent of the vote — a point she reminded her supporters of in her concession speech on Tuesday night in Wyoming. ‘I could easily have done the same again,’ she said. ‘The path was clear. But it would have required that I go along with President Trump’s lie about the 2020 election. It would have required that I enable his ongoing efforts to unravel our democratic system and attack the foundations of our republic. That was a path I could not and would not take.’ The path Ms. Cheney took instead led her to be ousted as chair of the House Republican conference, the third-highest role in her party’s House leadership, and installed as the vice chair of the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.”

Plea Deal Requires Weisselberg to Testify at Trump Organization Trial. The Chief financial officer of the former president’s business is expected to admit to 15 felonies on Thursday and to take the stand at the company’s trial. The New York Times, Ben Protess, William K. Rashbaum, and Jonah E. Bromwich, Wednesday, 17 August 2022: “Allen H. Weisselberg, for decades one of Donald J. Trump’s most trusted executives, has reached a deal to plead guilty on Thursday and admit to participating in a long-running tax scheme at the former president’s family business — a serious blow to the company that could heighten its risk in an upcoming trial on related charges. Mr. Weisselberg will have to admit to all 15 felonies that prosecutors in the Manhattan district attorney’s office accused him of, according to people with knowledge of the matter. And if he is called as a witness at the company’s trial in October, he will have to testify about his role in the scheme to avoid paying taxes on lavish corporate perks, the people said. But Mr. Weisselberg will not implicate Mr. Trump or his family if he takes the stand in that trial, the people said, and he has refused to cooperate with prosecutors in their broader investigation into Mr. Trump, who has not been accused of wrongdoing. Even so, his potential testimony will put the Trump Organization at a disadvantage and is likely to make Mr. Weisselberg a central witness at the October trial, where the company will face many of the same charges.”


Thursday, 18 August 2022:


War in Ukraine: U.N. says attack on nuclear plant would be ‘suicide’; blasts reported behind Russian lines, The Washington Post, Ellen Francis, Kendra Nichols, Mary Ilyushina, Sammy Westfall, Reis Thebault, and Andrew Jeong, Thursday, 18 August 2022: “Ukraine and the United Nations are increasingly alarmed about the likelihood of a disaster at the Russia-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which has seen heavy fighting in its vicinity for weeks. ‘We must tell it as it is. Any potential damage to Zaporizhzhia is suicide,’ said U.N. Secretary General António Guterres after meeting with the leaders of Ukraine and Turkey. Meanwhile, several loud explosions were reported across Russian-held territory late Thursday evening. While none could be immediately confirmed as a Ukrainian attack, the blasts came after repeated strikes deep behind Russian lines, including attacks on Kremlin-occupied Crimea.

  • Guterres met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to review the grain deal they signed last month and discuss diplomatic ways to end the war. The leaders reported few tangible outcomes. In a news briefing after the meeting, Erdogan declared support for Ukraine.
  • Zelensky discussed conditions at the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant with both Erdogan and Guterres. The Ukrainian leader described the situation there asnuclear blackmail’ and ‘deliberate terror’ on his Telegram account. The U.N. atomic energy watchdog has warned of a potential disaster and appealed for access to visit the facility, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. Russia said a proposal for a demilitarized zone around the nuclear plant was ‘unacceptable.’
  • Ukraine on Thursday warned that Russia was planning a ‘large-scale terrorist attack’ on the power plant. Ukrainian officials said Moscow would blame the strike on Kyiv, and State Department spokesman Ned Price said such a false flag operation is the ‘Russian playbook — accuse others of what you have done or what you intend to do.’
  • Posts on social media captured booming sounds in two parts of occupied Crimea — near a Russian air base outside Sevastopol and around the Kerch Strait close to mainland Russia. The Kremlin-backed leaders on the peninsula said the explosions came from Crimea’s air-defense systems. Sevastopol’s governor said a drone was shot down and that there had been no injuries.
  • Blasts were also reported in the southern region of Kherson and in Belgorod, a Russian province bordering Ukraine. There, the regional governor said an ammunition depot ‘caught fire’ and videos shared on social media, the authenticity of which could not immediately be confirmed, appeared to show a massive blaze.

Russia-Ukraine War: Tensions Rise at Ukrainian Nuclear Plant on War’s Front Line. With the two sides accusing each other of plotting an attack, Ukraine said the plant’s Russian occupiers planned to allow only essential workers to enter on Friday. The New York Times, Thursday, 18 August 2022:

  • Russia and Ukraine trade accusations of a potential attack on a nuclear complex, terrifying its workers.

  • The U.N. chief urges Ukraine and Russia to continue grain deal’s ‘spirit of compromise.’

  • A home for the deaf is destroyed as Russia bombards Kharkiv.

  • Estonia says it repelled a major cyberattack claimed by Russian hackers.

  • Ukraine says the U.N. nuclear agency is ready to lead a visit to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.

  • In Bucha, burials continue for victims of wartime atrocities.

  • The deal to free Ukrainian grain is working so far, but hunger remains a global threat.

Judge May Release Affidavit in Trump Search, but Only After Redaction. The possibility emerged after news organizations sought to unseal the affidavit submitted in support of the search warrant. Any public version of the affidavit could be heavily redacted. The New York Times, Patricia Mazzei and Alan Feuer, Thursday, 18 August 2022: “A federal judge ordered the government on Thursday to propose redactions to the highly sensitive affidavit that was used to justify a search warrant executed by the F.B.I. last week at former President Donald J. Trump’s private home and club, saying he was inclined to unseal parts of it. Ruling from the bench, the judge, Bruce E. Reinhart, said it was ‘very important’ that the public have as ‘much information’ as it can about the historic search at Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s Florida residence. He noted later in a written order that the government ‘had not met its burden of showing that the entire affidavit should remain sealed.’ Judge Reinhart went on to say that he was leaning toward releasing portions of the document, adding that ‘whether those portions would be meaningful for the public or the media’ was not for him to decide. He also acknowledged that the redaction process could often be extensive and sometimes turned documents into ‘meaningless gibberish.’ In its fullest form, the affidavit supporting the warrant would reveal critical details of the broader investigation into Mr. Trump’s handling of sensitive documents, chief among them what led prosecutors to believe there was probable cause that evidence of a crime existed at Mar-a-Lago. Even a redacted version could shed light on aspects of the inquiry, such as the back-and-forth negotiations between Mr. Trump and federal prosecutors about returning the documents, a crucial step in showing that the former president may have willfully kept them in his possession. Judge Reinhart’s decision in the closely scrutinized case appeared to strike a middle course between the Justice Department, which had wanted to keep the affidavit entirely under wraps as it continued to investigate Mr. Trump’s retention of classified documents, and a group of news organizations, which requested that it be released in full to the public.” See also, Judge signals he’s willing to unseal some of Mar-a-Lago affidavit. The Justice Department has said public disclosure of the document could undercut its investigation into former president Donald Trump’s handling of classified material. The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey and Perry Stein, Thursday, 18 August 2022: “A federal judge said Thursday that he is ‘inclined’ to unseal some of the affidavit central to last week’s FBI search of former president Donald Trump’s Florida home, instructing the Justice Department to redact the document in a way that would not undermine its ongoing investigation if made public. Federal Magistrate Judge Bruce E. Reinhart, appearing to reject the government’s argument for keeping the entire document sealed, said he would make a determination after next Thursday, when Justice Department officials are expected to submit their proposed redactions. The affidavit has become the latest flash point in a criminal probe scrutinizing materials taken from the White House when Trump’s term ended last year. On Aug. 8, FBI agents executed a search warrant at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, carting away dozens of boxes containing what authorities have characterized as highly classified national secrets.” See also, Judge says he’s inclined to unseal parts of Mar-a-Lago search affidavit and orders the Justice Department to submit redactions. The Justice Department argued that releasing the justification for the search could jeopardize the investigation and put witnesses in the case at risk. NBC News, Marc Caputo, Dareh Gregorian, and Rebecca Shabad, Thursday, 18 August 2022: “A federal judge on Thursday said he is inclined to unseal at least some of the probable cause affidavit used to secure a search of former President Donald Trump‘s Florida estate and ordered the government to submit proposed redactions. ‘On my initial careful review … there are portions of it that can be unsealed,’ Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart said after a hearing where a top government lawyer contended the document’s release could jeopardize an investigation that is still in its ‘early stages.’ In a written ruling after the hearing, Reinhart said, ‘I find that on the present record the Government has not met its burden of showing that the entire affidavit should remain sealed.’ The judge said he would ‘give the government a full and fair opportunity’ to make redactions to the document, and ordered them to turn in the redacted version by next Thursday, along with a legal memo justifying the proposed redactions. He said he would then review the document and either order its release if he agrees with the redaction or hold a closed-door hearing with the government if he disagrees.”

Inside the Negotiations That Led Top Trump Executive Allen Weisselberg to Plead Guilty. Weisselberg’s admissions were damaging for the Trump family business, but prosecutors could never convince him to turn on the former President himself. The New York Times, Jonah E. Bromwich, Ben Protess, and William K. Rashbaum, Thursday, 18 August 2022: “Allen H. Weisselberg, one of Donald J. Trump’s most trusted lieutenants, stood before a judge in a Lower Manhattan courtroom on Thursday and admitted that he had conspired with the former president’s company to commit numerous crimes. Mr. Weisselberg’s guilty plea, which followed more than a year of the Manhattan district attorney’s office pressuring him to cooperate in a broader investigation of Mr. Trump, painted a damning picture of the beleaguered company, which now faces significant financial penalties if it loses its own trial on similar charges. But for prosecutors who have long sought to indict Mr. Trump, Thursday’s hearing was something of a consolation prize. Mr. Weisselberg refused to turn on Mr. Trump himself, something prosecutors had hoped he would do since they charged him with 15 felonies last July. Under the plea deal, Mr. Weisselberg must pay nearly $2 million in taxes, penalties and interest after accepting lavish off-the-books perks from Mr. Trump and his company, including leased Mercedes-Benzes, an apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and private school tuition for his grandchildren. He also must point the finger at his longtime employer, the Trump Organization, at its trial in October. In exchange, Mr. Weisselberg, who was facing years in prison, is likely to receive a five-month jail sentence, and with time credited for good behavior, he might serve as little as 100 days.” See also, Ex-Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg pleads guilty to tax fraud, Weisselberg, 75, agreed to pay nearly $2 million in taxes, interest, and penalties and to serve five months in jail as part of his guilty plea. NBC News, Tom Winter, Rebecca Shabad, and Adam Reiss, Thursday, 18 August 2022: “Allen Weisselberg, the former Trump Organization chief financial officer, pleaded guilty Thursday to multiple tax fraud charges in a case involving the company’s business dealings. Weisselberg, 75, agreed to pay nearly $2 million in taxes, interest and penalties and serve five months in jail on Rikers Island, followed by five years of probation, the judge said. Weisselberg and the Trump Organization were charged in June 2021 in what prosecutors described as an ‘off the books’ scheme over 15 years to help top officials in the Trump Organization avoid paying taxes. Weisselberg was accused of avoiding paying taxes on $1.7 million of his income. Weisselberg said in court Thursday that he understood that he could face up to 15 years in prison if he doesn’t pay back the taxes or doesn’t testify truthfully at the Trump Organization’s trial this fall.” See also, Allen Weisselberg, longtime Trump executive, pleads guilty to tax fraud, The Washington Post, Sheila McClear and Mark Berman, Thursday, 18 August 2022: “Allen Weisselberg, the longtime top financial officer of former president Donald Trump’s company, pleaded guilty on Thursday to committing more than a dozen felonies, including criminal tax fraud and grand larceny. Weisselberg and the Trump Organization were indicted last year by authorities in New York who charged them with concealing certain financial compensation as part of what they called a years-long scheme to avoid paying taxes. The case is part of the churning legal maelstrom still surrounding Trump and his close allies, with local, state and federal authorities scrutinizing everything from his namesake business to his handling of classified government documents since leaving office. Appearing in a Manhattan courtroom, Weisselberg, 75, acknowledged his part in the scenario outlined by prosecutors — and agreed to testify, if called, at a pending trial for the company. As part of his plea agreement, Weisselberg, Trump’s close and trusted associate for decades, would spend five months in jail, followed by five years of probation.”

Judge blocks Florida ‘Stop WOKE’ law pushed by Governor DeSantis. ‘If Florida truly believes we live in a post-racial society, then let it make its case,’ the judge wrote. ‘But it cannot win the argument by muzzling its opponents.’ Associated Press, Curt Anderson, Thursday, 18 August 2022: “A Florida judge on Thursday declared a Florida law championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis that restricts race-based conversation and analysis in business and education unconstitutional. Tallahassee U.S. District Judge Mark Walker said in a 44-page ruling that the ‘Stop WOKE’ act violates the First Amendment and is impermissibly vague. Walker also refused to issue a stay that would keep the law in effect during any appeal by the state. The law targets what DeSantis has called a ‘pernicious’ ideology exemplified by critical race theory — the idea that racism is systemic in U.S. institutions that serve to perpetuate white dominance in society. Walker said the law, as applied to diversity, inclusion and bias training in businesses, turns the First Amendment ‘upside down’ because the state is barring speech by prohibiting discussion of certain concepts in training programs. ‘If Florida truly believes we live in a post-racial society, then let it make its case,’ the judge wrote. ‘But it cannot win the argument by muzzling its opponents.'”


Friday, 19 August 2022:


War in Ukraine: Warnings of imminent attack on Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant; U.S. sends more aid to Ukraine, The Washington Post, Adela Suliman, John Hudson, Katerina Ang, Mary Ilyushina, Karina Tsui, and Praveena Somasundaram, Friday, 19 August 2022: “Both Russia and Ukraine are warning of a possible attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, currently under Russian control, in southeastern Ukraine. Families are beginning to flee the area in anticipation of a nuclear catastrophe, while plant employees were ordered to stay home Friday. Russia could be preparing to disconnect the plant from Ukraine’s electricity grid.

  • Ukraine has warned that Russia could be planning a ‘large-scale terrorist attack’ on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant to put the blame on Kyiv, while Russia said Ukraine and the United States are planning to trigger an accident at the plant, claiming there is a threat of the core overheating. Russia said Friday that the presence of its troops at the site was a ‘guarantee’ that there will be no reprise of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, and it rejected U.N. calls for a demilitarized zone around the plant.
  • Russian forces ordered the plant’s staff not to show up for work amid the heightened tensions, and to limit personnel at the complex to only those who operate the plant’s power units, according to Ukraine’s state-run energy firm, Energoatom. It added that it has ‘information’ that Russian forces are planning to switch off the plant’s power blocks and disconnect them from the Ukrainian grid, depriving the country of a major source of electricity.
  • Calling Russia’s alleged activity at Zaporizhzhia ‘blackmail with radiation,’ Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address Friday that this summer may become ‘one of the most tragic of all time’ in European history. He added that Ukrainian diplomats and representatives from the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency are working out the details of a mission to the plant.
  • Any false-flag operations at the plant would be out of the ‘Russian playbook — accuse others of what you have done or what you intend to do,’ State Department spokesman Ned Price said when asked about the warnings. He said the United States is ‘watching very closely.’
  • ‘We must tell it as it is. Any potential damage to Zaporizhzhia is suicide,’ U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said after a meeting with the leaders of Turkey and Ukraine. Russia’s Foreign Ministry rejected any proposal to demilitarize the area around the plant, claiming that it would make the facility ‘more vulnerable.’ Guterres was traveling to the port city of Odessa on Friday to monitor efforts to ship grain.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron spoke by phone Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the situation at the Zaporizhzhia plant. According to Russian state news agencies, Macron raised concerns over nuclear safety and security risks at the plant and expressed his support for sending a mission of IAEA experts to the site as quickly as possible, under conditions approved by Ukraine and the United Nations. In Vienna, Russian IAEA representative Mikhail Ulyanov said in a news conference that arranging such a visit could ‘take time’ and suggested that it might be possible during ‘the first days of September.’

Russia-Ukraine War: U.S. Is Sending More Weapons to Ukraine, This Time to Aid Counterattack. The newly announced U.S. shipment of weaponry includes armored vehicles that can clear minefields ahead of major ground movements. Russia said it foiled Ukraine’s attempts this week to strike Crimea. The New York Times, Friday, 19 August 2022:

  • The Pentagon’s latest package includes up to $775 million of weapons and supplies from its stockpile.
  • Russia replaces the commander of its damaged Black Sea Fleet.
  • Russia’s Gazprom announces another halt to Germany’s gas flow.
  • A Ukrainian official says forces will continue to strike in Crimea.
  • Ukraine warns Russia is preparing to sever the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant from its power grid.
  • A heavyweight rematch is a chance for a surprise champion to get the world to focus on Ukraine.
  • Putin offers his first public remarks on the nuclear complex since the most recent tensions began.

After Signing Climate Bill, Biden Prepares More Actions to Cut Emissions. Regulations from the E.P.A. and elsewhere will help the president meet his aggressive climate goals, administration officials say. The New York Times, Lisa Friedman and Jim Tankersley, Friday, 19 August 2022: “Fresh off signing expansive climate legislation, President Biden and his administration are planning a series of executive actions to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help keep the planet from warming to dangerous temperatures, senior White House officials said. Mr. Biden is on track to deploy a series of measures, including new regulations on emissions from vehicle tailpipes, power plants and oil and gas wells, the officials said. In pushing more executive action, Mr. Biden is trying to make up for the compromises his party made on climate measures to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes the largest single American investment to slow global warming. Democrats had to scale back some of their loftiest ambitions, including by agreeing to fossil fuel and drilling provisions, as concessions to Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, a holdout from a conservative state that is heavily dependent on coal and gas. Gina McCarthy, the White House climate adviser, said that regulatory moves, combined with the new legislation and action from states, could help Mr. Biden meet his promise to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent, compared to 2005 levels, by the end of the decade.”

Court orders release of Department of Justice memo on Trump obstruction in Mueller probe, The Washington Post, Rachel Weiner, Saturday, 19 August 2022: “A federal appeals court has ordered the release of a secret Justice Department memo discussing whether President Donald Trump obstructed the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The unanimous panel decision issued Friday echoes that of a lower court judge, Amy Berman Jackson, who last year accused the Justice Department of dishonesty in its justifications for keeping the memo hidden. The panel of three judges, led by Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan, said that whether or not there was ‘bad faith,’ the government ‘created a misimpression’ and could not stop release under the Freedom of Information Act. The memo was written by two senior Justice Department officials for then-attorney general William P. Barr, who subsequently told Congress that there was not enough evidence to charge Trump with obstruction of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s inquiry. A redacted version was released last year but left under seal the legal and factual analysis. Department officials argued that the document was protected because it involved internal deliberations over a prosecutorial decision. But the judges agreed with Jackson that both Mueller and Barr had clearly already concluded that a sitting president could not be charged with a crime. The discussion was over how Barr would publicly characterize the obstruction evidence Mueller had assembled, the Justice Department conceded on appeal.” See also, Federal appeals panel says the Department of Justice under Attorney General William Barr wrongly withheld parts of a Russia probe memo, NPR, published on Saturday, 20 August 2022: “The Justice Department under Attorney General William Barr improperly withheld portions of an internal memo Barr cited in announcing that then-President Donald Trump had not obstructed justice in the Russia investigation, a federal appeals panel said Friday. The department had argued that the 2019 memo represented private deliberations of its lawyers before any decision was formalized, and was thus exempt from disclosure. A federal judge previously disagreed, ordering the Justice Department to provide it to a government transparency group that had sued for it. At issue in the case is a March 24, 2019, memorandum from the head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel and another senior department official that was prepared for Barr to evaluate whether evidence in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation could support prosecution of the president for obstruction of justice.” See also, A federal appeals court ruled Friday that the Justice Department must make public an internal memo senior lawyers there prepared in 2019 about whether then-President Donald Trump’s actions investigated in special counsel Robert Muller’s probe of ties between the 1066 Trump campaign and Russia amounted to crimes prosecutors would ordinarily charge. Politico, Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney, Friday, 19 August 2022: “The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Justice Department failed to meet its legal burden to show that the memo from the department’s Office of Legal Counsel was part of a genuine deliberative process advising then-Attorney General William Barr on how to handle sensitive issues left unresolved when Mueller’s probe concluded in March 2019. Trump was never charged in Mueller’s probe and the special prosecutor’s final report declined to opine on whether what he did in response to the investigation amounted to a crime. However, some Trump opponents have called on the Attorney General Merrick Garland to reconsider the issue now that Trump is no longer president. Release of the long-sought DOJ memo could fuel those calls and draw more unwanted attention to Trump’s potential criminal liability at a time when he is besieged by a slew of other legal woes relating to his handling of classified government records, his role in inspiring many of those involved in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and his broader efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election.” See also, Federal appeals court rules Department of Justice must make public memo analyzing whether to charge Trump in Russia investigation, CNN Politics, Katelyn Polantz, Friday, 19 August 2022: “The Justice Department must make public an internal legal memo commissioned by then-Attorney General William Barr in 2019 to analyze whether he should charge then-President Donald Trump with obstruction related to the Russia investigation, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday. The ruling from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals comes in a case brought by a government watchdog group that is seeking to get the unredacted version of the memo. The DOJ argued some redacted portions should be shielded from public view. But the federal appeals court didn’t buy that argument, finding that Barr never seriously considered charging Trump with obstructing the Mueller investigation — saying in the ruling that the memo Barr ordered up was an ‘academic exercise’ and a ‘thought experiment.’ Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation found several instances where Trump’s actions while president could meet the requirements for an obstruction of justice charge, but Mueller left the decision to Barr.”

Lawmakers demand data about online threats against law enforcement. House Oversight Committee leaders called on eight social networks, including Meta, Truth Social, and Gab, to turn over details about how they’re responding following the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago. The Washington Post, Cat Zakrzewski, Friday, 19 August 2022: “House Oversight Committee leaders are demanding social media companies take ‘immediate action’ to address a flood of violent online threats against law enforcement, following the FBI’s search of former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. The lawmakers sent letters Friday to the executives of eight social media companies, including Facebook parent company Meta and the fringe right-wing platform Gab, demanding details about the number of threats against law enforcement. The letters cite a ‘spike in social media users calling for civil war’ and other violence against law enforcement after Trump and some Republican members of Congress lashed out against the FBI. The letters say these online threats have contributed to attacks against law enforcement, citing the threats that the gunman who tried to breach the FBI’s Cincinnati field office earlier this month shared on Trump’s social network, Truth Social. ‘We are concerned that reckless statements by the former president and Republican Members of Congress have unleashed a flood of violent threats on social media that have already led to at least one death and pose a danger to law enforcement officers across the United States,’ said the letters written by House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) and House national security subcommittee Chairman Stephen F. Lynch (D-Mass.). ‘We urge you to take immediate action to address any threats of violence against law enforcement that appear on your company’s platforms.'” See also, Lawmakers Demand Social Media Firms Address Threats to Law Enforcement. The Democrats who lead two House panels also expressed concern about ‘reckless statements’ from Republicans after a surge in online threats following the F.B.I. search of Mar-a-Lago. The New York Times, Aishvarya Kavi, Friday, 19 August 2022: “The leaders of two House panels sent letters on Friday to eight social media companies demanding that they take ‘immediate action’ to address threats on their platforms toward federal law enforcement officials after a surge in right-wing calls for violence following the F.B.I.’s search of former President Donald J. Trump’s home in Florida. In the letters, Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York and the chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee, and Stephen F. Lynch, Democrat of Massachusetts and the chairman of its National Security Subcommittee, also expressed concern about ‘reckless statements’ from Mr. Trump and some Republican members of Congress. The statements have ‘coincided with a spike in social media users calling for civil war and violence toward law enforcement,’ they said. The letters were sent to mainstream platforms like Twitter, TikTok and Facebook’s parent company, Meta, as well as right-wing social media sites like Gab, Gettr and Rumble. A letter also went to Truth Social, Mr. Trump’s social media site, which erupted with calls for violence last week, after F.B.I. agents carted away boxes of highly sensitive documents from Mar-a-Lago, the former president’s estate in Palm Beach, Fla. Mr. Trump had apparently taken the materials from the White House and refused to return them.”

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis says Senator Lindsey Graham’s testimony is crucial in election investigation, The Washington Post, John Wagner and Tom Hamburger, Friday, 19 August 2022: “The Atlanta-area district attorney conducting a criminal investigation of Republican efforts to reverse the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia argued in a court filing Friday that Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) should appear before a special grand jury next week despite his appeal to postpone offering testimony. In the filing, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, which is leading the probe into the actions of former president Donald Trump and his allies, argued that delaying Graham’s appearance would also ‘delay the revelation of an entire category of relevant witnesses,’ pushing back the timeline of the investigation.” See also, Lindsey Graham Ordered to Appear Before Atlanta Grand Jury Investigating Trump. A federal judge declined to stay her order that Senator Lindsey Gram of South Carolina appear on Tuesday before a special grand jury in Atlanta. The New York Times, Richard Fausset, Friday, 19 August 2022: “A federal judge on Friday turned down a request by Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to avoid testifying next week before a special grand jury investigating attempts by former President Trump and his allies to overturn his November 2020 election loss in Georgia. The order, issued by U.S. District Court Judge Leigh Martin May, means that Mr. Graham, a South Carolina Republican and staunch Trump ally, is on track to appear in a closed-door session of the special grand jury on Tuesday at a downtown Atlanta courthouse. However, Mr. Graham already has taken his case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which has the ability to step in to postpone his appearance.”

Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks Georgia Election Law Said to Harm Black Voters. A federal judge had ruled that election regulations for a state commission violated the Voting Rights Act by diluting the power of Black voters to elect their preferred candidates. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Friday, 19 August 2022: “The Supreme Court temporarily halted an election in Georgia on Friday, reviving a federal judge’s ruling that the state had adopted voting rules that disadvantaged Black voters in violation of a federal civil rights law. In an unsigned order without noted dissents, the justices wrote that an appeals court’s reason for staying the judge’s ruling — that it had come too close to the election in November — was flawed because state officials had told the judge that there was enough time to make the required adjustments. The Supreme Court vacated the stay and returned the case to the appeals court for reconsideration. The court’s order was an exception to what legal experts say is a growing trend: a near-categorical ban on late changes to state election procedures even when those changes have been ruled necessary to address illegal infringements of the right to vote. But the exception was based on an unusual concession from state officials and therefore may not have larger implications.”


Saturday, 20 August 2022:


War in Ukraine: Drone attacks reported in Crimea; Putin supports nuclear plant inspection, The Washington Post, Adela Suliman, Katerina Ang, Meena Venkataramanan, and Meryl Kornfield, Saturday, 20 August 2022: “Russian authorities are increasing security measures in Crimea, experts say, as drone attacks were reported there Saturday, including one attempt on the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea fleet. Russia and Ukraine have signaled their support for allowing international inspectors to visit the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, after both sides warned of a possible attack on the facility, which is under Russian control.

  • The daughter of key Putin adviser Alexander Dugin was killed in a car explosion in the Moscow region, according to Russia’s state-run media outlet Tass. Daria Dugina was reportedly driving her father’s car from a festival they attended when the detonation occurred, engulfing the car in flames, a friend of Dugin’s told Tass.
  • Russian-held Crimea reported drone attacks, including an attempted attack on the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, on Friday and Saturday. The governor of Sevastopol said Russian forces had shot down the drone approaching the headquarters, claiming it then crashed and caught fire. The claims could not be independently verified. There was no official confirmation from the Ukrainian side, although Ukrainian officials shared video that appeared to show smoke rising from the headquarters. Ukrainian fighters have undertaken a spate of recent attacks on Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014.
  • ‘Russian authorities are visibly increasing security measures in Crimea, indicating growing worry … about the threat of Ukrainian strikes on rear areas previously believed to be secure,’ says the Institute for the Study of War, a U.S. think tank. Russian state media has also reported that Moscow replaced its acting commander of the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea this week, appointing Vice Adm. Viktor Sokolov. An attack on Russia’s Saki air base this month ‘put more than half of Black Sea fleet’s naval aviation combat jets out of use,’ an intelligence official told Reuters.
  • Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said he supports allowing U.N. experts to inspect the Zaporizhzhia plant ‘as soon as possible’ and agreed to provide the ‘necessary assistance,’ during a call with French President Emmanuel Macron. However, Moscow has rejected broader requests to withdraw its military from the site, and has accused Ukraine of shelling the facility and preparing to cause a ‘radiation leak’ there — claims Ukraine and the United States have likened to a ‘false flag’ operation.
  • Noting that this week marks six months since Russia invaded Ukraine and the nation’s flag day, Zelensky hinted at the prospect of another blow by invaders in a nightly address to the nation. ‘We should be aware that this week Russia may try to do something particularly nasty, something particularly cruel,’ he said Saturday. ‘Such is our enemy.’

Russia-Ukraine War: Drone Hits Headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. The extent of the damage was unclear in a strike that occurred as Ukraine seeks to sow chaos and destruction in Crimea, which Moscow has controlled since 2014. The New York Times, Saturday, 20 August 2022:

  • Strikes in recent days disrupt Crimea’s sense of security.

  • Why inspectors haven’t yet visited the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.

  • ‘I am glad it is sitting here demolished’: Kyiv rolls out damaged Russian tanks.

  • Russia replaces the commander of its damaged Black Sea Fleet.

  • Stars Coffee, Starbucks’ successor in Russia, opens with a familiar look.

  • An E.U. proposal to ban visas to Russian tourists divides the continent.

The Final Days of the Trump White House: Chaos and Scattered Papers. Government documents that President Donald Trump had accumulated were with him in roughly two dozen boxes in the White House residence. They were to go to the National Archives, but at least some ended up in Florida. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Katie Benner, and Glenn Thrush, Saturday, 20 August 2022: “Four days before the end of the Trump presidency, a White House aide peered into the Oval Office and was startled, if not exactly surprised, to see all of the president’s personal photos still arrayed behind the Resolute Desk as if nothing had changed — guaranteeing the final hours would be a frantic dash mirroring the prior four years. In the area known as the outer Oval Office, boxes had been brought in to pack up desks used by President Donald J. Trump’s assistant and personal aides. But documents were strewn about, and the boxes stood nearly empty. The table in Mr. Trump’s private dining room off the Oval Office was stacked high with papers until the end, as it had been for his entire term. Upstairs in the White House residence, there were, however, a few signs that Mr. Trump had finally realized his time was up. Papers he had accumulated in his last several months in office had been dropped into boxes, roughly two dozen of them, and not sent to the National Archives. Aides had even retrieved letters from Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, and given them to Mr. Trump in the final weeks, according to notes described to The New York Times. Where all of that material ended up is not clear. What is plain, though, is that Mr. Trump’s haphazard handling of government documents — a chronic problem — contributed to the chaos he created after he refused to accept his loss in November 2020, unleashed a mob on Congress and set the stage for his second impeachment. His unwillingness to let go of power, including refusing to return government documents collected while he was in office, has led to a potentially damaging, and entirely avoidable, legal battle that threatens to engulf the former president and some of his aides. Although the White House Counsel’s Office had told Mark Meadows, Mr. Trump’s last chief of staff, that the roughly two dozen boxes worth of material in the residence needed to be turned over to the archives, at least some of those boxes, including those with the Kim letters and some documents marked highly classified, were shipped to Florida. There they were stored at various points over the past 19 months in different locations inside Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s members-only club, home and office, according to several people briefed on the events.”

Book by Andrew Kirtzman Says Giuliani Associate Maria Ryan Sought Pardon for Him After the January 6 Violent Attack on the Capitol by Trump Supporters. The letter, which also requested that Rudolph Giuliani be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, was intercepted before reaching President Donald Trump. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Saturday, 20 August 2022: “An associate of Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Donald J. Trump’s personal lawyer, tried to pass a message to Mr. Trump asking him to grant Mr. Giuliani a ‘general pardon’ and the Presidential Medal of Freedom just after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, according to a new book. The associate, Maria Ryan, also pleaded for Mr. Giuliani to be paid for his services and sent a different note seeking tens of thousands of dollars for herself, according to the book, ‘Giuliani: The Rise and Tragic Fall of America’s Mayor,’ by Andrew Kirtzman, who had covered Mr. Giuliani as a journalist. The New York Times obtained an advance copy of the book, which is set to be released next month. Bernard B. Kerik, Mr. Giuliani’s close adviser and the New York City police commissioner for part of his time as mayor, stopped the letter from getting to Mr. Trump. And it is unclear if Mr. Giuliani, who helped lead the efforts to overturn the 2020 election but has repeatedly insisted he did not seek a pardon shielding him from potential charges, was involved in the request. But the letter adds another layer to the complex picture now swirling around Mr. Giuliani as he faces legal fallout from his efforts to try to help Mr. Trump cling to power, including being notified that he is a target in at least one investigation.”

After flat-footed response to a white supremacist march in July, there are questions about Boston police intelligence gathering. Critics see ‘an automatic bias toward Black and brown youths.’ Boston Globe, Danny McDonald and Laura Crimaldi, Saturday, 20 August 2022: “When about 100 white supremacists marched through downtown Boston wielding riot shields on July 2, Mayor Michelle Wu admitted that police were caught by surprise. Now, records suggest Boston police officials weren’t all that curious to learn more, even while the racist march, which included an altercation with a Black man, unfolded. On that day, Boston police apparently did not conduct a single field interrogation of white supremacists. It did, however, report questioning or observing nearly 50 other people around the city–primarily Black men–according to reports of field interrogation and observations, or FIOs, from that day that were obtained by The Boston Globe through a public records request.”


Sunday, 21 August 2022:


War in Ukraine: Kyiv denies killing Putin ally’s daughter; Russia opens murder investigation, The Washington Post, Bryan Pietsch, Annabelle Timsit, Meryl Kornfield, Meena Venkataramanan, and Reis Thebault, Sunday, 21 August 2022: “The daughter of a key Kremlin adviser was killed in a fiery explosion while driving near Moscow, a dramatic attack that appeared poised to become a new flash point in the six-month war. In Russian-occupied Crimea, a string of Ukrainian strikes deep behind enemy lines has transformed the peninsula from a Russian vacation destination to a battlefield in a matter of weeks.

  • The daughter of Alexander Dugin, referred to as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ‘brain,’ was killed in a car explosion overnight in the Moscow region, according to Russia’s main investigative authority, which said it was opening a murder investigation. Daria Dugina, 29, was reportedly driving her father’s car from a festival they had both attended when the vehicle erupted in flames, Russia’s state-run Tass news agency reported.
  • Ukraine denied involvement and suggested it could be the result of an internal dispute within Russia. ‘I emphasize that we certainly had nothing to do with it,’ Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said Sunday on Ukrainian television. Dugina was sanctioned by the United States as part of a list of Russian elites and Russian intelligence-directed disinformation outlets, alongside her father, who has been designated for sanctions since 2015.
  • Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said he has ‘not yet been briefed’ on Dugina’s killing. ‘I couldn’t say who was behind it,’ he told CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ on Sunday. ‘There are so many factions and internecine warfare within Russian society, within the Russian government, anything is possible.’ He said he hoped the attack on a civilian ‘wasn’t something emanating from Ukraine.’
  • This week marks six months since the invasion, Zelensky noted in his nightly address. It also brings the nation’s Flag Day on Tuesday. He hinted at the prospect that Russia this week ‘may try to do something particularly nasty, something particularly cruel. Such is our enemy.’ The city of Kharkiv will be under curfew all day on Ukrainian Independence Day on Wednesday, its regional governor, Oleh Synyehubov, said. Kyiv has banned mass events from Monday through Thursday, Ukraine’s parliament said.
  • The head of the Security Service of Ukraine in the central Kirovohrad region was found fatally shot in his apartment, according to the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office. Oleksandr Nakonechnyi’s death is being investigated.
  • Zelensky drew another red line in potential negotiations with Moscow to end the war, saying Ukraine would walk away from talks if mass show trials of soldiers captured in Mariupol proceed. Zelensky issued the warning in his Sunday address: ‘This will be the line beyond which any negotiations are impossible,’ he said. Reports of planned trials have circulated for weeks and intensified after Russian media published images of cages under construction, said to be meant for Ukrainians captured during the siege of the Azovstal steel mill.

Russia-Ukraine War: Russia Opens Murder Investigation After Blast Kills Daughter of Putin Ally. Daria Dugina was the daughter of an ultranationalist who has urged the Kremlin to escalate its assault on Ukraine. The rare attack on a member of the pro-Kremlin elite could upend President Putin’s efforts to maintain a sense of normalcy. The New York Times, Sunday, 21 August 2022:

  • The daughter of an influential Russian writer was killed on a highway west of Moscow.

  • Daria Dugina was a Russian hawk who railed against the West’s ‘global hegemony.’

  • The death of Dugina opens a new chapter in the history of political assassinations in Russia.

  • For a former rebel in West Africa, the decision to take Moscow’s side in its war with Ukraine was never in doubt.

  • A Russia-backed official escapes a blast in Mariupol, as Moscow presses its offensive in the east.

  • Perceived mishaps to Germany’s war response add to its leader’s rocky start.

Senator Lindsey Graham gets a temporary reprieve in testifying before Georgia grand jury, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang and Tom Hamburger, Sunday, 21 August 2022: “A federal appeals court has temporarily paused an order that would have required Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) to testify before a Georgia grand jury investigating Republican efforts to reverse the 2020 presidential election results in the state. Graham had formally appealed a judge’s order requiring him to testify Tuesday, saying doing so would cause ‘irreparable harm’ that would be ‘in contravention of his constitutional immunity.’ The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit on Sunday temporarily put his appearance on hold, asking a lower court to consider whether Graham should be protected from answering some questions about his official duties as a U.S. senator. The legal maneuvering is the latest sign of tension between prosecutors and high-profile witnesses in the Fulton County district attorney’s expansive criminal probe of alleged election interference by former president Donald Trump and his allies. After seeking repeated delays, Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s former lawyer, testified for six hours last week.” See also, Senator Lindsey Graham gets a temporary reprieve from an order to testify before a grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, NPR, NPR Washington Desk, Sunday, 21 August 2022: “An appeals court has granted a temporary stay of an order that forced Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., to appear before a Fulton County, Ga., grand jury. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Sunday it wanted both sides to argue what areas of questioning would be appropriate for a sitting U.S. senator. Graham has said his position protects him from having to testify.” See also, Appeals court temporarily pauses order requiring Senator Graham to appear before Atlanta-area grand jury, CNN Politics, Tierney Sneed, Sunday, 21 August 2022: “A federal appeals court on Sunday temporarily paused a district court’s order requiring that Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina appear before a grand jury probing plots to illegally influence the 2020 election results in Georgia. The 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals sent the proceedings around the Fulton County grand jury subpoena back to the district court judge with the instruction that the judge consider whether the subpoena should be partially quashed or modified in accordance with the Constitution’s speech and debate clause. The constitutional provision shields lawmakers from certain law enforcement actions in some scenarios. Graham had pointed to it in his challenge to the subpoena, which demanded he testify on Tuesday in front of the special grand jury in Fulton County in the Atlanta area. The appeals court panel — made up of Circuit Judges Charles Wilson, Kevin Newsom and Britt Grant — said in its order that the district court could expedite the briefing around modifying the subpoena in a manner that the judge ‘deems appropriate.’ The appeals court said that after that question is resolved, the matter will return back before the appeals court for further consideration.”

Trump’s throw-everything-against-the-wall response to the Mar-a-Lago search. Here is a thorough run down of what the former president’s team has argued, so far. Politico, Kyle Cheney, Josh Gerstein, and Nicholas Wu, Sunday, 21 August 2022.


Monday, 22 August 2022:


War in Ukraine: Putin ally Alexander Dugin calls for ‘more than just revenge’ after daughter’s killing, The Washington Post, Rachel Pannett, Annabelle Timsit, Karina Tsui, Sammy Westfall, and Praveena Somasundaram, Monday, 22 August 2022: “Alexander Dugin, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, called for ‘more than just revenge or retribution,’ after his daughter Daria Dugina, the editor of a Russian disinformation website, was killed in a car explosion Saturday. Russia’s Federal Security Service, the FSB, blamed Ukrainian special services, and named and released a video of a Ukrainian suspect.

  • The FSB claimed that ‘Ukrainian special services’ killed Dugina outside Moscow. It said Saturday’s attack was carried out by a Ukrainian woman before she fled to Estonia with her young daughter. Ukrainian officials previously denied any involvement in the blast and suggested that it could be the result of an internal dispute within Russia. The Washington Post could not confirm the claims, which could lead to an escalation in the war as Kyiv warned about a spike in Russian attacks on Ukrainian cities ahead of the country’s Independence Day.
  • Dugin called the bombing that killed his daughter ‘a terrorist attack carried out by the Nazi Ukrainian regime.’ Putin sent a letter of condolence to the parents of Daria Dugina, whom he called a ‘bright, talented person with a real Russian heart. A vile, cruel crime ended the life of Daria Dugina,’ the letter, published by the Kremlin, said. ‘A journalist, scientist, philosopher, war correspondent, she honestly served the people, the Fatherland, she proved by deed what it means to be a patriot of Russia.’ Putin also signed a decree on Monday, posthumously awarding her the Order of Courage.
  • The United States ‘unequivocally condemn[s] the targeting of civilians,’ U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Monday.I have no doubt that the Russians will investigate this. I also have no doubt that the Russians will put forward certain conclusions.’
  • Russian officials have urged Estonia to extradite the Ukrainian woman who they accused of killing Dugina. Russian Sen. Vladimir Dzhabarov said the country would have grounds for ‘tough measures’ against Estonia if it did not extradite the woman, according to Russia’s state-run media outlet Tass. A spokeswoman for the Estonian Foreign Ministry, Liisa Toots, said it was not appropriate to discuss whether the Ukrainian woman and her daughter identified by the FSB had entered the country from Russia.

Russia-Ukraine War: Moscow Blames Ukraine in Death of Daria Dugina. Ukraine denied involvement in the killing of a prominent Russian ultranationalist. The New York Times, Monday, 22 August 2022:

  • A Russian spy agency blames Ukraine in the bombing death of Daria Dugina.

  • The F.S.B. has long faced suspicions that, rather than solving crimes, it stages or hides them.

  • A new U.S. warning comes as Ukraine prepares to mark its Independence Day.

  • Estonia says Moscow has not asked for help with the Dugina investigation.

  • A U.N. team is ready to investigate an explosion that killed dozens of Ukrainian prisoners, but awaits security guarantees.

  • Thousands swarm to Kyiv’s display of captured Russian tanks, placed to mark Ukraine’s Independence Day.

  • Dugina’s father, an ultranationalist, calls for Russia to punish Ukraine for her death.

Russia-Ukraine War: A weekly recap and look ahead (August 22), NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 22 August 2022: “As the week begins, here’s a roundup of key developments from the past week and a look ahead. What to watch this week: Wednesday is Ukraine’s Independence Day, marking 31 years since its declaration of independence from Soviet rule. Authorities have banned public celebrations in Kyiv and warned against gatherings around the country because of the risk of Russian attacks. Wednesday also marks six months since the start of Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. A trial for captured Ukrainian fighters is expected to begin in Russian-occupied Mariupol, possibly as soon as Wednesday. And on Thursday, the Cluster Munition Monitor 2022 report will be released, which will include research about cluster munition and land mine usage in the Russia-Ukraine war. What happened last week: Monday, Aug. 15: United Nations human rights workers documented 5,514 civilians killed and 7,698 injured in Ukraine since the war began in February, but said the actual figure is considerably higher as intense fighting delays reporting and corroboration. On the day of the U.N. update, several more civilians were reported killed and wounded in Ukraine. A Russian-backed separatist court in Donetsk charged men from the United Kingdom, Sweden and Croatia with working as mercenaries for Ukraine. All five men pleaded not guilty, Russia’s Tass news agency reported, and three of them could face the death penalty. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow is ready to offer advanced weapons to Russia’s partners in Latin America, Asia and Africa. Tuesday, Aug. 16: Explosions rocked Crimea, hitting an ammunition depot, an airfield, a power station and also causing damage to the railway on the Russian-annexed peninsula. Russia’s Defense Ministry called the blasts acts of sabotage. Ukraine didn’t take credit, but military analysts said the incidents are likely part of a Ukrainian counteroffensive. Later in the week, Russian officials reported attempted drone attacks in Crimea. Ukraine’s Parliament extended martial law for three more months. Former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, were in Ukraine. They met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and visited the town of Bucha, outside Kyiv, the site of mass civilian killings during the Russian invasion. Wednesday, Aug. 17: China announced it will send troops to Russia to participate in joint military exercises alongside the armed forces of India, Belarus and other countries. Russia plans to hold the Vostok-2022 drills from Aug. 30 to Sept. 5. Burial ceremonies continued for victims of Bucha. Local authorities said 21 unidentified victims were buried on this day, with numbers instead of names used to label their tombs. Thursday, Aug. 18: President Zelenskyy hosted the head of the U.N. and president of Turkeydiscussing issues including the embattled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and the deaths of war prisoners. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres heralded a deal struck in July to resume Ukraine’s grain exports as a ‘victory for diplomacy’ and said 560,000 metric tons of grain and other food have so far departed the country. Russia launched a barrage of rockets into the city of Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukrainekilling at least 17 civilians and destroying homes and a dormitory for deaf people. Starbucks’ former flagship coffee shop in Moscow reopened under new ownership and a new but similar brand: Stars Coffee. The Russian co-owners are restaurateur Anton Pinskiy and rapper Timati. The Seattle-based company announced its exit from Russia in May, citing the country’s ‘horrific attacks on Ukraine.’ Friday, Aug. 19: French President Emmanuel Macron had a phone call with Russian President Vladimir PutinMacron’s office said Putin agreed to allow an international mission of experts to assess reported damage at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Russian-occupied southern Ukraine. The U.S. is sending weapons, valued at $775 million, to help Ukraine fight Russian forces in the southern part of the country that’s become the main battleground, the Defense Department said. The latest package includes drones, anti-mine vehicles and anti-tank missiles. Saturday, Aug. 20: Daria Dugina, daughter of influential Russian nationalist theorist Alexander Dugin, was killed in a car bombing on the outskirts of Moscow. Dugin’s allies and Russian media suggested he was the intended target. Russian authorities blamed Ukrainian agents for the killing; Ukraine’s government denied any role in the incident. Ukraine installed a mock-parade of bombed-out Russian tanks and other military hardware on the street in Kyiv. Sunday, Aug. 21: Russian forces pounded Nikopol, a southern Ukrainian town near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, and hit sites near Ukraine’s port of Odesa. Yet according to the U.S. think tank the Institute for the Study of War, Russia has continually failed to turn small tactical gains into operational successes. President Biden spoke to the leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom about supporting Ukraine and the concerning situation at the Zaporizhzhia plant, Europe’s largest nuclear station, in a Russian-controlled area of southern Ukraine.”

An Unusual $1.6 Billion Donation Bolsters Conservatives. Low-profile Republican financier Barre Seid donated his electrical device manufacturing company Tripp Lite to the non-profit Marble Freedom Trust run by Leonard A. Leo, an activist who has used his connections to Republican donors and politicians to help engineer the conservative dominance of the Supreme Court and to finance battles over abortion rights, voting rules, and climate change policy. The New York Times, Kenneth P. Vogel and Shane Goldmacher, Monday, 22 August 2022: “A new conservative nonprofit group scored a $1.6 billion windfall last year via a little-known donor — an extraordinary sum that could give Republicans and their causes a huge financial boost ahead of the midterms, and for years to come. The source of the money was Barre Seid, an electronics manufacturing mogul, and the donation is among the largest — if not the largest — single contributions ever made to a politically focused nonprofit. The beneficiary is a new political group controlled by Leonard A. Leo, an activist who has used his connections to Republican donors and politicians to help engineer the conservative dominance of the Supreme Court and to finance battles over abortion rightsvoting rules and climate change policy. This windfall will help cement Mr. Leo’s status as a kingmaker in conservative big money politics. It could also give conservatives an advantage in a type of difficult-to-trace spending that shapes elections and political fights. The cash infusion was arranged through an unusual series of transactions that appear to have avoided tax liabilities. It originated with Mr. Seid, a longtime conservative donor who made a fortune as the chairman and chief executive of an electrical device manufacturing company in Chicago now known as Tripp Lite. Rather than merely giving cash, Mr. Seid donated 100 percent of the shares of Tripp Lite to Mr. Leo’s nonprofit group before the company was sold to an Irish conglomerate for $1.65 billion, according to tax records provided to The New York Times, corporate filings and a person with knowledge of the matter. The nonprofit, called the Marble Freedom Trust, then received all of the proceeds from the sale, in a transaction that appears to have been structured to allow the nonprofit group and Mr. Seid to avoid paying taxes on the proceeds. For perspective, the $1.6 billion that the Marble trust reaped from the sale is slightly more than the total of $1.5 billion spent in 2020 by 15 of the most politically active nonprofit organizations that generally align with Democrats, according to an analysis by The Times. That spending, which Democrats embraced to aid the campaigns of Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his allies in Congress, dwarfed the roughly $900 million spent by a comparable sample of 15 of the most politically active groups aligned with the Republican Party. The Marble Freedom Trust could help conservatives level the playing field — if not surpass the left — in such nonprofit spending, which is commonly referred to as dark money because the groups involved can raise and spend unlimited sums on politics while revealing little about where they got the money or how they spent it.”

Trump Had More Than 300 classified Documents at Mar-a-Lago. The National Archives found more than 150 sensitive documents when it got a first batch of material from the former president in January, helping to explain the Justice Department’s urgent response. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Jodi Kantor, Adam Goldman, and Ben Protess, Monday, 22 August 2022: “The initial batch of documents retrieved by the National Archives from former President Donald J. Trump in January included more than 150 marked as classified, a number that ignited intense concern at the Justice Department and helped trigger the criminal investigation that led F.B.I. agents to swoop into Mar-a-Lago this month seeking to recover more, multiple people briefed on the matter said. In total, the government has recovered more than 300 documents with classified markings from Mr. Trump since he left office, the people said: that first batch of documents returned in January, another set provided by Mr. Trump’s aides to the Justice Department in June and the material seized by the F.B.I. in the search this month. The previously unreported volume of the sensitive material found in the former president’s possession in January helps explain why the Justice Department moved so urgently to hunt down any further classified materials he might have. And the extent to which such a large number of highly sensitive documents remained at Mar-a-Lago for months, even as the department sought the return of all material that should have been left in government custody when Mr. Trump left office, suggested to officials that the former president or his aides had been cavalier in handling it, not fully forthcoming with investigators, or both…. Two former White House officials, who had been designated as among Mr. Trump’s representatives with the archives, received calls and tried to facilitate the documents’ return. Mr. Trump resisted those calls, describing the boxes of documents as ‘mine,’ according to three advisers familiar with his comments.”

Florida Federal Magistrate Judge Bruce E. Reinhart Who Signed the Warrant Authorizing the Search of Former President Donald Trump’s Private Club and Residence Issued a Formal Order on Monday Directing the Government to Propose Redactions to the Sealed Affidavit Used to Justify the Search, Saying That He Remained Inclined to Make Portions of It Public, The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Monday, 22 August 2022: “The judge, Bruce E. Reinhart, repeated in his order the note of caution he struck in court last week. The government, he added, could still persuade him to keep the whole affidavit sealed, and an extensively redacted version might result in what he described as ‘a meaningless disclosure.’ Hours after Judge Reinhart issued the order, lawyers for Mr. Trump filed a motion asking another federal judge in Florida — one whom Mr. Trump named to the bench — to appoint an independent arbiter, known as a special master, to review the documents seized during the search for any that fell outside the scope of the warrant or that were protected by executive privilege or attorney-client privilege. The motion, which was filled with bombastic complaints about the search — ‘The government has long treated President Donald J. Trump unfairly,’ it said at one point — also asked the Justice Department to provide an ‘informative receipt’ of what was taken from Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s home and club in Florida, on Aug. 8. His lawyers wrote that the inventory left at the property by the agents who conducted the search was ‘legally deficient’ and did ‘little to identify’ the seized material. If the judge who received the motion, Aileen M. Cannon, appoints a special master in the case, it will almost certainly drag out the process of reviewing the multiple boxes of documents that were seized and slow down the government’s investigation into whether Mr. Trump obstructed a federal inquiry and wrongfully retained national defense documents.” See also, Trump seeks special master to review seized Mar-a-Lago materials. In a court filing Monday, Trump’s lawyers accused the Justice Department of treating the former president unfairly for years. The Washington Post, Perry Stein, Carol D. Leonnig, Rosalind S. Helderman, and John Wagner, Monday, 22 August 2022: “Former president Donald Trump’s legal team on Monday asked a federal judge to appoint a special master to oversee a review of classified documents and other materials seized from Mar-a-Lago this month and sought to force the Justice Department to provide a more thorough explanation of why the search was necessary. Trump’s filing describes the FBI search as politically motivated, overbroad and ‘shockingly aggressive,’ saying the former president had been cooperative in the probe into the removal of White House documents and accusing agents of improperly seizing records to which they had no right, including Trump’s passports. It asked the court to order the FBI to return any information taken from Trump’s property that went beyond the scope of the search warrant. The FBI said in a statement last week that it ‘follows court’s search and seizure orders’ and ‘returns items that do not need to be retained for law enforcement purposes.’ The filing said a special master — an outside expert appointed by the court — could sift through the seized material and set aside any that should be shielded from government review because of executive privilege. Trump’s lawyers also asked that the former president be given an inventory of items seized during the search that is more detailed than the one the FBI left him, which has subsequently been made public. ‘Law enforcement is a shield that protects Americans,’ says the filing, the first from Trump’s legal team related to the Aug. 8 search. ‘It cannot be used as a weapon for political purposes. Therefore, we seek judicial assistance in the aftermath of an unprecedented and unnecessary raid on President Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.’ Asked for comment, Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said in a statement that the search ‘was authorized by a federal court upon the required finding of probable cause. The Department is aware of this evening’s motion,’ Coley said. ‘The United States will file its response in court.'” See also, Federal Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart says FBI’s evidence for searching Mar-a-Lago is ‘reliable,’ Politico, Kyle Cheney, Monday, 22 August 2022: “The federal magistrate judge who authorized the warrant to search Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate emphasized Monday that he ‘carefully reviewed’ the FBI’s sworn evidence before signing off and considers the facts contained in an accompanying affidavit to be ‘reliable.’ Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart offered his assessment in a 13-page order memorializing his decision to consider whether to unseal portions of the affidavit, which describe the evidence the bureau relied on to justify the search of the former president’s home. ‘I was — and am — satisfied that the facts sworn by the affiant are reliable,’ Reinhart said in the order. Reinhart ruled last week that he would consider unsealing portions of the affidavit after conferring with the Justice Department and determining whether proposed redactions would be sufficient to protect the ongoing criminal investigation connected to the search. But in his order, Reinhart emphasized that he may ultimately agree with prosecutors that any redactions would be so extensive that they would render the document useless. ‘I cannot say at this point that partial redactions will be so extensive that they will result in a meaningless disclosure, but I may ultimately reach that conclusion after hearing further from the Government,’ Reinhart wrote.”

The group of 8 congressional leaders charged with reviewing the most sensitive intelligence information wants to see Trump Mar-a-Lago search documents, Politico, Andrew Desiderio, Monday, 22 August 2022: “The group of congressional leaders charged with reviewing the most sensitive intelligence information has asked the Biden administration for access to the documents seized from former President Donald Trump’s private residence in Florida, according to two people with direct knowledge of the request. The inquiry from the so-called ‘Gang of 8’ comes as lawmakers from both parties seek to learn more about the unprecedented investigation into the former president. And it suggests that Congress is unwilling to be a bystander in the political and legal fallout following the FBI’s Aug. 8 search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla. It follows a similar request from Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Vice Chair Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), two Gang of 8 members who asked the nation’s top intelligence official to draw up an assessment of possible national-security risks related to Trump’s handling of the sensitive documents. The Gang of 8 includes the top two congressional leaders in each chamber — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy — as well as the top Democrat and Republican on the House and Senate intelligence committees.”

According to records reviewed by The Washington Post, sensitive election system files obtained by attorneys working to overturn President Donald Trump’s 2020 defeat were shared with election deniers, conspiracy theorists, and right-wing commentators, The Washington Post, Jon Swaine, Aaron C. Davis, Amy Gardner, and Emma Brown, Monday, 22 August 2022: “Sensitive election system files obtained by attorneys working to overturn President Donald Trump’s 2020 defeat were shared with election deniers, conspiracy theorists and right-wing commentators, according to records reviewed by The Washington Post. A Georgia computer forensics firm, hired by the attorneys, placed the files on a server, where company records show they were downloaded dozens of times. Among the downloaders were accounts associated with a Texas meteorologist who has appeared on Sean Hannity’s radio show; a podcaster who suggested political enemies should be executed; a former pro surfer who pushed disproven theories that the 2020 election was manipulated; and a self-described former ‘seduction and pickup coach’ who claims to also have been a hacker. Plaintiffs in a long-running federal lawsuit over the security of Georgia’s voting systems obtained the new records from the company, Atlanta-based SullivanStrickler, under a subpoena to one of its executives. The records include contracts between the firm and the Trump-allied attorneys, notably Sidney Powell. The data files are described as copies of components from election systems in Coffee County, Ga., and Antrim County, Mich. A series of data leaks and alleged breaches of local elections offices since 2020 has prompted criminal investigations and fueled concerns among some security experts that public disclosure of information collected from voting systems could be exploited by hackers and other people seeking to manipulate future elections.”

Democrats Designed the Climate Law to Be a Game Changer. Here’s How. In a first, the measure legally defines greenhouse gases as pollution. That’ll make new regulations much tougher to challenge in court. The New York Times, Lisa Friedman, Monday, 22 August 2022: “When the Supreme Court restricted the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency to fight climate change this year, the reason it gave was that Congress had never granted the agency the broad authority to shift America away from burning fossil fuels. Now it has. Throughout the landmark climate law, passed this month, is language written specifically to address the Supreme Court’s justification for reining in the E.P.A., a ruling that was one of the court’s most consequential of the term. The new law amends the Clean Air Act, the country’s bedrock air-quality legislation, to define the carbon dioxide produced by the burning of fossil fuels as an ‘air pollutant.’ That language, according to legal experts as well as the Democrats who worked it into the legislation, explicitly gives the E.P.A. the authority to regulate greenhouse gases and to use its power to push the adoption of wind, solar and other renewable energy sources.”

Expansion of Clean Energy Loans Is ‘Sleeping Giant’ of Climate Bill. The bill President Biden signed into law recently will greatly expand government loans and loan guarantees for clean energy and automotive projects and businesses. The New York Times, Ivan Penn, Monday, 22 August 2022: “Tucked into the Inflation Reduction Act that President Biden signed last week is a major expansion of federal loan programs that could help the fight against climate change by channeling more money to clean energy and converting plants that run on fossil fuels to nuclear or renewable energy. The law authorizes as much as $350 billion in additional federal loans and loan guarantees for energy and automotive projects and businesses. The money, which will be disbursed by the Energy Department, is in addition to the better-known provisions of the law that offer incentives for the likes of electric cars, solar panels, batteries and heat pumps. The aid could breathe life into futuristic technologies that banks might find too risky to lend to or into projects that are just short of the money they need to get going.”


Tuesday, 23 August 2022:


War in Ukraine: U.S. warns of more Russian strikes ahead of Ukrainian Independence Day, The Washington Post, Jennifer Hassan, Karina Tsui, Sammy Westfall, Karen DeYoung, and Praveena Somasundaram, Tuesday, 23 August 2022: “The U.N. Security Council discussed the situation at Zaporizhzhia in an emergency meeting at Moscow’s request Tuesday, during which Russia and Ukraine again accused one another in the escalating artillery attacks at the nuclear power plant. Russia is preparing to launch more strikes against Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure and government facilities in the coming days, the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv warned ahead of Ukrainian Independence Day on Wednesday. A State Department spokesman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity under rules set by the department, echoed the warning and said, ‘given Russia’s track record in Ukraine,’ the United States has concerns about threats posed to civilians.

  • An employee at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and his driver were killed in a mortar explosion outside the facility, underscoring the perilous situation at Europe’s largest nuclear plant, the president of Ukraine’s nuclear power company said Tuesday.
  • Russia’s United Nations ambassador, Vasily Nebenzya, said at the U.N. Security Council meeting Tuesday that the country did not have any heavy artillery at the facility. Nebenzya called on the United States and others to ‘stop covering up what your Kyiv proteges are doing and compel them to stop attacking.’
  • Recent shelling has further damaged infrastructure at the nuclear power plant, Ukraine told the International Atomic Energy Agency. Shelling over the past three days damaged laboratory and chemical facilities, as well as transformers at a nearby thermal plant. IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi repeated his call for an urgent expert mission to the plant, saying the agency’s presence would ‘reduce the risk of a severe nuclear accident in Europe.’
  • Richard Mills, the deputy U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said at the council meeting that ‘the entire international community are living under the threat of a nuclear catastrophe.’ Russia is using the nuclear plant ‘as a staging ground for war,’ he said, but he did not directly address the question of which side is shelling the area.

Russia-Ukraine War: U.N. Security Council Meeting Focuses on Threat to Nuclear Plant. Fighting around the Russia-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear facility poses one of the gravest risks as the war nears the six-month mark. The New York Times, Tuesday, 23 August 2022:

  • The U.N. issues dire warnings over a nuclear plant in Ukraine at a Security Council meeting.

  • At a nuclear plant in the midst of fighting, dedicated Ukrainian operators work at gunpoint.

  • Zelensky expresses defiance as the U.S. warns of Russian attacks ahead of Ukraine’s Independence Day.

  • At a televised memorial for Daria Dugina, many call for vengeance.

  • The U.N. warns Russia that show trials of P.O.W.s would constitute a war crime.

  • Daria Dugina built ties with the French far right.

  • For Chernobyl survivors, the threat of a new Ukraine nuclear disaster stirs dread.

Letter From National Archives Says Trump Kept More Than 700 Pages of Classified Documents. The letter, which was sent to the former president’s lawyers, described the state of alarm in the Justice Department as officials began to realize the nature of the documents kept at Mar-a-Lago. The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Tuesday, 23 August 2022: “President Donald J. Trump took more than 700 pages of classified documents, including some related to the nation’s most covert intelligence operations, to his private club and residence in Florida when he left the White House in January 2021, according to a letter that the National Archives sent to his lawyers this year. The letter, dated May 10 and written by the acting U.S. archivist, Debra Steidel Wall, to one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, M. Evan Corcoran, described the state of alarm in the Justice Department as officials there began to realize how serious the documents were. It also suggested that top department prosecutors and members of the intelligence community were delayed in conducting a damage assessment about the documents’ removal from the White House as Mr. Trump’s lawyers tried to argue that some of them might have been protected by executive privilege. The letter was disclosed on Monday night by one of Mr. Trump’s allies in the news media, John Solomon, who also serves as one of the former president’s representatives to the archives. The archives then released the letter on Tuesday. The New York Times reported on Monday that investigators had recovered more than 300 documents with classified markings from Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and private club, with each document potentially comprising multiple pages. The letter from the archives was made public shortly after Mr. Trump’s lawyers filed a legal motion on Monday asking a federal judge in Florida to appoint an independent arbiter, known as a special master, to weed out any documents protected by executive privilege from a trove that was removed during an F.B.I. search of Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8. The motion, filed in Federal District Court in Southern Florida, came as a different federal judge was deciding how much — if any — of the underlying affidavit used to justify the search warrant should be publicly released. Mr. Solomon, appearing on Tuesday on a podcast run by Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s former White House aide, tried to suggest that Ms. Wall’s letter somehow implicated President Biden in the struggle over the classified documents. At one point in the letter, Ms. Wall told Mr. Corcoran that Mr. Biden had agreed with her and others that Mr. Trump’s attempts to assert executive privilege over the materials were baseless. But the letter never indicated that Mr. Biden was in charge of the decision rejecting Mr. Trump’s claims of privilege or that he had anything to do with the search of Mar-a-Lago, as Mr. Solomon suggested.” See also, National Archives letter shows documents recovered at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence were among the government’s most classified. In the letter, posted on a Trump-aligned journalist’s website, the National Archives pushed back on Trump’s executive privilege claims. Politico, Kyle Cheney, Andrew Desiderio, and Lara Seligman, Tuesday, 23 August 2022: “The National Archives found more than 700 pages of classified material — including ‘special access program materials,’ some of the most highly classified secrets in the government — in 15 boxes recovered from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in January, according to correspondence between the National Archivist and his legal team. The May 10 letter — posted late Monday on the website of John Solomon, a conservative journalist and one of Trump’s authorized liaisons to the National Archives to review papers from his presidency — showed that NARA and federal investigators had grown increasingly alarmed about potential damage to national security caused by the warehousing of these documents at Mar-a-Lago, as well as by Trump’s resistance to sharing them with the FBI. These records included 700 pages of classified material, according to the letter, sent by National Archivist Debra Wall to Trump’s attorney, Evan Corcoran, and it doesn’t include records recovered by the Justice Department and FBI during a June meeting and the Aug. 11 search of the Mar-a-Lago premises.” See also, FBI’s Mar-a-Lago search followed months of resistance and delay by Trump, The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey, Carol D. Leonnig, Jacqueline Alemany, and Rosalind S. Helderman, Tuesday, 23 August 2022: “Donald Trump’s lawyers received ominous news in an April 12 email from the National Archives: The FBI would soon examine sensitive documents the former president had reluctantly returned to the government from his Florida club three months earlier. The communication, which has been reviewed by The Washington Post, was a crucial pivot point in the probe of Trump’s handling of classified documents that led to the dramatic search of his Mar-a-Lago Club earlier this month. Within weeks, Trump would have new lawyers to deal with the documents, and the FBI’s attention would shift from top-secret material Trump returned to the Archives to classified items they believed he had kept in Florida. One lawyer who received the email, former White House deputy counsel Pat Philbin, would be interviewed by FBI agents who considered him a witness in the rapidly expanding investigation. Some of Trump’s allies have blamed the rushed and haphazard packing process during Trump’s final days in office for the presence of documents the FBI found in Trump’s bedroom, office and a first-floor storage room at Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8. But the key events that led to the FBI search took place only this year, after months of slow-rolling conflict between the former president and law enforcement agencies. Some material recovered in the search is considered extraordinarily sensitive, two people familiar with the search said, because it could reveal carefully guarded secrets about U.S. intelligence-gathering methods. One of them said the information is ‘among the most sensitive secrets we hold.'” See also, Archives told Trump in April that FBI would examine more than 100 classified documents returned from Mar-a-Lago, The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany, Tuesday, 23 August 2022: “Former president Donald Trump returned more than 100 classified documents, comprising more than 700 pages, to the National Archives in January, according to a letter released by the Archives on Tuesday. Acting Archivist Debra Steidel Wall also notified Trump’s lawyer Evan Corcoran that the agency would provide the FBI access to 15 boxes of materials in order to investigate ‘whether those records were handled in an unlawful manner’ and conduct an assessment to determine if any damage might have resulted from the improper handling of materials, according to the May 10 letter. The more than 100 documents turned over in January were among the materials in 15 boxes of records recovered by the Archives from the former president’s Mar-a-Lago club earlier this year, after nearly a year of back and forth over missing presidential documents between Trump’s legal team and the agency charged with preserving the nation’s federal records.” See also, National Archives says documents received from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in January were marked with most sensitive classification. NBC News previously reported that classified material was found in the boxes the National Archives took in January, but the agency went into more detail about their classified statuses. NBC News, Ken Dilanian and Rebecca Shabad, Tuesday, 23 August 2022: “Documents found in 15 boxes that former President Donald Trump turned over from his Mar-a-Lago property in January were marked classified at a level suggesting they included some of the government’s most sensitive secrets. The National Archives and Records Administration, or NARA, informed Trump’s lawyers about the discovery in a letter in May, which was posted on its website Tuesday. The letter was first published on the website of conservative journalist John Solomon. After Trump’s lawyers turned over 15 boxes in January, officials at the National Archives identified items inside the boxes ‘marked as classified national security information, up to the level of top secret and including sensitive compartmented information and special access program materials,’ the letter said. That suggests Trump took home the most highly protected material in the U.S. government — material that, if disclosed, could betray sources and methods. The National Archives then ‘informed the Department of Justice about that discovery, which prompted the department to ask the president to request that NARA provide the FBI with access to the boxes at issue so that the FBI and others in the intelligence community could examine them,’ the letter said…. The Presidential Records Act mandates that all presidential records must be properly preserved by each administration so that a complete set of records is transferred to the National Archives at the end of an administration.”

Exclusive: Justice Department issues new subpoena to National Archives for more January 6 documents, CNN Politics, Jamie Gangel and Evan Perez, Tuesday, 23 August 2022: “The Justice Department has issued a new grand jury subpoena to the National Archives for more documents as part of its investigation into the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, two sources familiar with the investigation tell CNN. This latest subpoena, issued on August 17, is in addition to a subpoena the Department of Justice sent to the Archives earlier this year, requesting the same documents and information that the Archives had previously handed over to the House select committee investigating January 6. This new subpoena, which has not been previously reported, is understood to request additional documents and data from the Archives, pertaining to a period of time both before and after January 6. Thomas Windom, an assistant US Attorney, is leading the criminal probe into the effort to impede the transfer of power after the 2020 election, including the potential role played by former President Donald Trump and allies to organize a group of fake electors who could keep Trump in power despite losing the election. The US Attorney’s Office declined to comment.”

Trump, Without the Presidency’s Protections, Struggles for a Strategy. Facing serious legal peril in the documents investigation, the former president has turned to his old playbook of painting himself as persecuted amid legal and political stumbles. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Glenn Thrush, and Alan Feuer, Tuesday, 23 August 2022: “On Tuesday, a Florida judge informed two lawyers representing former President Donald J. Trump, neither of them licensed in the state, that they had bungled routine paperwork to take part in a suit filed following the F.B.I.’s search this month of Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and private club. ‘A sample motion can be found on the Court’s website,’ the judge instructed them in her order. Mr. Trump has projected his usual bravado, and raised millions of dollars online from outraged supporters, since federal agents descended on the property more than two weeks ago and carted off boxloads of material including highly classified documents. But something is different this time — and the errant court filing offered a glimpse into the confusion and uncertainty the investigation has exposed inside Mr. Trump’s camp. The documents investigation represents the greatest legal threat Mr. Trump has faced in years, and he is going into the battle shorn of the protective infrastructure and constitutional armor of the presidency. After years of burning through lawyers, he has struggled to hire new ones, and has a small group of lawyers of varying experience.”

Two Men Convicted in Plot to Kidnap Michigan’s Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The trial came months after a different federal jury did not return any convictions in the case, one of the country’s highest-profile domestic terror prosecutions. The New York Times, Mitch Smith, Tuesday, 23 August 2022: “The first time federal prosecutors tried to convince a jury that a group of men plotted to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic governor, they failed to get a single conviction. But on Tuesday, jurors in a second trial found the two remaining defendants guilty, providing a measure of vindication to federal law enforcement in a case filled with public setbacks. Prosecutors described the men, Barry Croft and Adam Fox, as threats to democracy who planned to capture Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at her vacation home in 2020 and instigate a national rebellion. They told jurors how the men went on ‘reconnaissance missions’ to the home, how they accumulated high-powered guns and how they discussed blowing up a bridge to prevent the police from responding to the kidnapping. The case was seen as indicative of the rising threat of political violence and right-wing domestic terrorism, even before the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. But proving the charges in Michigan meant persuading jurors to trust a sprawling F.B.I. investigation that included several undercover federal operatives. In the first trial this spring, jurors acquitted two other men and deadlocked on the charges against Mr. Croft and Mr. Fox. That result, at a time of growing conservative distrust in the F.B.I., raised questions about the bureau’s investigative tactics, especially their prolific use of informants and undercover agents. But even as those issues remained, the verdicts on Tuesday were seen as a warning against political extremism and a sign that the word of an F.B.I. agent can still carry weight with juries.” See also, Two men convicted of plotting to kidnap Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer. In April a Michigan jury deadlocked over the roles of Adam Fox and Barry Croft. In a retrial, prosecutors won a conviction. The Washington Post, Perry Stein, Tuesday, 23 August 2022: “A federal jury on Tuesday convicted two men of conspiring to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) in 2020, a case that raised alarms about the possibility of politically motivated violence amid the coronavirus pandemic and ahead of a bitterly contested presidential race. Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. were also found guilty of conspiring to obtain a weapon of mass destruction to pass her security detail and prevent police from catching them so they could kidnap the governor at her vacation home, the Justice Department announced. ‘These defendants believed their anti-government views justified violence,’ said Special Agent in Charge James A. Tarasca, who works at the FBI’s Detroit Field Office. ‘Today’s verdict sends a clear message that they were wrong in their assessment. Violence is never the answer. The FBI will continue to investigate anyone who seeks to engage in violence in furtherance of any ideological cause and hold them accountable.'”

Ex-Detective Kelly Goodlett Admits Misleading Judge Who Approved Breonna Taylor Raid. Goodlett pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy. She is the first officer to be convicted in the fatal police operation. The New York Times, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Tuesday, 23 August 2022: “A former police detective admitted on Tuesday that she had helped mislead a judge into wrongly authorizing a raid of Breonna Taylor’s apartment in Louisville, Ky., setting in motion the nighttime operation in which the police fatally shot Ms. Taylor. The former detective, Kelly Goodlett, pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy, admitting that she had worked with another officer to falsify a search warrant application and had later lied to cover up their act. In pleading guilty, Ms. Goodlett became the first police officer to be convicted over the March 2020 raid, during which the police were searching for evidence of drug dealing by Ms. Taylor’s former boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover.” See also, Ex-detective pleads guilty to misleading judge in Breonna Taylor case, The Washington Post, Meena Venkataramanan, Marisa Iati, and David Nakamura, Tuesday, 23 August 2022: “In a guilty plea filed Tuesday, former Louisville detective Kelly Goodlett admitted to helping falsify a search warrant, then filing a false report in the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor. The plea marked the first conviction in the case, which, along with the murder of George Floyd and other acts of police brutality, set off a summer of racial justice demonstrations in 2020. Goodlett pleaded guilty to the federal charge of conspiracy, which could lead to a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Taylor, 26, died of gunshot wounds in March 2020 after plainclothes police burst into her apartment during a drug probe.”

Ex-Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada and Aide Cade Cothren Charged With Bribery and Conspiracy. FBI. agents arrested  Casada and Cothren at their Tennessee homes on Tuesday. The New York Times, Johnny Diaz, Tuesday, 23 August 2022: “A former Tennessee speaker of the House and his former chief of staff were arrested on Tuesday at their homes on federal charges in connection to a bribery and kickback scheme, prosecutors said. Former Speaker Glen Casada, 63, a Republican, and his top aide, Cade Cothren, 35, were charged with conspiracy to commit theft from programs receiving federal funds; bribery and kickbacks concerning programs receiving federal funds; honest services wire fraud; and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The charges were announced by U.S. Attorney Mark H. Wildasin for the Middle District of Tennessee and Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s criminal division in a joint statement on Tuesday.”

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) launches safety review after right-wing threats. Republicans in Congress are repeating baseless claims long made by extremists, experts say, potentially putting federal workers in danger. The Washington Post, Jacob Bogage, Tuesday, 23 August 2022: “The Internal Revenue Service will launch a full security review of its facilities nationwide, Commissioner Charles Rettig announced Tuesday, as congressional Republicans and far-right extremists are lashing out at the agency and the new funding it is slated to receive in a massive spending law. ‘We see what’s out there in terms of social media. Our workforce is concerned about their safety,’ Rettig told The Washington Post in an interview. ‘The comments being made are extremely disrespectful to the agency, to the employees and to the country.’ In a letter to employees sent Tuesday, he wrote that the agency would conduct risk assessments for each of the IRS’s 600 facilities and evaluate whether to increase security patrols along building exteriors, boost designations for restricted areas, examine security around entrances and assess exterior lighting. It will be the agency’s first such review since the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, which killed 168 people.”

January 6 Panel Questions Trump Cabinet Members on 25th Amendment Talks. The House select committee has used the August congressional recess to delve into discussions inside former President Donald Trump’s cabinet about removing him from office after the riot. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Maggie Haberman, Tuesday, 23 August 2022: “The House select committee scrutinizing the Jan. 6 attack has used the August congressional recess to gather more evidence as it prepares to resume public hearings next month, dispatching investigators to Europe and digging deeper into discussions by former President Donald J. Trump’s cabinet after the riot about removing him from office. The panel has been holding closed-door interviews with senior Trump administration officials in an effort to uncover more about the period between Jan. 6, 2021, when a mob of Mr. Trump’s supporters attacked Congress, and Jan. 20, when President Biden was sworn in, including talks about invoking the 25th Amendment. On Tuesday, the panel interviewed Robert O’Brien, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, for several hours, according to two people familiar with the committee’s work.”


Wednesday, 24 August 2022:


War in Ukraine: Russian invasion reaches 6 months on Ukraine’s Independence Day, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Adela Suliman, Jennifer Hassan, Robyn Dixon, Claire Parker, and Sammy Westfall, Wednesday, 24 August 2022: “As Ukraine observed both its Independence Day and the six-month anniversary of Russia’s invasion on Wednesday, Moscow aimed a deadly missile strike at a train station in the country’s southeast, killing at least 22 and injuring dozens more, President Volodymyr Zelensky said. Ukrainians had been bracing for stepped up strikes this week, with Zelensky warning days earlier that Russia might be planning ‘something particularly cruel’ for a stretch that included Ukraine’s highest national holiday. A rescue team was searching through the rubble at the rail station in the Dnipropetrovsk region, and Zelensky said the death toll could rise. ‘We will definitely make the occupiers bear responsibility for everything they have done,’ he said. ‘And we will certainly drive the invaders out of our land.’ News of the strike came after a muted Independence Day ceremony in the capital. World leaders again offered Kyiv their support. President Biden called the day ‘bittersweet’ and announced an additional $2.98 billion in weapons and equipment aid. Outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a surprise visit to Kyiv.

  • A Russian rocket attack Wednesday hit the Chaplyne railway station in Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region Wednesday, killing at least 15 people and injuring 50, Zelensky told a U.N. Security Council meeting to address peace and security in Ukraine.
  • The Washington Post conducted a months-long examination of the Ukrainian military’s successful defense of Kyiv, interviewing more than 100 people. Here are five ways Ukraine fought and saved Kyiv from Russian invaders.
  • Biden announced nearly $3 billion in aid to Ukraine on Wednesday.

Russia-Ukraine War: Russian Missile Strike Kills at Least 22 on Independence Day. The attack on a train station in the Ukrainian town of Chaplyne came as the war-scarred nation braced for stepped-up attacks and marked the six-month point since Russia’s invasion. The New York Times, Wednesday, 24 August 2022:

  • The attack was one of the deadliest strikes on the country’s railways since April.

  • Zelensky says Ukraine is ‘reborn’ six months into the war.

  • U.N. officials paint a bleak picture as civilian casualties top 13,000.

  • Defiance is the mood of the day as Ukrainians celebrate their independence.

  • On the eastern front, a Ukrainian unit sees little change on Independence Day.

  • The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church won’t meet the pope next month, a church official says.

  • Biden announces a nearly $3 billion package of arms and equipment for Ukraine.

  • A medic is killed while treating two wounded soldiers. ‘I would give my life to replace his,’ one mourner said.

Six key numbers that reveal the staggering impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine, NPR, Julian Hayda, Ashley Westerman, Elissa Nadworny, and Claire Harbage, Wednesday, 24 August 2022: “Six months ago, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of neighboring Ukraine. The half-year mark comes on the same day — Aug. 24 — as a national holiday celebrating Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union, an event in 1991 noted for its lack of bloodshed. Today the holiday takes on new meaning for many Ukrainians, as the country continues to fight in what it calls a new ‘war for independence.'”

Biden to Cancel $10,000 in Student Debt; Low-Income Students Are Eligible for More. The debt forgiveness comes after months of deliberations in the White House over fairness and fears that the plan could make inflation worse ahead of the midterm elections. The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Stacy Cowley, and Jim Tankersley, Wednesday, 24 August 2022: “President Biden announced a plan on Wednesday to wipe out significant amounts of student loan debt for tens of millions of Americans, saying he would cancel $10,000 in debt for those earning less than $125,000 per year and $20,000 for those who had received Pell grants for low-income families. The debt forgiveness, although less than what some Democrats had been pushing for, comes after months of deliberations in the White House over fairness and fears that it could exacerbate inflation before the midterm elections.” See also, Biden’s Student Loan Plan Squarely Targets the Middle Class. President Biden is offering what independent analysts suggest would be his most targeted assistance yet to middle-class workers, while trying to repair what he casts as a broken bridge to the middle class. The New York Times, Jim Tankersley, published on Thursday, 25 August 2022: “The big winners from President Biden’s plan to forgive hundreds of billions of dollars in student loans are not rich graduates of Harvard and Yale, as many critics claim. In fact, the benefits of Mr. Biden’s proposals will largely go to the middle class. According to independent analyses, the people eligible for debt relief are disproportionately young and Black. And they are concentrated in the middle band of Americans by income, defined as households earning between $51,000 and $82,000 a year. The Education Department estimates that nearly 90 percent of affected borrowers earn $75,000 a year or less. Ivy League graduates make up less than 1 percent of federal student borrowers nationwide.” See also, Biden’s big new student loan forgiveness plan, explained, Vox, Kevin Carey, Wednesday, 24 August 2022: “President Joe Biden announced his administration’s long-awaited student loan forgiveness plan Wednesday, saying it will forgive $10,000 in student loans for borrowers who earned less than $125,000 during the pandemic. People who received Pell Grants, grants to low-income students, while they were enrolled in college will be eligible to have $20,000 in debt forgiven. The move will be enough to wipe out some student debt entirely: 15 million of the 43 million people with federal loans owe less than $10,000, and those borrowers are typically the most likely to fail to pay back their loans. In all, the plan will eliminate student debt for about 20 million people, according to an analysis provided by the Education Department, and decrease monthly payments by an average of $250 for borrowers with a remaining balance who are on standard 10-year payment plans.” See also, Biden to cancel up to $10,000 in student loans, and $20K for Pell grant recipients. The president is also extending a pause on federal student loan payments through December 31. The Washington Post, Danielle Douglas-Gabriel and Jeff Stein, Wednesday, 24 August 2022: “President Biden on Wednesday delivered on a controversial campaign promise to cancel a portion of the education debt held by millions of Americans, ending uncertainty about what they would ultimately owe. Biden said he would cancel up to $10,000 in federal student loan debt for borrowers who earn less than $125,000 per year, or under $250,000 for married couples who file jointly. Those who receive Pell grants, federal aid for lower-income students, could see up to $20,000 in forgiveness. The announcement was the culmination of years of activism that pushed what was once a fringe idea into the mainstream, onto political agendas and now into actual policy. It arrives ahead of congressional midterm elections and could give Democrats a boost with some voters but also threaten their standing with those who say the amount is not enough — or too much.”

California to Ban the Sale of New Gasoline Cars. The decision, to take effect by 2035, will very likely speed a wider transition to electric vehicles because many other states follow California’s standards. The New York Times, Coral Davenport, Lisa Friedman, and Brad Plumer, Wednesday, 24 August 2022: “California regulators on Thursday will vote to put in place a sweeping plan to restrict and ultimately ban the sale of gasoline-powered cars, state officials said, a move that the state’s governor described as the beginning of the end for the internal combustion engine. The new policy, detailed Wednesday morning in a news conference, is widely expected to accelerate the global transition toward electric vehicles. Not only is California the largest auto market in the United States, but more than a dozen other states typically follow California’s lead when setting their own auto emissions standards. If those states follow through, and most are expected to adopt similar rules, the restrictions would apply to about a third of the United States auto market. ‘This is huge,’ said Margo Oge, an electric vehicles expert who headed the Environmental Protection Agency’s transportation emissions program under Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. As additional states put in place their own versions of these policies, ‘they will drive the market, and drive innovation,’ she said. The rule, issued by the California Air Resources Board, will require that all new cars sold in the state by 2035 be free of greenhouse gas emissions like carbon dioxide. The rule also sets interim targets, requiring that 35 percent of new passenger vehicles sold by 2026 produce zero emissions. That requirement climbs to 68 percent by 2030. Transportation is the nation’s top source of planet-warming greenhouse-gas emissions.” See also, California expected to ban new gas car sales by 2035, CNN, Ella Nilsen, Wednesday, 24 August 2022: “California air regulators are expected Thursday to issue stringent rules to ban the sale of new gasoline cars by 2035 and set interim targets to phase the cars out. The California Air Resources Board will vote on the measure Thursday afternoon, board member Daniel Sperling told CNN. Sperling added he was ‘99.9%’ confident the measure would pass. If it does, it would be one of the first such bans worldwide. It also could have major implications for the US car market, given how large California’s economy is. ‘This is monumental,’ Sperling said. ‘This is the most important thing that CARB has done in the last 30 years. It’s important not just for California, but it’s important for the country and the world.'” See also, California moves toward banning new cars running only on gas by 2035. The major climate regulation to be proposed by the car-clogged state could have far-reaching effects on the auto industry. The Washington Post, Dino Grandoni and Evan Halper, Wednesday, 24 August 2022: “California is set to move closer to banning the sale of new cars running only on gasoline by 2035, a major step in the car-loving state’s fight against climate change. The expected embrace of the policy by the state’s Air Resources Board during a meeting scheduled for Thursday comes after Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) set a target in 2020 for cleaning up California’s auto fleet. The proposed regulation would set strict deadlines for meeting that goal, forcing automakers to step up production of cleaner vehicles considerably, starting in 2026. The requirements would only speed forward from there, until only zero-emission passenger cars, pickup trucks and SUVs as well as a limited number of plug-in hybrids are allowed to be sold in the state by 2035.”

Biden administration moves to formalize Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and shield it from legal challenges, CBS News, Camilo Montoya-Galvez, Wednesday, 24 August 2022: “The Biden administration on Wednesday finalized a rule to transform the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy for more than 600,000 so-called ‘Dreamers’ into a federal regulation, a move aimed at protecting the program from legal challenges that imperil its existence. The 453-page rule by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is set to take effect on Oct. 31 and will codify the Obama-era program, which has been governed by a 2012 memo for a decade, into the federal government’s code of regulations. Since its inception, DACA has allowed hundreds of thousands of unauthorized immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children to live and work in the country legally without fear of deportation. As of March 31, 611,270 immigrants were enrolled in DACA, government data show.”

Justice Department releases unredacted Barr memo detailing decision not to charge Trump with obstructing Russia investigation, CNN Politics, Marshall Cohen, Wednesday, 25 August 2022: “Former Attorney General Bill Barr concluded that then-President Donald Trump couldn’t be charged with obstructing the Russia probe because there wasn’t an underlying conspiracy between his campaign and Russia, breaking with special counsel Robert Mueller’s view on the matter, according to a newly unredacted memo released by the Justice Department. The nine-page memo was released Wednesday as part of a lawsuit over public records tied to the Mueller investigation. A highly redacted version of the memo was previously released in 2021, but a federal court ordered the Justice Department to make the full document public. ‘It would be rare for federal prosecutors to bring an obstruction prosecution that did not itself arise out of a proceeding related to a separate crime,’ then-top Justice Department officials Steven Engel and Ed O’Callaghan wrote in the document, which concludes with a formal recommendation against charging Trump, which Barr signed and approved on March 24, 2019. That’s the same date that Barr notified Congress of his decision not to prosecute Trump, which was later criticized by Mueller and legal analysts for cherry-picking from Mueller’s report. The memo contains a legal analysis that was presented to Barr. Two federal courts involved in the public records case have concluded that Barr didn’t actually rely on the memo for legal advice, never seriously considered charging Trump, already made up his mind before he commissioned the memo, and that he signed the memo after notifying Congress of his decision. Last week, in ruling that the full memo should be released, a federal appeals court described the memo as an ‘academic exercise’ or ‘thought experiment’ that meant to bolster the public rollout of Barr’s controversial decision against prosecuting Trump. The lawsuit was brought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a government watchdog group.” See also, Memo Details Barr’s Justifications for Clearing Trump of Obstruction of the Russia Investigation. A document released by court order showed how in 2019, Justice Department lawyers argued that President Donald Trump had not illegally impeded the Russia investigation. The New York Times, Mark Mazzetti, Michael S. Schmidt, and Charlie Savage, Wednesday, 24 August 2022: “The Biden administration released a Trump-era memorandum on Wednesday that provided the most detailed look yet at the Justice Department’s legal reasoning for proclaiming that President Donald J. Trump could not be charged with obstruction of justice over his efforts to impede the Russia investigation. The March 2019 memo, delivered to the attorney general at the time, William P. Barr, concluded that none of Mr. Trump’s actions chronicled in the report by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III — from firing his F.B.I. director to pressuring the White House counsel to recant his testimony to prosecutors — could be shown beyond a reasonable doubt to be criminal acts. Many of these actions, two senior Justice Department officials wrote, should be interpreted by an inference that Mr. Trump ‘reasonably believed’ the investigations were impeding his government agenda, meaning he lacked the corrupt intent necessary to prosecute him for obstruction. The Justice Department under both the Trump and the Biden administrations fought unsuccessfully in court to avoid releasing the full text of the memo, which was the subject of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.” See also, Justice Department memo to not charge Trump in Russia investigation released. A federal appeals panel ordered the release of the 2019 memo in response to a lawsuit by a watchdog group. The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett and Rachel Weiner, Wednesday, 24 August 2022: “The Justice Department has released the entire text of a secret 2019 memo that laid out the legal rationale for not charging President Donald Trump with committing obstruction of justice in the investigation into whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election. The nine-page memo, addressed to Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, says no potential instances of obstruction of justice by Trump that were cited by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s ‘would warrant a prosecution for obstruction of justice,’ regardless of whether the person being investigated was a sitting president. A government watchdog group had sued for the release of the memo, arguing that the department had dishonestly kept it under wraps. A federal judge agreed, and an appeals panel last week upheld the judge’s opinion and ordered that memo be made public. The memo was written by two senior Justice Department officials for Attorney General William P. Barr, who subsequently told Congress there was not enough evidence to charge Trump with obstruction of Mueller’s inquiry. A redacted version was released last year, leaving the legal and factual analysis under seal…. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the nonprofit that sued for the document’s release, has maintained that the public deserved to know the legal rationale for not charging Trump. In a written statement Wednesday, the group said the memo ‘presents a breathtakingly generous view of the law and facts for Donald Trump. It significantly twists the facts and the law to benefit Donald Trump and does not comport with a serious reading of the law of obstruction of justice or the facts as found by Special Counsel Mueller.'” See also, Justice Department releases Mueller-era memo on Trump prosecution. Two top aides to then-Attorney General William Barr said Trump’s acts wouldn’t have merited obstruction charges even if he were not immune as president. Politico, Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney, Wednesday, 24 August 2022: “The Justice Department has released a long-sought legal memo arguing that then-President Donald Trump’s actions during special counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation did not warrant prosecution for obstruction of justice, even if a president was susceptible to criminal charges while in office. In the nine-page memo disclosed Wednesday, two of the most senior officials in the Justice Department advised then-Attorney General William Barr that Trump’s threats to fire Mueller and his various public and private outbursts against witnesses he viewed as hostile or unhelpful to him didn’t amount to the sort of case prosecutors would bring under their established standards. See also, Department of Justice releases secret memo justifying Barr’s decision not to charge Trump with obstruction of Mueller probe, The Week, Peter Weber, published on Thursday, 25 August 2022: “The Justice Department on Wednesday released a secret 2019 memo laying out a legal rationale for not charging former President Donald Trump with obstruction of justice for impeding Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation. A federal appellate court, siding with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), had ordered the department to release the unredacted memo, written by two top DOJ political appointees for then-Attorney General Bill Barr. Outside white-collar lawyers agreed that the memo reads like a defense brief, The New York Time reports. ‘An overarching premise is that Mueller did not find evidence sufficient to charge Trump with conspiring with Russia, so there was no underlying crime,’ Times reporter Charlie Savage tweeted. ‘(It does not raise the possibility that Mueller failed to get that evidence because his investigation was obstructed.)’ In fact, the Mueller report said the investigation found ‘substantial evidence’ of obstruction by Trump, including dangling pardons before witnesses and ordering Mueller fired. The memo for Barr downplayed that evidence, often using generous assumptions or technicalities. McGahn said in sworn testimony that Trump told him ‘Mueller has to go,’ and ‘call me when you do it’ — but Trump didn’t use the word ‘fire,’ the memo points out. Andrew Weissman, Mueller’s deputy in the investigation, called the full memo a ‘doozy,’ especially one ‘astounding’ sentence in which O’Callaghan and Engel tell Barr he should neutralize the report before it comes out because it could be read to say the president committed obstruction. He also told MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace the memo is legally ‘dead wrong’ on obstruction law and in claiming Mueller’s team didn’t find evidence of underlying crimes.” See also, Department of Justice releases a Mueller-era memo to Attorney General William Barr on the decision to not prosecute Trump, NPR, Ryan Lucas, Wednesday, 24 August 2022: “The Justice Department on Wednesday released a memo from 2019 laying out the case for not prosecuting former President Donald Trump for obstruction of justice in connection with then-special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. The nine-page memo dated March 24, 2019 was written by two senior Trump Justice Department officials: Assistant Attorney General Steven Engel and Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Ed O’Callaghan. They conclude that none of Trump’s actions documented in the Mueller report— his firing of FBI director James Comey; his directing the top White House lawyer to fire Mueller; his exhorting witnesses not to flip — should be viewed as obstruction…. Trump and his supporters lauded the decision, but many legal experts questioned the reasoning and conclusion. More than 1,000 former federal prosecutors signed a letter in 2019 saying that the conduct described in Mueller’s report would normally lead to multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice.

National Archives asked for records in 2021 after Trump lawyer agreed they should be returned, email says, The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey and Jacqueline Alemany, Wednesday, 24 August 2022: “About two dozen boxes of presidential records stored in then-President Donald Trump’s White House residence were not returned to the National Archives and Records Administration in the final days of his term even after Archives officials were told by a Trump lawyer that the documents should be given back, according to an email from the top lawyer at the record-keeping agency. ‘It is also our understanding that roughly two dozen boxes of original presidential records were kept in the Residence of the White House over the course of President Trump’s last year in office and have not been transferred to NARA, despite a determination by Pat Cipollone in the final days of the administration that they need to be,’ wrote Gary Stern, the agency’s chief counsel, in an email to Trump lawyers in May 2021, according to a copy reviewed by The Washington Post. The email shows NARA officials were concerned about Trump keeping dozens of boxes of official records even before he left the White House — concerns that only grew in the coming months as Trump repeatedly declined to return the records. It also showed that Trump’s lawyers had concerns about Trump taking the documents and agreed that the boxes should be returned — at least according to the top Archives officials — while Trump kept the documents.”

Senator Lindsey Graham tells judge that grand jury should not be allowed to question him on any topics laid out in subpoena, CNN Politics, Tierney Sneed, Wednesday, 24 August 2022: “Sen. Lindsey Graham on Wednesday told a federal court that it should bar a grand jury’s questioning of the South Carolina Republican ‘on all the topics’ sought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in the subpoena for Graham’s testimony as part of an investigation into plots to illegally influence Georgia’s 2020 election results. Graham also asked the court to block questioning of him on ‘other topics’ suggested by outside groups that have weighed in on the dispute over the subpoena in friend-of-the court briefs. The litigation over the subpoena is back before US District Judge Leigh Martin May of the Northern District of Georgia after an appeals court on Sunday paused her ruling requiring that Graham appear before the grand jury. May had previously rejected Graham’s request that she quash the subpoena outright. The appeals court has since instructed her to consider whether the subpoena should be partially quashed or modified in accordance with the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause, which shields lawmakers from some law enforcement actions when it covers certain conduct that is part of lawmakers’ legislative duties.”

Report by the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis finds the Trump White House exerted pressure on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Covid-19 emergency use authorizations. The report by House Democrats examining the pandemic says Trump officials sought vaccine approvals to sway voters before the 2020 election. Politico, Katherine Ellen Foley, Wednesday, 24 August 2022: “The Trump administration pressured the Food and Drug Administration, including former FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, to authorize unproven treatments for Covid-19 and the first Covid-19 vaccines on an accelerated timeline, according to a report released Wednesday by Democrats on the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. Senior Trump administration officials fought for the reauthorization of hydroxychloroquine, a drug normally used to treat malaria and lupus, after the FDA revoked its emergency clearance of the drug because data showed it was ineffective against Covid-19 and could lead to potentially dangerous side effects, the report found. The Democrats’ investigation also documents potential influence from former White House officials regarding the FDA’s decision to authorize convalescent plasma, and White House attempts to block the FDA from collecting additional safety data on Covid-19 vaccines in order to get them to the public before the 2020 presidential election.”

Ryan Zinke, a Former Interior Secretary During the Trump Administration, Is Accused of Misleading Interior Department Investigators in Casino Inquiry. He is now seeking a House seat in Montana. The New York Times, Maggie Astor, Wednesday, 24 August 2022: “Ryan Zinke, a former interior secretary during the Trump administration, intentionally misled investigators looking into his department’s decision not to act on two Native American tribes’ requests to open a new casino in Connecticut, the Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General concluded in a report released on Wednesday. Mr. Zinke, who served as interior secretary from 2017 to 2019, is now the Republican nominee for a congressional seat in Montana. He is widely expected to win the general election this November. The 44-page report on Wednesday focused not on the casino decision itself — litigation over that was resolved separately — but on whether Mr. Zinke and his former chief of staff had been honest about it. Extensive efforts by unnamed lobbyists to persuade Mr. Zinke not to approve the tribes’ applications, as well as conversations between Mr. Zinke and an unnamed senator, are described in the report. It says that, in interviews with investigators, Mr. Zinke denied having significant conversations with the lobbyists and stated repeatedly that he had decided not to approve the tribes’ applications based on advice from the Interior Department’s Office of the Solicitor. But lawyers in that office told the investigators that they had never spoken directly with Mr. Zinke.” See also, Interior Departments inspector general finds Ryan Zinke, former interior secretary in the Trump administration, lied to investigators in casino case. The inspector general detailed Zinke’s and his chief of staff’s attempts to mislead federal officials. The Washington Post, Lisa Rein and Anna Phillips, Wednesday, 24 August 2022: “Former interior secretary Ryan Zinke, who’s favored to win a new House seat representing Montana this fall, lied to investigators several times about conversations he had with federal officials, lawmakers and lobbyists about two Indian tribes’ petition to operate a New England casino, the department’s watchdog said in a report released Wednesday. Investigators with Inspector General Mark Greenblatt’s office concluded that when questioned about his talks with Interior attorneys and others outside the department, Zinke and his then-chief of staff failed to comply with their ‘duty of candor’ as public officials to tell the truth, the report said. ‘We found that both Secretary Zinke and the [chief of staff] made statements that presented an inaccurate version of the circumstances in which [the Interior Department] made key decisions,’ the report said. ‘As a result, we concluded that Secretary Zinke and the [chief of staff] did not comply with their duty of candor when questioned.’ Investigators found that Zinke, who served one term in the House before joining the Trump administration, and his chief of staff ‘made statements to OIG investigators with the overall intent to mislead them.'”


Thursday, 25 August 2022:


War in Ukraine: Zelensky says backup generators prevented ‘radiation accident’ at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, The Washington Post, Adela Suliman, Rachel Pannett, John Hudson, Robyn Dixon, Karina Tsui, Sammy Westfall, and Reis Thebault, Thursday, 25 August 2022: “Europe’s largest nuclear power plant came closer than ever to a radiation disaster after ongoing fighting near the Zaporizhzhia facility cut it off from Ukraine’s electricity grid on Thursday, causing a massive power outage in the area, President Volodymyr Zelensky said, amid heightened fears of a coming calamity. It was the first time in the Zaporizhzhia plant’s history that it had been disconnected from the grid, Ukrainian officials said. Backup diesel generators immediately kicked in to help sustain critical operations, but if they had not, ‘we would already be forced to overcome the consequences of the radiation accident,’ Zelensky said. Russian troops have occupied the plant for months, and international monitors have issued increasingly dire pleas for the site’s demilitarization. Ukrainian and Russian officials traded blame for the shelling that triggered the outage. ‘Russia has put Ukraine and all Europeans in a situation one step away from a radiation disaster,’ Zelensky said in an evening address.

  • Ukraine informed the U.N. nuclear watchdog that the nuclear plant lost connection to its power line ‘at least twice’ but that it was running again, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement. Even though it’s controlled by Russian forces, Ukrainian staffers continue to operate the facility.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron met with Rafael Mariano Grossi, head of the IAEA, in Paris on Thursday to underline his ‘grave concern’ about the situation at the Zaporizhzhia site. He also reiterated French support for an IAEA mission to be deployed to Ukraine ‘as soon as possible,’ the Élysée Palace said in a statement.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to increase the size of the Russian military from 1.9 million to 2.04 million, Russian media outlets reported. The personnel increase of 137,000 is to take effect on Jan. 1. The Kremlin still terms the war in Ukraine a ‘special military operation.’
  • Victims of a Russian missile attack on Chaplyne include an 11-year-old who died under the rubble of a house and a 6-year-old caught in a car fire, Kirill Timoshenko, a Ukrainian presidential aide, said on Telegram. He said 25 people were killed in total and 31 injured. Russia claimed that it used an Iskander missile to kill 200 Ukrainian service members there and destroy 10 units of military equipment headed to the eastern Donbas region, but did not provide evidence. Zelensky promised to make Moscow pay for ‘everything they have done.’ The attack came exactly six months into the war and on Ukraine’s Independence Day.
  • President Biden called Zelensky on Thursday to discuss an almost $3 billion U.S. military aid package. Zelensky thanked Biden for ‘the unwavering U.S. support’ for Ukrainians — both ‘security and financial,’ Zelensky tweeted after the call. Biden congratulated Ukraine on its independence day and reaffirmed the United States’ support for the country, according to a White House readout. The two leaders called for the full return of control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to Ukraine, the readout added.
  • A Russian court severely restricted freedoms for a former Russian mayor and Kremlin critic, pending an investigation on charges of ‘discrediting’ the nation’s armed forces. Yevgeny Roizman, who served as mayor of Russia’s fourth-most-populous city, Yekaterinburg, was released from custody Thursday but is barred from attending public events, communicating with anyone outside of close family and lawyers, and using the internet or telephone, the Associated Press reported. First detained Wednesday, Roizman told reporters he was being investigated basically for one phrase, ‘the invasion of Ukraine,’ reported Reuters.
  • Kyiv City Council renamed 95 streets that once had names related to Russia and Soviet past, in a ‘de-Russification’ effort, Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko announced Thursday on Telegram. He said the new names, which were supported by the public in a vote, will ‘perpetuate the memory’ of significant Ukrainian historical events, famous figures and heroes who ‘fought for the independence of our state’ — in particular, in the modern Russian-Ukrainian war, Klitschko added. Some renaming examples are Michurina Street to Marine Corps Street; Marshal Malinovsky Street to Heroiv Polku ‘Azov’ Street; Bundarina Street to Ukrainian Revival Street; and Peterska Street to Londonska Street, he said.

Russia-Ukraine War: Russia Plans a Huge Increase in Size of Its Military, Signaling a Long Fight, The New York Times, Thursday, 25 August 2022:

  • The Russian president signed a decree to add 137,000 service members to the military starting next year.

  • The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant was cut off from Ukraine’s grid, leading to outages, officials say.

  • Ukraine is hitting Russian forces behind the front lines, but has a long way to go, a top official cautions.

  • The U.S. State Department and Yale identify 21 detention sites in Russian-controlled territory.

  • Cluster munitions have killed nearly 700 in Ukraine, a study reports.

  • Biden and Zelensky reaffirm their alliance as the war enters its seventh month.

  • Russia’s plans for ‘sham’ referendums in occupied territories bring back bad memories in Ukraine.

Judge Orders Redacted Affidavit Used in Trump Search Warrant to Be Unsealed. The document will be unsealed by noon Friday. In its most complete form, it would disclose important details about the government’s justification for searching Mar-a-Lago this month. The New York Times, Glenn Thrush and Alan Feuer, Thursday, 25 August 2022: “A federal judge on Thursday ordered that a redacted version of the affidavit used to obtain a warrant for former President Donald J. Trump’s Florida residence be unsealed by noon on Friday — paving the way for the disclosure of potentially revelatory details about a search with enormous legal and political implications. The decision by Judge Bruce E. Reinhart came just hours after the Justice Department submitted its proposal for extensive redactions to the document, in an effort to shield witnesses from intimidation or retribution if it is made public, officials said. Judge Reinhart appeared to accept the requested cuts and, moving more quickly than government lawyers had expected, directed the department to release the redacted affidavit in a brief two-page order issued from Federal District Court in Southern Florida. The order said that he had found the Justice Department’s proposed redactions to be ‘narrowly tailored to serve the government’s legitimate interest in the integrity of the ongoing investigation.’ The redactions, he added, were also ‘the least onerous alternative to sealing the entire affidavit.’ In its most complete form, the document would reveal important details about the government’s justification for taking the extraordinary step of searching Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8. The ruling is a significant legal milepost in an investigation that has swiftly emerged as a major threat to Mr. Trump, whose lawyers have offered a confused and at times stumbling response. But it is also an inflection point for Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, who is trying to balance protecting the prosecutorial process by keeping secret details of the investigation, and providing enough information to defend his decision to request a search.” See also, Redacted Mar-a-Lago search affidavit to be released by noon Friday. The judge who approved the search warrant for Trump’s home said the redacted version of the affidavit should be public. The Washington Post, Perry Stein, Thursday, 25 August 2022: “A redacted version of the affidavit justifying the FBI search of former president Donald Trump’s Florida residence must be unsealed in federal court by noon Friday, a judge ordered Thursday afternoon. The order arrived hours after Justice Department lawyers submitted proposed redactions they felt were necessary to avoid jeopardizing witnesses or undermining the high-profile investigation into the handling of classified documents, which the Justice Department has characterized as still in the ‘early stages.’ Federal Magistrate Judge Bruce E. Reinhart apparently agreed with the government’s proposed redactions and, in response to requests from multiple news organizations, ordered the affidavit to be made available for public view. ‘I find that the Government has met its burden of showing a compelling reason/good cause to seal portions of the Affidavit because disclosure would reveal (1) the identities of witnesses, law enforcement agents, and uncharged parties, (2) the investigation’s strategy, direction, scope, sources, and methods, and (3) grand jury information protected by Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure,’ Reinhart wrote in his order.” See also, Judge orders redacted release of Mar-a-Lago affidavit. The Justice Department is instructed to release documentation behind the search of Trump property by noon Friday, but could appeal. Politico, Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, Thursday, 25 August 2022: “A federal magistrate judge has ordered the unsealing of a redacted affidavit laying out the Justice Department’s evidence for the Aug. 8 search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate as part of an investigation into mishandling of classified information, theft of government records and obstruction of justice. Judge Bruce Reinhart instructed prosecutors to make the partially-obscured document public on the court’s docket by noon Friday.”

Florida Pair Pleads Guilty in Theft of Biden’s Daughter’s Diary. Aimee Harris and Robert Kurlander admitted to participating in a conspiracy in which Ashley Biden’s diary ended up in the hands of the conservative group Project Veritas near the end of the 2020 campaign. The New York Times, Adam Goldman and Michael S. Schmidt, Thursday, 25 August 2022: “Federal prosecutors presented new evidence on Thursday implicating the conservative group Project Veritas in the theft of a diary and items belonging to Ashley Biden, President Biden’s daughter, laying out in court papers their fullest account yet of how allies of President Donald J. Trump tried to use the diary to undercut Mr. Biden in the final days of the 2020 campaign. The court papers were filed in connection with the guilty pleas on Thursday of two Florida residents who admitted in federal court in Manhattan that they had stolen the diary and sold it to Project Veritas. Prosecutors directly tied Project Veritas to the theft of Ms. Biden’s items in the court papers, saying that an employee for the group had directed the defendants to steal additional items to authenticate the diary and paid them additional money after receiving them.”

Fulton County Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis, the prosecutor who is investigating whether Donald Trump and his allies illegally tried to influence the 2020 election in Georgia, is seeking to compel testimony from more allies of the former president, including former chief of Staff Mark Meadows and lawyer Sidney Powell, PBS News Hour, Kate Brumback, Associated Press, Thursday, 25 August 2022: “Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on Thursday filed petitions seeking to have Meadows and Powell, as well as Meadows contact James ‘Phil’ Waldron and former Trump campaign adviser Boris Epshteyn, testify before a special grand jury in Atlanta next month. Seeking testimony from Meadows, who was Trump’s final White House chief of staff, signifies that the investigation is getting even closer to the former president. Willis has said she’s considering calling Trump himself to testify before the special grand jury. Because they don’t live in Georgia, Willis has to use a process that involves getting judges in the states where they live to order them to appear. The petitions she filed Thursday are essentially precursors to subpoenas.”

Trump-tied attorney Kenneth Chesebro who helped craft fake electors strategy resists grand jury subpoena. Chesebro said he had been instructed to maintain privileges with the Trump campaign, which employed him, It’s not entirely clear if that’s true. Politico, Kyle Cheney, Thursday, 25 August 2022: “An attorney who helped develop former President Donald Trump’s last-ditch strategy to subvert the 2020 election moved Thursday to block a subpoena for his testimony to an Atlanta-area grand jury investigating potential crimes connected to the effort. Kenneth Chesebro, who helped craft a plan to use false presidential electors to undermine the certification of Joe Biden’s victory, contended that he had an attorney-client relationship with the Trump campaign, which prevented him from appearing for an Aug. 30 interview. In a nine-page filing in Fulton County Superior Court, Chesebro contended that the Trump campaign itself had ‘instructed’ him to ‘maintain all applicable privileges and confidentiality. Any testimony from Mr. Chesebro would necessarily relate to Mr. Chesebro’s representation of a former client — the Trump campaign,’ he argued via his attorney, Scott Grubman. While Trump has had a number of formal and semi-formal lawyers working on his behalf at various times, it’s unclear if Chesebro ever served in an official capacity. Two senior Trump campaign officials said they could neither recall nor remember his involvement, leaving unaddressed the idea that he had been advised by the campaign to assert privilege.”

In fiery midterm speech, Biden says Republican Party is turning toward ‘semi-fascism.’ It was some of the strongest language used by Biden, a politician long known–and at times criticized for–his willingness to work with members of the opposite party. The Washington Post, Matt Viser, Thursday, 25 August 2022: “President Biden on Thursday night launched a push toward the midterm elections with a fiery speech in Rockville, Md., in which he cast the Republican Party as one that was dangerously consumed with anti-democratic forces that had turned toward ‘semi-fascism.’ It was some of the strongest language used by Biden, a politician long known — and at times criticized for — his willingness to work with members of the opposite party. ‘The MAGA Republicans don’t just threaten our personal rights and economic security,’ Biden said, referencing former president Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again slogan. ‘They’re a threat to our very democracy. They refuse to accept the will of the people. They embrace — embrace — political violence. They don’t believe in democracy. This is why in this moment, those of you who love this country — Democrats, independents, mainstream Republicans — we must be stronger,’ he added.”

White House shines light on Republicans who are criticizing student debt cancellation after getting their PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loans forgiven during the Covid pandemic, NBC News, Zoë Richards, Thursday, 25 August 2022: “The White House hit back at Republicans in an uncharacteristic manner Thursday by using its Twitter account to go after GOP lawmakers who are bashing President Joe Biden’s move to cancel some student debt after they personally benefited from having Paycheck Protection Program loans forgiven during the Covid pandemic. In a series of tweets, the White House highlighted several congressional Republicans — Reps. Vern Buchanan of Florida, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania, and Markwayne Mullin and Kevin Hern of Oklahoma — who it said had six- and seven-figure PPP loans forgiven as part of a federal program intended to help those harmed by the coronavirus. Like many of their GOP colleagues, the lawmakers have blasted Biden over his student loan decision. Greene, who said on Newsmax that ‘it’s completely unfair’ for student loans to be forgiven, had $183,504 in PPP loans forgiven, according to the White House.”

Sean Hannity and Other Fox Stars Face Depositions in Defamation Suit. The depositions are one of the clearest indications yet of how aggressively Dominion Voting Systems is moving forward with its suit against the media company. The New York Times, Jeremy W. Peters, Thursday, 25 August 2022: “Some of the biggest names at Fox News have been questioned, or are scheduled to be questioned in the coming days, by lawyers representing Dominion Voting Systems in its $1.6 billion defamation suit against the network, as the election technology company presses ahead with a case that First Amendment scholars say is extraordinary in its scope and significance. Sean Hannity became the latest Fox star to be called for a deposition by Dominion’s legal team, according to a new filing in Delaware Superior Court. He is scheduled to appear on Wednesday. Tucker Carlson is set to face questioning on Friday. Lou Dobbs, whose Fox Business show was canceled last year, is scheduled to appear on Tuesday. Others who have been deposed recently include Jeanine Pirro, Steve Doocy and a number of high-level Fox producers, court records show. People with knowledge of the case, who would speak only anonymously, said they expected that the chief executive of Fox News Media, Suzanne Scott, could be one of the next to be deposed, along with the president of Fox News, Jay Wallace. Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, whose family owns Fox, could follow in the coming weeks. The depositions are among the clearest indications yet of how aggressively Dominion is moving forward with its suit, which is set to go to trial early next year, and of the legal pressure building on the nation’s most powerful conservative media company. There have been no moves from either side to discuss a possible settlement, people with knowledge of the case have said.”


Friday, 26 August 2022:


F.B.I. Search of Trump’s Home: Affidavit Cites Trump’s Refusal to Return Secret Documents. A redacted affidavit released on Friday said the former president took highly classified national security documents from the White House. Officials feared their disclosure could compromise clandestine sources. These are the main takeaways from the affidavit used to justify the F.B.I.’s search of Mar-a-Lago. The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt, Friday, 26 August 2022: “The release on Friday of a partly redacted affidavit used by the Justice Department to justify its search of former President Donald J. Trump’s Florida residence included information that provides greater insight into the ongoing investigation into how he handled sensitive national security documents he took with him from the White House. Here are key takeaways. 1. The government tried to retrieve the documents for more than a year. At the beginning, the National Archives and the Justice Department sought to resolve the situation through communication and negotiation, focusing primarily on retrieving and securing sensitive documents and other presidential records. The affidavit showed that the archives asked Mr. Trump in May 2021, a few months after he left office, for any documents that he might have taken with him that needed to be returned to the federal government under the terms of the Presidential Records Act. Seven months later, in late December, Mr. Trump’s representatives told the agency that it had a dozen boxes at Mar-a-Lago that were ready to be retrieved. In January, the archives collected what were actually 15 boxes. The affidavit included a letter from May 2022 that showed that Mr. Trump’s lawyers knew that he might be in possession of classified materials, that the government still wanted them back and that Justice Department was investigating the matter. Mr. Trump’s aides turned over more documents in June. But the Justice Department was interviewing witnesses about the matter, and came to believe that Mr. Trump was in possession of still more classified materials. It was then that prosecutors went to a federal judge this summer, saying it had probable cause to carry out a search of Mar-a-Lago. The search turned up a trove of highly sensitive documents. 2. The material included highly classified documents…. 3. Prosecutors are concerned about obstruction and witness intimidation.” See also, The Affidavit for the Search of Trump’s Residence, Annotated, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Friday, 26 August 2022: “The government on Friday released a redacted version of a key document related to the F.B.I.’s search of former President Donald J. Trump’s Florida residence: the affidavit submitted by an F.B.I. agent in support of the application for the warrant. In asking the judge, Bruce E. Reinhart of the Southern District of Florida, to approve the search, the F.B.I. had to submit an explanation of its investigation and a summary of the facts and evidence it had gathered to make the case that there was probable cause to believe a search of Mar-a-Lago would uncover evidence of a crime. Many details, however, remain redacted in this version. While a number of news organizations, including The New York Times, had asked the judge to unseal the affidavit, the Justice Department has argued that disclosing too much of the material at this stage would jeopardize an active criminal investigation, such as by revealing witnesses. The version released on Friday apparently reflects the redactions the department proposed. Litigation will likely continue over whether the government must reveal anything more at this stage.” See also, Classified Material on Human Intelligence Sources Helped Trigger Alarm. Documents related to the work of clandestine sources are some of the most sensitive and protected in the government. F.B.I. agents found some in boxes retrieved from Donald Trump’s home. The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes and Mark Mazzetti, Friday, 26 August 2022: “They risk imprisonment or death stealing the secrets of their own governments. Their identities are among the most closely protected information inside American intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Losing even one of them can set back American foreign intelligence operations for years. Clandestine human sources are the lifeblood of any espionage service. This helps explain the grave concern within American agencies that information from undercover sources was included in some of the classified documents recently removed from Mar-a-Lago, the Florida home of former President Donald J. Trump — raising the prospect that the sources could be identified if the documents got into the wrong hands. Mr. Trump has a long history of treating classified information with a sloppiness few other presidents have exhibited. And the former president’s cavalier treatment of the nation’s secrets was on display in the affidavit underlying the warrant for the Mar-a-Lago search. The affidavit, released in redacted form on Friday, described classified documents being found in multiple locations around the Florida residence, a private club where both members and their guests mingle with the former president and his coterie of aides. Nothing in the documents released on Friday described the precise content of the classified documents or what risk their disclosure might carry for national security, but the court papers did outline the kinds of intelligence found in the secret material, including foreign surveillance collected under court orders, electronic eavesdropping on communications and information from human sources — spies.” See also, Mar-a-Lago Search Followed Many Attempts to Secure Trump Documents, The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Friday, 26 August 2022: “When the F.B.I. descended on Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald J. Trump’s home and club in Florida, on Aug. 8 and carted off several boxes of sensitive documents, it was only after government officials had spent more than a year using various — and far less invasive — means of trying to secure the materials or get them back. The redacted affidavit released on Friday and previous disclosures about the course of the effort to identify and retrieve any official material Mr. Trump improperly held on to after leaving the White House make it clear that the National Archives and the Justice Department had worked to try to resolve the matter without resorting to a step as confrontational as seeking and carrying out a court-ordered search warrant. Archivists provided lists of missing items. Letters were exchanged, and lawyers conducted negotiations. A delegation of Justice Department officials traveled to Mar-a-Lago in June, where they were greeted briefly by Mr. Trump. Only after officials came to believe that Mr. Trump and his team were not being fully forthcoming did the Justice Department decide this summer to escalate. As early as May 2021, the National Archives sent an email to a group of lawyers who had worked with Mr. Trump, asking for their ‘immediate assistance’ in retrieving more than two dozen boxes of the former president’s records, including some of his correspondence with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, and a letter that President Barack Obama had left for Mr. Trump on his first day in office. In the email, the top lawyer at the archives, Gary M. Stern, said that his agency had never received the materials even though Mr. Trump’s top White House lawyer had determined that they should have been turned over.” See also, Possibility of Obstruction Looms Over Trump After Thwarted Efforts to Recover Documents. Unredacted portions of the affidavit underlying the Mar-a-Lago search warrant point to a crime that has been overshadowed amid disputes over classified information. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Friday, 26 August 2022: “When the Justice Department proposed redactions to the affidavit underlying the warrant used to search former President Donald J. Trump’s residence, prosecutors made clear that they feared the former president and his allies might take any opportunity to intimidate witnesses or otherwise illegally obstruct their investigation. ‘The government has well-founded concerns that steps may be taken to frustrate or otherwise interfere with this investigation if facts in the affidavit were prematurely disclosed,’ prosecutors said in the brief. The 38-page affidavit, released on Friday, asserted that there was ‘probable cause to believe that evidence of obstruction will be found at’ Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago compound, indicating that prosecutors had evidence suggesting efforts to impede the recovery of government documents.Since the release of the search warrant, which listed three criminal laws as the foundation of the investigation, one — the Espionage Act — has received  the most attention. Discussion has largely focused on the spectacle of the F.B.I. finding documents marked as highly classified and Mr. Trump’s questionable claims that he had declassified everything held at his residence. But by some measures, the crime of obstruction is as, or even more, serious a threat to Mr. Trump or his close associates. The version investigators are using, known as Section 1519, is part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a broad set of reforms enacted in 2002 after financial scandals at companies like Enron, Arthur Andersen and WorldCom. The heavily redacted affidavit provides new details of the government’s efforts to retrieve and secure the material in Mr. Trump’s possession, highlighting how prosecutors may be pursuing a theory that the former president, his aides or both might have illegally obstructed an effort of well over a year to recover sensitive documents that do not belong to him. To convict someone of obstruction, prosecutors need to prove two things: that a defendant knowingly concealed or destroyed documents, and that he did so to impede the official work of any federal agency or department. Section 1519’s maximum penalty is 20 years in prison, which is twice as long as the penalty under the Espionage Act.” See also, Mar-a-Lago affidavit says many witnesses have been interviewed and 184 classified files were returned in January. Some White House documents sent to the National Archives in January appear to contain Trump’s handwritten notes, court filing says. The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett and Perry Stein, Friday, 26 August 2022: “The FBI searched former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home this month after reviewing 184 classified documents that were kept there since he left the White House, including several with Trump’s apparent handwriting on them, and interviewing a “significant number” of witnesses, court filings unsealed Friday say. The details contained in a search-warrant affidavit and related memo crystallize much of what was already known about the criminal probe into whether Trump and his aides took secret government papers and did not return all of the material — despite repeated demands from senior officials. The documents, though heavily redacted, offer the clearest description to date of the rationale for the unprecedented Aug. 8 search and the high-stakes investigation by the Justice Department into a former president who may run again for the White House. The affidavit suggests that if some of the classified documents voluntarily returned from Mar-a-Lago to the National Archives and Records Administration in January had fallen into the wrong hands, they could have revealed sensitive details about human intelligence sources or how spy agencies intercept the electronic communications of foreign targets. Over the spring and summer, the affidavit states, the FBI came to suspect that Trump and his team were hiding the fact that he still had more classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, leading agents to want to conduct a search of the property. ‘There is also probable cause,’ the affidavit says, ‘to believe that evidence of obstruction will be found.'” See also, Takeaways from the redacted affidavit used for the Mar-a-Lago search, The Washington Post, Amber Phillips, Friday, 26 August 2022: “The largest piece of the puzzle about why FBI agents searched former president Donald Trump’s residence is out: the affidavit submitted to warrant the search. In its full form, this usually sealed document spells out exactly what FBI agents thought was hidden at Mar-a-Lago and what crimes may have been committed. But the version the Justice Department released to the public Friday is heavily redacted. Here’s what we were able to glean about the investigation — and still have to learn. 1.  184 classified documents, including some top secret, were once at Mar-a-Lago…. 2. The Justice Department is suspicious of obstruction by Trump or his allies…. 3. It’s possible Trump allies were talking to the FBI about all this…. 4. What’s missing…. Jack Sharman, a corporate litigator who has been involved in numerous government investigations, said affidavits that get publicly released are usually protective of confidential informants as well as personal identifying information of the informants, or of law enforcement agents, given the threats to law enforcement from some Trump supporters. (The name of the FBI agent primarily responsible for writing the affidavit is withheld.) Also, statements made by witnesses or informants can be redacted. And just about anything having to do with a related investigation or potential subjects or targets is usually cut from these kinds of releases, Sharman said. 5. We still don’t know why Trump wanted these documents.” See also, Read the partially redacted Mar-a-Lago search affidavit, annotated, The Washington Post, Amber Phillips and Aaron Blake, Friday, 26 August 2022: “Why did FBI agents search former president Donald Trump’s residence? We now have the evidence laying out their reasoning — kind of. It’s called an affidavit. In its full form, this document spells out exactly what FBI agents think was hidden at Mar-a-Lago and what crimes may have been committed. They presented this to a judge to make their case to search Mar-a-Lago, and these documents are usually kept under lock and key. But given the extraordinary circumstances surrounding a former president, a judge ordered the government to release as much of the affidavit as it can to the public. The version the Justice Department unsealed Friday is heavily redacted, which prosecutors said was to protect its ongoing investigation.” See also, Trump Mar-a-Lago affidavit reveals ‘handwritten notes’ and highly classified material led to warrant request. Records the FBI obtained from Trump’s Florida home in advance of the August 8 search bore indications they contained human source intelligence. Politico, Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney, Friday, 26 August 2022: “Federal investigators obtained a search warrant for former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate earlier this month by pointing to a raft of highly classified material they’d already obtained from there, according to a legal affidavit unsealed Friday. Records the FBI obtained from Trump’s Florida home in advance of the Aug. 8 search bore indications they contained human source intelligence, intercepts under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and signals intelligence, as well as other tags indicating high sensitivity. Several of those tightly-controlled documents contained Trump’s ‘handwritten notes,’ the partially-redacted affidavit detailing the Justice Department investigation says. In those boxes, agents found 184 unique documents, 25 of which were marked ‘top secret,’ 92 of which were marked ‘secret,’ and 67 of which were marked ‘confidential’–the lowest level of national security classification. According to the affidavit, NARA officials found some of those ‘highly classified records were unfoldered, intermixed with other records, and otherwise unproperly [sic] identified.’ Prosecutors also added in another court filing unsealed Friday that the ongoing criminal probe into government records stashed at Trump’s Florida home has involved ‘a significant number of civilian witnesses’ whose safety could be jeopardized if their identities were revealed. The partial release of the heavily-redacted affidavit and related court documents is the latest development in a fast-moving legal saga that poses an acute threat to the former president. Experts say it is unprecedented in nature. One classified information expert who oversaw such issues across the government said Friday that the scenario laid out was extraordinary and suggested that significant national secrets are at stake.” See also, FBI search warrant affidavit says there could be ‘evidence of obstruction’ at Mar-a-Lago, CNN Politics, Marshall Cohen, Tierney Sneed, and Jeremy Herb, Friday, 26 August 2022: “The FBI told a judge that there was ‘probable cause to believe’ that classified national security materials were improperly taken to ‘unauthorized’ locations at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, and that a search would also likely find ‘evidence of obstruction,’ according to a redacted version of the search warrant affidavit released Friday. The affidavit was one of the documents the Justice Department used to justify the FBI’s extraordinary search of the former President’s Florida home as part of an investigation into obstruction of justice and mishandling classified material that could put national security at risk. Investigators argued that they needed to conduct the search after they found classified materials in boxes already recovered from Mar-a-Lago — including files that could compromise ‘clandestine human sources’ or overseas intelligence-gathering tactics if they were disclosed.” See also, Takeaways from the Mar-a-Lago search warrant affidavit, CNN Politics, Tierney Sneed and Marshall Cohen, Friday, 26 August 2022: “The release of a redacted affidavit that the Justice Department used to obtain a search warrant for former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home shed new light on the federal investigation into the handling of documents from his White House. The court filing unsealed Friday went into previously unknown detail about the classified information found in boxes retrieved from Trump’s Florida resort in January. It also firmed up aspects of the timeline about how the investigation unfolded. The filing shows, among other things, that the documents that may have been illegally mishandled at Mar-a-Lago contained some of America’s most sensitive secrets.”

War in Ukraine: Power restored to Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant; authorities distribute iodine, The Washington Post, Adela Suliman, John Hudson, Grace Moon, Adam Taylor, and Praveena Somasundaram, Friday, 26 August 2022: “Electricity was restored to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant Friday, narrowly averting a ‘radiation accident,’ according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The facility was cut off from Ukraine’s electricity grid a day earlier, causing a massive power outage and sparking international fears of a crisis, before backup diesel generators kicked in. Zelensky warned that Europe remains ‘one step away from a radiation disaster’ as long as Russian troops control the plant.

  • The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant has been reconnected to the national electricity grid, Ukraine’s energy agency, Energoatom, said. It is also now producing power for the country as well as receiving it. The agency hailed the Ukrainian workers there for tireless efforts to protect the ‘nuclear and radiation safety of Ukraine and the whole of Europe.’ Russian forces have controlled the facility and nearby areas since March.
  • Russia is preparing a ‘propaganda show’ for U.N. inspection of nuclear plant, Ukraine says. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told The Washington Post ahead of an imminent visit to the plant by the United Nations nuclear watchdog that negotiations about the visit were nearing completion, but that the Kremlin was insisting on a Russian media presence for the visit. ‘The Russians want to send Russian media to the power plant to welcome the delegation and to stage a propaganda show,’ Kuleba said.
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency chief says his team of experts will visit the site in the coming days, while fears remain about a possible radiation leak at the site. In the nearby city of Zaporizhzhia, held by Ukraine, authorities have begun distributing iodine tablets to residents, the Associated Press reports. The pills help block some of the harmful effects of leaks by blocking radioactive iodine, though other factors from a leak could still pose a threat to health.
  • The State Department has submitted an appeal to Russia to release American citizen Marc Fogel on humanitarian grounds, CNN reported Friday. Fogel was arrested in a Moscow airport nearly one year ago after traveling with cannabis. ‘We urge the Russian government to ensure fair treatment and appropriate medical care for all U.S. citizens detained in Russia,’ a State Department spokesperson said. The department did not give further comment ‘due to privacy considerations.’
  • Russia is using 21 sites in Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine, to detain, interrogate and process prisoners of war and civilians in ‘filtration camps,’ a report by Yale University and the State Department found. It said its findings are based on data and commercial satellite imagery identifying with ‘high confidence’ the separate locations, one of which contains ‘potential graves.'”

Russia-Ukraine War: Embattled Nuclear Plant Is Rejoined to Grid, as U.N. Inspectors Seek Access. Shelling and nearby fires have added urgency to fears over the plant’s safe operation, as some power returns to southern Ukraine. The New York Times, Friday, 26 August 2022:

  • The Zaporizhzhia plant is back online while talks on access for U.N. inspectors gain momentum.

  • Russia and Ukraine brace for a war of attrition.

  • Zelensky is under pressure over when and how to launch a long-anticipated counteroffensive.

  • Latvia tears down a controversial Soviet-era monument in its capital.

  • Britain braces for a surge in energy prices as the war in Ukraine further stretches markets.

  • Russian news media covers the war with ‘blatant lies and demagogy.’


Saturday, 27 August 2022:


War in Ukraine: Fresh shelling at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant ahead of U.N. inspection, The Washington Post, Jennifer Hassan, John Hudson, Marisa Iati, and Praveena Somasundaram, Saturday, 27 August 2022: “Russia and Ukraine accused each other of fresh shelling at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, just two days after the plant was cut off from Ukraine’s electricity, causing a massive power outage and prompting international fears of a radiation disaster, before backup diesel generators kicked in. Inspectors from the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog are expected to visit the plant next week.

  • Shelling at the plant may result in hydrogen leakage, sputtering of radioactive substances and fires, Ukraine’s nuclear power agency warned in a statement, as it accused Russian troops of repeatedly targeting the facility over the past day. Russia’s attack and control of the plant was a threat to ‘the security of the whole world,’ the agency added. Russia’s ministry of defense, meanwhile, said Ukraine had fired shells at the facility in the past 24 hours.
  • Negotiations for a visit to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant by U.N. inspectors are nearing completion, but the Kremlin is insisting on a Russian media presence for the visit, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told The Washington Post. ‘The Russians want to send Russian media to the power plant to welcome the delegation and to stage a propaganda show,’ Kuleba said.
  • At the United Nations, Russia blocked the final draft of a declaration on a joint treaty on nuclear security after weeks of negotiations. The Russian delegation objected to a clause in the text regarding the situation at Zaporizhzhia power plant.
  • Another U.S. citizen has died in Ukraine, a U.S. State Department spokesperson confirmed Saturday. The agency has confirmed three deaths of U.S. citizens, but other fatalities have been reported. Oleg Kozhemyako, governor of Russia’s Primorsky Krai region, had said Friday that troops had killed an American in battle.
  • Ukraine has canceled an agreement with Russia, according to a parliamentary official. It was not clear which agreement he was referring to, though in a deal signed by Russian, Ukrainian and American leaders in 1994, Ukraine agreed to give up its nuclear weapons for security guarantees.

Russia-Ukraine War: Inspectors Set to Visit Besieged Ukrainian Nuclear Plant. Russia and Ukraine again accused each other of shelling the Zaporishshia plant, as the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog has assembled a team of experts to visit the facility amid concerns about a possible nuclear accident. The New York Times, Saturday, 27 August 2022:

  • Shells hit Zaporizhzhia plant site as the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog assembles a team of experts to visit.

  • Ukraine steps up disaster planning amid turmoil at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.

  • Western officials criticize Russia for blocking a joint U.N. document on nuclear disarmament.

  • For Ukraine’s women, war brings new roles and new dangers.

  • Ukraine regularly aims taunts and mockery at Russia, defying a longstanding diplomatic maxim.

Exclusive: Intelligence officials to assess national security fallout from the documents Trump took to Mar-a-Lago. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines confirmed the review in a letter to top lawmakers. Politico, Andrew Desiderio and Nicholas Wu, Saturday, 27 August 2022: “The U.S. intelligence community will evaluate the potential national security risks stemming from former President Donald Trump’s possession of top-secret documents at his Mar-a-Lago residence, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told top lawmakers. In a letter obtained by POLITICO and dated Friday, Haines told House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) that her office will lead an ‘assessment of the potential risk to national security that would result from the disclosure of the relevant documents.’ ‘The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) are working together to facilitate a classification review of relevant materials, including those recovered during the search,’ Haines wrote, adding that the review will be conducted in a way that ‘does not unduly interfere with DOJ’s ongoing criminal investigation.’ The correspondence represents the Biden administration’s first known engagement with Congress on the issue of the ongoing investigation ensnaring the former president. Court documents unsealed in recent days have revealed that the Justice Department is investigating potential violations of the Presidential Records Act, the Espionage Act, and obstruction of justice. It’s also the first known acknowledgment by the intelligence community of the potential harm caused by the missing documents, which prosecutors said Friday included human-source intelligence and information gathered from foreign intercepts. Top lawmakers have been clamoring for details about the substance of the documents since the Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago, but so far neither the intelligence committees nor congressional leaders part of the so-called Gang of Eight have been briefed.” See also, F.B.I. Search of Trump’s Residence: Intelligence Officials Will Assess National Security Risks Stemming From the Documents Trump Took to Mar-a-Lago. The director of national intelligence told lawmakers that her office would lead a review concerning the sensitive documents retrieved from former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Saturday, 27 August 2022: “U.S. intelligence officials will conduct a review to assess the possible risks to national security from former President Donald J. Trump’s handling of classified documents after the F.B.I. retrieved boxes containing sensitive material from Mar-a-Lago, according to a letter to lawmakers. In the letter, Avril D. Haines, the director of national intelligence, informed the top lawmakers on the House Intelligence and Oversight Committees that her office would lead an intelligence community assessment of the ‘potential risk to national security that would result from the disclosure’ of documents Mr. Trump took with him to his private club and residence in Palm Beach, Fla. In the letter, which was obtained by The New York Times, Ms. Haines said her office would work with the Justice Department to ensure that the assessment did not interfere with the department’s criminal investigation concerning the documents. The review will determine what intelligence sources or systems could be identified from the documents and be compromised if they fell into the wrong hands. Ms. Haines’s letter, dated Friday, was reported earlier by Politico. It came after the leaders of the Intelligence and Oversight Committees asked her on Aug. 13 to conduct an “immediate review and damage assessment” in the wake of the F.B.I.’s search of Mar-a-Lago, during which federal agents recovered 11 sets of classified documents. The Senate Intelligence Committee also asked for a damage assessment, according to the panel’s chairman, Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, who said the request had been bipartisan.” See also, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines says U.S. intelligence agency will assess security risk of documents Trump took to his Mar-a-Lago residence, The Washington Post, David Nakamura, Sunday, 27 August 2022: “U.S. intelligence officials are conducting a national security assessment of classified information and other materials contained in the documents taken from Donald Trump’s Florida estate two weeks ago, a top U.S. official told Congress. In a letter to House Democrats dated Friday, Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, said intelligence analysts and Justice Department officials are also undertaking a classification review of the material, which included 11 sets of classified documents, several of them categorized as top secret. Haines said the review would include an ‘assessment of the potential risk to national security that would result from the disclosure of the relevant documents’ that the former president had kept in his private possession since leaving the White House in January 2021. The FBI searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home on Aug. 8 after reviewing 184 classified documents that had been kept there, according to a heavily redacted search warrant affidavit that was unsealed Friday. The office will work with Justice officials to ensure the assessment is ‘conducted in a manner that does not unduly interfere with DOJ’s ongoing criminal investigation,’ Haines wrote in the letter, addressed to Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, and Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The Washington Post on Saturday obtained a copy of the correspondence, which was first reported by Politico. A bipartisan group of senators on the Senate Intelligence Committee, who have also requested a national security review, received a similar response from Haines, a committee aide confirmed Saturday.”

Florida Federal Judge Aileen Cannon Signals Intent to Appoint Special Master in Mar-a-Lago Search. Cannon, an appointee of President Donald Trump, indicated she was prepared to grant Mr. Trump’s request for an arbiter, or special master, to review the documents seized by the F.B.I. The New York Times, Alan Feuer and Maggie Haberman, Saturday, 27 August 2022: “A federal judge in Florida gave notice on Saturday of her “preliminary intent” to appoint an independent arbiter, known as a special master, to conduct a review of the highly sensitive documents that were seized by the F.B.I. this month during a search of Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald J. Trump’s club and residence in Palm Beach. In an unusual action that fell short of a formal order, the judge, Aileen M. Cannon of the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida, signaled that she was inclined to agree with the former president and his lawyers that a special master should be appointed to review the seized documents. But Judge Cannon, who was appointed by Mr. Trump in 2020, set a hearing for arguments in the matter for Thursday in the federal courthouse in West Palm Beach — not the one in Fort Pierce, Fla., where she typically works. On Friday night, only hours after a redacted version of the affidavit used to obtain the warrant for the search of Mar-a-Lago was released, Mr. Trump’s lawyers filed court papers to Judge Cannon reiterating their request for a special master to weed out documents taken in the search that could be protected by executive privilege. Mr. Trump’s lawyers had initially asked Judge Cannon on Monday to appoint a special master, but their filing was so confusing and full of bluster that the judge requested clarifications on several basic legal questions. The notice by Judge Cannon on Saturday was seen as something of a victory in Mr. Trump’s circle.” See also, Florida federal judge Aileen Cannon signals intent for special master to review Mar-a-Lago documents. Trump on Monday asked for the appointment, while accusing the Justice Department of treating him unfairly. The Washington Post, David Nakamura, Saturday, 27 August 2022: “A federal judge indicated on Saturday that she is inclined to grant former president Donald Trump’s request for an independent ‘special master’ to review boxes of classified documents and other materials taken by federal authorities from his Florida resort nearly three weeks ago. In a brief, two-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon gave the government until Tuesday to present its arguments in the matter while scheduling a court hearing for Thursday in West Palm Beach, Fla. Trump’s legal team had filed the request on Monday, asking the court to name an outside expert in the matter, calling the FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago home politically motivated, overbroad and ‘shockingly aggressive.’ The former president’s lawyers claimed that federal authorities seized records to which they had no legal right. Although the judge, who was nominated to her position by Trump in 2020, seemed inclined to appoint a special master, she said her order ‘should not be construed as a final determination on Plaintiff’s Motion.'”

Inside Trump’s war on the National Archives. The agency has been hit with a wave of threats and vitriol since the FBI retrieved scores of classified records from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club. The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany, Isaac Arnsdorf, and Josh Dawsey, Saturday, 27 August 2022: “In the nearly three weeks since the FBI searched former president Donald Trump’s Florida home to recover classified documents, the National Archives and Records Administration has become the target of a rash of threats and vitriol, according to people familiar with the situation. Civil servants tasked by law with preserving and securing the U.S. government’s records were rattled. On Wednesday, the agency’s head sent an email to the staff. Though academic and suffuse with legal references, the message from acting archivist Debra Steidel Wall was simple: Stay above the fray and stick to the mission. ‘NARA has received messages from the public accusing us of corruption and conspiring against the former President, or congratulating NARA for bringing him down,’ Steidel Wall wrote in the agencywide message, which was obtained by The Washington Post. ‘Neither is accurate or welcome.’ The email capped a year-long saga that has embroiled the Archives — widely known for being featured in the 2004 Nicolas Cage movie, ‘National Treasure’ — in a protracted fight with Trump over classified documents and other records that were taken when he left office.”


Sunday, 28 August 2022:


War in Ukraine: Russia targets Zaporizhzhia area; U.S. decries Moscow’s ‘cynical obstructionism,’ The Washington Post, Adela Suliman, Meena Venkataramanan, and Reis Thebault, Sunday, 28 August 2022: “Russia again struck Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region on Sunday, heightening fears of a radiation catastrophe at the endangered nuclear power plant there, as international monitors worked to arrange an independent inspection of the site. The United States said Russia blocked consensus on a nuclear nonproliferation treaty to deny the ‘grave radiological risk’ at the power plant.

  • The State Department said Russia blocked consensus on a final draft of a United Nations nuclear nonproliferation treaty to avoid ‘language that merely acknowledged the grave radiological risk’ at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine. The statement from State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said Russia’s refusal to agree to the treaty ‘underscores the need for the United States and others to continue urging Russia to end its military activity near’ the plant and ‘return control of the plant to Ukraine.’ He said the United States and other nations involved are urging Russia to stop its activity near the plant despite Moscow’s ‘cynical obstructionism.’
  • The nuclear watchdog at the United Nations said officials are working to schedule an expert mission to the nuclear plant ‘in the next few days.’ Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has for weeks been working on the delicate discussions, which involve representatives from Russia, whose troops occupy the plant, and Ukraine, whose workers continue to operate it. The recent attacks ‘underlined the risk of a potential nuclear accident’ at Europe’s largest nuclear facility, the IAEA said in a statement Sunday.
  • Russia plans to publish a manifesto claiming to be from Ukraine’s paramilitary Azov regiment and vowing to protect Ukraine from Russia and ‘the rot above,’ the militia said Sunday. The Azov regiment distanced itself from the manifesto, declaring that it did not write the document. The group reaffirmed its commitment to avenging the death of Azov regiment soldiers.
  • The State Department confirmed that another U.S. citizen has died but did not identify the person. The agency has confirmed the deaths of three U.S. citizens, though other fatalities have been reported. Oleg Kozhemyako, the governor of Russia’s Primorsky Krai region, said Friday that troops had killed an American in battle.

Russia-Ukraine War: More Strikes Reported Near Nuclear Plant as U.N. Experts Plan Visit. Neither Russia nor Ukraine appeared to be pausing attacks in the south, even as talks continued over allowing international inspectors to visit the Zaporizhzhia power plant. The New York Times, Sunday, 28 August 2022:

  • Artillery strikes continue near the troubled Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.

  • Residents in the shadow of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant flee as strikes persist.

  • Putin offers incentives to Ukrainians to come to Russia and stay there.

  • Putin’s army expansion may not help Russia much, U.S. and British officials say.

  • W.N.B.A. stars to head overseas despite Griner’s arrest in Russia.

Trump’s Legal Team Scrambles to Find an Argument. The lawyers representing the former president in the investigation into his handling of classified documents have tried out an array of defenses as they seek to hold off the Justice Department. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush, Sunday, 28 August 2022: “On May 25, one of former President Donald J. Trump’s lawyers sent a letter to a top Justice Department official, laying out the argument that his client had done nothing illegal by holding onto a trove of government materials when he left the White House. The letter, from M. Evan Corcoran, a former federal prosecutor, represented Mr. Trump’s initial defense against the investigation into the presence of highly classified documents in unsecured locations at his members-only club and residence, Mar-a-Lago. It amounted to a three-page hodgepodge of contested legal theories, including Mr. Corcoran’s assertion that Mr. Trump possessed a nearly boundless right as president to declassify materials and an argument that one law governing the handling of classified documents does not apply to a president. Mr. Corcoran asked the Justice Department to present the letter as ‘exculpatory’ information to the grand jury investigating the case. Government lawyers found it deeply puzzling. They included it in the affidavit submitted to a federal magistrate in Florida in their request for the search warrant they later used to recover even more classified materials at Mar-a-Lago — to demonstrate their willingness to acknowledge Mr. Corcoran’s arguments, a person with knowledge of the decision said.”

Naming of special master could complicate Mar-a-Lago documents case. Judge Aileen Cannon signaled intent to appoint an outside analyst to review materials. The Washington Post, David Nakamura and Amy B Wang. Sunday, 28 August 2022: “A federal judge’s indication that she is prepared to appoint a special master to review materials seized from Mar-a-Lago by federal agents could present new complications and unresolved legal questions in the federal government’s high-stakes quest to wrest control of the documents from former president Donald Trump. U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon’s two-page order issued on Saturday appeared unusual in that the judge has not yet heard arguments from the Justice Department, said former federal prosecutors and legal analysts on Sunday. Cannon, 41, whom Trump appointed to the bench in the Southern District of Florida in 2020, has also given federal officials until Tuesday to provide the court with a more detailed list of items the FBI had removed from Trump’s Florida estate on Aug. 8. She asked the government to give a status report of its own review of the materials and set a Thursday court hearing in West Palm Beach, Fla. That location is about an hour away from the federal courthouse in Fort Pierce, Fla., where she typically hears cases. Yet her ruling left unclear how a special master would operate and who might qualify to take on such a role in a case involving classified national security secrets.”

Senator Lindsey Graham predicts ‘riots in the streets’ if Trump is prosecuted over classified documents, The Hill, Julia Mueller, Sunday, 28 August 2022: “Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday warned of ‘riots in the streets’ if former President Trump is prosecuted for his handling of classified materials found when the FBI searched his Mar-a-Lago home. ‘If there’s a prosecution of Donald Trump for mishandling classified information, after the Clinton debacle … there’ll be riots in the streets,’ Graham told former South Carolina congressman Trey Gowdy, who now hosts Fox News’s ‘Sunday Night in America.'”


Monday, 29 August 2022:


War in Ukraine: Ukrainian forces attack near Kherson; U.N. inspectors to arrive in Kyiv, The Washington Post, Annabelle Timsit, Adam Taylor, Sammy Westfall, David L. Stern, Mary Ilyushina, and Reis Thebault, Monday, 29 August 2022: “Ukrainian officials said Monday that new attacks on Russian forces in the Kherson region were underway, potentially signaling the opening of an offensive aimed at recapturing occupied territory. Ukrainian officials have long said their forces would mount a counterattack in the south. Kyiv’s troops have breached Russian front lines in the area, Natalia Humeniuk, a spokeswoman for the Ukrainian military’s southern command, told the Russian-language outlet TV Rain. She would not comment on the scale of the operation, but confirmed that ‘offensive actions’ had begun. A Ukrainian official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, said that ‘counterattack’ was too strong a phrase to describe what he said was ‘a normal operation.’

  • A ‘support and assistance mission’ from the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog is ‘on its way’ to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine, the head of the agency said Monday, after Russian forces struck perilously close to the facility, according to Ukrainian officials. The International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors are set to arrive in Kyiv on Monday, according to Ukraine’s Defense Ministry. IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi tweeted Monday that a mission to Zaporizhzhia would reach the site ‘later this week.’ The agency tweeted an image of inspectors setting out for Ukraine on Monday morning.
  • Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s representative to international organizations in Vienna, said Russia was involved in preparing the mission, state news outlet RIA Novosti reported.
  • Kyiv expects the mission to find that Russia is violating ‘nuclear safety protocols’ at the plant, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Monday during a news conference in Stockholm. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned in a speech to French business leaders of a catastrophe equaling ‘six times Chernobyl’ — the 1986 nuclear disaster — if the plant were hit.
  • Ukrainian officials reported more strikes around the Zaporizhzhia plant. Ten people were injured Sunday, including four of the plant’s workers, in shelling in Enerhodar, where the facility is located and many of its workers live, according to Energoatom, the Ukrainian state nuclear power company. Shelling on Sunday in Nikopol, across the Dnieper River from the plant, left at least one dead, five injured and more than 2,600 families without electricity, according to the Dnipropetrovsk region’s governor, Valentyn Reznichenko.

Russia-Ukraine War: Ukraine Announces Push in South; U.N. Inspectors Head to Nuclear Site. The Ukrainian military said it had launched offensive operations in multiple areas in the Kherson region. U.N. experts could soon visit the Russia-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, where shelling has sparked fears of calamity. The New York Times, Monday, 29 August 2022:

  • Ukraine announces offensive operations across the south.

  • U.N. experts head to the Zaporizhzhia facility on a risky mission after weeks of talks.

  • The first shipment of Iranian military drones arrives in Russia.

  • Dispatching U.N. nuclear inspectors to a war zone brings benefits and risks.

  • Russia and Ukraine welcome the U.N. nuclear experts, but still accuse each other of courting catastrophe.

  • Residents in the shadow of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant flee as strikes persist.

  • A Ukrainian player upset Simona Halep in the first round of the U.S. Open.

  • Ukraine says it has recovered the bodies of about 300 fighters killed in the siege of Mariupol’s steel plant.

Russia-Ukraine war: A weekly recap and look ahead (August 29), NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 29 August 2022: “As the week begins, here’s a roundup of key developments from the past week and a look ahead. What to watch this week: Monday: A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency is on its way to visit the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. The IAEA’s director, Rafael Mariano Grossi, is leading the mission. Also Monday, Ukraine said it launched attacks against Russian forces in the south. Battles will be watched for signs of Ukraine’s anticipated counteroffenseive to retake areas such as the city of Kherson. Tuesday: European Union defense ministers and foreign ministers will meet in an informal summit in Prague, to continue through Wednesday. The foreign ministers are expected to decide on a proposed ban on Russian tourists. Wednesday: Russia’s Vostok-2022 military exercises will begin in the country’s east, to continue through the week. China and India are among the countries expected to take part in the drills. Thursday: The Venice Film Festival will host ‘Ukrainian Day,’ with a series of initiatives in support of Ukraine and its artists. Friday: Russian journalist Dmitiri Muratov will join fellow Nobel laureates at a conference on freedom of expression in Oslo. Sunday: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will host Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal for talks in Berlin. What happened last week: Monday, Aug. 22: The war in Ukraine has caused damage and destruction worth a total $113.5 billion, according to an assessment by the Kyiv School of Economics along with Ukrainian government agencies and a number of other partners. Housing and transportation infrastructure made up the heaviest losses. Tuesday, Aug. 23: The German Interior Ministry reported that almost 1 million Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Germany since Russia’s invasion began in February. More than one-third are children and young people. There are some 6.6 million Ukrainians registered as refugees across Europe. Wednesday, Aug. 24: Ukraine marked Independence Day, which coincided with the six-month anniversary of Russia’s invasion. On the same day, a Russian rocket attack killed 22 people at a train station in the town of Chaplyne. And President Biden announced nearly $3 billion in U.S. military aid. Thursday, Aug. 25: The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was temporarily cut off from Ukraine’s electrical grid — the latest point of concern around Europe’s largest nuclear plant, which is under Russian occupation in southern Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to increase the size of Russian armed forces. Friday, Aug. 26: Officials handed out iodine tablets to residents near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in case of a radiation leak. Saturday, Aug. 27: Putin issued further decrees giving people from eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region access to work and benefits in Russia. Sunday, Aug. 28: The United States slammed Russia for blocking consensus on a final document reviewing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In a statement, a State Department spokesman said Russia refused to acknowledge language about ‘the grave radiological risk at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine.'”

Trump Request for Special master Could Open Door for Delays to Investigation. The former president, who used the slow pace of litigation to run out the clock on congressional oversight, is seeking intervention that could lead to appeals and slow the documents inquiry. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Glenn Thrush, and Alan Feuer, Monday, 29 August 2022: “As president, Donald J. Trump employed a consistent and largely successful strategy for fending off congressional oversight investigations: stonewall until the fight reached the courts. Even if judges eventually rejected his legal claims, he could use the slow pace of litigation to run out the clock. Facing a criminal investigation into the failure to return government documents — which the National Archives had repeatedly asked him for since May 2021, and the Justice Department had subpoenaed this past May — the former president is now putting forward another potential source of delay. He has asked a judge to appoint an outside arbiter, known as a special master, to sift through all the records the F.B.I. seized in its Aug. 8 search of his Mar-a-Lago estate and identify any deemed potentially covered by executive privilege. Those showing confidential deliberations with aides about his official actions would then be kept from the F.B.I. Appointing a special master could block the government from continued access to the files until the special master has gone through them and would potentially pave the way for lengthy litigation that could bog down the investigation. As a matter of substance, the request is puzzling. Mr. Trump’s lawyers made it far too late, so the F.B.I. has already seemingly examined everything. Indeed, on Monday, the Justice Department said it had reviewed documents seized in the search and set aside those possibly covered by attorney-client privilege — a different issue from the one Mr. Trump had raised. ‘They’ve already looked at it,’ said Barbara L. McQuade, a University of Michigan law professor who was the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan from 2010 to 2017. ‘The horse is out of the barn.’ Moreover, Mr. Trump already tried to assert executive privilege to block the F.B.I. from examining boxes of files the National Archives had earlier retrieved from Mar-a-Lago. That assertion failed after President Biden did not back him and the Justice Department advised the agency that the needs of a criminal investigation can outweigh the privilege. But the Trump appointee overseeing the former president’s request, Judge Aileen M. Cannon of Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida, had already signaled her intent to appoint a special master before even asking the Justice Department to respond.” See also, Justice Department tells judge Trump’s Mar-a-Lago documents have already been examined by the FBI. The court filing says a ‘filter team’ has completed its review of material possibly covered by attorney-client privilege. The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Monday, 29 August 2022: “FBI agents have already finished their examination of possibly privileged documents seized in an Aug. 8 search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, according to a Justice Department court filing Monday that could undercut the former president’s efforts to have a special master appointed to review the files. The ‘filter team’ used by the Justice Department to sort through the documents and weed out any material that should not be reviewed by criminal investigators has completed its review, the brief filed by Justice Department prosecutors says. The filing came in response to a decision Saturday by U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon to hold a hearing this week on Trump’s motion seeking the appointment of a special master. The filing says prosecutors will provide more information later this week. But it notes that even before the judge’s weekend ruling, the filter team had ‘identified a limited set of materials that potentially contain attorney-client privileged information, completed its review of those materials, and is in the process of following the procedures’ spelled out in the search warrant to handle any privilege disputes.” See also, Justice Department says a ‘limited set of materials’ potentially covered by attorney-client privilege found in Mar-a-Lago search, CNN Politics, Kara Scannell, Monday, 29 August 2022: “The Justice Department has identified ‘a limited set of materials’ from its search of documents taken from Mar-a-Lago that potentially contain material covered by attorney-client privilege and is in the process of addressing privilege disputes, it said in a court filing Monday. Justice officials also confirmed that US intelligence officials are reviewing the documents for classified materials. In a court filing last week, Trump, who is requesting a ‘special master’ to oversee the review of evidence recovered from the search, pointed to some additional legal discussion of case law that he said supported his request. One of those cases had to do with his former attorney Rudy Giuliani. Nowhere in the filing did Trump suggest that material dealing with attorney-client privilege was seized in the FBI’s search of his resort. US District Judge Aileen Cannon has put both parties on notice that she had a ‘preliminary intent’ to appoint a special master, a third-party attorney who would filter out privileged material seized in the search.”

Document Inquiry Poses Unparalleled Test for Justice Department. What started as an effort to retrieve national security documents has now been transformed into one of the most challenging and complicated criminal investigations in recent memory. The New York Times, Katie Benner, Monday, 29 August 2022: “As Justice Department officials haggled for months this year with former President Donald J. Trump’s lawyers and aides over the return of government documents at his Florida home, federal prosecutors became convinced that they were not being told the whole truth. That conclusion helped set in motion a decision that would amount to an unparalleled test of the Justice Department’s credibility in a deeply polarized political environment: to seek a search warrant to enter Mar-a-Lago and retrieve what prosecutors suspected would be highly classified materials, beyond the hundreds of pages that Mr. Trump had already returned. By the government’s account, that gamble paid off, with F.B.I. agents carting off boxloads of sensitive material during the search three weeks ago, including some documents with top secret markings. But the matter hardly ended there: What had started as an effort to retrieve national security documents has now been transformed into one of the most challenging, complicated and potentially explosive criminal investigations in recent memory, with tremendous implications for the Justice Department, Mr. Trump and public faith in government. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland now faces the prospect of having to decide whether to file criminal charges against a former president and likely 2024 Republican candidate, a step without any historical parallel.”

Georgia Governor Must Testify in Trump Inquiry After Election. Governor Brian P. Kemp, a Republican, unsuccessfully fought a subpoena to appear before a special grand jury in Atlanta. The New York Times, Richard Fausset, Monday, 29 August 2022: “A judge ruled on Monday that Gov. Brian P. Kemp of Georgia must appear before a special grand jury investigating election interference by former President Donald J. Trump, but will not be compelled to do so until after the Nov. 8 election. Mr. Kemp, who is running for a second term this year, is one of a number of high-profile Republicans who have been fighting subpoenas that call upon them to testify in the sprawling case. Unlike many of those other Republicans, Mr. Kemp does not appear to have been involved in efforts after the November 2020 election to overturn Mr. Trump’s election loss in Georgia. Indeed, Mr. Kemp resisted a personal entreaty from Mr. Trump, in December 2020, to convene the state Legislature in order to appoint pro-Trump electors from Georgia, even though Joseph R. Biden, a Democrat, had won the popular vote in the state. Nevertheless, Mr. Kemp’s lawyers in recent days have tried to persuade Judge Robert C.I. McBurney of Fulton County Superior Court that under Georgia law, the sitting governor should not be subject to subpoenas. They argued, among other things, that the governor was protected by the doctrine of sovereign immunity, and that the subpoena had been issued ‘for improper political purposes’ because his presence was being demanded before the November 2022 election. The investigation is being overseen by a Democrat, District Attorney Fani T. Willis of Fulton County, which encompasses most of Atlanta. In a prepared statement on Monday, a spokesperson for Mr. Kemp said the court had ‘correctly paused’ his testimony until after the election, saying the governor’s office would work ‘to ensure a full accounting of the governor’s limited role in the issues being investigated is available to the special grand jury.'” See also, Judge delays Governor Kemp’s testimony in Georgia investigation until after the election, The Washington Post, Matthew Brown, Ann E. Marimow, and Tom Hamburger, Monday, 29 August 2022: “The judge presiding over the Georgia grand jury investigation into possible election interference in 2020 on Monday delayed the testimony of Gov. Brian Kemp until after the upcoming election as prosecutors continued to press for interviews with people close to former president Donald Trump. After Joe Biden won Georgia in 2020, Trump and his allies tried to pressure Kemp (R) and other Republican officials in calls to overturn the election results. Kemp resisted but also has fought a subpoena to tell the grand jury about the calls. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert C.I. McBurney ruled Monday that Kemp must testify but pushed the governor’s appearance until ‘some date soon after’ Election Day in November. Kemp, who is running for reelection against Democrat Stacey Abrams, requested the delay alleging that the investigation is politically motivated and could unfairly influence the election. Prosecutors have said that Kemp is considered a witness, not a target of the investigation. The ruling came as Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said Monday her team has completed interviews with more than half of the necessary witnesses and expects the grand jury to issue a report with recommendations before the end of the year. Willis could then decide whether to bring criminal charges.”

Trump demands ‘new election immediately’ in bizarre post on Truth Social. Mr Trump also claims he should be declared the winner of the 2020 election because, in his opinion, the FBI ‘buried’ a widely-publicised report on the contents of a laptop purportedly belonging to President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden. Independent, Andrew Feinberg, Monday, 29 September 2022: “Former president Donald Trump on Monday issued a bizarre demand that he be declared the winner of the 2020 election nearly two years after he lost his re-election bid to Joe Biden, or a new election be held in the alternative. There is no mechanism in American law or history for a presidential election to be re-run, nor for the loser of an election to be declared the winner two years after the fact. But Mr Trump appeared to be ignorant of this fact when he took to his own Truth Social platform to make such an impossible demand Monday morning. ‘So now it comes out, conclusively, that the FBI BURIED THE HUNTER BIDEN LAPTOP STORY BEFORE THE ELECTION knowing that, if they didn’t, Trump would have easily won the 2020 Presidential Election,’ he wrote, referring to a oft-invoked grievance he holds regarding the Federal Bureau of Investigation not disclosing an ongoing investigation into the younger Mr Biden in the run-up to the last presidential election. In December 2020, Hunter Biden — a Yale-educated attorney and former lobbyist — disclosed that the FBI was investigating whether he’d properly paid taxes on income from several foreign business ventures. The FBI, which generally does not acknowledge the existence of investigations because of longstanding Department of Justice policies, followed those policies despite Mr Trump frequently claiming on the campaign trail that both Hunter Biden and his father deserved arrest and prosecution for unspecified crimes. Mr Trump called his unsubstantiated allegations against the FBI ‘massive FRAUD & ELECTION INTERFERENCE at a level never seen before in our Country,’ and suggested a ‘remedy’ would be to ‘declare the rightful winner,’ meaning him. He added that a different ‘minimal solution’ would be to ‘declare the 2020 Election irreparably compromised and have a new Election, immediately!'” See also, It’s 2022 and Trump Is Demanding an ‘Immediate’ Redo of the 2020 Election. The increasingly desperate former president says holding another vote would be a ‘minimal solution’ and that he’d rather just be declared the winner. Rolling Stone, Nikki McCann Ramirez, Monday, 29 August 2022: “FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD Trump demanded on Monday that the 2020 presidential election be declared ‘irreparably compromised’ and a do-over be held ‘immediately!’ Trump took to his personal social media platform to complain that the FBI ‘BURIED THE HUNTER BIDEN LAPTOP STORY BEFORE THE ELECTION knowing that, if they didn’t, Trump would have easily won the 2020 Presidential Election.’ He then wrote that he should be declared the winner of the election — which was decided two years ago — or ‘and this would be the minimal solution, declare the 2020 Election irreparably compromised and have a new Election, immediately!’ The former — yes, former — president was responding to a recent appearance from Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerburg on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. In the interview, Zuckerburg revealed that the FBI had warned Facebook to be on the lookout for potential Russian misinformation on the platform. ‘The FBI came to us – some folks on our team,’ explained Zuckerberg, ‘and was like, Hey, just so you know, you should be on high alert. We thought there was a lot of Russian propaganda in the 2016 election, we have it on notice that basically there’s about to be some kind of dump that’s similar to that.’ Zuckerberg clarified that the FBI did not warn them about any story pertaining to Hunter Biden, but said that Meta determined that the laptop allegations ‘fit that pattern’ flagged by the FBI. The FBI clarified that they ‘routinely’ notify entities in the private sector of potential threat indicators but ‘cannot ask, or direct, companies to take action on information received.'”

Senator Lindsey Graham Predicts ‘Riots in the Streets’ if Trump Is Prosecuted. Graham drew a comparison between the investigation of former President Donald Trump and a decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton over using a private server. The New York Times, Jonathan Weisman, Monday, 29 August 2022: “Senator Lindsey Graham’s prediction on Sunday that a prosecution of former President Donald J. Trump would lead to ‘riots in the streets’ added an element of menace to the fraught decisions facing Justice Department officials as they consider next steps in the investigation of Mr. Trump’s handling of classified material. Mr. Graham, a South Carolina Republican who moved from a fierce critic of Mr. Trump to a loyal companion, appeared on Fox News, drawing a comparison between the investigation of Mr. Trump and the Justice Department’s decision in 2016 not to prosecute Hillary Clinton for using a private server for State Department communications. In 2019, a State Department inquiry into the server concluded, ‘There was no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information.’ ‘If they try to prosecute President Trump for mishandling classified information after Hillary Clinton set up a server in her basement, there literally will be riots in the street,’ he said. He also said the intensifying investigation into the highly classified documents stored at Mr. Trump’s Florida home, Mar-a-Lago, contrasted with the hands-off attitude that he said the Federal Bureau of Investigation had taken toward President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden. The Justice Department has been weighing whether to charge Hunter Biden over possible tax and foreign lobbying violations.” See also, Senator Lindsey Graham says there will be ‘riots in the street’ if Trump is prosecuted, The Washington Post, Kim Bellware, Monday, 29 August 2022: “Sen. Lindsey O. Graham said Sunday that there would be ‘riots in the street’ if former president Donald Trump is prosecuted for taking classified government documents to his private Mar-a-Lago residence after leaving the White House. Graham (R-S.C.) twice made a ‘riots in the street’ remark during an appearance on Fox News’s ‘Sunday Night in America’ as he launched into a broader commentary against what he perceived to be a two-tiered justice system tilted against the former president…. ‘And I’ll say this: If there is a prosecution of Donald Trump for mishandling classified information after the Clinton debacle … there will be riots in the street,’ Graham said. On Monday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre criticized such ‘dangerous’ comments about violence from ‘extreme Republicans,’ though she did not mention Graham by name. Graham’s comments drew rebukes from critics who called Graham’s remarks ‘irresponsible’ and ‘shameful.'”

Study finds Greenland ice sheet is set to raise sea levels by nearly a foot. New research suggests the massive ice sheet is already set to lose more than 3 percent of its mass, even if the world stopped emitting greenhouse gases today. The Washington Post, Chris Mooney, Monday, 29 August 2022: “Human-driven climate change has set in motion massive ice losses in Greenland that couldn’t be halted even if the world stopped emitting greenhouse gases today, according to a study published Monday. The findings in the journal Nature Climate Change project that it is now inevitable that 3.3 percent of the Greenland ice sheet will melt — equal to 110 trillion tons of ice, the researchers said. That will trigger nearly a foot of global sea-level rise.”


Tuesday, 30 August 2022:


War in Ukraine: Kherson attacks underway; Russia to hold military drills with China and others, The Washington Post, Annabelle Timsit, Adam Taylor, Sammy Westfall, and Praveena Somasundaram, Tuesday, 30 August 2022: “Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have arrived in Kyiv, and new attacks on Russian forces in the Kherson region are underway, according to Ukrainian officials.

  • Kyiv said its forces broke through Russian positions in the Kherson region. Natalia Humeniuk, a spokeswoman for the Ukrainian military’s southern command, told the Russian-language outlet TV Rain that ‘offensive actions’ have begun. The British Defense Ministry said Ukraine’s forces have increased their artillery fire at the front line in southern Ukraine, although ‘it is not yet possible to confirm the extent of Ukrainian advances.’
  • Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, died Tuesday in Moscow, Russian news agencies announced. Gorbachev had hopes of rescuing the Soviet State but instead drove it toward collapse. Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences over Gorbachev’s death, his press secretary told the state-run news agency Tass on Tuesday.
  • Video circulating on social media Tuesday and verified by The Washington Post shows smoke and gunfire in the southern city of Kherson, which has been occupied by Russian forces since early in the war. Other videos posted online in recent days and verified by The Post show signs of damage to infrastructure and residential life in the region, including smoke near the strategic Antonovsky Bridge, destruction to a market, as well as bodies and burned military vehicles near the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant.
  • Russia will hold large-scale military drills with Chinese and other allied forces in the coming days, Russia’s Defense Ministry said Monday. The Vostok 2022 exercises will involve over 50,000 troops and 60 warships, the ministry said. ‘The United States has concerns about any country exercising with Russia while Russia wages an unprovoked, brutal war against Ukraine,’ White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Tuesday when asked about India’s participation in the drills. ‘But, of course, every participating country will make its own decisions.’
  • IAEA inspectors have arrived in Ukraine, a diplomat familiar with the situation told The Washington Post. The group is set to arrive at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant later this week to assess whether weeks of strikes — which Ukraine and Russia have blamed on each other — have seriously damaged the facility. President Volodymyr Zelensky also met with IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi on Tuesday, telling him that it was important for Ukraine that the IAEA demand a demilitarized zone around the power plant, state news agency Ukrinform reported.
  • More attacks were reported near the plant. Oleksandr Starukh, the regional governor of Zaporizhzhia, said Russian forces launched a missile strike on Zaporizhzhia overnight into Tuesday. Starukh said no one was injured and that infrastructure was not seriously damaged but that the situation was still being clarified. The European Union said it will send 5 million potassium iodide tablets to Zaporizhzhia at Kyiv’s request as a preventive measure in case local residents are exposed to radiation.

Russia-Ukraine War: Nuclear Inspectors Face Challenges in Reaching Zaporizhzhia Plant. As U.N. nuclear experts arrived in Ukraine to inspect the imperiled nuclear plant, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said Russia was shelling routes to the facility. The New York Times, Tuesday, 30 August 2022:

  • Ukraine says nuclear inspectors face hurdles, but will find a way to reach the Zaporizhzhia plant.

  • The Vatican, for the first time, calls Russia the aggressor in the war.

  • Russia halts natural gas flows to Germany again.

  • Ukraine claims to have broken through Russian defenses at multiple points in the Kherson region.

  • Another ship earmarked for humanitarian aid has left Ukraine.

  • The European Union plans to give 5.5 million iodine tablets to Ukraine.

  • The E.U. is locked in a contentious debate over visa restrictions for Russians.

  • Russian shelling kills at least 5 people in Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine.

Department of Justice court filing shows Trump team likely sought to conceal classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. The 36-page filing is the department’s most detailed account yet of its evidence of obstruction of justice. Politico, Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney, Tuesday, 30 August 2022: “Prosecutors obtained a search warrant for former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate after receiving evidence that there was ‘likely’ an effort to conceal classified documents there in defiance of a grand jury subpoena, a new Justice Department court filing released Tuesday night said. The 36-page filing was the department’s most detailed account yet of its evidence of obstruction of justice, raising concerns that Trump and his attorneys sought to mislead investigators about the sincerity and thoroughness of their effort to identify and return highly sensitive records to the government. ‘The government also developed evidence that government records were likely concealed and removed from the Storage Room and that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation,’ Justice Department counterintelligence chief Jay Bratt wrote. ‘That the FBI, in a matter of hours, recovered twice as many documents with classification markings as the “diligent search” that the former President’s counsel and other representatives had weeks to perform calls into serious question the representations made in the June 3 certification and casts doubt on the extent of cooperation in this matter,’ he added. The much-anticipated court filing includes a startling redacted photo of some of the apparently classified files recovered from the so-called ’45 Office’ at Mar-a-Lago, spread across a carpet. Numerous brightly colored cover sheets for classified information are visible bearing markings of ‘Top Secret,’ ‘Secret’ and ‘Sensitive Compartmented Information.’ The contents of the documents, and even some of the classified headers, were whited out, leaving just a handful of dates visible. At least three of the documents bearing classification markings are on White House letterhead. A box of framed items, including a 2019 Time magazine cover depicting the then-Democratic presidential field vying to defeat Trump, sits nearby.” See also, Filing by the Justice Department Suggests Documents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Residence Were Moved and Hidden as U.S. Sought Them. The filing by the Justice Department paints the clearest picture to date of its efforts to retrieve documents from the former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. The New York Times, Glenn Thrush, Charlie Savage, Alan Feuer, and Maggie Haberman, published on Wednesday, 31 August 2022: “The Justice Department sought a search warrant for former President Donald J. Trump’s residence in Florida after obtaining evidence that highly classified documents were likely concealed and that Mr. Trump’s representatives had falsely claimed all sensitive material had been returned, according to a court filing by the department on Tuesday. The filing came in response to Mr. Trump’s request for an independent review of materials seized from his home, Mar-a-Lago. But it went far beyond that, painting the clearest picture yet of the department’s efforts to retrieve the documents before taking the extraordinary step of searching a former president’s private property on Aug. 8. Among the new disclosures in the 36-page filing were that the search yielded three classified documents in desks inside Mr. Trump’s office, with more than 100 documents in 13 boxes or containers with classification markings in the residence, including some at the most restrictive levels. That was twice the number of classified documents the former president’s lawyers turned over voluntarily while swearing an oath that they had returned all the material demanded by the government. The investigation into Mr. Trump’s retention of government documents began as a relatively straightforward attempt to recover materials that officials with the National Archives had spent much of 2021 trying to retrieve. The filing on Tuesday made clear that prosecutors are now unmistakably focused on the possibility that Mr. Trump and those around him took criminal steps to obstruct their investigation. Investigators developed evidence that ‘government records were likely concealed and removed”’from the storage room at Mar-a-Lago after the Justice Department sent Mr. Trump’s office a subpoena for any remaining documents with classified markings. That led prosecutors to conclude that ‘efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation,’ the government filing said. The filing included one striking visual aid — a photograph of at least five yellow folders recovered from Mr. Trump’s resort and residence marked ‘Top Secret’ and another red one labeled ‘Secret.’ But department officials are not expected to file charges imminently, if they ever do. And the specific contents of the materials the government recovered in the search remain unclear — as does what risk to national security Mr. Trump’s decision to retain the materials posed. While the filing provided important new information about the timeline of the investigation, much of the information was mentioned, in less detail, in the affidavit used to obtain the warrant, which a federal magistrate judge unsealed last week.” See also, Justice Department says Trump team may have hidden and moved classified papers. Prosecutors’ filing suggests Trump advisers misled officials trying to recover sensitive papers; photo shows papers marked ‘Top Secret’ spread out on the floor. The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, published on Wednesday, 31 August 2022: “Former president Donald Trump and his advisers repeatedly failed to turn over highly classified government documents even after receiving a subpoena and pledging that a ‘diligent search’ had been conducted, leading to an FBI raid of his Florida home that found more than 100 additional classified items, according to a blistering court filing by federal prosecutors late Tuesday. The filing traces the extraordinary saga of government officials’ repeated efforts to recover sensitive national security papers from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and club, centered on a storage room where prosecutors came to suspect that ‘government records were likely concealed and removed … and that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation.’ The agents also came to doubt claims by Trump’s team that the storage room was the only place where such documents might be found. When agents conducted their court-ordered search on Aug. 8, they found material so sensitive that ‘even the FBI counterintelligence personnel and DOJ attorneys conducting the review required additional clearances before they were permitted to review certain documents,’ the filing says. Among the most potentially incriminating details in the government filing is a photograph, showing a number of files labeled ‘Top Secret’ with bright red or yellow cover sheets, spread out over a carpet. Those files were found inside a container in Trump’s office, according to the court filing. A close examination of one of the cover sheets in the photo shows a marking for ‘HCS,’ a government abbreviation for systems used to protect intelligence gathered from secret human sources. The 36-page filing also reveals, for the first time, the text of a written assurance given to the Justice Department by Trump’s ‘custodian of records’ on June 3. It says Trump’s team had done a thorough search for any classified material in response to a subpoena and had turned over any relevant documents.” See also, Trump and the Mar-a-Lago documents: A timeline. Key moments in the nearly 19 months between Donald Trump’s leaving the White House and the FBI’s searching his Florida home on August 8, 2022. The Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman, Tuesday, 30 August 2022.

Trump hires former Florida solicitor general Chris Kise in criminal probe of Mar-a-Lago documents. Kise, who has close ties to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Senator Rick Scott, has a winning record in the U.S. Supreme Court and a reputation as a political knife fighter. NBC News, Marc Caputo, Tuesday, 30 August 2022: “Chris Kise, Florida’s former solicitor general who served on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ transition team, inked a contract to represent Donald Trump in the criminal case that resulted in the FBI search of the former president’s home in Mar-a-Lago, according to two sources with knowledge of the discussions. Kise, who declined to comment, began negotiations with Trump shortly after the FBI’s search of his Palm Beach estate Aug. 8. Numerous other criminal defense attorneys have said they couldn’t represent the former president in the Southern District of Florida, citing the all-consuming job of representing Trump or his reputation as a penny-pinching problematic client with a history of having rival advisers who backstab one another, according to five people with knowledge of the legal effort. Other attorneys declined because their firms wanted to avoid the political blowback of representing such a divisive figure, according to those in Trump’s orbit who say that Kise is leaving the firm of Foley & Lardner — where he had briefly represented Venezuela’s government two years ago when hostilities with the United States ran high — to take the job. After this story published, the firm removed Kise from its webpage listing its lawyers. Kise now lists his bio on his own website.” See also, Trump adds former Florida solicitor general Chris Kise to his legal team working on the Mar-a-Lago investigation. The former president has a new lawyer, and the Republican National Committee isn’t picking up the tab. Politico, Meridith McGraw, Tuesday, 30 August 2022: “Former President Donald Trump hired Chris Kise, Florida’s former solicitor general, to represent him in the criminal investigation related to the FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago resort in early August. Kise’s hiring comes at a critical juncture for the former president, whose legal team has faced criticism for its handling of the case in the Southern District of Florida, including its struggle to handle basic administrative tasks and make timely requests of the court. Trump’s team has tried to argue that the former president has the ability and right to declassify documents, that as a former president he is not bound to the same laws regarding the handling of classified materials, and some of the materials are covered by executive or attorney-client privilege. Trump has also sought to frame the dispute as a bookkeeping matter over presidential records, requiring negotiation with the National Archives, not criminal proceedings. The Archives spent months attempting to recover the highly classified materials housed at Mar-a-Lago and grew alarmed when Trump resisted permitting a Justice Department review of the files Trump had agreed to return earlier in the year, leading the agencies to suspect there were additional documents Trump had not returned. Kise joins Evan Corcoran and Jim Trusty in advising Trump on the Florida probe, one of several the former president faces across multiple venues. His hiring, which was confirmed by three people familiar with Trump’s legal team, was first reported by NBC News.” See also, Trump Hires Former Florida Solicitor General Chris Kise as Lawyer in Mar-a-Lago Documents Case. The former president has brought Kise onto his legal team after struggling to find high-profile lawyers willing to work for him on the investigation into his handling of classified material. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Tuesday, 30 August 2022: “Former President Donald J. Trump has hired a high-profile lawyer to help him with the aftermath of the F.B.I. search of his club and home in Florida and the criminal investigation into his handling of sensitive government documents. The lawyer, Christopher M. Kise, is a former solicitor general for the State of Florida who has won four cases before the United States Supreme Court and worked as a transition adviser for Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, a Republican. Mr. Kise, who is now in private practice, formally joined the team in recent days, according to two of Mr. Trump’s associates. His hiring was earlier reported by NBC News. Mr. Kise is joining a team that a number of other high-profile lawyers have steered clear of, concerned about Mr. Trump’s history of nonpayment or his insistence on trying to run his own legal efforts. His hiring had been in the works for several weeks since the Aug. 8 search, according to two people close to Mr. Trump. Mr. Kise will join two lawyers who are not licensed in Florida — James Trusty and M. Evan Corcoran — on the case, which is related to the handling of hundreds of pages of government documents, many marked as highly classified. Mr. Trump had been keeping the documents at his members-only club and home in Florida, Mar-a-Lago, since he left the White House on Jan. 20, 2021, at the end of his term.”

Trump shares barrage of QAnon content and other conspiracy theories on his social media platform. Facing numerous investigations, Trump shared posts promoting conspiracy theories, some of them from the account that originated QAnon, as well as a fake quote from his daughter. NBC News, Dareh Gregorian, Ben Collins, and Vaughn Hillyard, Tuesday, 30 August 2022: “Former President Donald Trump spent Tuesday morning posting inflammatory messages on social media, including many explicitly promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory. While Trump has in the past promoted QAnon-inspired accounts and theories, the posts on his Truth Social account were his most explicit, unobscured, QAnon-promoting and QAnon-baiting posts to date. In one, he reposted the QAnon slogan — ‘Where We Go One We Go All.’ In another, he re-posted a 2017 message from ‘Q’ that’s critical of the intelligence community. The QAnon conspiracy theory was built around Q, an anonymous account that posts periodically on 8kun, often with vague or symbolic language that is then interpreted by followers. The account claims to document a secret battle being waged by Trump against the Democratic Party, which followers of the theory contend is run by satanic, child-eating cannibals who run a pedophile ring filled with celebrities and political elites who have been covertly running the United States government for decades. None of the posts’ concrete predictions have come to fruition. Users of QAnon forums rejoiced at Trump’s apparent endorsement of the conspiracy theory and its mythology. The top response on the most visited QAnon forum to one of Trump’s posts about the conspiracy theory read simply, ‘Wipe them out sir.’ Others pleaded with Trump to ‘nuke them from orbit’ and to ‘sir, please finish them off,’ referring to QAnon enemies such as Hillary Clinton and President Joe Biden. In addition to the QAnon-adjacent posts, Trump shared several conspiracy theories Tuesday on his Truth Social site and he re-posted a picture of Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, with the words ‘Your enemy is not in Russia’ written in black bars over their eyes. The posting spree comes one day after Trump posted a message that he should be reinstated as president — ‘Declare the rightful winner, or hold a new Election, NOW!’ — and as he’s come under increased scrutiny from federal investigators who executed a search warrant at his Florida resort earlier this month and recovered troves of classified documents.”

Hard Right Stokes Outrage After Search of Mar-a-Lago. As they did before the January 6 attack on the Capitol, the former president and his allies are fueling anger among his supporters. The New York Times, Alan Feuer and Maggie Haberman, Tuesday, 30 August 2022: “One week after a team of F.B.I. agents descended on his private club and residence in Florida, former President Donald J. Trump warned that his followers were enraged by the search — and that things could get out of hand if the Justice Department kept the heat on him. ‘People are so angry at what is taking place,’ Mr. Trump told Fox News. ‘Whatever we can do to help because the temperature has to be brought down in the country. If it isn’t, terrible things are going to happen.’ This week, one of Mr. Trump’s closest allies, Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, issued a similar warning that Mr. Trump quickly reposted on his social media platform. Mr. Graham, in a Fox News appearance on Sunday, predicted that if the search of Mar-a-Lago led to a prosecution of the former president, there would be ‘riots in the streets.’ The assessments by both men were worded carefully enough that they could be defended as efforts to spare the nation unnecessary strife, and on Monday, Mr. Graham tried to walk back his remarks, saying, ‘I reject violence.’ But the statements could also be perceived as fanning the same flames of outrage they claimed to be trying to avert. They carried a distinct echo of Mr. Trump’s calls after the 2020 election to do what was needed to keep him in office, signals that contributed to the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the Capitol soon after he urged his supporters to ‘fight like hell.’ In a broader sense, the F.B.I.’s search of Mar-a-Lago has emerged as the latest rallying cry for those on the right who have long been suspicious that the powers of the federal government could be turned against them. It has prompted calls to dismantle or defund the F.B.I. and furious denunciations of what far-right supporters of Mr. Trump increasingly portray as an overreaching national security apparatus. On Tuesday, Mr. Trump spent much of the morning reposting messages from known purveyors of the QAnon conspiracy theory and from 4chan, an anonymous message platform where threats of violence often blossom. Some were outright provocations, such as a photograph of President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker Nancy Pelosi with their faces obscured by the words, ‘Your enemy is not in Russia.'”

Attorney General Merrick Garland bans campaign activity by Justice Department political appointees. Ahead of midterm elections, Garland says political appointees cannot attend events even on Election Day. The Washington Post, Perry Stein, Tuesday, 30 August 2022: “Justice Department political appointees cannot participate in campaign-related activities in any capacity, Attorney General Merrick Garland said Tuesday, describing the change as a necessary step ‘to maintain public trust and ensure that politics — both in fact and appearance — does not compromise or affect the integrity of our work.’ The new policy underscores the intense political scrutiny Garland is facing two months before the midterm congressional elections in November, as his agency investigates former president Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents after leaving office and the potential involvement of Trump and other Republican politicians in efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Since the unprecedented Aug. 8 FBI search of Trump’s Florida residence in connection with the documents investigation, the former president has repeatedly accused the Justice Department as being a politicized organization that is out to hurt him. The notice Garland sent to employees of the sprawling federal law enforcement agency isn’t unusual; attorneys general typically send reminders of employees’ rights — and restrictions — around political expression. But this time, Garland made a notable change to the policy, altering a previous rule that said government appointees could ‘passively’ participate in partisan activities with permission. The new rule allows for no exceptions.”


Wednesday, 31 August 2022:


War in Ukraine: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is in city of Zaporizhzhia; Ukraine pushes Russian forces in south, The Washington Post, Annabelle Timsit, David L. Stern, John Hudson, Katerian Ang, Sammy Westfall, and Lateshia Beachum, Wednesday, 31 August 2022: “Countries of the European Union reached a political agreement on Wednesday that would make it more difficult and expensive for Russian tourists to get visas, as a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived in the city of Zaporizhzhia. The inspectors are scheduled to spend the night at a hotel in the city before visiting the Zaporzhizhia nuclear power plant first thing Thursday morning to assess potential damage caused by recent military strikes around the facility. The visit comes amid an ongoing Ukrainian assault in Kherson, located in the country’s south, where Russian soldiers have grasped considerable ground.

  • IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Grossi said the mission aims to establish a permanent monitoring presence at the plant. Grossi met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a short trip to Kyiv before setting off early Wednesday for the days-long mission. Grossi said he secured assurances from Moscow and Kyiv that he and his team will be safe as they travel behind the war’s front lines.
  • A senior Russian diplomat endorsed Grossi’s push for a permanent presence at the plant on Wednesday, though Kremlin-installed officials in the region downplayed the scale and scope of the mission.
  • Zelensky and his advisers accused Russian forces Tuesday of striking targets on the IAEA’s path to Zaporizhzhia; the Kremlin did not respond to the allegation but said Wednesday it is doing what is necessary to ensure the safety of the mission.

Russia-Ukraine War: European Union Toughens Visa Requirements for Russians, but Balks at Travel Ban. As European ministers debated new restrictions, a team of nuclear experts was on a mission to assess the safety of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, where shelling has raised the fear of a nuclear catastrophe. The New York Times, Wednesday, 31 August 2022:

  • The European Union moves to restrict visas to Russians, but does not ban them.

  • Nuclear monitors aim to reach the Zaporizhzhia plant on Thursday.

  • Ukraine says it struck the Kherson region as its forces push to take back Russian-held territory.

  • Russia is taking drastic measures to fill its military ranks, the U.S. says.

  • Occupying the Zaporizhzhia plant gives Moscow a new way to intimidate, our correspondent writes.

  • Russia halts natural gas flows to Germany again.

  • The State Department warns that Russia is planning ‘sham’ referendums in Kharkiv.

Trump’s Lawyers Renew Push for Special Master in Documents Inquiry. A filing claimed that the Justice Department was criminalizing the former president’s possession of ‘his own presidential records,’ a stance at odds with the Presidential Records Act. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Alan Feuer, and Maggie Haberman, Wednesday, 31 August 2022: “Former President Donald J. Trump’s legal team on Wednesday aggressively renewed its push for an independent arbiter to review documents the F.B.I. seized in its Aug. 8 search of his Florida residence, telling a federal judge that he had merely possessed ‘his own presidential records.’ In an 18-page filing, Mr. Trump’s lawyers suggested that by undertaking what they described as an ‘unprecedented, unnecessary and legally unsupported raid’ on Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s home and club in Palm Beach, Fla., the Justice Department was ‘criminalizing a former president’s possession of personal and presidential records in a secure setting.’ Judge Aileen M. Cannon, a Trump appointee hearing the request, signaled over the weekend that she was inclined to appoint an outside expert, known as a special master, in the case, but wanted to first hear from the Justice Department, which objected to Mr. Trump’s request in a lengthy filing Tuesday night. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday in Federal District Court in West Palm Beach. The characterization by Mr. Trump’s legal team that presidential documents from the Trump administration were his own records clashed with the Presidential Records Act of 1978. It makes clear that the government, not a president or former president, owns White House files generated during his time in office. (If Mr. Trump also had files generated by other agencies and departments, those have never been understood to be owned by presidents.)” See also, Trump’s Legal Jab Left Him Open to Justice Department Strike. A legal back-and-forth produced a straightforward narrative of how Mr. Trump and his lawyers repeatedly dodged the government’s attempts to recover sensitive documents for more than a year. The New York Times, Alan Feuer and Glenn Thrush, Wednesday, 31 August 2022: “Former President Donald J. Trump may have thought that he was playing offense when he asked a federal judge last week for an independent review of documents seized from his residence in Florida — a move that, at best, could delay but not derail an investigation into his handling of the records. But on Tuesday night, the Justice Department used a routine court filing in the matter to initiate a blistering counteroffensive that disclosed new evidence that Mr. Trump and his legal team may have interfered with the inquiry. In the filing, in Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida, department officials revealed more details about the classified materials that Mr. Trump had taken from the White House, including a remarkable photograph of several of them arrayed on the floor of Mar-a-Lago, his home and private club in Florida. In what read at times like a road map for a potential prosecution down the road, the filing also laid out evidence that Mr. Trump and his lawyers may have obstructed justice. It was as if Mr. Trump, seeming not to fully grasp the potential hazards of his modest legal move, cracked open a door, allowing the Justice Department to push past him and seize the initiative. ‘The Trump team got more than they bargained for,’ said Preet Bharara, a former U.S. attorney in Manhattan and a longtime critic of Mr. Trump. ‘In response to a thin and tardy special master motion, D.O.J. was given the opportunity to be expansive.'”

Trump Documents Inquiry: Trump Lawyers M. Evan Corcoran and Christina Bobb May Become Witnesses or Targets in Documents Investigation. These two lawyers for former President Donald Trump are under increased scrutiny after new details emerged about a failure to fully comply with a subpoena for documents marked as classified. The New York Times, Charlie Savage and Maggie Haberman, Wednesday, 31 August 2022: “Two lawyers for former President Donald J. Trump are likely to become witnesses or targets in the investigation into how he hoarded documents marked as classified at his Florida estate — and secretly held onto some even after they claimed all sensitive materials had been returned, legal specialists said. The lawyers, M. Evan Corcoran and Christina Bobb, handled Mr. Trump’s interactions with the government over a subpoena in May seeking additional material marked as classified. In a court filing late Tuesday, the Justice Department strongly suggested that people in Mr. Trump’s circle concealed documents in defiance of that subpoena, putting a spotlight on the role of his lawyers and raising questions about whether they had misled department officials and the F.B.I.” See also, Experts say Department of Justice filing points to new legal trouble for Trump and lawyers. Prosecutors allege that Trump’s team misled them about whether FBI agents were given all classified documents from Mar-a-Lago. The Washington Post, Perry Stein, Jacqueline Aleman, Josh Dawsey, and Devlin Barrett, Wednesday, 31 August 2022: “Newly public details from the Justice Department’s criminal probe of documents taken to Mar-a-Lago suggest enormous legal peril for two of Donald Trump’s attorneys  and considerable uncertainty for Trump himself, intelligence and legal experts said. There’s no way to predict whether the Justice Department will ultimately pursue charges against the former president or his associates. But in a court filing Tuesday night, government lawyers recounted numerous instances in which Trump’s lawyers allegedly misled government officials during the investigation, and in which Trump or his team appear to have haphazardly handled materials that contained national security secrets. The evidence laid out in the filing, experts said, could build a legal case that Trump attorneys Evan Corcoran and Christina Bobb obstructed the government’s investigation, allegedly telling FBI agents and prosecutors that they had handed over all classified documents when in fact many remained in Trump’s possession. Left unanswered were key questions that could determine Trump’s legal fate: Did he direct Corcoran and Bobb to mislead the government, either before or after the FBI raid of his Florida home and club? And, if so, why did he want to keep reams of top-secret classified documents there?”

Days before Mar-a-Lago subpoena, Trump lawyer claimed she scoured his office, closets, and drawers. A filing by Alina Habba in the case over Trump’s business empire could create exposure in the matter of classified information being stored at the ex-president’s home. Politico, Kyle Cheney, Wednesday, 31 August 2022: “Just six days before the Justice Department subpoenaed to recover highly sensitive documents housed at Mar-a-Lago, one of Former President Donald Trump’s attorneys scoured the estate searching for records in response to a separate legal matter. The attorney, Alina Habba, told a New York State court that on May 5, she conducted a search of Trump’s private residence and office at Mar-a-Lago that was so ‘diligent’ it included ‘all desks, drawers, nightstands, dressers, closets, etc.’ She was looking for records in response to a subpoena issued by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is investigating matters related to the Trump Organization. The same filing also includes an affidavit from Trump himself, indicating that he ‘authorized Alina Habba to search my private residence and personal office located at The Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida for any and all documents responsive to the Subpoena.’ Habba indicated she conducted similar searches at Trump’s residences and office at his Bedminster estate. The filing submitted to the New York AG’s office raises key questions in relation to the separate Mar-a-Lago probe, chiefly, whether Habba ended up handling any of the documents that DOJ later discovered at Trump’s club; and, if so, whether she has the clearance to have done so. In her sworn affidavit, Habba said that she searched many of the locations that would later be scrutinized by the FBI during its Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago — and where investigators say they uncovered a significant volume of highly classified government secrets. The documents, those investigators stated, ‘had colored cover sheets indicating their classification status’ making clear their significance. ‘Classified documents were found in both the Storage Room and in the former President’s office,’ DOJ revealed in a court filing Tuesday night, also noting, ‘Three classified documents that were not located in boxes, but rather were located in the desks in the 45 Office.’”

Conservative Lawyer John Eastman Is a Likely Target in Atlanta Trump Investigation, His Lawyer Says. Eastman, who developed strategies to block certification of the 2020 election, appeared before a grand jury in Atlanta on Wednesday and invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The New York Times, Richard Fausset and Danny Hakim, Wednesday, 31 August 2022: “John Eastman, the lawyer who developed strategies to block certification of the 2020 election, is ‘probably a target’ in the criminal investigation into efforts to overturn Donald J. Trump’s election loss in Georgia, one of Mr. Eastman’s lawyers said on Wednesday. Mr. Eastman spent the morning appearing before an Atlanta special grand jury looking into the matter. The assertion that Mr. Eastman could face indictment in the Georgia case came from Harvey Silverglate, a well-known Boston-area criminal defense lawyer and civil liberties advocate who is representing Mr. Eastman. In a statement, Mr. Silverglate and another of Mr. Eastman’s lawyers, Charles Burnham, said they advised Mr. Eastman ‘to assert attorney client privilege and the constitutional right to remain silent where appropriate’ in Wednesday’s grand jury appearance.”

Mary Peltola defeats Sarah Palin in special election to become first Alaska Native elected to Congress. The results come more than two weeks after the state used ranked-choice voting to determine which candidate will finish out the term of Republican Representative Don Young, who died in March. NBC News, Zoë Richards, Wednesday, 31 August 2022: “Democrat Mary Peltola, a former state representative, will be the first Alaska Native in Congress after she won a special election that included GOP candidates Nick Begich and former Gov. Sarah Palin, NBC News projects. Peltola, who is the executive director of the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, served 10 years in the state Legislature and campaigned as ‘Alaska’s best shot at keeping an extremist from winning.’ ‘It is a GOOD DAY,’ Peltola tweeted following the election results. ‘We’ve won tonight, but we’re still going to have to hold this seat in November.'” See also, Democrat Mary Peltola wins special election in Alaska, defeating Sarah Palin. Peltola scored a rare Democratic win in the state while also becoming the first Alaska Native elected to Congress. The Washington Post, Nathaniel Herz, Wednesday, 31 August 2022: “Democrat Mary Peltola has won a special election for the U.S. House in Alaska, defeating Republican Sarah Palin and becoming the first Alaska Native to win a seat in Congress as well as the first woman to clinch the state’s at-large district. Peltola’s win flips a seat that had long been in Republican hands. She will serve the remainder of a term left open by the sudden death of Rep. Don Young (R) in March. Young represented Alaska in Congress for 49 years. Peltola, who’s Yup’ik, is a tribal fisheries manager and former state representative who led in initial counts after the Aug. 16 election. But her win wasn’t assured until Wednesday, when Alaska election officials made decisive second-choice counts using the state’s new ranked-choice voting system. Republican Nick Begich III, who finished third, was eliminated, and his supporters’ second-choice votes were redistributed to the remaining candidates.” See also, Mary Peltola, a Democrat, Defeats Sarah Palin in Alaska’s Special House Election. Ms. Peltola notched a major upset against Ms. Palin and will finish the remaining four months of the term of Representative Don Young, who died in March. The New York Times, Blake Hounshell, Wednesday, 31 August 2022: “In an upset with the potential to reverberate nationally, Mary Peltola has won a special House election in Alaska, according to The Associated Press, and will finish the remaining few months of the term of Representative Don Young, who died in March after serving nearly 50 years as his state’s lone congressman. Ms. Peltola, a Democratic former state lawmaker and Alaska Native, defeated two other candidates who survived the raucous special primary election in June: Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor and Republican vice-presidential nominee, and Nicholas Begich III, a Republican from the state’s most prominent Democratic political family. Voters participated in a new system, ranking the three in order of preference. Ms. Peltola’s victory adds to a series of recent wins for Democrats, most notably the special election for New York’s 19th Congressional District. Democrats have grown more confident about their chances of holding on to the Senate in November as Republicans squabble among themselves, although most acknowledge that retaining control of the House will be more difficult.”




Even though the Trump administration is no longer in office, I am continuing to post summaries of the daily political news and major stories relating to this tragic and dangerous period in US history. I will try to focus on the differences between the Trump administration and the Biden administration and on the ongoing toxic residual effects of the Trump administration and Republicans. I usually post throughout the day and let the news settle for a day or so before posting.

I created Muckraker Farm in 2014 as a place to post muckraking (investigative) journalism going back to the 19th century. Recently I have been able to make time to return to this original project. You can find these muckraking pieces under the Home Page link at the top of this site. Thanks for reading!