Aftermath of the Trump Administration, September 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!


For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.


Thursday, 1 September 2022:


War in Ukraine: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission inspects nuclear plant after delays, The Washington Post, Adela Suliman, John Hudson, Adam Taylor, Sammy Westfall, and James Bikales, Thursday, 1 September 2022: “An International Atomic Energy Agency team carried out an initial inspection of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant Thursday, overcoming political hurdles and nearby mortar shelling to access the embattled plant. Five IAEA representatives will remain on-site through Saturday, the plant’s operator said. ‘I have just completed a first tour of the key areas that we wanted to see,’ Rafael Grossi, the director general of the IAEA, said on Twitter after leaving the facility Thursday evening. ‘We are establishing a continued presence from the IAEA here.’ The IAEA mission is intended to assess the safety and security of the Russian-occupied plant, as well as speak to staff, in a bid to prevent a nuclear disaster like the one that occurred in Chernobyl in 1986. Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of shelling the area around the power station.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the IAEA experts’ visit and called for demilitarization of the area around the plant in his nightly address Thursday. He accused Russia of efforts to ‘deceive the mission’ by intimidating local residents and refusing to allow journalists to accompany the inspectors. ‘The main thing is to have the will to draw objective conclusions,’ Zelensky said.
  • The IAEA team pushed ahead with the visit despite what Grossi said was ‘increased military activity’ near the plant. The expert mission was briefly held up by Ukrainian forces on its way to the site. Russia has controlled the facility since March, and both Kyiv and Moscow publicly supported the visit by the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog.
  • Lithuania offered to send its police forces to Zaporizhzhia as part of a U.N. peacekeeping force. Speaking at the U.N. Chiefs of Police Summit in New York Thursday, Arūnas Paulauskas, deputy commissioner of the Lithuanian police, said a U.N. police force could ensure the plant’s ‘physical security’ alongside a long-term IAEA monitoring mission. ‘Lithuania would be prepared to play an active part and deploy law enforcement officers to such a mission,’ he said.
  • Ukraine began its academic school year Thursday, welcoming students back in ceremonies that showed both resilience and the war’s heavy toll. The Washington Post spoke to and photographed students and parents across the country to get a sense of the mood at the start of this unprecedented school year. Some students were required to carry ’emergency backpacks’ or practice air raid drills as part of their school’s opening ceremony. Others could not attend school in person because their school building had been bombed.

Russia-Ukraine War: Five U.N. Inspectors Remain at Embattled Nuclear Plant in Ukraine. Part of the I.A.E.A. mission departed the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant after roughly four hours, but others remain to continue assessing its safety. The New York Times, Thursday, 1 September 2022:

  • The inspectors braved shelling as they crossed the front line between Ukrainian and Russian forces.
  • With war raging near the plant, what can the U.N. inspectors accomplish?
  • The Zaporizhzhia plant deployed emergency backup measures after it was struck by shelling.
  • A Russian oil executive dies under murky circumstances.
  • A Ukrainian player refused to shake the hand of the Belarusian she lost to at the U.S. Open.
  • Improvements in U.N. security could help the nuclear agency as it navigates a combat zone in Ukraine.
  • Pencil, chalk and first-aid kits: Ukrainian children return to school in the midst of war.

Trump Documents Inquiry: Federal Judge Aileen M. Cannon Keeps Door Open to Special Master in Trump Documents Inquiry. Cannon also indicated that she would unseal a more detailed inventory of the materials seized in the search of the former president’s Mar-a-Lago home. The New York Times, Patricia Mazzei, Alan Feuer, and Charlie Savage, Thursday, 1 September 2022: “A federal judge signaled on Thursday that she remained open to granting former President Donald J. Trump’s request to appoint an independent arbiter to go through documents the F.B.I. seized from him last month, but stopped short of making a final decision. After a nearly two-hour hearing, the judge, Aileen M. Cannon of the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida, reserved judgment on the question of whether to appoint a so-called special master in the case, saying she would issue a written order ‘in due course.’ Notably, Judge Cannon did not direct the F.B.I. to stop working with the files, which the Justice Department has said have already undergone a preliminary review by law enforcement officials. Judge Cannon, who was appointed by Mr. Trump in 2020, also indicated that she would unseal a more detailed list of the documents the F.B.I. took during its Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s private club and residence in Florida. She had earlier ordered the Justice Department to provide the list to Mr. Trump’s legal team at its request. It was not clear when it would become public. During the hearing, Judge Cannon pressed the government to explain what harm could come from appointing a special master. Jay I. Bratt, the head of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence section, told her that a special master could slow down an assessment of the risk and damage to national security being conducted by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence — as well as an assessment of whether the seized documents contain the sort of national security secrets whose unauthorized retention is a crime under the Espionage Act.” See also, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon to issue a written ruling on Trump special-master request. Cannon indicates she may believe the former president retained some executive privileges when leaving the White House. The Washington Post, Perry Stein and Devlin Barrett, Thursday, 1 September 2022: “A federal judge seemed sympathetic to arguments presented by Donald Trump’s attorneys in a courtroom Thursday that the former president may retain some executive privileges after he left the White House. But U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon did not issue a ruling from the bench on whether she would grant the legal team’s request to appoint a special master to review material seized from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and club, instead saying she would deliver a written decision in ‘due course.’ Cannon also said she would unseal a more detailed inventory list of the documents and other materials that FBI agents seized from Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8. Both the Justice Department and Trump’s lawyers have agreed that the information can be made public, potentially shedding light on what Trump kept in his possession after returning 15 boxes from Mar-a-Lago in January and responding to a May grand jury subpoena requesting additional presidential records. At a hearing Thursday afternoon, a newly hired Trump lawyer told Cannon that the appointment of a special master — essentially an independent outside expert — would bring down the ‘very high’ temperature around the FBI’s investigation into possible mishandling of classified documents. ‘We need to take a deep breath,’ said Chris Kise, a former Florida solicitor general who left his law firm this week and entered into a multimillion-dollar deal to join Trump’s legal team, according to people familiar with the arrangement who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss it. Jay Bratt, a senior Justice Department counterintelligence official, told Cannon that Trump was not entitled to a special master, emphasizing that the issue in the case is the possible hiding of highly sensitive government secrets in a private residence. Trump ‘is no longer the president, and because he is no longer the president, he did not have the right to take those documents,’ Bratt said. Justice Department officials also told Cannon that their filter team had done a thorough review of the material, and it had set aside 64 sets of documents — made up of some 520 pages — that might be considered protected by attorney-client privilege.” See also, Federal judge Aileen Cannon orders release of detailed list of property seized in Trump FBI search, CBS News, Nicole Sganga, Robert Legare, Melissa Quinn, Thursday, 1 September 2022: “A federal judge on Thursday ordered the release of a detailed list of the property seized during the FBI’s search at former President Donald Trump’s South Florida residence last month, while reserving judgment on whether to appoint an outside party to review the documents. Federal prosecutors initially submitted a property receipt to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on Tuesday, though it was filed under seal. The Justice Department told the court in a separate filing it was prepared to release the receipt to the public given the ‘extraordinary circumstances’ of the case and provide it ‘immediately’ to Trump. Trump’s legal team said they did not oppose unsealing the detailed inventory. It remained sealed as of Thursday afternoon.”

Continue reading Aftermath of the Trump Administration, September 2022:

President Biden Warns That American Values Are Under Assault by Trump-Led Extremism, The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Michael D. Shear, Thursday, 1 September 2022: “President Biden traveled to Independence Hall on Thursday to warn that America’s democratic values are under assault by forces of extremism loyal to former President Donald J. Trump, using a prime-time address to define the midterm elections as a ‘battle for the soul of this nation.’ In a 24-minute speech, Mr. Biden blamed his predecessor for stoking a movement filled with election deniers and people calling for political violence. He went out of his way to declare that not all Republicans embrace extremism, however, and he said that defending democracy would require rejecting Mr. Trump and his ideology in elections this fall. ‘Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our Republic,’ Mr. Biden said, flanked by Marine guards. ‘But there’s no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans,’ he added. ‘And that is a threat to this country.'” See also, President Biden Calls on Americans to Resist Threats to Democracy. Biden condemned Trump-led extremism and cast the midterm elections as a ‘battle for the soul of the nation.’ Four takeaways from Biden’s speech in Philadelphia. The New York Times, Jonathan Weisman, Thursday, 1 September 2022. See also, President Biden warns U.S. faces powerful threat from anti-democratic forces. In prime-time address, Biden says Trump and ‘MAGA Republicans’ are mounting a dangerous attack on the country’s values, and Americans must fight back. The Washington Post, Yasmeen Abutaleb and Marisa Iati, Thursday, 1 September 2022: “President Biden delivered a forceful address Thursday on what he called a dangerous assault on American democracy, warning that ‘too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal’ as ‘Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.’ Biden’s speech, outside Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, was a remarkable assessment from a sitting president that the fabric of American governance is under serious threat — ‘we do ourselves no favors to pretend otherwise,’ he said. While Biden did not name Republicans other than the former president, he warned of election deniers who have won Republican primaries and those who have sought to overturn legitimate elections. ‘We are still at our core a democracy — yet history tells us that blind loyalty to a single leader, and the willingness to engage in political violence, is fatal to democracy,’ Biden said. ‘There is no question that the Republican Party is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans.’ Biden on Thursday appeared to seek a balance between the lofty tones of a presidential address and the sharp, personal criticism of Republicans that many in his party believe is necessary to meet a moment of crisis. While paying tribute to the country’s grand historical traditions, Biden also suggested the upcoming election is a battle between those embracing American values and those trying to destroy them.” See also, Remarks by President Biden on the Continued Battle for the Soul of the Nation, The White House, Thursday, 1 September 2022.

Former president Donald Trump said he would issue full pardons and a government apology to rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, and violently attacked law enforcement to stop the democratic transfer of power. The comments came on the same day President Biden was delivering a prime-time address warning of the threat to democracy from ‘MAGA Republicans’ and election deniers. The Washington Post, Mariana Alfaro, Thursday, 1 September 2022: “‘I mean full pardons with an apology to many,’ he told conservative radio host Wendy Bell on Thursday morning. Such a move would be contingent on Trump running and winning the 2024 presidential election. Supporters of the former president attacked the Capitol as Congress was certifying Joe Biden’s electoral college win in the 2020 election, the worst attack on the seat of democracy in more than two centuries. The insurrection left four people dead and an officer who had been sprayed with a powerful chemical irritant, Brian D. Sicknick, suffered a stroke and died the next day. Some 140 members of law enforcement were injured as rioters attacked them with flagpoles, baseball bats, stun guns, bear spray and pepper spray. As a result, the House impeached Trump for inciting an insurrection.” See also, Trump Claims He’s ‘Financially Supporting’ January 6 Rioters, ‘Looking Very Favorably at Full Pardons’ With an ‘Apology’ if Reelected, Mediaite, Alex Griffing, Thursday, 1 September 2022: “Former President Donald Trump joined Newsmax host Wendy Bell on her radio show and claimed to be ‘financially supporting’ Jan. 6 rioters and looking ‘very favorably’ at ‘full pardons’ for those already convicted and sentenced for their role in attacking the U.S. Capitol.”

House Committee on Oversight and Reform reaches deal to get Trump financial records, Associated Press, Kevin Freking, Thursday, 1 September 2022: “A House committee seeking financial records from former President Donald Trump has reached an agreement that ends litigation on the matter and requires an accounting firm to turn over some of the material, the panel’s leader announced Thursday. The long-running case began in April 2019, when the House Committee on Oversight and Reform first subpoenaed a wealth of records from Trump’s then-accounting firm, Mazars USA. The committee cited testimony from Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, that it said raised questions about the president’s representation of his financial affairs when it came to seeking loans and paying taxes. Under the agreement, Trump has agreed to end his legal challenges to the subpoena and Mazars USA has agreed to produce responsive documents to the committee as expeditiously as possible, said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., who heads the committee.”

Ginni Thomas pressed Wisconsin lawmakers to overturn Biden’s 2020 victory. The conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas emailed lawmakers in two states in the weeks after the election. The Washington Post, Emma Brown, Thursday, 1 September 2022: “Virginia ‘Ginni’ Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed lawmakers to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 victory not only in Arizona, as previously reported, but also in a second battleground state, Wisconsin, according to emails obtained under state public-records law. The Washington Post reported this year that Ginni Thomas emailed 29 Arizona state lawmakers, some of them twice, in November and December 2020. She urged them to set aside Biden’s popular-vote victory and ‘choose’ their own presidential electors, despite the fact that the responsibility for choosing electors rests with voters under Arizona state law. The new emails show that Thomas also messaged two Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin: state Sen. Kathy Bernier, then chair of the Senate elections committee, and state Rep. Gary Tauchen. Bernier and Tauchen received the email at 10:47 a.m. on Nov. 9, virtually the same time the Arizona lawmakers received a verbatim copy of the message from Thomas. The Bernier email was obtained by The Post, and the Tauchen email was obtained by the watchdog group Documented and provided to The Post.”

January 6 Committee Calls Newt Gingrich to Testify, Saying He Had Role in Trump Plot to Overturn the 2020 Election. In a letter to the former House speaker, the select committee said the Georgia Republican had deliberately incited anger among voters with false claims of election fraud. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Thursday, 1 September 2022: “The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol on Thursday asked former Speaker Newt Gingrich to sit for a voluntary interview about his involvement in former President Donald J. Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election. In a letter to Mr. Gingrich, the Georgia Republican who held the speakership in the late 1990s, the committee said its investigators had obtained evidence that he was in contact with senior advisers to Mr. Trump about television advertisements that amplified false claims of fraud in the 2020 election and other aspects of the scheme to block the transfer of power, both before and after a mob attacked the Capitol. ‘Some of the information we have obtained includes email messages that you exchanged with senior advisers to President Trump and others, including Jared Kushner and Jason Miller, in which you provided detailed input into television advertisements that repeated and relied upon false claims about fraud in the 2020 election,’ Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and chairman of the committee, wrote in a letter to Mr. Gingrich. ‘These advertising efforts were not designed to encourage voting for a particular candidate,’ Mr. Thompson added. ‘Instead, these efforts attempted to cast doubt on the outcome of the election after voting had already taken place. They encouraged members of the public to contact their state officials and pressure them to challenge and overturn the results of the election.'” See also, January 6 House select committee asks former House speaker Newt Gingrich to sit for interview, The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany and Josh Dawsey, Thursday, 1 September 2022: “The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection issued a request to interview former House speaker Newt Gingrich on Thursday. The request from Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) cited evidence obtained by the committee showing Gingrich was in communication with senior advisers to President Donald Trump, including Jared Kushner and Jason Miller, regarding television advertisements that amplified false claims about fraud in the 2020 election.”

Federal Judge Says Lindsey Graham Can Be Questioned About Election Activity. Prosecutors in Atlanta have called the Republican senator to testify before a special grand jury investigating efforts by Donald J. Trump and his allies to overturn his election loss. The New York Times, Richard Fausset, Thursday, 1 September 2022: “In a setback for Senator Lindsey Graham, a federal judge ruled on Thursday that prosecutors can ask him about certain elements of his November 2020 phone calls with Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state. Mr. Raffensperger has said that in those calls, Mr. Graham suggested rejecting mail-in votes in the presidential election from counties with high rates of questionable signatures. The order from U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May must now be taken up for consideration by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. It is the latest twist in a protracted legal drama in which Mr. Graham has sought to avoid appearing before a special grand jury in Atlanta that is investigating efforts by Donald J. Trump and his allies to overturn Mr. Trump’s narrow loss in the state in 2020. Mr. Graham’s phone calls to Mr. Raffensperger were followed, weeks later, by a call from Mr. Trump himself, who asked Mr. Raffensperger to ‘find’ 11,780 votes to put him over the top…. The judge’s order on Thursday included some good news for Mr. Graham. It shielded the South Carolina Republican from having to answer questions about those aspects of the phone calls that amounted to ‘legislative fact-finding’ on his part. But Judge May rejected Mr. Graham’s argument that all questions about the calls should be barred. Secretary Raffensperger, the judge wrote, ‘has stated publicly that he understood Senator Graham to be implying or otherwise suggesting that he (Secretary Raffensperger) should throw out ballots.'” See also, Federal judge says Senator Lindsey Graham must testify in 2020 election investigation but limits the scope of questions, The Washington Post, Ann E. Marimow and Tom Hamburger, Thursday, 1 September 2022: “Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) must appear before a Georgia grand jury investigating possible attempts by Donald Trump and his allies to disrupt the state’s 2020 presidential election, a federal judge ruled Thursday. But the judge limited the range of questions that prosecutors can ask, partly acknowledging Graham’s claim that his status as a sitting senator provides protection against such inquiries. Graham’s lawyers had sought to throw out the subpoena from the Georgia grand jury, arguing that his calls to Georgia officials after the 2020 election were part of his official Senate duties and thus immune from the probe. ‘The Court is unpersuaded by the breadth of Senator Graham’s argument and does not find that the Speech or Debate Clause completely prevents all questioning related to the calls,’ U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May wrote, referring to a constitutional provision that protects lawmakers from being questioned about legislative activity.” See also, Federal judge again rejects Senator Lindsey Graham’s bid to throw out subpoena in Atlanta-area Trump investigation. District Court Judge Leigh Martin May said she was ‘unpersuaded by the breadth of Senator Graham’s argument.’ Politico, Kyle Cheney, Thursday, 1 September 2022: “A federal judge has for the second time rejected Sen. Lindsey Graham’s effort to block a grand jury subpoena issued by the Atlanta-area district attorney investigating former President Donald Trump and his allies’ effort to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia. In a 23-page order, U.S. District Court Judge Leigh Martin May ruled that the South Carolina Republican’s claim to be immune from such questioning — thanks to the protections of the so-called speech or debate clause of the Constitution — is not as sweeping as Graham claimed it to be.”

According to his campaign finance reports, Arizona Republican U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters has hired two fake electors, Az Mirror, Jerod Macdonald-Evoy, Thursday, 1 September 2022: “Gregory Safsten has been paid $29,350.80 so far by the Masters campaign as a ‘campaign consultant.’ Safsten was one of 11 people who signed a bogus document claiming former President Donald Trump won Arizona’s Electoral College votes in the 2020 election. The fraudulent elector document was organized by the Arizona Republican Party on behalf of Trump’s campaign, which encouraged similar efforts in other battleground states that Trump lost as part of a plan to let congressional Republicans reject Joe Biden’s win and install Trump for a second term. Safsten was the executive director for the AZGOP at the time. Masters has also paid Mesa resident Lori Osiecki, who was one of a different group of 11 fake electors. She helped create a copy of the ‘certificate of ascertainment’ that each state submits to cast their electoral votes. Osiecki and the others, who identified themselves as ‘The Sovereign Citizens of the Great State of Arizona,’ sent signed, notarized certificates to the National Archives purporting to be electoral votes for Trump and they also sent a copy to the Secretary of State’s Office.”

Kellye SoRelle, Top Lawyer for Oath Keepers, Is Arrested in Connection With January 6 Attack. SoRelle was charged with obstructing the certification of the 2020 election and tampering with evidence in the Justice Department’s investigation of the Capitol riot. The New York Times, Alan Feuer and Ken Bensinger, Thursday, 1 September 2022: “The top lawyer for the Oath Keepers militia, who was with the group’s leader outside the Capitol on Jan. 6., 2021, was charged on Thursday with conspiring to obstruct a joint session of Congress that day as lawmakers met to certify the results of the 2020 election. The lawyer, Kellye SoRelle, was the latest member of the right-wing extremist group to be indicted in connection with the Capitol attack. The indictment, handed up in Federal District Court in Washington, also accused Ms. SoRelle, 43, of tampering with evidence connected to the Justice Department’s grand jury investigation of Jan. 6 and illegally entering and remaining in a restricted area of the Capitol grounds. Unlike several other members of the Oath Keepers — including the group’s founder and leader, Stewart Rhodes — Ms. SoRelle, who was arrested on Thursday morning in Junction, Texas, was not charged with seditious conspiracy. Mr. Rhodes and a group of other Oath Keepers facing the sedition charges are set to go on trial in Washington at the end of the month.” See also, Oath Keepers attorney Kellye SoRelle arrested on January 6 charges. U.S. prosecutors have cast SoRelle as Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes’s liaison to Proud Boys and ‘Stop the Steal’ groups. The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu and Rachel Weiner, Thursday, 1 September 2022: “An attorney for the Oath Keepers who was with the group’s founder, Stewart Rhodes, outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was arrested Thursday in Texas on charges related to the attack on Congress, federal prosecutors announced. Kellye SoRelle, 43, was arrested in Junction, Tex., and is to make an initial appearance Thursday afternoon before a federal judge in Austin, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for Washington. In an indictment returned Wednesday, SoRelle was charged with four offenses — conspiracy, obstruction of a federal proceeding, tampering with documents and misdemeanor trespassing in a restricted building or grounds — prosecutors said.”

Friday, 2 September 2022:


War in Ukraine: Russia will not restart Nord Stream 1 gas supply to Germany; International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to have ‘permanent’ presence at nuclear plant, The Washington Post, Ellen Francis, John Hudson, Hari Raj, Claire Parker, and Praveena Somasundaram, Friday, 2 September 2022: “Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom said an oil leak prompted the company to shut off the gas supply to Europe through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which had been expected to reopen Saturday. European Commission spokesman Eric Mamer called the move ‘proof of Russia’s cynicism,’ as fears of a prolonged shutdown heighten in Europe. The International Atomic Energy Agency will establish a ‘permanent’ presence at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine, the agency’s chief said Friday. The move to constantly monitor the facility followed heavy fighting between Russia and Ukraine that raised fears among world leaders of a potential nuclear catastrophe.

  • Gas transport along the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which links western Russia and Germany, has fully stopped, Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom announced Friday. The key pipeline has been shut down in recent days for what the Russian energy giant described as ‘routine maintenance.’ In a statement Friday, Gazprom said an oil leak was discovered at a compressor station in the course of maintenance work, so the pipeline would not reopen Saturday as planned.
  • Two IAEA inspectors will remain at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant on a ‘permanent’ basis, agency chief Rafael Mariano Grossi said at a news conference in Vienna Friday evening following his trip to the facility. Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s envoy to the agency, told The Washington Post earlier Friday that Russian authorities ‘welcome this intention.’ Grossi led a 14-person delegation on an inspection tour of the Russian-held facility Thursday. The two monitors set to stay on will serve as the agency’s eyes and ears on the ground, providing much more reliable access to information about the safety of the site, Grossi said.
  • Grossi said ‘the physical integrity of the plant’ had been violated ‘several times,’ adding that he had seen impact holes and markings on buildings from shelling. He called attacks on the plant ‘unacceptable.’ Ukraine and Russia have traded blame for shelling on the plant in the past month. Grossi said safety and security systems at the site were functional, and backup diesel generators were operating normally. Some radiation monitoring and emergency response systems are working well, after interruptions. Grossi voiced concern about Ukrainian workers who continue work in an atmosphere of ‘latent tension’ under Russian supervisors, and praised their professionalism.
  • The risk of a nuclear accident will remain as long as fighting around the site continues, Grossi said. ‘I was worried, I am worried, I will be worried, for as long as we don’t have a stabilized situation in a permanent manner,’ he said. But the IAEA director rebuffed Ukrainian calls for the agency to throw its support behind the creation of a demilitarized zone around the plant, arguing that it was not the agency’s job to wade into politics. ‘Frankly speaking, there are enough political players in this game,’ he said.
  • Lithuania called for an ‘internationally enforced’ safe zone at the Zaporizhzhia plant. The Lithuanian foreign minister said this was ‘the only way to prevent’ a nuclear disaster, after the country’s deputy police commissioner offered to send officers to Ukraine in the event that a U.N. peacekeeping force is formed.

Russia-Ukraine War: Russia Will Not Restart Gas Flow to Germany as Planned. The Nord Stream 1 pipeline had been expected to reopen Saturday after a three-day shutdown, but it has been postponed. A statement from the energy giant Gazprom raised fresh concerns about European energy supplies. The New York Times, Friday, 2 September 2022:

  • The gas pipeline connecting Russia to Germany remains closed.

  • ‘This worries me a lot.’ The U.N. nuclear watchdog says shelling at the Ukrainian plant still poses a grave risk.

  • The Biden administration asks Congress for $13.7 billion in additional aid for Ukraine, underscoring its resolve.

  • Ukraine accuses Russia of offering only a ‘staged’ visit to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.

  • Against fierce resistance, Ukraine makes small gains in the south near Kherson.

  • A price cap on Russian oil wins the backing of G7 ministers.

F.B.I. Found 48 Empty Folders That Had Contained Classified Documents at Trump’s Home. A detailed inventory of items seized in the F.B.I’s search of Mar-a-Lago raised the question of whether the government had fully recovered the documents or any remained missing. The New York Times, Charlie Savage and Alan Feuer, Friday, 2 September 2022: “The F.B.I.’s search of former President Donald J. Trump’s Florida club and residence last month turned up 48 empty folders marked as containing classified information, a newly disclosed court filing shows, raising the question of whether the government had fully recovered the documents or any remain missing. The filing, a detailed list of items retrieved in the search, was unsealed on Friday as part of the court fight over whether to appoint an independent arbiter to review the materials taken by federal agents when they descended on Mr. Trump’s estate, Mar-a-Lago, on Aug. 8. Along with the empty folders with classified markings, the F.B.I. discovered 40 more empty folders that said they contained sensitive documents the user should ‘return to staff secretary/military aide,’ according to the inventory. It also said that agents found seven documents marked as ‘top secret’ in Mr. Trump’s office and 11 more in a storage room. The list and an accompanying court filing from the Justice Department did not say whether all the contents of the folders had been recovered. But the filing noted that the inquiry into Mr. Trump’s handling of the documents remained ‘an active criminal investigation.’ The inventory also sheds further light on how documents marked as classified were stored haphazardly, mixed with everyday items. Among the items found in one box: 30 news clippings dated from 2008 to 2019, three articles of clothing or ‘gift items,’ one book, 11 government documents marked as confidential, 21 marked as secret and 255 government documents or photographs with no classification markings. The list suggests the files Mr. Trump took to his Florida home were stored in a slapdash manner and appeared to underline concerns that he had not followed rules for protecting national security secrets. It also offered the clearest indication yet that promises by Mr. Trump’s team that all sensitive records had been returned were untrue.” See also, FBI list shows empty classified folders and secret items mixed with mundane items, The Washington Post, Perry Stein and Jacqueline Alemany, Friday, 2 September 2022: “Former president Donald Trump intermingled classified and unclassified materials in boxes at his Florida residence and had dozens of empty folders that bore a ‘classification’ marking, according to an inventory list made public Friday morning that describes in more detail what FBI agents recovered when they searched Mar-a-Lago last month. Several of the retrieved boxes also contain items labeled ‘clothing/ gift item,’ according to the inventory list. While these are not secret or sensitive items, experts said the discovery of them at Mar-a-Lago raises questions about whether Trump followed long-standing rules around receiving gifts domestically and those from foreign governments. A federal judge — with approval from Trump’s legal team and Justice Department lawyers — ordered Thursday that the inventory list be unsealed. The 11-page document provides the most detailed view yet of the government materials that Trump kept with him in Florida after he left the White House and the seemingly haphazard way he stored them.”

Former Attorney General William Barr Dismisses Trump’s Request for a Special Master. Barr, who chose not to indict Mr. Trump in the Russia inquiry, said the Justice Department was justified in investigating his handling of government materials. The New York Times, Glenn Thrush, Friday, 2 September 2022: “Former Attorney General William P. Barr dismissed former President Donald J. Trump’s call for an independent review of materials seized from his Florida home on Friday — and said an inventory of items recovered in the search last month seemed to support the Justice Department’s claim that it was needed to safeguard national security. ‘As more information comes out, the actions of the department look more understandable,’ Mr. Barr told The New York Times in a phone interview, speaking of the decision by the current attorney general, Merrick B. Garland, to seek a search warrant of the complex at Mar-a-Lago. ‘It seems to me they were driven by concern about highly sensitive information being strewn all over a country club, and it was taking them almost two years to get it back,’ said Mr. Barr, who resigned in December 2020, as Mr. Trump pushed him to support false claims that the election had been stolen. ‘It appears that there’s been a lot of jerking around of the government,’ he added. ‘I’m not sure the department could have gotten it back without taking action.’ Asked what he thought of the argument for the appointment of a special master, an independent arbiter to review the material that could delay the investigation, Mr. Barr laughed. ‘I think it’s a crock of shit,’ he said, adding, ‘I don’t think a special master is called for.’ Mr. Barr has not been afraid to criticize Mr. Trump since leaving office, but he has seldom been quite so blunt in his assessment as during the interview on Friday afternoon, or earlier in the day when he expressed similar sentiments on Fox News. Mr. Barr’s comments, which echo the assessment of many Democrats and a few Republicans, including the former Bush adviser Karl Rove, came as Mr. Trump’s supporters tried to downplay the importance of the inventory unsealed by a federal judge in Florida. The eight-page document, which was made public with the tacit assent of the former president’s lawyers, revealed that the F.B.I. recovered 11,179 documents or photographs without classification markings belonging to the government, and more than 100 others marked top secret, secret or confidential.” See also, Former Attorney General William Barr says there is no ‘legitimate reason’ for Trump to have classified documents, The Washington Post, Azi Paybarah, Friday, 2 September 2022: “In his sharpest critique of his former boss, former attorney general William P. Barr said there is no reason classified documents should have been inside Donald Trump’s personal residence in Florida after he was no longer president. ‘No, I can’t think of a legitimate reason why they could be taken out of government, away from the government, if they are classified,’ Barr said in an interview with Fox News that aired Friday. Barr’s comment comes after federal officials entered Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club and home last month with a court-issued warrant to retrieve classified documents, a move the former president said was improper and politically motivated. ‘People say this was unprecedented,’ Barr said Friday, ‘but it’s also unprecedented for a president to take all this classified information and put them in a country club, okay?’ Barr also dismissed the explanation advanced by Trump and his allies that the former president had declassified entire batches of the documents. ‘If in fact he sort of stood over scores of boxes, not really knowing what was in them, and said, “I hereby declassify everything in here,” that would be such an abuse and show such recklessness that it’s almost worse than taking the documents,’ Barr said. ‘What people are missing,’ Barr told Fox News, is that documents, regardless of whether they were classified, ‘still belong to the government and go to the archives.’ The other documents that were seized, like news clippings, were ‘seizable under the warrant because they show the conditions under which the classified information was being held,’ Barr said. Barr also said the government had gone to extraordinary lengths to work cooperatively with Trump’s team before entering his Florida home.” See also, Former Attorney General Bill Barr Blows Up Every Trumpy Defense of the Mar-a-Lago Documents in Brutal Fox News Interview, The Daily Beast, Justin Baragona, Friday, 2 September 2022: “Bill Barr, the one-time attorney general under former President Donald Trump, told Fox News on Friday that the ex-president had no ‘legitimate reason’ to hoard classified material at his Florida resort. Furthermore, he defended the Justice Department’s decision to raid Mar-a-Lago, arguing that the DOJ was ‘being jerked around’ by Team Trump. As a federal judge decides whether or not to grant Trump’s request for a ‘special master’ to review the documents seized from his property last month, the Justice Department revealed on Friday just how careless the former president had been with state secrets at his private club. In an eight-page inventory list, the department noted that Trump had casually mixed ‘TOP SECRET’ documents with magazines, books, and his wife’s clothes. One box allegedly found in the ex-president’s office also contained ’43 empty folders with “CLASSIFIED” banners.’ Federal prosecutors are mulling whether to charge Trump with criminal offenses under the Espionage Act and obstruction of justice.”

Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone appears before January 6 grand jury. The former top lawyer at the White House is the highest-ranking aide to go before grand jury in Justice Department criminal probe of Trump’s actions amid efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, Friday, 2 September 2022: “Former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone appeared before a federal grand jury Friday in Washington investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, spending 2½ hours behind closed doors with jurors and prosecutors. Cipollone became the highest-ranking White House aide known to appear before the grand jury in the Justice Department’s criminal investigation of efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, including President Donald Trump’s actions, that culminated in the siege of Congress as lawmakers met to confirm President Biden’s 2020 election victory. Cipollone’s deputy counsel Pat Philbin was expected to appear later Friday.”

Trump Embraces Conspiracy Theories He Only Winked at Before. The former president’s activity on his social network, Truth Social, openly promotes far-right and conspiratorial ideas that are usually confined to corners of the internet. The New York Times, Stuart A. Thompson, Friday, 2 September 2022: “In a 24-hour period this week, former President Donald J. Trump posted to his social media platform, Truth Social, 88 times, amplifying one conspiracy theory after another. Among his unsupported claims: A retiring F.B.I. agent was behind both the search of his Mar-a-Lago property on Aug. 8 and the investigation into his campaign’s possible ties to Russia; a forthcoming report will prove widespread corruption against his 2016 campaign; and he should be reinstalled as president because the 2020 election was fraudulent. ‘Declare the rightful winner or, and this would be the minimal solution, declare the 2020 Election irreparably compromised and have a new Election, immediately!’ he wrote. Mr. Trump has spent more than a decade on social media attacking enemies, cozying up to far-right ideas and sharing false information. He used Twitter to perpetuate the lie that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States and later deemed one investigation after another partisan witch hunts. But, as his legal exposure intensifies over his handling of government documents, the former president this week crossed over to a more direct embrace of claims batted around the dark corners on the internet. His winks and nods to the far right became enthusiastic endorsements, and his flirtations with convoluted conspiratorial ideas became more overt.”

If Trump did ‘declassify’ records (he didn’t), it would be no less damning. His nonsensical claim is a bit like the Twinkie defense–at best it would mean he put his convenience above risks to national security. The Washington Post, Steve Vladeck, Friday, 2 September 2022: “There are so many holes in former president Donald Trump’s claim that he declassified the documents confiscated by the FBI during its Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago that it’s hard to keep track. The latest came Wednesday night, when Trump’s own lawyers agreed with the Justice Department that if a special master were appointed to review the seized materials, that person should have a top secret/SCI security clearance: If Trump’s declassification claim were correct, why the need for a special master to have that clearance? Equally significant is that none of the three federal crimes that formed the basis for the search — Espionage Act violations, mishandling of government records and obstruction of justice — turn on the documents’ classification status. So the declassification issue is the reddest of red herrings: It’s as factually implausible as it is legally irrelevant. But there’s one more problem with Trump’s argument that these rebuttals don’t fully capture. Even if it were accurate and relevant, it would be no less damning as an indictment of the former president.”


Saturday, 3 September 2022:


War in Ukraine: The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has lost connection to its main power source; European leaders blast Nord Stream shutdown, The Washington Post, Ellen Francis, Katerina Ang, Lateshia Beachum, and Praveena Somasundaram, Saturday, 3 September 2022: “The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has lost connection to its main power source, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Saturday. The facility is now operating through a reserve line as United Nations inspectors continue evaluating its safety. European officials cast doubt on Russia’s motives for halting the natural gas flow through a key pipeline, which was expected to reopen Saturday [but didn’t].

  • The European Council president accused Moscow of using ‘gas as a weapon,’ after the Russian energy giant said it would not reopen the Nord Stream 1 pipeline on Saturday as planned because of a leak. The move leaves Europe risking natural gas shortages and the world bracing for price hikes. Western leaders say Moscow is using energy as leverage in retaliation for sanctions over the war in Ukraine. A spokesman for the European Commission said the latest Gazprom announcement came ‘under fallacious pretenses’ and was ‘proof of Russia’s cynicism.’
  • The U.N. nuclear watchdog will keep two monitors at the Zaporizhzhia plant in Ukraine on a ‘permanent’ basis, agency chief Rafael Mariano Grossi said after returning from a mission to the facility. Shelling has raised fears of a potential nuclear disaster, prompting the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to lead a visit across front lines to the plant, which Russian forces captured earlier in the war.
  • The plant lost its connection to its main external power source and was operating through a reserve line, the IAEA said in a news release Saturday. ‘One reactor is still operating and producing electricity both for cooling and other essential safety functions,’ the news release said. Access to three other main lines was lost earlier, the IAEA said, and the most recent disconnection occurred Friday evening.
  • Russia held funeral rites Saturday for Mikhail Gorbachev, laying the last Soviet leader to rest without an official state funeral. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who disdained Gorbachev for the collapse of the Soviet Union, did not attend. Adored in the West but controversial and at times despised at home, Gorbachev was reportedly distraught over Russia’s war in Ukraine. An aide who worked alongside him for nearly four decades said that in one of their last phone conversations, Gorbachev seemed ‘shocked and bewildered’ by the state of the country he once ruled.

Russia-Ukraine War: Embattled Nuclear Plant Is Cut Off From Main Power Line After Shelling. The U.N. nuclear watchdog, whose monitors are currently at the Zaporizhzhia power plant, said the station in Ukraine was relying on a single reserve line. The New York Times, Saturday, 3 September 2022:

  • A Ukrainian nuclear plant has again been cut off from its main external power line after shelling, the U.N. says.

  • Stationing inspectors at the Zaporizhzhia plant is a victory for the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

  • A 9-year-old boy is killed in a rocket attack in southern Ukraine.

  • Europe says it can weather the winter as Russia postpones resuming gas flow.

  • Gorbachev’s funeral is held in Moscow, with Putin conspicuously absent.

  • Putin opts for domestic stability over putting his nation on a war footing.

What the F.B.I. Seized From Mar-a-Lago, Illustrated, The New York Times, Charlie Smart and Larry Buchanan, Saturday, 3 September 2022: “A court filing unsealed on Friday included a detailed inventory of the material that the F.B.I. removed in its Aug. 8 search of former President Donald J. Trump’s office and storage area at Mar-a-Lago, his residence and private club in Florida. Among the items seized, according to the list, were 18 documents marked as top secret, 54 marked as secret, 31 marked as confidential and 11,179 government documents or photographs without classification markings. Forty-eight empty folders marked as having contained classified information were also taken, though the list did not specify whether that information was recovered. In total, the inventory included 33 groups of items that F.B.I. agents removed from Mar-a-Lago, including individual documents as well as containers full of materials like books, articles from newspapers and magazines or gifts and pieces of clothing. These seemingly more innocuous objects were often mixed together in the same boxes or containers as government documents, both with and without classification markings.”

Wall Street Journal Poll Shows Support for Legalized Abortion Grows Following the Supreme Court Overturning Roe v. Wade in June. More than half of voters said the issue made them more likely to cast ballots in the midterm elections; majorities oppose 6-week and 15-week abortion bans. Wall Street Journal, Catherine Lucey, Saturday, 3 September 2022: “Voters have grown more supportive of legalizing abortion following the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, with a clear majority opposing restrictions, like bans at a certain point of pregnancy or barring women from traveling to get a legal abortion, according to a new Wall Street Journal poll that underscores the importance of the issue in the midterm elections. According to the survey, 60% of voters said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, up from 55% in March. Another 29% said it should be illegal, except in cases of rape, incest and when the woman’s life is endangered, compared with 30% in March. And 6% said it should be illegal in all cases, down from 11% in March. The court’s decision to end federal constitutional protections for the procedure has injected new Democratic energy into a midterm election that Republicans expected to be dominated by economic issues. About a dozen states have banned many or most abortions since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.”


Sunday, 4 September 2022:


War in Ukraine: John Sullivan, U.S. Ambassador to Russia, is retiring; Germany announces $65 billion in aid for energy crisis, The Washington Post, Annabelle Timsit, Paulina Villegas, and Reis Thebault, Sunday, 4 September 2022: “The U.S. ambassador to Russia, John Sullivan, is retiring after nearly three years in Moscow, where he managed one of the most tumultuous periods of U.S.-Russia relations in recent history. Meanwhile, Germany’s government announced its largest domestic relief package yet, earmarking about $65 billion to help households deal with soaring energy costs.

  • Sullivan was appointed by President Donald Trump in 2019 and agreed to stay in Moscow at President Biden’s request. Since the invasion of Ukraine began, he has been the main U.S. interlocutor in Moscow. He retires from a decades-long career in public service with five administrations.
  • Elizabeth Rood, the deputy chief of mission at the embassy in Moscow, will assume duties as chargé d’affaires until Sullivan’s successor arrives, the U.S. Embassy said in a statement.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky again urged the European Union to ban tourist visas for Russians. Zelensky said Sunday that he spoke with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen about the bloc’s next round of E.U. sanctions on Moscow. ‘Europe is a land of values, not Disneyland for supporters of terror,’ Zelensky said in his nightly address. ‘Visa restrictions will definitely demonstrate this.’
  • Nearly 600 Ukrainians have returned from Russian captivity, Oleksandr Smirnov, head of the National Information Bureau, said in a television interview Sunday. Of that group, about 100 are civilians and about 500 are members of the military, he said. Ukraine has confirmed nearly 40,000 forcible deportations, Smirnov said, but the true number is probably far higher. Experts say that disappearances are part of Russia’s campaign of terror and that the war crimes are especially difficult to track and prosecute.
  • Thirteen more ships transporting 252,000 tons of Ukrainian grain left the ports of Odessa on Sunday, according to the Ukrainian Infrastructure Ministry. The ships were headed to eight countries around the world in what the ministry called the largest caravan leaving Ukraine since a deal was brokered to export grain in July.
  • The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant lost its connection to its last main external power line but was still supplying the national grid through a reserve line, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a news release Saturday. ‘One reactor is still operating and producing electricity both for cooling and other essential safety functions,’ it said. Access to three other mainlines was lost earlier, the IAEA said, and the most recent disconnection occurred Friday evening due to shelling.

Russia-Ukraine War: Shelling Persists in the East Despite Shift in Focus to the South. An uptick in fighting in southern Ukraine has changed the calculus for both sides in the eastern Donetsk region. Germany unveiled its largest measures yet to help citizens deal with soaring energy costs. The New York Times, Sunday, 4 September 2022:

  • Deadly shelling in the east offers a grim reminder of a continuing battle.

  • Scholz announces a $65 billion relief package in Germany.

  • Other European nations try to fight rising prices, as fears of social unrest grow.

  • Thirteen ships carrying grain set sail, the largest convoy so far.

  • John Sullivan, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, leaves Moscow to retire.

  • Ukraine presses its offensive in the south.

Trump Lashes Out in First Rally since F.B.I. Search. Donald Trump and President Biden have both made recent appearances in Pennsylvania, one of the key states in November’s midterm elections. The New York Times, Katie Glueck and Michael C Bender, Sunday, 4 September 2022: “In his first rally since his home was searched by the F.B.I. on Aug. 8, former President Donald J. Trump on Saturday lashed out at President Biden and federal agents, calling his Democratic rival ‘an enemy of the state’ and the F.B.I. and the Department of Justice ‘vicious monsters.’ In an aggrieved and combative speech in Pennsylvania, Mr. Trump stoked anger against law enforcement even as the F.B.I. and federal officials have faced an increase in threats following the search of Mr. Trump’s residence to retrieve classified documents. Mr. Trump’s remarks echoed the chain of similar, escalating attacks he wrote on his social media website this week, including posts that singled out one agent by name. That agent has retired, and his lawyers have said he did not have a role in the search. Although he faced criticism for the tirades, and some Republicans have warned about the political dangers in attacking law enforcement, the former president signaled he would yield no ground.”


Monday, 5 September 2022:


Federal Judge Aileen M. Cannon Grants Trump’s Request for Special Master to Review Mar-a-Lago Documents. This ruling also effectively barred federal prosecutors from using key pieces of evidence as they continue to investigate whether Mr. Trump illegally retained national defense documents at his estate. The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Glenn Thrush, and Charlie Savage, Monday, 5 September 2022: “A federal judge intervened on Monday in the investigation of former President Donald J. Trump’s handling of sensitive government records, ordering the appointment of an independent arbiter to review a trove of materials seized last month from Mr. Trump’s private club and residence in Florida. The judge, Aileen M. Cannon of the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida, also temporarily barred the Justice Department from using the seized materials for any “investigative purpose” connected to its inquiry of Mr. Trump until the work of the arbiter, known as a special master, was completed. The order would prevent, at least for now, federal prosecutors from using key pieces of evidence as they continue to investigate whether the former president illegally retained national defense documents at his estate, Mar-a-Lago, or obstructed the government’s repeated efforts to get them back. While the order may ultimately serve only to delay the criminal inquiry into Mr. Trump, the scope and candor of Judge Cannon’s language and reasoning pointed to broader themes. Her ruling seemed to carve out a special exception to the normal legal process for the former president and reject the Justice Department’s implicit argument that Mr. Trump be treated like any other investigative subject. “Indeed, in her order, issued on the Labor Day holiday, Judge Cannon said she had made her decisions ‘to ensure at least the appearance of fairness and integrity under the extraordinary circumstances.’ Her order would not, however, affect a separate review of the documents by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence seeking to determine what risk to national security their removal to Mar-a-Lago may have caused. Justice Department officials last week had discussed the possibility of an appeal if the judge ruled in Mr. Trump’s favor, but a department spokesman, Anthony Coley, demurred on Monday when asked how it would respond….  Any appeal of Judge Cannon’s ruling would be heard by a three-judge panel from the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta. Of its 11 active judges, six were appointed by Mr. Trump. Judge Cannon, who was appointed by Mr. Trump in 2020, granted the special master wide-ranging authority to review the more than 11,000 documents carted away from Mar-a-Lago by the F.B.I. on Aug. 8, some of which bore markings labeling them as highly classified. Her ruling permitted whoever is appointed to the job to evaluate the documents not only for those protected by attorney-client privilege, a relatively common measure, but also for those potentially shielded by executive privilege, which typically protects confidential internal executive branch deliberations.” See also, ‘Deeply Problematic’: Experts Question Judge’s Intervention in Trump Inquiry. A ruling by a judge appointed by former President Donald Trump surprised specialists and could slow the documents investigation. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Monday, 5 September 2022: “A federal judge’s extraordinary decision on Monday to interject in the criminal investigation into former President Donald J. Trump’s hoarding of sensitive government documents at his Florida residence showed unusual solicitude to him, legal specialists said. This was ‘an unprecedented intervention by a federal district judge into the middle of an ongoing federal criminal and national security investigation,’ said Stephen I. Vladeck, a law professor at University of Texas…. Paul Rosenzweig, a former homeland security official in the George W. Bush administration and prosecutor in the independent counsel investigation of Bill Clinton, said it was egregious to block the Justice Department from steps like asking witnesses about government files, many marked as classified, that agents had already reviewed. ‘This would seem to me to be a genuinely unprecedented decision by a judge,’ Mr. Rosenzweig said. ‘Enjoining the ongoing criminal investigation is simply untenable.’… A specialist in separation of powers, Peter M. Shane, who is a legal scholar in residence at N.Y.U., said there was no basis for Judge Cannon to expand a special master’s authority to screen materials that were also potentially subject to executive privilege. That tool is normally thought of as protecting internal executive branch deliberations from disclosure to outsiders like Congress. ‘The opinion seems oblivious to the nature of executive privilege,’ he said.” See also, Federal judge Aileen Cannon will appoint a special master to sift through nearly 13,000 documents and items the FBI seized from Donald Trump’s Florida residence and identify any that might be protected by attorney-client or executive privilege, The Washington Post, Perry Stein, Monday, 5 September 2022: “In a ruling that could slow down and complicate the government’s ongoing criminal probe, U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon wrote that the Justice Department cannot continue reviewing the materials taken from Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8, or use them in its investigation, until the special master concludes his or her examination. But she ruled that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence may continue its analysis of the possible risk to national security posed by the removal from government custody of classified documents, some of them related to highly sensitive government and intelligence secrets. Legal experts noted that the Justice Department can still interview witnesses, use other evidence and present information to a grand jury while the special master examines the seized material.” See also, Federal judge Aileen Cannon orders halt to Department of Justice (DOJ) review of documents seized from Trump. Cannon’s order included permitting a so-called special master to review the seized materials for potential attorney-client and executive privilege. Politico, Kyle Cheney, Nicholas Wu, and Andrew Desiderio, Monday, 5 September 2022: “A federal judge on Monday ordered a halt to the Justice Department’s review of materials seized from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, describing a threat to institutions and the risk of media leaks that could cause harm to Trump. ‘Plaintiff faces an unquantifiable potential harm by way of improper disclosure of sensitive information to the public,’ U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon wrote in a 24-page ruling issued on Labor Day. Cannon’s order included permitting a so-called special master to review the seized materials for potential attorney-client and executive privilege. Prosecutors expressed exasperation at Trump’s demand to review for executive privilege, noting that there is no precedent for a former executive to assert privilege to bar review of materials by a sitting executive branch — particularly when the government has determined the need is urgent.”

Republican Senator Marco Rubio shrugs off Trump’s Mar-a-Lago scandal as ‘a storage argument,’ MSN, Eric W. Dolan, Monday, 5 September 2022: “During an interview with a local news outlet on Sunday, Republican Senator Marco Rubio (FL) downplayed the federal investigation into Donald Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents. ‘This is really at its core a storage argument that they’re making,’ Rubio told NBC 6. ‘They’re arguing there are documents there, they don’t deny that he should have access to those documents, but they deny they were properly stored.’ ‘I don’t think a fight over storage of documents is worthy of what they’ve done, which is a full-scale raid and then these constant leaks,’ he continued. ‘That’s the second problem. It’s the PR behind all this.’ Documents at Trump’s Florida home were ‘likely concealed’ to obstruct an FBI probe into his potential mishandling of classified materials, the Justice Department said in a court filing last week.”

War in Ukraine: Kyiv claims areas ‘liberated’ in the south; Putin approves new foreign policy doctrine, The Washington Post, Annabelle Timsit and Sammy Westfall, Monday, 5 September 2022: “Ukrainian officials suggest their long-promised counteroffensive in the south is making progress, with the Luhansk regional governor also nodding to early signs of ‘good news’ in the process of ‘de-occupation of our region’ on Monday. The Kremlin also sought to avoid blame for the shutdown of the gas pipeline Nord Stream 1, while Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a 31-page doctrine outlining the Kremlin’s broad foreign policy vision based around the values and interests of the ‘Russian World.’

  • ‘The Ukrainian counteroffensive is making verifiable progress in the south and the east,’ according to the Institute for the Study of War, a U.S.-based think tank. ISW analysts said ‘Ukrainian forces are advancing along several axes’ to the west of the Kherson region and ‘have secured territory’ in Donetsk, one of two eastern regions that make up the Donbas area. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday after a meeting of Ukraine’s defense, military and intelligence chiefs that ‘Ukrainian flags are returning to the places where they should be by right.’
  • The Kremlin said ‘the collective West is to blame’ for the shutdown of Nord Stream 1. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed Monday that sanctions against Russia are preventing necessary repairs to the pipeline’s machinery. European officials have accused Russia of using repairs as an excuse to halt natural gas deliveries in possible retaliation for Europe’s support of Ukraine.
  • Putin approved a 31-page foreign policy doctrine laying out broad aims to protect and advance the values and interests of the ‘Russian World. Among the doctrine’s tenets are strengthening the global perception of Russia, promoting Russian traditional culture and values and bolstering ties with countries including the Slavic nations, India and China. By supporting Russians abroad, ‘Russia strengthens its image as a democratic state in the international arena, striving to form a multipolar world and preserve its cultural and civilizational diversity,’ the document read.
  • A referendum in occupied Kherson on becoming part of Russia has been ‘paused,’ the Russian state news agency Tass quoted a Moscow-installed official as saying. Kirill Stremousov blamed the security situation but said alleged threats by Ukrainian authorities against anyone taking part in the vote would not prevent it going ahead. Russia has announced similar staged votes in other occupied areas.
  • Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency left the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant Monday, according to the Ukrainian state nuclear power agency, Energoatom. Two representatives of the U.N. nuclear safety agency stayed behind and are expected to remain on a permanent basis to monitor the plant, Energoatom said.
  • John Sullivan said on Monday that the reason he abruptly left his post as U.S. ambassador to Russia the day prior was a sudden turn in his wife’s health. His wife, lawyer Grace Rodriguez, died Monday, he said. They were married for 34 years. ‘I don’t want anybody to think I was not doing my duty,’ Sullivan told Politico, adding that he was grateful to have been able to spend her last hours with her.
  • Russia sentenced former investigative journalist Ivan Safronov to 22 years in prison for ‘treason.’ The sentence, which concluded one of the nation’s most high-profile prosecutions of a journalist in years, marks the latest episode in Russia’s crackdown on media and free expression.
  • A Russian court on Monday revoked the print media license of independent Russian news outlet Novaya Gazeta. The newspaper’s editor in chief, Dmitry Muratov, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year, called the move a ‘purely political decision’ with ‘no legal grounds,’ the outlet reported.

Russia-Ukraine War: Shelling Cuts Off Outside Power to Ukrainian Nuclear Plant. The Zaporizhzhia plant is now using one of its own reactors to power critical cooling systems. The Moscow-backed authorities in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson offered conflicting statements about whether a vote on joining Russia would be held as planned. The New York Times, Monday, 5 September 2022:

  • Ukraine’s besieged nuclear plant loses its connection to outside power, renewing fears.

  • Hints of Ukrainian progress, and Russian confusion, emerge from a southern counteroffensive.

  • Germany will keep two nuclear plants online and collaborate with France to confront an energy crunch.

  • Russia sentences a prominent journalist to 22 years in prison on treason charges.

  • Novaya Gazeta, Russia’s prominent independent newspaper, loses its license to operate.

  • Under Liz Truss, Britain is expected to double down on support for Ukraine.

  • Ukraine’s trains bind a land fractured by war.

  • No longer able to defer burial, Ukrainian investigators are struggling to identify Bucha’s victims.

Russia-Ukraine war: A weekly recap and look ahead (September 5), NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 5 September 2022: “As the week begins, here’s a look ahead and a roundup of key developments from the past week. What to watch this week: On Monday, Brussels hosts a meeting of the EU-Ukraine Association Council, whose agenda includes the European Union’s support for Ukraine amid the Russian invasion and Ukraine’s application for membership in the bloc. On Tuesday, the United Nations Security Council is expected to convene, on Russia’s request, to discuss the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in southern Ukraine, following recent attacks, outages and an international inspection at the plant. Also, Boris Johnson’s tenure as British prime minister comes to an end. He won praise and affection from Ukrainians as a strong supporter of Kyiv. And Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to visit the Vostok military exercises in eastern Russia. On Wednesday, the U.N. Security Council is due to talk about forced displacement in Ukraine, as announced by France. Thursday, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield will give a preview of Washington’s priorities at the U.N. General Assembly later this month. On Friday, she will address global food security, which has also been affected by the war. Friday, EU energy meetings are to hold an extraordinary meeting following price surges largely due to fallout from the war in Ukraine. Additionally, EU economy and finance ministers and central bank chiefs will also hold an informal meeting. On Sunday, Russia holds gubernatorial elections in over a dozen regions. Meanwhile, security analysts will watch for developments as Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the south goes into its second week. What happened last week: Monday, Aug. 29: Ukraine launched a counteroffensive in southern areas captured by Russian forces early in the war. Tuesday, Aug. 30: Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev died at 91. An interpreter who worked with him later told Reuters that Gorbachev had been ‘shocked and bewildered’ by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Putin didn’t attend the Sept. 3 burial ceremony, and the Kremlin gave it only limited elements of a state funeral. UNESCO said it supports Ukraine’s bid to list Odesa as a World Heritage site. Wednesday, Aug. 31: EU countries agreed to suspend visas for Russians but came short of an outright entry ban. Thursday, Sept. 1: International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors visited the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in southern Ukraine, after a delay and attacks en route to the Russian-occupied plant. Ukraine’s new school year began in the middle of a war. While some schools started in person, most will try to hold classes online. More than 2,000 centers of learning, from preschools to universities, have been damaged or destroyed, the Education Ministry says. Russia kicked off Vostok 2022, a week of military exercises with other countries. Some analysts say the drills reflect Moscow’s deepening ties with China and India. Friday, Sept. 2: President Biden asked Congress to approve $11.7 billion for Ukraine, including $7.2 for military-related costs and $4.5 billion for direct economic support. Saturday, Sept. 3: The embattled Zaporizhzhia nuclear station was once again knocked off its last external power line but was still able to run electricity through a reserve line. Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other for shelling in the area. Russian shelling hit Ukraine’s Kharkiv, in the northeast, and Mykolaiv, in the south. Sunday, Sept. 4: John Sullivan left his post as U.S. ambassador to Russia and will retire from public service, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow said. He was appointed in December 2019 by then-President Donald Trump and stayed on through a tumultuous time. Elizabeth Rood becomes the embassy’s charge d’affaires until Sullivan’s successor arrives. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal visited Germany and spoke with its leaders about the war, Russia sanctions and Ukraine’s weapons needs.”


Tuesday, 6 September 2022:


War in Ukraines; U.N. issues first report on Zaporizhzhia; small gains reported in Ukrainian offensive, The Washington Post, Ellen Francis, Kendra Nichols, John Hudson, Emily Rauhala, Claire Parker, Sammy Westfall, and Reis Thebault, Tuesday, 6 September 2022: “The nuclear watchdog at the United Nations released its highly anticipated assessment of the situation at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant Tuesday, warning that ongoing shelling poses a ‘constant threat to nuclear safety,’ including the release of radioactive materials into the environment. Meanwhile, Ukrainian and U.S. officials said Ukraine was making some progress in retaking areas near Kherson.

  • The International Atomic Energy Agency detailed its findings on the ‘safety, security and safeguards’ at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is controlled by Russian forces in Ukraine. Inspectors left the site after an IAEA mission that overcame halting negotiations and the risk of artillery fire, with two representatives staying behind to monitor the situation. The report noted that shelling continues to pose a threat and has damaged the electricity network and buildings near the reactors. The agency also said the conditions under which Ukrainian staff are operating the plant are ‘extremely stressful’ and ‘not sustainable.’
  • ‘They are playing with fire and something very, very catastrophic could take place,’ IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday. He said the attacks were ‘simply unacceptable,’ but he did not single out either side.
  • A backup power line linked to the Zaporizhzhia plant was disconnected to extinguish a fire but not damaged, the IAEA said. For safety, the plant is receiving electricity from its sole operating reactor, it said. Ukrainian state company Energoatom said earlier that Russian shelling had caused a fire, while Russia also accused Ukraine of shelling nearby. The Washington Post could not confirm either side’s claims.
  • The European Commission on Tuesday proposed the full suspension of a visa facilitation accord with Russia, a move aimed at making it more difficult and expensive for Russian tourists to get visas but not banning them completely. It’s now up to the European Council to adopt the proposal. The question of what to do about Russian visitors has divided the bloc. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has repeatedly called for an outright ban on Russian tourists, said the decision was ‘an important step’ but that more should be done. ‘Europe is not a place for promenade for murderers and those who support them,’ he said in his nightly address.
  • The Russian Defense Ministry ‘is in the process of purchasing millions of rockets and artillery shells’ from North Korea, according to declassified U.S. intelligence. A U.S. official did not specify how much weaponry was involved. ‘This purchase indicates that the Russian military continues to suffer from severe supply shortages in Ukraine,’ the official said. Both Russia and Ukraine have struggled to source artillery shells for Soviet-era weapons.
  • Zelensky spoke with newly minted British Prime Minister Liz Truss on Tuesday — the first call with a foreign leader during her tenure. Truss has pledged continued support for Kyiv and a tough posture toward Moscow. Zelensky said he invited Truss to Ukraine and said the U.K. premier signaled support for further economic and defense aid. Russia’s top diplomat criticized Truss and called her ‘inherently anti-Russian.’

Russia-Ukraine War: U.N. Inspectors Call for Security Zone Around Nuclear Plant. The nuclear watchdog agency, which will later brief the U.N. Security Council, said that shelling around the Zaporizhzhia complex should be ‘stopped immediately.’ The New York Times, Tuesday, 6 September 2022:

  • The International Atomic Energy Agency calls for a ‘safety and security protection zone’ at the Zaporizhzhia plant.

  • Russia is buying North Korean artillery, according to U.S. intelligence.

  • Ukraine seeks a safe route for civilians wanting to flee the region of an embattled nuclear plant.

  • North Korea appears to draw closer to Russia with possible artillery sales and labor exports.

  • Russia sentences a prominent journalist to 22 years in prison on treason charges.

Material on foreign nation’s nuclear capabilities seized at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago. Some seized documents were so closely held, only the president, a Cabinet-level or near-Cabinet level official could authorize others to know. The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett and Carol D. Leonnig, Tuesday, 6 September 2022: “A document describing a foreign government’s military defenses, including its nuclear capabilities, was found by FBI agents who searched former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and private club last month, according to people familiar with the matter, underscoring concerns among U.S. intelligence officials about classified material stashed in the Florida property. Some of the seized documents detail top-secret U.S. operations so closely guarded that many senior national security officials are kept in the dark about them. Only the president, some members of his Cabinet or a near-Cabinet-level official could authorize other government officials to know details of these special-access programs, according to people familiar with the search, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive details of an ongoing investigation. Documents about such highly classified operations require special clearances on a need-to-know basis, not just top-secret clearance. Some special-access programs can have as few as a couple dozen government personnel authorized to know of an operation’s existence. Records that deal with such programs are kept under lock and key, almost always in a secure compartmented information facility, with a designated control officer to keep careful tabs on their location. But such documents were stored at Mar-a-Lago, with uncertain security, more than 18 months after Trump left the White House.”

Newly obtained surveillance video shows fake Trump elector escorted operatives into Georgia county’s elections office before voting machine breach, CNN Politics, Zachary Cohen and Jason Morris, Tuesday, 6 September 2022: “A Republican county official in Georgia escorted two operatives working with an attorney for former President Donald Trump into the county’s election offices on the same day a voting system there was breached, newly obtained video shows. The breach is now under investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and is of interest to the Fulton County District Attorney, who is conducting a wider criminal probe of interference in the 2020 election. The video sheds more light on how an effort spearheaded by lawyers and others around Trump to seek evidence of voter fraud was executed on the ground from Georgia to Michigan to Colorado, often with the assistance of sympathetic local officials. In the surveillance video, which was obtained by CNN, Cathy Latham, a former GOP chairwoman of Coffee County who is under criminal investigation for posing as a fake elector in 2020, escorts a team of pro-Trump operatives to the county’s elections office on January 7, 2021, the same day a voting system there is known to have been breached. The two men seen in the video with Latham, Scott Hall and Paul Maggio, have acknowledged that they successfully gained access to a voting machine in Coffee County at the behest of Trump lawyer Sidney Powell.” See also, Video shows election deniers repeatedly visited Georgia county office at center of criminal investigation, The Washington Post, Emma Brown and Jon Swaine, Tuesday, 6 September 2022: “Technology consultants who sought evidence that Donald Trump’s 2020 defeat was fraudulent made multiple visits to a county elections office in rural Georgia in the weeks after an alleged post-election breach of voting equipment there that is the subject of a criminal investigation. Surveillance video reviewed by The Washington Post shows that the consultants, Doug Logan and Jeffrey Lenberg, made two visits in January 2021 to the elections office in Coffee County, about 200 miles south of Atlanta. Lenberg made an additional five visits on his own. The two men are under investigation for separate alleged breaches of voting machines in Michigan. The footage also shows that earlier in January, Cathy Latham, a teacher and then-chairwoman of the county Republican Party, greeted a group of outside data forensics experts when they arrived at the elections office shortly before noon on the day of the alleged breach. Latham has said in sworn testimony that she taught a full day of school that day and visited the elections office briefly after classes ended. She was one of 16 Republicans who signed certificates declaring Trump the rightful winner of the 2020 election as part of the ‘fake elector’ scheme now under investigation by federal and state prosecutors. The new video adds to the picture of the alleged breach in Coffee County on Jan. 7, 2021, and reveals for the first time the later visits by Logan and Lenberg. It also provides further indications of links between various efforts to overturn the election, including what once appeared to be disparate attempts to access and copy election system data in the wake of Trump’s loss. Experts have expressed concern that such efforts could expose details of voting systems’ hardware and software that are intended to be tightly controlled, potentially aiding hackers who might seek to alter the results of a future election. Data copied from elections systems in other states has been published online. Georgia state officials and voting-machine makers have downplayed the risk, pointing to safeguards that they say protect the systems from tampering.” See also, Video Raises Concerns About Election Data Breach in Georgia County. Surveillance video from rural Coffee County, Georgia, raised new questions about the extent to which election data was improperly shared with pro-Trump figures challenging the 2020 election results. The New York Times, Richard Rausset and Sean Keenan, Tuesday, 6 September 2022: “Newly released surveillance video from rural Coffee County, Ga., shows that a number of conservative activists who tried to sow doubts about Donald J. Trump’s 2020 election loss paid visits during January 2021 to the county’s elections office, where technicians hired by a pro-Trump lawyer copied sensitive election system software. The video footage reflects just how many pro-Trump activists descended on the county, roughly 200 miles southeast of Atlanta, in an effort to find anomalies that would help them challenge Mr. Trump’s narrow loss in Georgia. And it raises new questions about how many individuals and groups gained access to the county’s voting software, a data breach that is under investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and is one of a number of similar incidents coordinated by Trump allies in various swing states. Legal experts say that state investigators are most likely exploring whether Georgia laws were violated, including laws specifically barring access to voting equipment. More broadly, the breaching of numerous election systems around the country raises questions about their vulnerability to being hacked in future elections.”

New Mexico Judge Unseats Official Who Trespassed at Capitol on January 6. The ruling made Couy Griffin, a county commissioner in New Mexico, the first official in more than 100 years to be removed under the Constitution’s bar on insurrectionists holding office. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Alan Feuer, Tuesday, 6 September 2022: “A judge in New Mexico on Tuesday ordered a county commissioner convicted of participating in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol removed from office under the 14th Amendment, making him the first public official in more than a century to be barred from serving under a constitutional ban on insurrectionists holding office. The ruling declared the Capitol assault an insurrection and unseated Couy Griffin, a commissioner in New Mexico’s Otero County and the founder of Cowboys for Trump, who was convicted earlier this year of trespassing when he breached barricades outside the Capitol during the attack. The judge’s order grabbed the attention of advocates across the country who have been pushing to use the 14th Amendment to disqualify former President Donald J. Trump and elected officials who worked with him in seeking to overturn the 2020 election from holding office in the future. In his decision, Judge Francis J. Mathew of the New Mexico District Court said the insurrection on Jan. 6 included not only the mob violence that unfolded that day, but also the ‘surrounding planning, mobilization and incitement’ that led to it. ‘Mr. Griffin is constitutionally disqualified from serving,’ the judge wrote. Liberal groups have filed legal challenges in Arizona, New Mexico, North Carolina and Wisconsin seeking to block lawmakers accused of supporting the Jan. 6 rioters — including some prominent Republican members of Congress — from holding office under the Constitution. Until Tuesday, none had succeeded.” See more, New Mexico judge rules that New Mexico official Couy Griffin who participated in January 6 insurrection be removed from office, The Washington Post, John Wagner and Azi Paybarah, Tuesday, 6 September 2022: “A New Mexico judge ruled Tuesday that Couy Griffin, a county commissioner and co-founder of Cowboys for Trump, is disqualified to continue serving in office because of his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Plaintiffs in the case argued that Griffin’s presence among the rioters that day disqualified him from serving under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which prohibits anyone from holding federal or state office who took an oath to support the Constitution and then ‘engaged in insurrection or rebellion’ or gave ‘aid or comfort’ to insurrectionists. The decision marks the first time since 1869 that a court has disqualified a public official under the provision and the first time that any court has ruled that the events of Jan. 6 were an insurrection, according to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which represented New Mexico residents in the case.” See also, New Mexico judge removes Couy Griffin from office for engaging in the January 6 insurrection, CREW, Press Release, Tuesday, 6 September 2022: “A New Mexico judge ordered Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin be removed from office, effective immediately, ruling that the attack on the Capitol was an insurrection and that Griffin’s participation in it disqualified him under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. This decision marks the first time since 1869 that a court has disqualified a public official under Section 3, and the first time that any court has ruled the events of January 6, 2021 an insurrection. Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, also known as the Disqualification Clause, bars any person from holding federal or state office who took an ‘oath…to support the Constitution of the United States’ as an ‘officer of any State’ and then ‘engaged in insurrection or rebellion’ or gave ‘aid or comfort’ to insurrectionists. Griffin, as an Otero County Commissioner since January 2019, took an oath to ‘support and uphold the Constitution and laws of the State of New Mexico, and the Constitution of the United States.’ ‘This is a historic win for accountability for the January 6th insurrection and the efforts to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power in the United States. Protecting American democracy means ensuring those who violate their oaths to the Constitution are held responsible,’ said CREW President Noah Bookbinder. ‘This decision makes clear that any current or former public officials who took an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution and then participated in the January 6th insurrection can and will be removed and barred from government service for their actions.'” See also, New Mexico judge calls January 6 an ‘insurrection’ and bars ‘Cowboys for Trump’ founder Couy Griffin from office, CNBC, Kevin Breuninger, Tuesday, 6 September 2022: “A judge in New Mexico declared Tuesday that the Jan. 6 Capitol riot was an ‘insurrection’ as he ruled that Otero County Commissioner and ‘Cowboys for Trump’ founder Couy Griffin must be removed from office for participating in the attack. Griffin is barred for life from holding any federal or state office — including his current role as county commissioner, from which he will be ousted ‘effective immediately,’ Judge Francis Mathew ruled. Griffin became ‘constitutionally disqualified’ from those positions as of Jan. 6, 2021, the judge concluded. On that day, a violent mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, forcing lawmakers to flee their chambers and disrupting the transfer of power to President Joe Biden. Griffin was convicted in March on a misdemeanor charge of breaching restricted Capitol grounds. The riot and the planning and incitement that led up to it ‘constituted an insurrection’ under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, Mathew wrote in the ruling in New Mexico’s 1st Judicial District Court. The ruling marked the first time that any court found that the Capitol riot met the definition of an insurrection, according to the nonprofit government watchdog group CREW, which represented the plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit to disqualify Griffin.” 

Former Pentagon Leaders Warn of a Dangerous Era. The challenge to the 2020 election result has helped create ‘an extremely adverse environment,’ former defense secretaries and generals said in an open letter. The New York Times, Helene Cooper, Tuesday, 6 September 2022: “The challenge to a peaceful transfer of power after President Donald J. Trump lost the 2020 election has worsened ‘an extremely adverse environment’ for the U.S. military, according to an open letter signed by several top generals and former defense secretaries. The letter does not mention Mr. Trump by name. But in 16 points on the principles that are supposed to define civil-military relations, the signatories issued a thinly veiled indictment of Mr. Trump and the legions of his followers who called on the military to support his false claim that the election was stolen from him. ‘Military officers swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution, not an oath of fealty to an individual or to an office,’ the bipartisan group wrote, adding later, ‘It is the responsibility of senior military and civilian leaders to ensure that any order they receive from the president is legal.’ Two former defense secretaries who served under Mr. Trump, Jim Mattis and Mark T. Esper, were among those who signed the letter, which was published Tuesday on War on the Rocks, an online platform for analysis of national security and foreign affairs issues. The letter reads like an American high school civics lesson. But in the six years since Mr. Trump entered the White House, the theme of the military’s duty to obey only legal orders has come up frequently. Mr. Trump’s tenure was a turbulent period for the Pentagon in which the president ordered American troops to the southwest border in a standoff against immigrants, riled up a crowd that stormed the Capitol and asked the military to deploy against protesters seeking racial justice.”

Fox producer’s warning against Jeanine Pirro surfaces in Dominion defamation suit, NPR, David Folkenflik, Tuesday, 6 September 2022: “The November 2020 email from an anguished Fox News news producer to colleagues sent up a flare amid a fusillade of false claims. The producer warned: Fox cannot let host Jeanine Pirro back on the air. She is pulling conspiracy theories from dark corners of the Web to justify then-President Donald Trump’s lies that the election had been stolen from him. The existence of the email, confirmed by two people with direct knowledge of it, is first publicly disclosed by NPR in this story. Fox News declined comment. Pirro was far from alone in broadcasting such false claims. In the weeks that followed Election Day 2020, other prominent Fox stars, commentators and their guests heavily promoted them. A repeat target was Dominion Voting Systems, the election machine and technology company. Trump and his allies alleged on Fox that Dominion was engaged in a conscious effort to throw the 2020 race to Joe Biden. They implied and falsely asserted on Fox programs that Dominion’s machines and software either discarded Trump’s votes or transferred them to Biden. Dominion argues their false claims were frequently egged on by Fox’s own stars. The producer’s email is among the voluminous correspondence acquired by Dominion’s attorneys as part of its discovery of evidence in a $1.6 billion defamation suit it filed against Fox News and its parent company. Dominion alleges it has been ‘irreparably harmed’ by the lies, conspiracy theories and wild claims of election fraud that aired on Fox.”

Why Trump’s FBI investigation could now be delayed for months or even years. Trump Judge Aileen Cannon’s order is egregiously wrong and could be overturned on appeal. But it helps Trump run out the clock. Vox, Ian Millhiser, Tuesday, 6 September 2022: “Judge Aileen Cannon’s order suspending one of the Justice Department’s criminal investigations into former President Donald Trump, at least until a court-appointed official can review documents the FBI seized from Trump, is a trainwreck of judicial reasoning. Cannon mangles the law so completely that it’s hard to know where to even begin in criticizing her opinion in Trump v. United States. For starters, Cannon, who was appointed to the federal bench by Trump days after he lost the 2020 election, argues fairly explicitly that Trump is entitled to special rules that apply to virtually no other criminal defendant, because he used to be a powerful person. Seriously, Cannon argued that the rules don’t apply to Trump in large part because, as a former president, he faces ‘reputational harm’ that is of a ‘decidedly different order of magnitude’ than that facing another person who may be indicted. This opinion is an affront to anyone who believes that all Americans, whether a pauper or a former president, are subject to the same laws. On a practical level, it could also allow Cannon or other judges to delay this criminal investigation into Trump indefinitely. Cannon’s opinion is not simply wrong, it plays with legal concepts, such as executive privilege, which she seems to barely understand. And it races to grant relief to Trump that could impose countless hurdles between the Justice Department and its ability to investigate Trump. Indeed, just the portions of Cannon’s opinion dealing with executive privilege, which make up only a small part of the decision, are complicated and uncertain enough that they could potentially force months or even years of litigation to resolve. And, Cannon ordered the United States to halt its criminal investigation into the documents seized from Trump — something she decidedly does not have the power to do — until after the process she set up to review those documents is complete. In the worst-case scenario for the Justice Department, in other words, Cannon may have claimed the power to delay investigation and possible prosecution of Trump for months or years. And it’s far from clear that higher courts dominated by Republican appointees will stop her.” See also, Special Masters and the Trump Records Investigation, Explained, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Tuesday, 6 September 2022: “A federal judge’s unusually sweeping decision to appoint an independent arbiter to sift through government documents seized from former President Donald J. Trump last month has intensified scrutiny of the role. In granting Mr. Trump’s request, the judge, Aileen M. Cannon of the Southern District of Florida, gave the so-called special master expansive powers, with the authority to evaluate documents not only for those covered by attorney-client privilege, but also for those potentially protected by executive privilege. Judge Cannon has yet to select someone for the job, and the Justice Department is still mulling whether to appeal part or all of her decision.”

Longtime conservative insider Bill Kristol warns: The Republican Party can’t be saved, The Washington Post, Greg Sargent, Tuesday, 6 September 2022: “With the midterm elections hurtling into their final stretch, a group of Never Trumpers is pumping millions of dollars into ads aimed at defeating Republican candidates aligned with Donald Trump and his lies about the 2020 election. At the core of this effort is a big question: Can Trump’s continued domination of the news cycle, and the intensifying revelations about his lawlessness, alienate a small but meaningful enough fraction of GOP-leaning voters to affect the outcome? The Republican Accountability Project, which is chaired by Never Trumper and conservative movement veteran Bill Kristol, is betting that it’s possible. A PAC linked to the group is spending money to try to defeat more than a dozen of the Trumpiest GOP candidates, those who support the ‘big lie’ such as Doug Mastriano and Kari Lake, who are running for governor in Pennsylvania and Arizona. The group’s ads highlight ongoing revelations about Trump’s effort to overthrow our constitutional order, culminating in the violence of Jan. 6, 2021. And the stunning disclosures about Trump’s hoarding of state secrets have made his lawlessness even more central.”


Wednesday, 7 September 2022:


War in Ukraine: Putin claims Russia has ‘lost nothing’ in Ukraine; Kyiv reports gains in the north, The Washington Post, Whitney Juckno, Jennifer Hassan, Miriam Berger, Andrew Jeong, and Reis Thebault, Wednesday, 7 September 2022: “Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to minimize the damage his country has sustained during nearly 200 days of war with Ukraine, claiming in a defiant speech on Wednesday that ‘we have lost nothing,’ despite heavy military casualties and punishing economic sanctions. On the same day, Ukraine reported territory gains in a northern region after another apparent counteroffensive.

  • Russia has lost tens of thousands of soldiers in its war with Ukraine, according to American intelligence assessments, which put Moscow’s number of war dead at more than 15,000 with many thousands more injured. But in his speech Wednesday, Putin refused to acknowledge the human toll: ‘I believe that we have lost nothing and will lose nothing.’
  • Putin will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping next week, as Moscow seeks to strengthen its ties with another U.S. rival. The two leaders will meet at an economic summit in Uzbekistan, Putin confirmed in his Wednesday remarks. Putin noted the ‘special nature of Russian-Chinese relations’ amid the West’s efforts to isolate the Kremlin.
  • The Pentagon will announce on Thursday another $675 million in weapons transfers to Ukraine, including more rounds for artillery rocket launchers that the Ukrainian military has used to precisely target Russian forces, a U.S. official said. The official, who spoke to The Post on the condition of anonymity, said the rounds for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, will be accompanied by vehicles and other equipment for soldiers.
  • Ukraine’s top military official warned that world powers could be drawn into ‘limited’ nuclear conflict with Russia. In a wide-ranging article on Ukraine’s state-run media website, General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi said that Russia’s military presence at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant demonstrated Moscow’s apparent disregard for global nuclear security. He also confirmed Ukraine’s involvement in several explosions at Russian military installations in Crimea in August, saying such long-range strikes are key to winning the war.
  • Russia must halt so-called ‘filtration operations,’ in Ukraine, U.S. State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters on Wednesday. In a policy approved and overseen by senior Kremlin officials, Russia is forcibly deporting, disappearing and imprisoning Ukrainians that it sees as threats to its efforts to annex Ukrainian territories, he said.
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency said in a new report this week that it found extensive damage at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine. The IAEA called for a ‘special safety and security zone’ around the plant and warned that shelling continues to pose a threat. On Wednesday, the IAEA said renewed shelling on the previous day had damaged a backup power line, though the incident didn’t immediately impact the plant’s operations.

Russia-Ukraine War: Putin Says He Will Meet With President Xi Jinping of China next week and Insists Russia ‘Has Not Lost Anything.’ In a characteristically defiant speech, Vladimir Putin appeared to whitewash the toll of the war, which U.S. officials estimate has killed or wounded 80,000 Russian soldiers. The New York Times, Wednesday, 7 September 2022:

  • Putin says he plans to meet with Xi as Russia moves closer to China.

  • Brushing off the war’s cost, Putin says Russia will fulfill its ‘duty’ in Ukraine.

  • The U.S. accuses Moscow of forcibly deporting up to 1.6 million Ukrainians.

  • New fighting is reported in northeastern Ukraine after focus turned to the south.

  • The Baltic States agree to bar land crossings by Russian tourists.

  • The E.U. weighs a Russian gas price cap and other measures to rein in ‘astronomic’ energy prices.

  • How will Ukraine rebuild after the invasion? And who will pay for it?

Texas Federal Judge Reed O’Connor Ruled That the Affordable Care Act’s Process for Determining What Kinds of Preventive Care Must Be Fully Covered by Private Health Insurance Is Unconstitutional, Ramping Up Yet Another Legal Battle Over the 12-Year-Old Law, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Wednesday, 7 September 2022: “A federal judge in Texas ruled Wednesday that the Affordable Care Act’s process for determining what kinds of preventive care must be fully covered by private health insurance is unconstitutional, ramping up yet another legal battle over the 12-year-old law. The ruling, by Judge Reed O’Connor of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, could jeopardize millions of Americans’ access to preventive services, including cancer screenings, alcohol abuse counseling and drugs that prevent H.I.V. infection. It does not take effect immediately, however, and legal experts said the Biden administration would almost certainly appeal. Judge O’Connor concluded that the Preventive Services Task Force — a volunteer panel of experts that recommends what kinds of preventive care must be covered under the law — violated the Constitution because its members are not appointed by the president or confirmed by the Senate, yet its recommendations become binding. The ruling also took explicit aim at the H.I.V. drug regimen known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, saying the law’s requirement that it be fully covered violated the religious freedom of a plaintiff in the case, Braidwood Management. The company’s owner, Dr. Steven F. Hotze, a well-known Republican donor and doctor from Houston, has previously challenged the Affordable Care Act on other grounds. ‘The PrEP mandate substantially burdens the religious exercise of Braidwood’s owners,’ the judge wrote, adding that Dr. Hotze believes that covering PrEP drugs ‘facilitates and encourages homosexual behavior, intravenous drug use and sexual activity outside of marriage between one man and one woman.’ A spokeswoman for Xavier Becerra, the health and human services secretary who is named as a defendant in the suit, said the department was evaluating the ruling. Judge O’Connor has asked the government and the plaintiffs to file supplemental briefs proposing remedies and ‘outlining the major issues to be decided’ on Friday. The American Medical Association was among many health-focused groups to denounce the ruling.”

Trump’s classified Mar-a-Lago documents, catalogued, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Wednesday, 7 September 2022: “When FBI agents arrived at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort a month ago, they should not have found any documents marked classified. This isn’t simply an observation about the behavior of former presidents and the extent to which Trump appears to have flouted rules governing the retention of documents. It is, instead, a legal observation: The federal government had subpoenaed any material with classification markings (regardless of whether that material was still classified) and a Trump attorney reportedly claimed that all such documents had been turned over. So when the FBI agents walked through the gates of Mar-a-Lago, they should have come away empty-handed. They did not. Instead, they discovered about 100 documents bearing classification markings, along with scores of empty folders intended for classified material. And at least one of the documents they recovered, The Washington Post reported Tuesday, addressed a foreign nation’s nuclear capabilities. All of this is confusing to a layperson. So in the interest of clarifying what was sought and what was obtained, we’ve walked through the government’s documentation of the subpoena and the search to detail what the FBI was seeking — and what it found.”

More Than 1 In 2 Americans Will Have An Election Denier On The Ballot This Fall, FiveThirtyEight, Wednesday, 7 September 2022: “From the Carolinas to California, Montana to Florida, election denialism has spread across the country. Candidates who support former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen will appear on ballots in nearly every state this fall. FiveThirtyEight drew on news reports, debate footage, campaign materials and social media and reached out to every single Republican nominee for the House, Senate, governor, secretary of state and attorney general to determine their position on the 2020 election.”

A Long-Shot Push to Bar Trump in 2024 as an ‘Insurrectionist.’ The drive reflects concern among Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans that despite multiple investigations and evidence of wrongdoing, the former president may make a comeback. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Michael S. Schmidt, Wednesday, 7 September 2022: “Democrats and liberal groups, determined to find a way to bar former President Donald J. Trump from returning to office, are preparing a variety of ways to disqualify him, including drafting new legislation and readying a flurry of lawsuits seeking to use an obscure clause in the Constitution to brand him an insurrectionist. The plans amount to an extraordinarily long-shot effort to accomplish what multiple investigations of Mr. Trump have failed to do: foreclose any chance that the former president could regain power, whether voters want him to or not. They reflect the growing concern among Democrats and liberal activists seeking to find a way to end the political careers of the former president and the officials who helped him try to cling to the presidency, including through several new and in some cases arcane strategies. Democrats and some anti-Trump Republicans have grown fearful that Merrick B. Garland, the attorney general, will not pursue criminal action against Mr. Trump for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, culminating in the violent storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Even if Mr. Trump were indicted and convicted of a crime, there is no law barring even an imprisoned felon from becoming president. At the same time, Mr. Trump is the widely presumed front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, whose popularity with his party’s base appears undiminished by the high-profile set of House hearings this year revealing the breadth of his efforts to upend a democratic election. Some of the efforts to block his return are taking place in the states where the nonprofit organization Free Speech For People and other groups such as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington have been filing lawsuits against lawmakers who were involved in Mr. Trump’s attempts to reverse his 2020 defeat. The push gained momentum this week when a judge in New Mexico removed Couy Griffin from his post as commissioner of New Mexico’s Otero County, branding him an insurrectionist for his participation in the Jan. 6 riot and for helping to spread the election lies that inspired it. The judge’s action against Mr. Griffin, the founder of Cowboys for Trump who was convicted earlier this year of trespassing when he breached barricades outside the Capitol during the attack, was the first time in more than a century that a public official has been barred from serving under the Constitution’s ban on insurrectionists holding office.”

Michigan Judge rules 1931 law criminalizing most abortions is unconstitutional, Detroit Free Press, Dave Boucher, Wednesday, 7 September 2022: “The 1931 law criminalizing most abortions in Michigan violates the tenets of the state ConstitutionCourt of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher ruled Wednesday. The order is not the final say on abortion access in the state − opponents will certainly appeal to a higher court that has already undermined previous Gleicher rulings. But it is the first time a Michigan judge has weighed in on the constitutionality of abortion in the state since the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the national constitutional right to an abortion afforded through Roe v. Wade. ‘Manifestly, criminalizing abortion will eliminate access to a mainstay healthcare service. For 50 years, Michiganders have freely exercised the right to safely control their health and their reproductive destinies by deciding when and whether to carry a pregnancy to term. Eliminating abortion access will force pregnant women to forgo control of the integrity of their own bodies, regardless of the effect on their health and lives,’ Gleicher wrote in the opinion.”


Thursday, 8 September 2022:


War in Ukraine: U.S. to give $2.6B more in aid for Kyiv and neighbors; Zelensky cheers gains in Kharkiv, The Washington Post, Missy Ryan, Ellen Francis, Kendra Nichols, and Sammy Westfall, Thursday, 8 September 2022: “As Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a surprise visit to Kyiv on Thursday, the United States announced a total of $2.6 billion in additional security aid for Ukraine and its neighbors.

  • Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced $675 million in new weapons transfers to Kyiv at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, during a trip for the latest meeting of allied defense ministers supporting Ukraine. The package includes more rounds for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, a U.S. official told The Washington Post earlier, speaking on the condition of anonymity. NATO’s message is that ‘we need to step up & sustain support for as long as it takes,’ NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg tweeted after the meeting.
  • In the Ukrainian capital, Blinken pledged U.S. support for Ukraine, as the Biden administration seeks to help Ukrainian troops recapture territory from Russian forces. On his second trip to Kyiv during the war, Blinken visited a children’s hospital and met with senior Ukrainian officials in central Kyiv after an overnight train trip from Poland.
  • Blinken will announce $2 billion more in ‘security assistance’ to bolster Ukraine and 18 of its neighbors, including NATO allies and regional partners ‘who are most potentially at risk for future Russian aggression,’ the State Department said. Details of that funding were not immediately available.
  • Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Ukrainians have struck over 400 Russian targets with HIMARS rocket systems. In a brief battlefield update in Ramstein on Thursday, he said Russia’s ‘operational aims, in addition to their strategic aims, have been defeated by a very successful defense conducted by Ukraine.’ The Ukrainian-launched offensive is ‘ongoing’ and in its ‘early stages,’ Milley said, adding that Ukraine is ‘effectively using their fires to shape the ground maneuver.’
  • Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians including children have been interrogated, detained or forcibly deported to Russia, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told the Security Council on Wednesday. She cited witness testimony and reporting from groups including Human Rights Watch. The State Department described the ‘so-called filtration operations’ as a Kremlin campaign to forcibly deport, disappear and imprison Ukrainians who it ‘decides could be a potential threat’ to its control. Moscow dismissed the allegations as ‘fantasy.’

Russia-Ukraine War: U.S. Plans New Shipment of Howitzers, Ammunition, and Other Supplies to Ukraine. The announcement came as secretary of State Antony J. Blinken also pledged an additional $2 billion in long-term support for Ukraine and other countries at risk of Russian invasion. The New York Times, Thursday, 8 September 2022:

  • The U.S. will send an additional $675 million in military supplies to Ukraine, Austin says.

  • With the latest aid, total U.S. assistance to Ukraine would reach $13.5 billion.

  • The body of a British aid worker captured by Russian proxies showed signs of torture, a Ukrainian official says.

  • The C.I.A. director said Russia’s invasion looks like a ‘failure.’

  • The U.S. accuses Moscow of forcibly deporting up to 1.6 million Ukrainians.

  • The U.S. announces sanctions on Iranian companies involved in Russia drone sales.

  • A top military official acknowledges that Ukraine was behind an attack on a Russian air base in Crimea.

Justice Department Asks Federal Judge Aileen M. Cannon to Lift Block on Trump Documents Investigation. The Justice Department asked Cannon to hold off on enacting key parts of her order, including a temporary ban on its ability to use files seized from former President Donald Trump in its inquiry. The New York Times, Glenn Thrush, Alan Feuer, and Charlie Savage, Thursday, 8 September 2022: “The Justice Department asked a federal judge on Thursday to revisit her decision to temporarily stop prosecutors from gaining access to classified documents seized from former President Donald J. Trump’s Florida home, arguing that her ruling was hindering the government’s effort to determine whether national security had been compromised. In a pair of filings in federal court, lawyers for the department announced their intention to appeal key parts of Judge Aileen M. Cannon’s ruling. They said they would ask an appeals court to block those sections of her order if she does not agree to do so herself by next Thursday. Judge Cannon’s order, issued on Monday, has prevented the department from using the documents, some marked as highly classified, in its investigation into Mr. Trump’s handling of sensitive government documents…. Prosecutors asked Judge Cannon to allow investigators to continue to use ‘classified records — a discrete set of just over 100 documents’ and to withhold them from the special master. The department, in forceful and foreboding language, argued that determining the national security implications of Mr. Trump’s retention of the documents was so intertwined with its criminal investigation that carrying out a separate risk assessment was impossible under the conditions imposed by the court. Justice Department lawyers complained that the judge’s order was impeding efforts to determine whether there may yet be ‘additional classified records that are not being properly stored’ and noted that the search had recovered empty folders marked as classified whose contents ‘may have been lost or compromised.’ In an order on Thursday evening, Judge Cannon directed Mr. Trump’s lawyers to respond to the government’s filing by Monday.” See also, Justice Department seeks to regain access to classified Mar-a-Lago documents. As they noted their plans to appeal, prosecutors said they must be able to access classified documents to determine if there are more to be found. The Washington Post, Perry Stein and Devlin Barrett, Thursday, 8 September 2022: “Federal prosecutors on Thursday asked a judge to restore their access to classified material seized from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, saying their ongoing criminal probe needs to determine if there are sensitive government papers that have not been found yet, and signaling that they plan to appeal the issue to a higher court in the interest of national security. Justice Department lawyers told U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon that if she does not grant them their requested stay by Sept. 15, they would file their appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta.” See also, The Justice Department is seeking to overturn a federal judge’s ruling that blocked investigators from reviewing a range of highly-sensitive documents seized from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, Politico, Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney, Thursday, 8 September 2022: “Prosecutors said in a new court filing that U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon’s decision to temporarily halt the FBI’s ability to probe the ex-president’s handling and storage of classified materials would cause ‘irreparable harm’ to efforts by the intelligence community to protect national security interests. ‘[I]n order to assess the full scope of potential harms to national security resulting from the improper retention of the classified records, the government must assess the likelihood that improperly stored classified information may have been accessed by others and compromised,’ Justice Department counterintelligence chief Jay Bratt argued in the filing. ‘But that inquiry is a core aspect of the FBI’s criminal investigation.’ The Justice Department delivered an unsparing assessment of Cannon’s contention that Trump might have a legitimate executive privilege claim over some of the seized documents, contending that a former president had no plausible right to assert ownership of classified records. ‘That authority falls upon the incumbent President, not on any former President, because it is the incumbent President who bears the responsibility to protect and defend the national security of the United States,’ Bratt wrote. The DOJ filing amounts to a full-throated rebuke of the ruling by Cannon, a Trump appointee who was confirmed to a seat in the Southern District of Florida a week after Trump’s defeat in the 2020 election. Prosecutors used the filing to describe her ruling as a danger to national security, one ignorant of the FBI’s integral role in modern counterintelligence work, and lacking in an understanding of the complexities of executive privilege.”

Trump’s Post-Election Fund-Raising Comes Under Scrutiny by Justice Department. A federal grand jury has issued subpoenas seeking information about Save America PAC, which was formed as Donald J. Trump promoted baseless assertions about election fraud. The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Maggie Haberman, Adam Goldman, and Kenneth P. Vogel, Thursday, 8 September 2022: “A federal grand jury in Washington is examining the formation of — and spending by — a fund-raising operation created by Donald J. Trump after his loss in the 2020 election as he was soliciting millions of dollars by baselessly asserting that the results had been marred by widespread voting fraud. According to subpoenas issued by the grand jury, the contents of which were described to The New York Times, the Justice Department is interested in the inner workings of Save America PAC, Mr. Trump’s main fund-raising vehicle after the election. Several similar subpoenas were sent on Wednesday to junior and midlevel aides who worked in the White House and for Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign. The fact that federal prosecutors are now seeking information about the fund-raising operation is a significant new turn in an already sprawling criminal investigation into the roles that Mr. Trump and some of his allies played in trying to overturn the election, an array of efforts that culminated with the mob attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The expanded Jan. 6 inquiry is playing out even as Mr. Trump is also under federal investigation on an entirely different front: his decision to hold onto hundreds of government documents marked as classified when he left office and his failure to comply with efforts by the National Archives and the Justice Department to compel their return. On Thursday, the Justice Department asked a federal judge to revisit her decision to temporarily stop prosecutors from gaining access to the classified documents for use in that investigation.” See also, The Justice Department is seeking details from Trump’s PAC in an expanding January 6 investigation. Investigators are seeking documents about Trump’s political fundraising in the wake of his false claims about the 2020 election. The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey and Isaac Arnsdorf, Thursday, 8 September 2022: “The Justice Department is seeking details about the formation and operation of Donald Trump’s post-presidential political operation, according to three people familiar with the probe, sending a raft of subpoenas in a significant expansion of the criminal investigation of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol and efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. A federal grand jury sent subpoenas on Wednesday to a wide range of former campaign and White House staffers asking for information about the Save America PAC, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing probe. They described the subpoenas as broad, seeking all documents and communications about opening the PAC and every dollar raised and spent. At least one of the subpoenas also demanded information about the plan to submit slates of phony electors claiming Trump won pivotal states, including all communications with several key lawyers and advisers involved in the effort, one of the people said. They include Rudy Giuliani, Boris Epshteyn, Bruce Marks, Victoria Toensing and Joseph DiGenova, this person said.” See also, Federal grand jury is investigating Trump PAC’s formation and fundraising efforts, ABC News, Katherine Faulders and John Santucci, Thursday, 8 September 2022: “A federal grand jury investigating the activities leading up the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and the push by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the result of the 2020 election has expanded its probe to include seeking information about Trump’s leadership PAC, Save America, sources with direct knowledge tell ABC News. The interest in the fundraising arm came to light as part of grand jury subpoenas seeking documents, records and testimony from potential witnesses, the sources said. The subpoenas, sent to several individuals in recent weeks, are specifically seeking to understand the timeline of Save America’s formation, the organization’s fundraising activities, and how money is both received and spent by the Trump-aligned PAC.”

Michigan Supreme Court orders abortion rights initiative to appear on November ballot, CNN Politics, Veronica Stracqualursi, Thursday, 8 September 2022: “The Michigan Supreme Court ordered Thursday that a citizen-initiative ballot measure seeking to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution be added to the November ballot. The court’s 5-2 ruling was issued the day before Michigan’s ballot needs to be finalized on Friday. The order directs the Board of State Canvassers to certify the Reproductive Freedom for All petition as sufficient and eligible for placement on the ballot. This comes after the board had deadlocked on a 2-2 party-line vote on whether to certify the ballot initiative last week, leading Reproductive Freedom for All to ask the Supreme Court to intervene. [Update: The board officially certified the ballot measure for the November ballot on Friday. The motion to certify passed 4-0.]” See also, The Michigan Supreme court ordered a proposal enshrining the right to an abortion in the state’s constitution be added to the November ballot, ending a partisan feud that unexpectedly erupted when a state board refused to approve the question last week, The Washington Post, Kim Bellware, Thursday, 8 September 2022: “The Michigan Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a proposal enshrining the right to an abortion in the state’s constitution be added to the November ballot, ending a partisan feud that unexpectedly erupted when a state board refused to approve the question last week. The decision from the state’s highest court came after a four-member Michigan elections board deadlocked over whether to allow the initiative. Two Republican members on the Board of State Canvassers declined to certify the question, which required three votes, citing objections to the spacing and readability of the proposal text. In her majority opinion, Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget M. McCormack called the actions of the opposing members on the elections board ‘a sad marker of the times. They would disenfranchise millions of Michiganders not because they believe the many thousands of Michiganders who signed the proposal were confused by it, but because they think they have identified a technicality that allows them to do so, a game of gotcha gone very bad,’ she wrote. The Reproductive Freedom for All campaign, which led the signature drive behind the ballot question, said its efforts will now move toward turning out voters in November.” See also, Michigan Supreme Court Says Michigan Voters Will Decide Abortion Rights Question. A state board had previously said the issue could not appear on the ballot because of word spacing problems on the petitions. The New York Times, Mitch Smith and Julie Bosman, Thursday, 8 September 2022: “The Michigan Supreme Court said Thursday that voters would decide in November whether to add protections for abortion rights to the State Constitution, reversing the decision of a state board that had not allowed the proposal onto the ballot because of typographical problems on petition forms. The vote could shape the future of abortion access in the state, where a ban on the procedure from decades before Roe remains on the books, though it has been blocked for now in the courts. While no one doubted that abortion rights supporters had gathered enough signatures to qualify for the ballot — they had more than 750,000, hundreds of thousands more than required — opponents pointed out a lack of visible spaces between some words on the petitions presented to voters. Depending on whom you asked, it was either a cynical attempt to undermine the will of voters or an elementary debate about what constitutes a word. Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack, who voted to place it on the ballot, said that the board’s prior rejection of the question had been ‘a sad marker of the times.'”

Ex-U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman Says Trump Pushed Officials to Prosecute His Critics. Berman, who headed the Manhattan office, says in a book the Justice Department pushed cases, against John Derry and others, to help Mr. Trump. The New York Times, Benjamin Weiser, Thursday, 8 September 2022: “A book by a former top federal prosecutor offers new details about how the Justice Department under President Donald J. Trump sought to use the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan to support Mr. Trump politically and pursue his critics — even pushing the office to open a criminal investigation of former secretary of state John Kerry. The prosecutor, Geoffrey S. Berman, was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York for two and a half years until June 2020, when Mr. Trump fired him after he refused a request to resign by Attorney General William P. Barr, who sought to replace him with an administration ally. A copy of Mr. Berman’s book, ‘Holding the Line,’ was obtained by The New York Times before its scheduled publication Tuesday. The book paints a picture of Justice Department officials motivated by partisan concerns in pursuing investigations or blocking them; in weighing how forthright to be in court filings; and in shopping investigations to other prosecutors’ offices when the Southern District declined to act.”

Stephen K. Bannon Accused by Manhattan Prosecutors of Defrauding Americans Who Wanted to Contribute to Construction of a Southern Border Wall, Resurrecting a Threat That Mr. Bannon Seemed to Have Escaped With a 2021 Trump Pardon, The New York Times, Chelsia Rose Marcius, Jonah E. Bromwich, and Rebecca Davis O’Brien, Thursday, 8 September 2022: “The prosecutors said that Mr. Bannon, after a run as Mr. Trump’s campaign chief and a White House official, played an integral role in an organization known as We Build the Wall Inc. The group, whose president and most visible representative was a wounded veteran of the Iraq war, reaped millions through internet appeals, pledging to make the symbol of Mr. Trump’s successful 2016 campaign a reality. Instead, prosecutors said, Mr. Bannon funneled more than $100,000 in donations to the organization’s president, Brian Kolfage, who had repeatedly promised not to take a salary. And New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, said that while Mr. Bannon had represented himself as a patriotic volunteer fighting for ordinary citizens, he too had personally profited. Mr. Bannon was charged by the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, with two felony counts of money laundering, two felony counts of conspiracy and one felony count of a scheme to defraud, and could face a maximum sentence of five to 15 years on the most serious charge. He was federally charged in relation to his activities with We Build the Wall Inc. in 2020, but because he was pardoned by Mr. Trump before he went to trial, the Constitution’s prohibition on facing the same charges twice did not bar the indictment. Donors to the nonprofit included hundreds of Manhattan residents, prosecutors said Thursday. Ms. James, a Democrat whose office also worked on the case, said at a Thursday afternoon news conference that Mr. Bannon had taken advantage of people who had donated earnestly…. Mr. Bragg, a Democrat, said, ‘In Manhattan and in New York, you will be held accountable for defrauding donors.'”

New Report Debunks Senator Joe Manchin’s Lies About the Mountain Valley Fracked Gas Pipeline, Common Dreams, Jake Johnson, Thursday, 8 September 2022: “As climate campaigners and frontline community leaders prepared to converge on Capitol Hill Thursday to rally against a federal permitting overhaul pushed by Sen. Joe Manchin, a newly released report aimed to debunk the West Virginia senator’s false claims about a long-stalled fracked gas pipeline that would likely benefit from the proposed reforms. Titled Why Everything Manchin Says About the Mountain Valley Pipeline Is Wrong, the analysis by Oil Change International (OCI) spotlights and counters three prominent claims that Manchin has made about the pipeline project as he attempts to usher it toward completion despite the threat it poses to the environment and communities in its path.”

Failure to Slow Warming Will Set Off Climate ‘Tipping Points,’ Scientists Say. As global warming passes certain limits, dire changes will probably become irreversible, the researchers said, including the loss of polar ice sheets and the death of coral reefs. The New York Times, Henry Fountain, Thursday, 8 September 2022: “Failure to limit global warming to the targets set by international accords will most likely set off several climate ‘tipping points,’ a team of scientists said on Thursday, with irreversible effects including the collapse of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, abrupt thawing of Arctic permafrost and the death of coral reefs. The researchers said that even at the current level of warming, about 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels, some of these self-sustaining changes might have already begun. But if warming reached above 1.5 degrees Celsius, the more ambitious of two targets set by the 2015 Paris Agreement, the changes would become much more certain. And at the higher Paris target, 2 degrees Celsius, even more tipping points would likely be set off, including the loss of mountain glaciers and the collapse of a system of deep mixing of water in the North Atlantic. The changes would have significant, long-term effects on life on Earth. The collapse of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, for example, would lead to unrelenting sea level rise, measured in feet, not inches, over centuries. The thawing of permafrost would release more heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, hindering efforts to limit warming. A shutdown of ocean mixing in the North Atlantic could affect global temperatures and bring more extreme weather to Europe. Johan Rockström, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany and one of the researchers, said the team had ‘come to the very dire conclusion that 1.5 degrees Celsius is a threshold’ beyond which some of these effects would start. That makes it all the more imperative, he and others said, for nations to quickly and drastically cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases to curb global warming. The research is in line with recent assessments by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of experts convened by the United Nations, that beyond 1.5 degrees of warming, the threats of climate change grow considerably.”


Friday, 9 September 2022:


Russia-Ukraine War: U.S. Urges European Nations: Don’t Let Putin ‘Bully’ Over Energy Prices. Anthon J. Blinken, the secretary of state, said Washington would stand with European allies as Russia seeks to ‘weaponize energy supplies. The New York Times, Friday, 9 September 2022:

  • Blinken says Russia is using energy supplies to ‘break the will’ of European countries.

  • E.U. ministers keep all options on the table as the energy crisis unfolds.

  • Rebuilding Ukraine will cost at least $349 billion, a new report estimates.

  • Ukraine says it has regained ground in the Kharkiv region.

  • U.N. human rights monitors say they have found more evidence that Russia is torturing prisoners.

  • U.N. watchdog says conditions at the embattled Zaporizhzhia plant are ‘unsustainable.’

  • Navalny, a jailed Putin critic, says Russia has revoked his attorney-client privilege.

Stephen Miller, a Senior Policy Adviser to Trump, and Brian Jack, Who Served as Trump White House Political Director, Are Among Those Who Received Subpoenas From a Federal Grand Jury This Week, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Adam Goldman, and Alan Feuer, Friday, 9 September 2022: “The Justice Department has subpoenaed two former top White House political advisers under President Donald J. Trump as part of a widening investigation related to Mr. Trump’s post-election fund-raising and plans for so-called fake electors, according to people briefed on the matter. Brian Jack, the final White House political director under Mr. Trump, and Stephen Miller, Mr. Trump’s top speechwriter and a senior policy adviser, were among more than a dozen people connected to the former president to receive subpoenas from a federal grand jury this week. The subpoenas seek information in connection with the Save America political action committee and the plan to submit slates of electors pledged to Mr. Trump from swing states that were won by Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the 2020 election. Mr. Trump and his allies promoted the idea that competing slates of electors would justify blocking or delaying certification of Mr. Biden’s Electoral College win during a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021…. A subpoena does not indicate someone is under investigation, but the Justice Department may send one to people from whom it is seeking information.”

Judge dismisses Trump lawsuit against Hillary Clinton over 2016 election, The Washington Post, Azi Paybarah, Friday, 9 September 2022: “A federal judge in Florida has dismissed Donald Trump’s lawsuit against former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, saying there was no basis for the former president to claim that Clinton and her allies harmed him with an orchestrated plan to spread false information that his campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential race. Trump ‘is seeking to flaunt a two-hundred-page political manifesto outlining his grievances against those that have opposed him, and this Court is not the appropriate forum,’ Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks of the Southern District of Florida wrote in a scathing 65-page ruling dated Thursday. The judge also wrote about ‘the audacity of Plaintiff’s legal theories and the manner in which they clearly contravene binding case law.’ Middlebrooks noted ‘glaring structural deficiencies in the plaintiff’s argument’ and said that ‘such pleadings waste judicial resources and are an unacceptable form of establishing a claim for relief.'” See also, Trump’s lawsuit against Clinton was filed in the Fort Pierce division of Southern District of Florida where only one federal judge sits: Judge Aileen Cannon, who Trump appointed in November 2020, The Washington Post, Azi Paybarah, Friday, 9 September 2022: “When Donald Trump filed a lawsuit against Hillary Clinton accusing her of spreading false information about his 2016 campaign and Russia, the former president tried to get the case heard by a judge that he himself had appointed to the bench. That news was first revealed in April and got renewed attention Thursday when a different judge dismissed Trump’s lawsuit in a scathing decision, saying that his claims ‘are not only unsupported by any legal authority but plainly foreclosed by binding precedent.’ ‘I note that Plaintiff filed this lawsuit in the Fort Pierce division of this District, where only one federal judge sits: Judge Aileen Cannon, who Plaintiff appointed in 2020,’ Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks of the Southern District of Florida wrote in a footnote on a separate motion. ‘Despite the odds, this case landed with me instead,’ Middlebrooks wrote. Cannon is the Trump-nominated judge who this week intervened in the Justice Department investigation into Trump’s possible mishandling of classified information, agreeing to grant his request for an independent review of the material that FBI agents have seized.” See also, Judge throws out Trump’s lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, Axios, Erin Doherty, Friday, 9 September 2022: “A U.S. judge has thrown out former President Trump’s lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, saying the former president ‘is seeking to flaunt a two-hundred-page political manifesto outlining his grievances against those that have opposed him. And this Court is not the appropriate forum,’ Judge Donald Middlebrooks of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida wrote. Middlebrooks said Trump exceeded the legal statute of limitations and that ‘many of the statements that Plaintiff characterizes as injurious falsehoods qualify as speech plainly protected by the First Amendment.’ ‘At its core, the problem with Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint is that Plaintiff is not attempting to seek redress for any legal harm,’ Middlebrooks wrote. Trump in March accused Clinton and dozens of other Democrats in a 108-page lawsuit of working together to accuse him of colluding with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.”

The Absence of Any Executive Privilege by a Former President For National Security Secrets, Just Security, Michael Stern, Friday, 9 September 2022: “Former President Donald Trump claims the right to assert executive privilege with regard to presidential records of his administration, including such records that were kept in his Mar-a-Lago home in apparent violation of the Presidential Records Act and subsequently seized by the FBI pursuant to a search warrant. While there has been much debate over whether a former president can ever assert executive privilege in these circumstances (namely where the records are sought by the executive branch in furtherance of its performance of executive functions), less attention has been paid to specific type of ‘executive privilege’ that is at issue here. Trump’s contention is founded on the Supreme Court’s 1976 decision in Nixon v. Administrator of General Services (GSA), where the Court concluded that under some circumstances a former president could assert one type of executive privilege, commonly known as the presidential communications privilege. The presidential communications privilege (first recognized by the Court in the 1974 Nixon tapes case) is a qualified privilege applying to confidential deliberative communications between a president and his advisers. The idea is that a president will not be able to get candid advice from subordinates without an assurance this advice will generally remain confidential and that this assurance of confidentiality should not automatically end (or be solely controlled by a successor) when a president leaves office. Indeed, it’s also the type that Justice Brett Kavanaugh discussed in his 2021 opinion suggesting a former president’s view of executive privilege could in some cases trump the incumbent’s view. Importantly, neither Nixon v. GSA nor Kavanaugh’s concurring opinion suggest that a former president could assert a different type of executive privilege — the so-called ‘state secrets’ privilege which applies to military and diplomatic secrets and which the Court has suggested may be more absolute than the qualified presidential communications privilege. To the contrary, Nixon v. GSA noted that all parties to the case, including former President Nixon, agreed that ‘the very specific privilege protecting against disclosure of state secrets and sensitive information concerning military or diplomatic matters . . . may be asserted only by an incumbent President’ (emphasis added). Thus, the Court contrasted the privilege related to confidentiality of presidential communications with the ‘privilege relating to the need ‘to protect military, diplomatic, or sensitive national security secrets’ (quoting U.S. v Nixon).”

Justice Department and Trump Legal Team Clash Over Special Master Candidates. The two sides have sharply diverting views of who could serve as a special master and what that person would do. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Alan Feuer, Glenn Thrush, and Maggie Haberman, Friday, 9 September 2022: “The Justice Department and lawyers for former President Donald J. Trump failed to agree on Friday on who could serve as an independent arbiter to sift through documents the F.B.I. seized from Mr. Trump’s Florida club and residence last month. In an eight-page joint filing that listed far more points of disagreement than of consensus, the two sides exhibited sharply divergent visions for what the arbiter, known as a special master, would do, and put forth different candidates. The Justice Department proposed two former federal judges for the position: Barbara S. Jones, a Clinton appointee to the Southern District of New York who performed a similar role in cases involving two personal lawyers of Mr. Trump, Michael S. Cohen in 2017 and Rudolph W. Giuliani in 2021; and Thomas B. Griffith, a George W. Bush appointee who retired from the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 2020. Mr. Trump’s legal team countered with two suggestions of its own: a retired Federal District Court judge, Raymond J. Dearie, a Reagan appointee who sat in the Eastern District of New York and once served as the top federal prosecutor there; and Paul Huck Jr., a former deputy attorney general in Florida who also served as general counsel to Charlie Crist, who was its Republican governor at the time. Mr. Huck is married to Judge Barbara Lagoa, whom Mr. Trump appointed to the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, which oversees federal courts in Florida. Such an appointment would appear to create a conflict of interest that could require Judge Lagoa to recuse herself from litigation involving the case. Judge Aileen M. Cannon, who ordered the parties to produce a list of qualified candidates by midnight Friday, will ultimately decide who will be tapped for the job. She will also set the parameters of the review. The Justice Department, seeking to quickly finish its investigation into Mr. Trump’s handling of sensitive government documents, proposed setting a deadline of Oct. 17 for completion of the arbiter’s work; Mr. Trump’s team suggested taking 90 days — or about three times as long. The department also said Mr. Trump should pay for the master since he had asked for it; Mr. Trump’s team proposed that taxpayers split the cost.” See also, Trump and the Justice Department differ on who should be special master. The two sides are far apart on who should review the documents seized at Mar-a-Lago and the scope of such a review. The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett and Perry Stein, Friday, 9 September 2022: “The Justice Department and Donald Trump’s lawyers have not agreed on a list of potential legal experts to review materials the FBI seized from the former president’s Florida residence, according to a Friday night court filing, and also disagree about which of the documents such a person should review. The dispute now seems to be up to Judge Aileen M. Cannon to resolve, with each side proposing two people as possible special masters to examine the material confiscated by agents in the Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago.”

Former Trump White House lawyer Ty Cobb calls Trump a ‘deeply wounded narcissist’ who acted in ‘criminal’ way to overturn Biden win, CNBC, Dan Mangan, Friday, 9 September 2022: “Former Trump White House lawyer Ty Cobb called ex-President Donald Trump a ‘deeply wounded narcissist’ who acted in a ‘criminal’ manner when he pushed then-Vice President Mike Pence to block Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 election win. In a new interview, Cobb also said Trump’s conduct on Jan. 6, 2021, while a mob of his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol, could — at least theoretically — lead to him being barred from seeking the presidency. ‘There is a simple way to disqualify President Trump,’ Cobb told CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett in an interview on “The Takeout” podcast. ‘He clearly violated the 14th Amendment of the Constitution’s Article III when he gave aid and comfort and three hours of inaction with regard to what was happening on the grounds of the Capitol,’ he said. ‘That clearly gave aid and comfort to the insurrectionists,’ said Cobb, who added that a joint declaration by both chambers of Congress could on those grounds block Trump from being able to regain the White House.”


Saturday, 10 September 2022:


Russia-Ukraine War: Ukrainian Forces Take Key City, Igniting New Phase in War. Russia’s Defense ministry confirmed its forces had withdrawn from Izium. Ukraine’s lightning offensive in the north east has reshaped what had become a grinding war of attrition. The New York Times, Saturday, 10 September 2022:

  • Russia withdraws its forces from Izium, a logistics hub in the northeast.

  • The southern counteroffensive has been a battle of river crossings. So far, Ukraine has advanced.

  • Zelensky expresses optimism that more of Ukraine’s lost territory can be reclaimed.

  • Rebuilding Ukraine will cost at least $349 billion, a new report estimates.

  • Russians are voting for the first time since the invasion.

Former Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller subpoenaed by Justice Department, CNN Politics, Sara Murray, Saturday, 10 September 2022: “Stephen Miller, a former White House speechwriter and senior adviser under President Donald Trump, has been subpoenaed by the Justice Department, a source tells CNN. The department is seeking information about the Save America PAC, alleged ‘fake electors,’ and communications between Miller and a long list of people. CNN has previously reported that a federal grand jury is examining the Save America leadership PAC, one of former President Donald Trump’s main political and fundraising vehicles, in an expansion of the criminal investigation into the events surrounding the US Capitol attack on January 6, 2021.”


Sunday, 11 September 2022:


Russia-Ukraine War: Ukraine Blitz Sends Russian Forces Into Retreat. Kharkiv faced blackouts after Russia hit critical infrastructure in strikes that Ukrainian officials said were revenge for their recent gains. The New York Times, Sunday, 11 September 2022:

  • Fresh from seizing Izium, Ukraine appears to push toward more Russian-held territory.
  • Ukraine says Russia is retaliating by hitting critical infrastructure, causing blackouts.
  • A Russian map suggests a new defensive line in the face of Ukraine’s advance.
  • ‘We can’t keep up’: People in Kyiv are glued to their phones, buoyed by the latest developments.


Monday, 12 September 2022:


Russia-Ukraine War: Ukraine Claims More Ground in Northeast and South. Questions remain about how far Ukrainian forces can go without being overstretched as Russia’s retreat from the Northeast region prompts a rare public debate back home. The New York Times, Andrew E. Kramer, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, and Shashank Bengali, Monday, 12 September 2022: “Ukraine on Monday continued its push to reshape the terrain of the 200-day war, claiming more territory in both the northeast and south, and raising questions over whether Russia’s once-daunting military can hold the territory it still controls in the country. The Ukrainian military claimed to have advanced into an additional 20 Ukrainian towns and villages over the past 24 hours that had been under Russian control, adding to the hundreds of square miles it has retaken in the northeast. It also said it had recaptured nearly 200 square miles in the southern region of Kherson in recent days, in an offensive that aimed to cut off thousands of Russian soldiers stationed west of the Dnipro River in territory that Russia claimed in the initial stages of its invasion. Russia still holds vast chunks of eastern and southern Ukraine. But Russian officials, describing the retreat as a planned move to ‘regroup,’ face hard questions, especially with a growing backlash to their “special military operation” in Ukraine from pro-war voices at home. Moscow’s military leaders, analysts say, will have to take a cleareyed look at their forces’ current conditions, which are depleted and demoralized in some areas. The swift success of Ukraine’s offensive has boosted its European allies ahead of what is expected to be a hard winter of rising fuel costs, and it will likely increase pressure on NATO members to supply Ukraine with heavier weaponry. The advance, which has gone more quickly than expected, also raises questions for the Ukrainian military — a force much smaller and far less equipped than its Russian foe — over how far its forces can go without becoming overstretched before a cold winter sets in.

In other developments:

  • The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, said negotiations involving Ukraine and Russia were attempting to pause military actions in and around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, where repeated shelling has raised fears of a catastrophic meltdown.

  • Municipal deputies from 18 councils in Moscow and St. Petersburg signed a petition on Monday calling on President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to resign. The petition came after a municipal council in St. Petersburg last week called on the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, to investigate Mr. Putin for treason over his decision to invade Ukraine. Those deputies have been charged with discrediting the Russian army, an administrative offense.

  • A senior U.S. military officer said Ukrainian forces have succeeded in driving Russian soldiers from territory they had held in the Kharkiv region in the northeast, adding that some of the troops had retreated back into Russia.

Russia-Ukraine war: A weekly recap and look ahead (September 12), NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 12 September 2022: “As the week begins, here’s a look ahead and a roundup of key developments from the past week. What to watch this week: Ukraine’s counteroffensive is expected to continue, and military analysts will watch for signs of recaptured territory, as well as Russian counterattacks and other moves. Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to meet China’s Xi Jinping and other foreign leaders at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. What happened last week: Monday, Sept. 5: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke with outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and thanked him as a great friend of the Ukrainian people. The following day, Zelenskyy said he was the first foreign leader to call new Prime Minister Liz Truss. Her office said she accepted his invitation to visit Ukraine soon. Russia added 25 Americans to its sanctions list, including Sean Penn and Ben Stiller, in retaliation for Washington’s sanctions against Russian citizens. Moscow banned the celebrities along with U.S. lawmakers, academics and business leaders from entering Russia. Tuesday, Sept. 6: The International Atomic Energy Agency listed damage to the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, in its report following an inspection. It warned military attacks at or from the plant could have catastrophic consequences, even as shelling in the area continuedWednesday, Sept. 7: Russia is allegedly buying millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea, according to a U.S. intelligence report, which Moscow denies. Thursday, Sept. 8: Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unannounced visit to Kyiv. He said the U.S. will provide $2.2 billion in long-term regional security funds to Ukraine and 18 other countries including Baltic states as well as Greece and Poland. On top of that, the Pentagon also announced President Biden had authorized $675 million in arms and military equipment for Ukraine. Zelenskyy and Putin were both among the foreign leaders to express condolences upon the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Friday, Sept. 9: Ukrainian forces advanced in a swift offensive in the northeastern Kharkiv region. By the next day, Ukraine said it had recaptured key areas including Izium, as Russia withdrew troops from the town they were using as a command and supply hub. Saturday, Sept. 10: German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock paid a surprise visit to Kyiv to show support for Ukraine. Germany has sent howitzers, rocket launchers and anti-aircraft weapons to Ukraine in recent weeks, and is due to send more as part of a 500 million euro security aid package. Sunday, Sept. 11: Owners of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant announced they were shutting down the last working reactor as fighting continued in the area. In the Kharkiv region, Russia hit Ukrainian power plants and other infrastructure, sparking a big fire on Kharkiv’s western outskirts and leaving Ukraine’s second-largest city without electricity.”

Justice Department Issues 40 Subpoenas in a Week, Expanding Its January 6 Inquiry. It also seized the phones of two top Trump advisers, a sign of an escalating investigation two months before the midterm elections. The New York Times, Glenn Thrush, Maggie Haberman, Adam Goldman, and Alan Feuer, Monday, 12 September 2022: “Justice Department officials have seized the phones of two top advisers to former President Donald J. Trump and blanketed his aides with about 40 subpoenas in a substantial escalation of the investigation into his efforts to subvert the 2020 election, people familiar with the inquiry said on Monday. The seizure of the phones, coupled with a widening effort to obtain information from those around Mr. Trump after the 2020 election, represent some of the most aggressive steps the department has taken thus far in its criminal investigation into the actions that led to the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. The extent of the investigation has come into focus in recent days, even though it has often been overshadowed by the government’s legal clash with Mr. Trump and his lawyers over a separate inquiry into the handling of presidential records, including highly classified materials, the former president kept at his residence in Florida, Mar-a-Lago. Federal agents with court-authorized search warrants took phones last week from at least two people: Boris Epshteyn, an in-house counsel who helps coordinate Mr. Trump’s legal efforts, and Mike Roman, a campaign strategist who was the director of Election Day operations for the Trump campaign in 2020, people familiar with the investigation said. Mr. Epshteyn and Mr. Roman have been linked to a critical element of Mr. Trump’s bid to hold onto power: the effort to name slates of electors pledged to Mr. Trump from swing states won by Joseph R. Biden Jr. in 2020 as part of a plan to block or delay congressional certification of Mr. Biden’s Electoral College victory.”

Former President Donald Trump urged federal judge Aileen Cannon to keep in place her order that blocked the Justice Department from continuing its criminal investigation into the highly sensitive government records stashed in the basement of his Mar-a-Lago estate, Politico, Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, Monday, 12 September 2022: “The filing, a response to prosecutors’ warning that U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon’s unorthodox directive — preventing FBI investigators from accessing the files seized in their Aug. 8 search — was harming national security, urges the Trump-appointed judge to stay the course…. Trump’s newest filing dances around the question of whether Trump declassified any of the records before leaving office — as he has publicly claimed — and instead notes that the Justice Department has not proven their ‘classification status.'” See also, Trump Lawyers Dispute Classified Status of Seized Mar-a-Lago Documents. Former president’s attorneys lay out arguments against excluding material from special-master review ordered by federal judge Aileen Cannon. Wall Street Journal, Jan Wolfe, Aruna Viswanatha, and Sadie Gurman, Monday, 12 September 2022: “Lawyers for former President Donald Trump pressed a federal judge to allow an independent attorney to review all of the documents the FBI seized in its search of Mar-a-Lago, including those marked classified, saying they didn’t trust the Justice Department to accurately represent what was in them. ‘The Government has not proven these records remain classified. That issue is to be determined later,’ Mr. Trump’s lawyers wrote in a Monday morning filing to U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who last week ordered the appointment of a special master in the matter. They disputed the status of around 100 documents marked as classified, which the Justice Department had signaled were central to a criminal investigation, providing their most specific arguments yet to counter prosecutors’ request to continue evaluating the documents for national-security concerns…. In a separate filing Monday afternoon, Mr. Trump’s lawyers said they oppose the two former federal judges, Barbara S. Jones and Thomas B. Griffith, the Justice Department proposed for the special master role, but asked to explain their reasoning privately before the court to be ‘more respectful to the candidates.’ The filing said only that they believe ‘there are specific reasons why those nominees are not preferred for service as Special Master in this case.'” See also, Trump Asks Federal Judge Aileen Cannon to Keep Blocking F.B.I. From Working With Seized Classified Files. It was the latest salvo in a court fight over a special master, which has stalled an investigation into the former president’s hoarding of government documents. The New York Times, Alan Feuer and Charlie Savage, Monday, 12 September 2022: “Lawyers for former President Donald J. Trump asked a federal judge on Monday to deny the Justice Department’s request to immediately restart a key part of its criminal investigation into his hoarding of sensitive government documents at his residence in Florida. Renewing their request for an expansive independent review of records seized from Mr. Trump, the former president’s legal team argued that documents marked as classified should remain off limits to the F.B.I. and prosecutors. They asked the judge, Aileen M. Cannon, to maintain her order barring agents from using any of the materials taken from his estate until an outside arbiter, known as a special master, has vetted all of them. The 21-page filing was an aggressive rebuke of the Justice Department’s broader inquiry into whether Mr. Trump or his aides illegally kept national security secrets at his property, Mar-a-Lago, or obstructed the government’s repeated attempts to retrieve the materials. It played down the criminal inquiry as a ‘storage dispute’ and insinuated that officials might have leaked information about the contents of the files.”

Justice Department says it would accept Trump nominee for special master. The naming of Raymond Dearie, a former chief federal judge in New York, could potentially launch Mar-a-Lago document review. The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett and Perry Stein. Monday, 12 September 2022: “The Justice Department filed court papers Monday signaling that it would accept a former chief federal judge in New York as a special master charged with reviewing papers seized by the FBI from former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and club. U.S. District Court judge Aileen M. Cannon must approve Raymond J. Dearie’s appointment for the document review — which has stalled the Justice Department’s criminal probe — to go forward. Dearie was proposed by Trump’s lawyers last week, amid a legal battle over whether a special master should review the documents to determine whether any should be kept from federal prosecutors investigating the potential mishandling of classified material and the possible hiding, tampering or destruction of government records. Dearie, 78, still serves as a judge in Brooklyn federal court, albeit on senior status, which means he can take a reduced caseload if he chooses. He was the U.S Attorney in Brooklyn in the 1980s — a time when the office’s workload was dominated by the pursuit of mobsters, gang leaders, and financial fraudsters. Dearie was nominated to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan and became one of the most highly-regarded jurists in the Eastern District of New York. He previously served on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees sensitive national security cases.” See also, Justice Department Says It’s Open to Trump Pick for Special Master. Prosecutors said they would not object if Judge Raymond J. Dearie of the Federal District Court in Brooklyn is appointed to review the sensitive documents seized from Mar-a-Lago. The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Monday, 12 September 2022: “The Justice Department said on Monday that it was open to accepting one of former President Donald J. Trump’s proposed candidates for the job of an independent arbiter to review thousands of documents seized last month by the F.B.I. from Mr. Trump’s residence in Florida. In a brief court filing, prosecutors said they would not object if the judge presiding over the case appointed Judge Raymond J. Dearie of the Federal District Court in Brooklyn as special master to oversee an evaluation of the trove of sensitive materials seized from Mr. Trump’s estate, Mar-a-Lago. Mr. Trump’s lawyers and lawyers for the Justice Department are also engaged in a separate court fight over how a potential special master should review the seized documents. Mr. Trump wants an expansive review that would scrutinize all of the materials for items protected by attorney-client or executive privilege; the Justice Department wants a narrower review excluding about 100 documents bearing labels marking them as classified.”

Senate Judiciary to Investigate Allegations That the Justice Department Under President Donald Trump Sought to Use the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan to Support Mr. Trump Politically and to Pursue His Critics. The allegations of political motivation are in a new book by the former U.S. attorney in Manhattan, Geoffrey S. Berman. The New York Times, Benjamin Weiser, Monday, 12 September 2022: “The allegations are in a new book by Geoffrey S. Berman, who was U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York from 2018 through June 2020, when he was fired by Mr. Trump. The chairman, Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, made the announcement in a letter sent to Attorney General Merrick Garland, which cited a New York Times report on Thursday detailing the book’s allegations. Mr. Berman’s book portrays Trump Justice Department officials as motivated by partisan concerns as they tried to initiate criminal investigations or block them, The Times reported. The book, ‘Holding the Line,’ was obtained by The Times in advance of its scheduled publication on Tuesday.”

Exclusive: ‘I’m just not going to leave’: New book by Maggie Haberman reveals Trump vowed to stay in the White House, CNN Politics, Jeremy Herb, Monday, 12 September 2022: “Former President Donald Trump repeatedly told aides in the days following his 2020 election loss that he would remain in the White House rather than let incoming President Joe Biden take over, according to reporting provided to CNN from a forthcoming book by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman. ‘I’m just not going to leave,’ Trump told one aide, according to Haberman. ‘We’re never leaving,’ Trump told another. ‘How can you leave when you won an election?’ Trump’s insistence that he would not be leaving the White House, which has not been previously reported, adds new detail to the chaotic post-election period in which Trump’s refusal to accept his defeat and numerous efforts to overturn the election result led to the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol by pro-Trump rioters. Haberman’s book, ‘Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America,’ is being released on October 4.”


Tuesday, 13 September 2022:


War in Ukraine: Russian retreat in northeast fuels cautious optimism for Kyiv and allies, The Washington Post, Bryan Pietsch, Ellen Francis, Karina Tsui, and Sammy Westfall, Tuesday, 13 September 2022: “A Ukrainian counteroffensive and Russian retreat in the northeast have fueled optimism in Kyiv and Western capitals. ‘What you’re seeing is certainly a shift in momentum,’ White House press secretary John Kirby told reporters Tuesday. ‘We have seen the Russians evacuate, withdraw, retreat from their defensive positions … in the face of Ukrainian armed forces that are clearly on the offense.

  • Ukraine’s counteroffensive in Kharkiv could mark a turning point in the warWestern officials said, while Moscow described its pullback as a decision to ‘regroup.’ The lightning advance in the Kharkiv region could raise pressure on Moscow to call up more forces. ‘The question will be how the Russians will react, but their weaknesses have been exposed and they don’t have great manpower reserves or equipment reserves,’ a U.S. official told The Washington Post.
  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke over the phone for 90 minutes on Tuesday. During the call, Scholz said that ‘any further Russian annexation steps would not go unanswered’ and would not be recognized, according to a statement by German government spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit. Scholz wrote in a tweet that Russia must withdraw its troops and recognize Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity — ‘otherwise, a diplomatic solution is inconceivable.’
  • Russia said its war in Ukraine will continue ‘until the goals that have been set are achieved,’ Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday. Russia’s ambitions have shifted during the war: After failing to capture the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, Russian forces turned their fire to the eastern Donbas region. Peskov on Tuesday ruled out plans for a general mobilization to reinforce troops in Ukraine, calling it ‘out of the question’ in a briefing with reporters.
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency said that all three backup power lines to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant were restored over the last few days. In a Tuesday statement, the agency said Ukrainian engineers made progress in repairing vital power infrastructure that had been damaged in shelling near the plant.

Russia-Ukraine War: In Reclaimed Towns, Ukrainians Recount a Frantic Russian Retreat. The Ukrainian military said Russian soldiers were discouraged and redoubled calls for them to surrender. In the south, civilians who fled territory still in Russian control said occupying soldiers had grown increasingly volatile. The New York Times, Andrew E. Kramer and Jeffrey Gettleman, Tuesday, 13 September 2022: “The signs of desperation were everywhere. Abandoned military vehicles. Cans of food and dishes left on tables. Mail scattered on office floors. Clothes left hanging on lines. This is how the Russian army left the town of Balakliya in northeastern Ukraine, in a sign of a frantic, chaotic withdrawal as the Ukrainian Army closed in during a fast-moving counteroffensive over the last few days. The lightning assaults allowed Ukraine’s military to recapture hundreds of square miles of territory, strategic towns and abandoned weapons. One resident, Oleksandr Kryvosheya, said that he had overheard Russian soldiers yelling at their commanders on a radio in an armored personnel carrier parked in the courtyard of his apartment block. ‘You left us behind, you got out,’ the soldiers protested, Mr. Kryvosheya said…. As the Russian defenses around the town collapsed, residents said, soldiers ran for whatever transport they could, leaving behind ammunition and weapons along with personal items in apartments where they had quartered.”

Chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee Said the National Archives Told Her Staff It Was Still Not Certain Whether All Presidential Records Had Been Returned, The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Tuesday, 13 September 2022: “The National Archives has informed congressional aides that it is still unsure whether former President Donald J. Trump has surrendered all the presidential records he removed from the White House, even after months of negotiations, a subpoena and a search of his Florida property, according to the House Oversight Committee. The archives staff ‘recently informed the committee that the agency is not certain whether all presidential records are in its custody,’ Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York and the chairwoman of the committee, wrote in a letter on Tuesday to Debra Steidel Wall, the acting national archivist. Ms. Maloney said the archives staff had informed the committee staff during a call in late August of its uncertainty about the status of the material, which Mr. Trump was required by law to return. In her letter, Ms. Maloney requested a formal assessment from the archives of what presidential records, if any, removed from the White House by Mr. Trump remained unaccounted for and whether the archives believed they were potentially still in his possession.” See also, The chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee has requested that the National Archives conduct a review into whether presidential records from the Trump White House have all been accounted for after the Justice Department recovered roughly 100 classified documents and 48 empty folders with banners marked ‘classified’ from the former president’s residence last month, The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany, Tuesday, 13 September 2022: “In a letter sent Tuesday to the acting archivist of the United States, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) urged the Archives to ‘seek a personal certification from Donald Trump that he has surrendered all presidential records that he illegally removed from the White House after leaving office.’ Maloney also called on the agency to ‘conduct an urgent review of presidential records recovered from the Trump White House to assess whether presidential records remain unaccounted for and potentially in the possession of the former president.’ In the six-page letter, Maloney underscored concerns about the dozens of empty folders for classified materials recovered by the FBI during the Aug. 8 search of the Trump’s residence at his Mar-a-Lago Club, writing that ‘sensitive presidential records may remain out of the control and custody of the U.S. Government.'”

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina Proposes 15-Week Abortion Ban, Splitting Republicans, The New York Times, Annie Karni, Tuesday, 13 September 2022: “Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina introduced legislation on Tuesday that would institute a federal ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, reigniting debate on an issue that Republicans have worked to confront before midterm elections in which abortion rights have become a potent issue. There is no chance that Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, would allow such a bill to receive a vote in the Senate, where his party has been focused on preserving abortion access after the Supreme Court’s ruling in June ending the constitutional right to abortion. And the proposal quickly divided Republicans, splitting their leaders and reflecting the difficult politics of abortion for the party in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision. Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the minority leader, who has previously said his party was unlikely to pursue an abortion ban, told reporters on Tuesday that he thought the issue should be left up to the states and that most members of his conference agreed. When pressed on the details of Mr. Graham’s bill, Mr. McConnell sought to distance himself, saying, ‘You’ll have to ask him about it.’ Mr. Graham’s proposal appeared to be an effort to find a politically palatable position for Republicans after the court’s decision that could insulate them from a voter backlash, even as G.O.P.-led states enact bans on nearly all abortions. But it also accomplished something that many Republicans have sought to avoid, highlighting for voters that their choice in November is between supporting a Democratic majority that wants to preserve abortion access and handing control of Congress to Republicans who are seeking to ban the procedure.” See also, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina introduces bill to ban abortions nationwide after 15 weeks, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang and Caroline Kitchener, Tuesday, 13 September 2022: “Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) on Tuesday introduced a bill that would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy nationwide, the most prominent effort by Republicans to restrict the procedure since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. ‘I think we should have a law at the federal level that would say, after 15 weeks, no abortion on demand except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother,’ Graham said at a news conference. ‘And that should be where America is at.’ Graham’s measure, which stands almost no chance of advancing while Democrats hold the majority in Congress, comes just weeks after he and most Republicans defended the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe by arguing that allowing states to decide on abortion rights would be the most ‘constitutionally sound’ way of handling the issue. On Tuesday, Graham vowed that if Republicans took back the House and the Senate in the midterm elections there would be a vote on his 15-week abortion bill.” See also, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham’s abortion ban stuns Senate Republicans. Most Republicans stiff-armed him Tuesday as they face abortion-rights backers ascendant after Roe’s reversal. The New York Times, Burgess Everett, Marianne Levine, and Sarah Ferris, Tuesday, 13 September 2022: “Lindsey Graham’s anti-abortion legislation once unified the Republican Party. The 15-week abortion ban he pitched Tuesday had the exact opposite effect. The South Carolina senator chose a uniquely tense moment to unveil his party’s first bill limiting abortion access since this summer’s watershed reversal of Roe v. Wade. It was designed as a nod to anti-abortion activists who have never felt more emboldened. Yet Graham’s bill also attempted to skate past a Republican Party that’s divided over whether Congress should even be legislating on abortion after the Supreme Court struck down a nationwide right to terminate pregnancies. And some fellow Republicans said they were highly perplexed at Graham’s decision to introduce a new abortion ban — more conservative than his previous proposals — at a precarious moment for the party. Graham’s past pitches for a 20-week abortion ban attracted most Republicans’ support and even the votes of some Senate Democrats. His latest effort would leave in place state laws that are even more restrictive while also imposing new limits in blue states that currently have none. Coming less than 60 days before the midterms, it’s riled some Republicans, who are watching their once-dominant polling advantage shrink since the Roe reversal.”

U.S. intelligence finds Russia spent millions on secret global political campaign to weaken democratic systems and to promote global political forces seen as aligned with Russia’s interests, The Washington Post, Missy Ryan, Tuesday, 13 September 2022: “Russia has secretly funneled at least $300 million to foreign political parties and candidates in more than two dozen countries since 2014 in an attempt to shape political events beyond its borders, according to a new U.S. intelligence review. Moscow plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars more as part of its covert campaign to weaken democratic systems and promote global political forces seen as aligned with Kremlin interests, according to the review, which the Biden administration commissioned this summer. A senior U.S. official, who like other officials spoke to reporters Tuesday on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence findings, said the administration decided to declassify some of the review’s findings in an attempt to counter Russia’s ability to sway political systems in countries in Europe, Africa and elsewhere. ‘By shining this light on Russian covert political financing and Russian attempts to undermine democratic processes, we’re putting these foreign parties and candidates on notice that if they accept Russian money secretly we can and we will expose it,’ the official said.” See also, State Department Summary of a Recent U.S. Intelligence Review Says Russia Secretly Gave $300 Million to Political Parties and Officials Worldwide to Shape Foreign Political Environments in Russia’s Favor, The New York Times, Edward Wong, Tuesday, 13 September 2022: “Russia has covertly given at least $300 million to political parties, officials and politicians in more than two dozen countries since 2014, and plans to transfer hundreds of millions more, with the goal of exerting political influence and swaying elections, according to a State Department summary of a recent U.S. intelligence review. Russia has probably given even more that has gone undetected, the document said. ‘The Kremlin and its proxies have transferred these funds in an effort to shape foreign political environments in Moscow’s favor,’ the document said. It added, ‘The United States will use official liaison channels with targeted countries to share still classified information about Russian activities targeting their political environments.’ The State Department document was sent to American embassies around the world on Monday to summarize talking points for U.S. diplomats in conversations with foreign officials.”

Trump Is Not Even Pretending to Hide His Support for QAnon Any More, Vice, David Gilbert, Tuesday, 13 September 2022: “Former President Donald Trump has now shared his most explicit endorsement of the QAnon conspiracy movement to date. Trump shared a picture of himself wearing a Q lapel pin, overlaid with the QAnon phrases ‘The Storm is Coming’ and ‘WWG1WGA,’ on his Truth Social account on Monday evening. The post was originally shared on Truth Social by an account called ‘Patriots in Control,’ before Trump re-shared it…. In QAnon world, the ‘storm’ is the moment when Trump will reveal his secret plan to dismantle the deep state and the group of elites QAnon followers believe are operating a global child sex trafficking ring. The ‘storm’ will also, they think, trigger Trump’s return to power and the public executions of those who’ve acted against him, from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to current President Joe Biden. The post comes just weeks after the ex-president went on a QAnon-filled posting spree on Truth Social. ‘It’s almost like Trump is trying to tell us something,’ one popular QAnon influencer wrote, referencing Trump’s increasing embrace of the QAnon conspiracy. Trump’s influence is undeniable: As he continues to hint at another run for president in 2024, Trump is using his huge sway within the Republican Party to endorse a slate of candidates for the November midterms who openly support the lie that the 2020 election was rigged.”


Wednesday, 14 September 2022:


War in Ukraine: Zelensky visits reclaimed Izyum; European Union moves ahead with emergency measures on energy, The Washington Post, Bryan Pietsch, Adela Suliman, Claire Parker, Sammy Westfall, and Praveena Somasundaram, Wednesday, 14 September 2022: “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a surprise visit Wednesday to Izyum, a strategic town in the northeastern Kharkiv region, where he thanked Ukrainian troops for liberating the area from Russian forces and vowed that the country’s blue-and-yellow flag would fly again ‘in every Ukrainian city and village.’ Ukrainian troops retook much of the region as part of a stunning counteroffensive that has routed Russian forces and revealed the potential limits of Russia’s military for the foreseeable future, analysts said. Ukraine has made ‘significant progress’ in the war, according to President Biden, but he cautioned: ‘I think it’s going to be a long haul.’

  • Zelensky was in a car crash Wednesday but did not sustain major injuries, his press secretary Sergii Nykyforov said in a statement on Facebook. Nykyforov added that law enforcement officers are investigating the accident.
  • The European Union will push ahead with emergency measures to tackle the energy crisis, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday, adding that she planned to visit Kyiv that day. She accused Russia of ‘actively manipulating’ the bloc’s energy market but vowed that Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘will fail, and Europe will prevail.’ The proposed measures include a windfall tax on some energy companies and binding targets to reduce consumption.
  • Ukraine’s creditors agreed to defer debt service for the war-torn country, Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said in a statement Wednesday, to allow the Ukrainian government ‘to direct additional resources toward its domestic needs and the welfare of the Ukrainian people.’ The United States was among a group of creditor countries that will suspend Ukraine’s debt service repayment obligations through the end of 2023.
  • Putin spoke with U.N. Secretary General António Guterres over the phone Wednesday, and said Russia would continue to ‘work on the Russia-UN line at various levels,’ according to a Kremlin readout. The two discussed security at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and exports of Ukrainian grain. ‘I have a feeling that we are still far away from peace,’ Guterres said at a news conference after the call.

Russia-Ukraine War: Zelensky Visits a City Just Miles From the Front, Underscoring Ukraine’s Gains. Ukraine’s president made an unannounced visit to Izium, which Kyiv’s forces seized in a lightning offensive in the northeast. Russian strikes in the southern city of Kryvyi Rih sent water gushing downstream as residents worried about flooding. The New York Times, Andrew E. Kramer and Marc Santora, Wednesday, 14 September 2022: “Standing in a cold drizzle among wreckage left behind by Russia’s chaotic retreat, President Volodymyr Zelensky looked to the sky on Wednesday toward Ukraine’s flag flying over the main square of a city reclaimed just days ago in a stunning counterattack. ‘Today, when we look up, we are looking for only one thing — the flag of Ukraine,’ Mr. Zelensky told soldiers in front of the city’s bombed-out municipal building. ‘Our blue and yellow flag is already flying in de-occupied Izium. And it will be so in every Ukrainian city and village.’ The president’s unannounced appearance in Izium, about nine miles from the front in Ukraine’s northeast, was a tangible sign of Ukraine’s soaring morale and its growing boldness — a demonstration that the military could ensure Mr. Zelensky’s safety even near the front and that it would staunchly defend what it had reclaimed. Russian soldiers fled the city in a humiliating retreat last week, abandoning tanks, trucks and boxes of ammunition in the streets, and Mr. Zelensky’s visit underscored that humiliation.”

Federal Investigation Into Colorado Clerk Tina Peters Reaches Mike Lindell, the Founder of My Pillow, The New York Times, Charles Homans, Ken Bensinger, Alexandra Berzon, and Alan Feuer, Wednesday, 14 September 2022: “When federal agents seized the cellphone of Mike Lindell, the founder of MyPillow, in the drive-though line of a fast-food restaurant in Minnesota on Tuesday, it was a clear indication that the Justice Department had intensified its interest in a state case against a Colorado county clerk accused of tampering with voting machines. Mr. Lindell, both in interviews and on his online television show, said that the agents who took his phone had asked about his ties to Tina Peters, the clerk of Mesa County, Colo., who is facing a state indictment over an effort to obtain data from voting machines produced by Dominion Voting Systems. The Dominion machines were central to conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, and Ms. Peters is accused of engineering a scheme that she believed would prove the devices had been used to steal the race from former President Donald J. Trump. By seizing Mr. Lindell’s phone, federal investigators brought into the case one of the most prominent purveyors of pro-Trump disinformation about elections. The warrant used against him went even further, placing him on a list of what it described as several ‘co-conspirators.'”

New book by Peter Baker of The New York Times and Susan Glasser of The New Yorker says Trump told Jordan’s king he would give him the West Bank, The Washington Post, Azi Paybarah, Wednesday, 14 September 2022: “President Trump once offered what he considered ‘a great deal’ to Jordan’s King Abdullah II: control of the West Bank, whose Palestinian population long sought to topple the monarchy. ‘I thought I was having a heart attack,’ Abdullah II recalled to an American friend in 2018, according to a new book on the Trump presidency being published next week. ‘I couldn’t breathe. I was bent doubled-over.’ The unreported offer to Abdullah is among the startling new details about Trump’s chaotic presidency in the book ‘The Divider: Trump in the White House 2017-2021’ by Peter Baker, chief White House correspondent for the New York Times, and Susan Glasser, staff writer for the New Yorker. The book, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post, is the latest in a long-running series of deeply reported behind-the-scenes accounts featuring, or written by, Trump administration insiders, with some claiming that they tried to curb the 45th president’s worst instincts. Baker and Glasser write that their book is based on reporting they did for their respective outlets, ‘as well as about 300 original interviews conducted exclusively for this book.’ They added: ‘We obtained private diaries, memos, contemporaneous notes, emails, text messages, and other documents that shed new light on Trump’s time in office.'”

John Durham Inquiry Appears to Wind Down as Grand Jury Expires. The special counsel appointed by the Trump administration to examine the Russia investigation seems to be wrapping up its work with no further charges in store. The New York Times, Katie Benner, Adam Goldman, and Charlie Savage, Wednesday, 14 September 2022: “When John H. Durham was assigned by the Justice Department in 2019 to examine the origins of the investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, President Donald J. Trump and his supporters expressed a belief that the inquiry would prove that a ‘deep state’ conspiracy including top Obama-era officials had worked to sabotage him. Now Mr. Durham appears to be winding down his three-year inquiry without anything close to the results Mr. Trump was seeking. The grand jury that Mr. Durham has recently used to hear evidence has expired, and while he could convene another, there are currently no plans to do so, three people familiar with the matter said. Mr. Durham and his team are working to complete a final report by the end of the year, they said, and one of the lead prosecutors on his team is leaving for a job with a prominent law firm.” See also, John Durham’s investigation of the Trump-Russia probe enters final stages, CNN Politics, Marshall Cohen, Katelyn Polantz, and Evan Perez, Wednesday, 14 September 2022: “Special counsel John Durham’s office is in the final stages of its closely watched investigation into potential criminal misconduct during the Trump-Russia probe, and his team is finishing up its written report, according to multiple people briefed on the matter. Top Durham prosecutor Andrew DeFilippis — who led the team’s case against a Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer earlier this year, which ended in a swift acquittal — was supposed to handle another trial next month, but instead is leaving the Justice Department for a job at a private law firm, according to sources. DeFilippis in recent months was at one point working on writing a report on Durham’s findings, which will be submitted to Attorney General Merrick Garland.”

Exclusive: Mark Meadows complied with Department of Justice subpoena in January 6 investigation, CNN Politics, Pamela Brown, Evan Perez, Jeremy Herb, and Kristen Holmes, Wednesday, 14 September 2022: “Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has complied with a subpoena from the Justice Department’s investigation into events surrounding January 6, 2021, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN, making him the highest-ranking Trump official known to have responded to a subpoena in the federal investigation. Meadows turned over the same materials he provided to the House select committee investigating the US Capitol attack, one source said, meeting the obligations of the Justice Department subpoena, which has not been previously reported. Last year, Meadows turned over thousands of text messages and emails to the House committee, before he stopped cooperating. The texts he handed over between Election Day 2020 and Joe Biden’s inauguration, which CNN previously obtained, provided a window into his dealings at the White House, though he withheld hundreds of messages, citing executive privilege.”

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan repeats warning that the Supreme Court is damaging its legitimacy. The justice’s pointed comments follow Chief Justice John Roberts’ recent lament that unpopular decisions shouldn’t undercut the court. Politico, Josh Gerstein, Wednesday, 14 September 2022: “Justice Elena Kagan warned again on Wednesday that unsound reasoning and politically convenient conclusions have infected the Supreme Court’s recent opinions and are doing damage to the court’s standing with the American public. ‘When courts become extensions of the political process, when people see them as extensions of the political process, when people see them as trying just to impose personal preferences on a society irrespective of the law, that’s when there’s a problem — and that’s when there ought to be a problem,’ Kagan said during an event at Northwestern University School of Law. Kagan has offered similar criticism of the high court on several occasions over the past summer, following its momentous, 5-4 decision in June overturning Roe v. Wade and wiping out a federal constitutional right to abortion that had been recognized for nearly half a century. However, the recent criticisms from Kagan, an appointee of President Barack Obama and a former Harvard Law School dean, now seem more pointed because they come just days after Chief Justice John Roberts expressed concern publicly that the court’s reputation is being unfairly battered.” See also, Justice Elena Kagan to her colleagues: You’re why the Supreme Court has lost legitimacy, The Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin, Wednesday, 14 September 2022: “If Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has chosen to close his eyes to the Supreme Court’s role in its own legitimacy crisis and defend his radical colleagues, Justice Elena Kagan has chosen to be a clear-eyed truth-teller. On Monday, she let loose a burst of refreshing clarity during a talk at Temple Emanu-El in New York. ‘Judges create legitimacy problems for themselves … when they instead stray into places where it looks like they’re an extension of the political process or when they’re imposing their own personal preferences,’ she said. She added that the public has a right to expect that ‘changes in personnel don’t send the entire legal system up for grabs.’ That’s as clear an indictment of the six right-wing justices as you are going to hear. Indeed, Kagan made a few irrefutable points while eviscerating Roberts’s feigned cluelessness. First, she makes clear that the problem is undeniable…. Second, she recognizes that there is no mass delusion underlying the public’s frustration with the court…. Third, she identifies the primary catalyst for the court’s present crisis: the gutting of precedent by the newest justices.”

Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis Flies 2 Planeloads of Migrants to Martha’s Vineyard. The Moneyed summer resort became an unlikely arena in the fight over illegal immigration. Republican states have bused thousands of migrants to New York and Washington. The New York Times, Patricia Mazzei, Remy Tumin, and Eliza Fawcett, Wednesday, 14 September 2022: “About 50 migrants unexpectedly arrived by plane on Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday, local officials said, escalating a tactic in which Republican-led states have shipped busloads of migrants to liberal bastions like Washington and New York to protest the significant rise in illegal immigration under President Biden. The migrant group, which included children, arrived on two planes around 3 p.m. without any warning, said State Senator Julian Cyr, a Massachusetts Democrat representing Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Officials and volunteers from the island’s six towns ‘really moved heaven and earth to essentially set up the response that we would do in the event of a hurricane,’ he said. As the migrants received Covid-19 tests, food and clothing, there was confusion on the ground about who had sent them to Martha’s Vineyard, a popular getaway for the moneyed and powerful. Migrants said they had started the day in San Antonio, but it was the Florida governor’s office that took responsibility.”


Thursday, 15 September 2022:


War in Ukraine: Mass burial site discovered in Izyum; European Union chief in Kyiv, The Washington Post, Bryan Pietsch, Adela Suliman, Adam Taylor, Claire Parker, and James Bikales, Thursday, 15 September 2022: “Ukrainian authorities discovered a mass burial site in the city of Izyum after liberating the city over the weekend, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday evening. Earlier in the day, Zelensky met with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Kyiv. In a rare admission, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he understood China’s ‘questions and concerns’ about the war in Ukraine, before meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Uzbekistan on Thursday. Moscow warned the United States not to supply Ukraine with long-range missiles, saying such an act would make Washington a ‘direct party to the conflict’ and breach a ‘red line.’

  • Ukrainian officials discovered a mass grave in the recently liberated city of Izyum in the eastern Kharkiv regionZelensky said in his nightly address Thursday. ‘The necessary procedural actions have already begun there,’ he said, adding that more information would be available Friday. A top police official for the Kharkiv region told Sky News that the site contained more than 400 graves.
  • Zelensky and von der Leyen discussed trade policy and Ukraine’s bid for membership in the European Union. The visit is her third since the start of the war nearly seven months ago. Zelensky presented von der Leyen with an award, and she called for additional military equipment for Ukraine. The E.U. will provide about $100 million to help Ukraine rebuild schools, she said.
  • Putin met with Xi on Thursday at the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional security group. ‘We highly value the balanced position of our Chinese friends regarding the Ukrainian crisis, we understand your questions and concerns on this matter, and during today’s meeting we will of course clarify all of these in detail,’ Putin said in his opening remarks. Xi said Beijing was willing to work with Moscow to ‘inject stability into a turbulent world.’
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency called on Russia to ‘immediately cease all actions against, and at’ the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in a resolution passed by its Board of Governors on Thursday, Reuters reported. Twenty-six countries voted in favor, while only Russia and China opposed it, according to Reuters. Zelensky praised the resolution’s passage in his nightly address, saying “the complete demilitarization of the plant, the immediate withdrawal of all Russian troops from there is the only thing that can ensure the implementation of this IAEA resolution.”
  • The United States announced further sanctions on Russian officials. Among the 22 people facing new sanctions are Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, along with three of his wives and three daughters, the Treasury Department said in a statement. A Russian neo-Nazi militia allegedly fighting in Ukraine, Task Force Rusich, was also on the list.
  • Ukraine recorded its first case of monkeypox. The patient, who had no known contact with monkeypox patients and had not traveled abroad, has been hospitalized with mild symptoms, according to the Health Ministry’s announcement. Ukraine is not providing monkeypox vaccinations so far.

Russia-Ukraine War: Chinese Support for Putin’s War Looks More Shaky After Summit. The Russian president met with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, at a time of increasing animosity with the West. President Biden will meet on Friday with the families of Brittney Griner and another American imprisoned in Russia. The New York Times, Thursday, 15 September 2022:

  • Putin acknowledges China may have ‘questions and concerns’ about the war.

  • The U.S. will send $600 million in additional military supplies to Ukraine.

  • Biden will meet with the families of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.

  • Pope Francis says it can be ‘morally acceptable’ to arm Ukraine.

  • U.S. places sanctions on Russian official accused of orchestrating the forced deportation of Ukrainian children.

  • A mass grave site with 440 bodies was found in Izium, a police official said.

  • A Russian strike on a Ukrainian dam endangered civilians, but also likely served a military purpose.

Judge Keeps Block on Inquiry Into Mar-a-Lago Files and Names Special Master. The Justice Department is planning to appeal, but the decision is likely to significantly delay its investigation into former President Donald Trump’s handling of government records. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Alan Feuer, and Glenn Thrush, Thursday, 15 September 2022: “A federal judge on Thursday rejected the Justice Department’s request to resume a key part of its inquiry into former President Donald J. Trump’s handling of sensitive government records and appointed an outside arbiter to review thousands of documents seized last month from his Florida residence. The judge, Aileen M. Cannon, declined to lift any part of an order she issued last week that barred the department from using the documents, including about 100 marked classified, in its investigation until the arbiter, known as a special master, had completed a review. In her 10-page decision, Judge Cannon appointed a special master suggested by the Trump legal team and agreed upon by the government: Raymond J. Dearie, a semiretired judge from the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Judge Dearie will now have the authority to sift through more than 11,000 records the F.B.I. carted away from Mr. Trump’s estate, Mar-a-Lago, on Aug. 8. The move was a blow to the Justice Department, almost certain to significantly delay its investigation into whether the former president unlawfully retained national defense records or obstructed repeated attempts by federal officials to retrieve them. The department had asked Judge Cannon to lift restrictions on its use of documents with classification markings and set a Thursday deadline for her to respond before it said it would ask an appeals court to intervene. The department is now planning to appeal the decision, and top officials were meeting to discuss the timing of their filing, according to a senior law enforcement official. Judge Cannon’s order was the latest turn in what has now become a protracted and politically fraught court battle over the trove of documents seized in the search of Mar-a-Lago. While Judge Cannon’s order was a victory for Mr. Trump and his legal team, she also made two significant concessions to the government. She said, for instance, that Judge Dearie should first look at the classified documents and ‘thereafter consider prompt adjustments to the court’s orders as necessary.’ That raised the possibility that Judge Dearie might quickly clear the items and the F.B.I. would then regain unrestricted use of them in its criminal inquiry. In her order, Judge Cannon said the special master should try to finish his review by Nov. 30. Judge Cannon also clarified her temporary ban on the Justice Department’s investigation. While the department could not present the seized documents to a grand jury or ask witnesses about their contents, she said, the F.B.I. could continue to investigate ‘the movement and storage of seized materials, including documents marked as classified, without discussion of their contents.'”

Trump warns of ‘problems’ like ‘we’ve never seen’ if he’s indicted. It’s not the first time Republicans have hinted at potential civil unrest. Politico, Myah Ward and Andrew Desiderio, Thursday, 15 September 2022: “Former President Donald Trump said Thursday the nation would face ‘problems … the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen’ if he is indicted over his handling of classified documents after leaving office, an apparent suggestion that such a move by the Justice Department could spark violence from Trump’s supporters. The former president said an indictment wouldn’t stop him from running for the White House again and repeatedly said Americans ‘would not stand’ for his prosecution.” See also, Trump warns of ‘big problems’ if indicted and says he’d still run for office, The Washington Post, Azi Paybarah, Thursday, 15 September 2022: “Former president Donald Trump warned that if he were indicted on a charge of mishandling classified documents after leaving the White House, there would be ‘problems in this country the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen before.’ Trump, speaking Thursday to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, added, ‘I don’t think the people of the United States would stand for it.'”

New York Attorney General Letitia James May Sue Trump After Rejecting Settlement Offer. James is also considering suing at least one of the former president’s adult children as part of her Trump Organization inquiry. The New York Times, Ben Protess, Jonah E. Bromwich, and William K. Rashbaum, Thursday, 15 September 2022: “The New York attorney general’s office has rebuffed an offer from Donald J. Trump’s lawyers to settle a contentious civil investigation into the former president and his family real estate business, setting the stage for a lawsuit that would accuse Mr. Trump of fraud, according to three people with knowledge of the matter. The attorney general, Letitia James, is also considering suing at least one of Mr. Trump’s adult children, the people said. Ivanka, Eric and Donald Trump Jr. have all been senior executives at Mr. Trump’s company, the Trump Organization. The likelihood of a lawsuit grew this month after Ms. James’s office rejected at least one settlement offer from Mr. Trump’s lawyers, the people said. While the Trump Organization for months has made overtures to the attorney general’s office — and the two sides could still reach a deal — there is no indication that a settlement will materialize anytime soon.”


Friday, 16 September 2022:


War in Ukraine: Izyum mass burial site under investigation; Biden to meet Griner’s wife, The Washington Post, Ellen Francis María Luisa Paúl, James Bikales, Claire Parker, and Meryl Kornfield, Friday, 16 September 2022: “A burial site in the city of Izyum appears to mark the latest atrocity uncovered after the retreat of Russian forces, Ukrainian officials say. President Biden has met with family members of two Americans detained in Russia, WNBA player Brittney Griner and security consultant Paul Whelan. Here’s the latest on the war and its impact across the globe.

  • Ukrainian authorities and United Nations monitors are investigating a mass burial site in the eastern city of Izyum. Military and police investigators at the site said there are 445 single graves and at least one mass grave containing 17 bodies. According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the bodies show signs of torture and include children. Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Ministry, said Friday that 22 bodies have been exhumed.
  • The bodies discovered in Izyum will be handed over to experts for identification, Ukraine’s commissioner for missing persons said in a statement on Telegram on Friday, adding that the number of dead may exceed those killed in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha at the beginning of the war. Zelensky also posted to Telegram graphic images of forensic experts gathering evidence from unmarked graves and the mud-caked remains of the deceased.
  • Reports of graves in Izyum are ‘horrifying’ and ‘repugnant,’ White House spokesman John Kirby said Friday. ‘Sadly, it’s in keeping with the kind of depravity and the brutality with which Russian forces have been prosecuting this war against Ukraine and Ukrainian people,’ he told reporters at a briefing, adding that the United States would continue to help efforts to document war crimes and atrocities in Ukraine to hold alleged Russian perpetrators accountable.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that Moscow is not to blame for Europe’s energy crisis — pushing the European Union to lift sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. His remarks came during an appearance in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, at a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
  • The U.N. nuclear watchdog urged Russia to ‘immediately cease all actions’ at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. In a resolution passed by its Board of Governors on Thursday, the International Atomic Energy Agency said hostilities against nuclear facilities in Ukraine have raised the risk of a disaster. Russia’s ambassador in Vienna said Friday that Moscow would not withdraw from the site, state media reported.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: India’s Leader Tells Putin That Now Is Not an Era for War. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments to the Russian president at a meeting in Uzbekistan underscored Russia’s growing isolation. In Izium, Ukrainian investigators began exhuming hundreds of bodies from a mass grave site. The New York Times, Friday, 16 September 2022:

  • Biden meets with relatives of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.

  • ‘Here are my neighbors and friends’: In a pine forest full of graves, Ukraine points to atrocities.

  • Residents describe Russia’s deadly siege of Izium and months of terror that followed.

  • Putin threatens to escalate war after Russian forces deliver what he called ‘warning strikes.’

  • Ukrainian prosecutors work to document evidence of war crimes in Kharkiv.

  • Russia and Ukraine trade blows in the south.

  • A cease-fire is holding between Armenia and Azerbaijan after deadly clashes.

Patrick Philbin, a Lawyer Representing Mr. Trump’s Post-Presidency Office, Told the National Archives Last Year That Trump Had No Classified Material. Philbin told the National Archives that boxes taken from the White House contained material like newspaper clippings. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt, Friday, 16 September 2022: “The National Archives has told the Justice Department that a lawyer representing former President Donald J. Trump indicated to the archives last year that boxes Mr. Trump had taken to his Mar-a-Lago home from the White House included only nonclassified material like newspaper clippings, according to a person briefed on the matter. The message was relayed to the National Archives last September by Patrick Philbin, a former top White House lawyer who was representing Mr. Trump’s post-presidency office, to the top lawyer at the archives, Gary Stern, according to two people briefed on the matter. Mr. Philbin indicated to Mr. Stern that the information was based on what Mr. Trump’s final White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, believed to be the contents in the boxes, the people said. Mr. Stern memorialized his own description of the exchange in an email, one of the people said. It is unclear when the archives told the Justice Department about the conversation. But it is part of the evidence gathered by investigators showing how Mr. Trump’s representatives gave government officials misleading information about what Mr. Trump had taken with him when he left the White House.” See also, Trump team claimed boxes at Mar-a-Lago were only news clippings. The 2021 assertion to the National Archives vastly misrepresented the scale and variety of documents, including classified records, later recovered from Trump’s property. The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany, Josh Dawsey, and Rosalind S. Helderman, Friday, 16 September 2022: “Months before National Archives officials retrieved hundreds of classified documents in 15 boxes from former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, they were told that none of the material was sensitive or classified and that Trump had only 12 boxes of ‘news clippings,’ according to people familiar with the conversations between Trump’s team and the Archives. During a September 2021 phone call with top Archives lawyer Gary Stern, former deputy White House counsel Pat Philbin offered reassuring news: Philbin said he had talked to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who made the assertion about the dozen boxes of clippings, the people familiar with the call said. Trump’s team was aware of no other materials, Philbin said, relaying information he said he got from Meadows. The characterization made in the call vastly misrepresented the scale and variety of documents, including classified records, eventually recovered by the Archives or the FBI. Philbin said that Meadows also told him no documents had been destroyed, according to two people with knowledge of the call and a third person with knowledge of Stern’s contemporaneous account of the call. These and other people spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose internal details. Stern had sought the call because he believed there were still more than two dozen boxes of materials that Trump had, and he also had concerns about whether digital records had been properly retained, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Top Archives officials continued to believe there was more material than they were being told about, according to people familiar with their thinking.”

U.S. Justice Department Asks Appeals Court to Restore Access to Sensitive Records Seized From Trump. The government, while calling a lower court’s decision ‘unprecedented,’ did not seek to stop the installation of an outside arbiter to review other materials taken from Mar-a-Lago. The New York Times, Glenn Thrush, Alan Feuer, and Charlie Savage, Friday, 16 September 2022: “The Justice Department asked an appeals court on Friday to let the F.B.I. regain access to about 100 sensitive documents taken from former President Donald J. Trump’s residence in Florida but did not try to block the appointment of an outside arbiter to review other materials. In a 29-page filing, the department asked the appeals court not to submit the roughly 100 files marked as classified through the vetting process of the arbiter, known as a special master — acquiescing to the review for 11,000 other documents seized from Mr. Trump’s home and resort, Mar-a-Lago. The review has frozen the government’s access to the material as it investigates Mr. Trump’s handling of the documents. ‘Although the government believes the district court fundamentally erred in appointing a special master and granting injunctive relief, the government seeks to stay only the portions of the order causing the most serious and immediate harm to the government and the public,’ wrote lawyers with the department’s national security division.” See also, Justice Department appeals U.S. District Court Judge Aileen M. Cannon’s rulings on classified material found at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. The Friday night filing asks a higher court to intercede against parts of the decision to appoint a special master to review documents seized from Trump’s club. The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Friday, 16 September 2022: “The Justice Department asked a federal appeals court Friday night to override parts of a judge’s order appointing a special master to review documents seized from former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and club, arguing that some of the terms hamper a critical national security investigation. The appeals court filing comes a day after U.S. District Court Judge Aileen M. Cannon appointed another federal judge, Raymond J. Dearie, to serve as special master and review the almost 11,000 documents seized in the FBI’s Aug. 8 search. The new filing from the Justice Department notes that it disagrees with that decision but for the time being is asking the appeals court to intercede on two parts of Cannon’s ruling — one barring criminal investigators from using the seized material while the special master does his work, and another allowing the special master to review the roughly 100 classified documents seized as well as the nonclassified material. The government filing asks for a stay of ‘only the portions of the order causing the most serious and immediate harm to the government and the public,’ calling the scope of their request ‘modest but critically important.’ It’s unclear how long the special master review, or the appeals, might take, but the new filing asks the appeals court to rule on their request for a stay ‘as soon as practicable.’ Cannon ordered Dearie to complete his review by Nov. 30. She said he should prioritize sorting through the classified documents, though she did not provide a timeline as to when that portion must be completed. The Justice Department had asked in a previous court filing for the review to be completed by Oct. 17. And Trump’s lawyers had said a special master would need 90 days to complete a review.” See also, Department of Justice appeals Judge Aileen Cannon’s order barring its use of classified materials in Mar-a-Lago investigation, NPR, Deepa Shivaram, Friday, 16 September 2022: “The Justice Department is asking the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta to lift part of an order from Judge Aileen Cannon that bars the government from using classified materials seized from Mar-A-Lago in its investigation and requiring the government to disclose those materials to the special master appointed in the case. The DOJ is not appealing the entire order establishing the special master process, asking for what it deems ‘modest but critically important relief.’ The appeal was expected; in a filing last week, the department had given Judge Aileen Cannon a deadline until Sept. 15 to respond to their request. The department has not been able to use the seized material in their criminal investigation since Cannon’s order to deny the DOJ access to the classified documents and appoint a special master to review the material for any that Trump may be able to assert privilege over, The 11th Circuit mostly compromises Republican judges, many of whom were appointed by Trump. But Neal Devins of William and Mary School of Law told NPR that while Cannon, a Trump appointee, has been siding with the former president thus far, the judges on the court of appeals may not necessarily follow suit.”

U.S. Discloses Decades of Justice Department Memos on Presidential War Powers. Executive branch lawyers secretly worked to limit the reach of a post-Vietnam War law, according to a trove of opinions from the Office of Legal Counsel. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Friday, 16 September 2022: “Justice Department lawyers have secretly worked under presidents of both parties to narrowly interpret the reach of a law passed at the end of the Vietnam War meant to reassert Congress’s constitutional role in deciding whether to go to war, newly disclosed memos show. The Office of Legal Counsel drafted the memos in the decades after Congress enacted that law, the War Powers Resolution of 1973. The writings shaped White House interpretations of its constraints in ways not disclosed to Congress or the public, and their release sheds light on the inner workings of executive branch lawyers seeking to protect or expand presidential power. Among the writings: a memo by Antonin Scalia, the future Supreme Court justice, blessing President Gerald R. Ford’s desire to send troops back to Vietnam in 1975 for the evacuation of Saigon, and another written in 1993 scrutinizing which parts of the law President Bill Clinton could disregard as unconstitutional, in what appears to be the office’s seminal work on the law. The tranche also covers various post-World War II issues, like the Harry S. Truman administration bringing Nazi scientists to the United States; ending the classification of Japanese people as ‘alien enemies’; and weighing whether to send peacekeeping troops to the Middle East as part of the 1948 establishment of Israel. The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University obtained the memos through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit and provided them to The New York Times. They open a window into how executive branch lawyers can expand White House power, allowing presidents to feel free to act in ways Congress sought to constrain. ‘The collection of previously unreleased war powers memos from the Office of Legal Counsel offers new insights into important historical moments, but it also has significance today,’ said Oona Hathaway, a Yale Law School professor who gained early access to the documents. ‘Because war powers issues almost never get litigated on the merits in court, the O.L.C.’s legal opinion is often the only one that matters,’ Ms. Hathaway added. ‘Moreover, the office treats its prior memos as precedential — so understanding war powers law requires understanding these prior memos. Yet, until now, no one else has been able to see them.'”


Saturday, 17 September 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Russia Closes In on Critical City in Ukraine’s East. Recent setbacks haven’t deterred Putin’s forces from advancing on the city of Bakhmut and claiming all of the mineral-rich Donbas region. President Biden told the CBS News program “60 Minutes” that any use of unconventional weapons would turn Russia into ‘more of a pariah’ than it has ever been. The New York Times, Saturday, 17 September 2022:

  • Biden threatens a ‘consequential’ response if Russia turns to unconventional weapons.

  • Power has been restored to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, a U.N. watchdog says.

  • Nancy Pelosi visits Armenia after outbreak of deadly fighting with Azerbaijan.

  • Izium discoveries renew focus on holding Russia accountable for civilian toll.

  • The war has reduced Ukraine’s grain storage by nearly 15 percent, a report says.

  • Why capping the price of Russian oil is complicated.

  • Biden meets with relatives of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.

As Trump Inquiry Heats Up, Attorney General Merrick Garland Says Divisions Imperil the Rule of Law. Addressing new citizens on Ellis Island, the attorney general emphasized that all Americans are equal under the law. The New York Times, Glenn Thrush, Saturday, 17 September 2022: “An emotional Attorney General Merrick B. Garland addressed new citizens on Saturday at Ellis Island, the site of his family’s American origin story, and warned that the country had become dangerously divided by political factionalism, which has imperiled the democracy and the rule of law. Mr. Garland was presiding over the oath of allegiance for 250 naturalized citizens at the iconic immigration processing center, on the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution in 1787. As the new Americans rose to recognize their home countries — about 60 of them, with origins from Albania to Yemen — he told them that the United States ‘wholeheartedly welcomes you.’ During a 10-minute speech in which he repeatedly stopped to collect himself, the attorney general recounted the tale of his grandmother’s flight from antisemitism in what is now Belarus before World War II, and the narrow escape to New York made by his wife’s mother, who fled Austria after Nazis annexed the country in 1938. ‘My family story is what motivated me to choose a career in public service,’ said the typically stoic attorney general, his voice dropping to a husky whisper. ‘I wanted to repay my country for taking my family in when they had nowhere else to go. I wanted to repay the debt my family owes this country for our very lives.’ Everything Mr. Garland says these days is parsed for deeper meaning — and prosecutorial clues — as the Justice Department plunges ahead with sprawling, open-ended investigations into former President Donald J. Trump and his allies. The attorney general often uses public appearances to address Mr. Trump and Trumpism in veiled but unmistakable terms, decrying division and vowing to hold ‘the powerful’ accountable for crimes they commit.” See also, Attorney General Merrick Garland lectures on ‘the rule of law’ after Trump judge ruled former president Trump deserves special treatment, Raw Story, Bob Brigham, Saturday, 17 September 2022: ‘Everything Mr. Garland says these days is parsed for deeper meaning — and prosecutorial clues — as the Justice Department plunges ahead with sprawling, open-ended investigations into former President Donald J. Trump and his allies. The attorney general often uses public appearances to address Mr. Trump and Trumpism in veiled but unmistakable terms, decrying division and vowing to hold “the powerful” accountable for crimes they commit,’ The New York Times reported. ‘But Saturday’s speech came at a critical moment, as Mr. Garland commits to an inquiry into possible criminality by a former president who remains a political force, and has repeatedly attacked Mr. Garland, his department and the F.B.I.’ Garland’s speech came only days after Trump-appointed Judge Aileen Cannon issued a highly criticized ruling claiming Trump deserved special treatment as a former president. ‘The protection of law — the rule of law — is the foundation of our system of government,’ Garland told the new citizens. ‘The rule of law means that the law treats each of us alike: There is not one rule for friends, another for foes; one rule for the powerful, another for the powerless; a rule for the rich, another for the poor,’ Garland said. Garland argued the rule of law ‘is fragile, it demands constant effort and vigilance.'”

Florida Republican Representative Matt Gaetz sought Trump pardon related to Justice Department sex trafficking investigation. Testimony by a former White House aide is the first indication the congressman sought protection from the inquiry. The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany and Amy Gardner, Saturday, 17 September 2022: “Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) told a former White House aide that he was seeking a preemptive pardon from President Donald Trump regarding an investigation in which he is a target, according to testimony given to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Johnny McEntee, according to people familiar with his testimony, told investigators that Gaetz told him during a brief meeting ‘that they are launching an investigation into him or that there’s an investigation into him,’ without specifying who was investigating Gaetz. McEntee added that Gaetz told him ‘he did not do anything wrong but they are trying to make his life hell, and you know, if the president could give him a pardon, that would be great.’ Gaetz told McEntee that he had asked White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows for a pardon. Asked by investigators if Gaetz’s request for a pardon was in the context of the Justice Department investigation into whether Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws, McEntee replied, ‘I think that was the context, yes,’ according to people familiar with the testimony who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters. The testimony is the first indication that Gaetz was specifically seeking a pardon for his own exposure related to the Justice Department inquiry into whether he violated sex trafficking laws. His public posture in the final months of the Trump administration was much less specific, repeatedly calling for broad preemptive pardons to fend off possible Democratic investigations.”

Trump’s Former Accounting Firm Mazars USA Begins Turning Over Documents to Congress. Mazars USA delivered an initial set of comments related to the former president’s finances to the house Oversight Committee as part of a settlement. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Saturday, 17 September 2022: “Mazars USA, the longtime accounting firm for former President Donald J. Trump that cut ties with him and his family business this year, has begun turning over documents related to his financial dealings to Congress. After a yearslong legal fight, the House Oversight Committee has received a first trove of documents from the firm, which recently entered into a legal settlement agreeing to produce a range of financial documents from several years before Mr. Trump took office and during his early presidency. Mazars said in February it could no longer stand behind a decade of annual financial statements it had prepared for the Trump Organization. More tranches of documents are expected to follow.” See also, House Oversight Committee has begun receiving Trump financial documents after court settlement, CNN Politics, Annie Grayer, Sunday, 18 September 2022: “The House Oversight Committee has begun receiving financial documents from former President Donald Trump’s former accounting firm, Mazars, after a deal was reached to end litigation over the documents earlier this month. The committee first subpoenaed Trump’s financial records in April 2019, which set off a long battle over the documents. House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from New York, said in a statement to CNN that ‘the Committee has begun to receive documents from Mazars and expects to receive more pursuant to the settlement. These documents are essential for the Committee to uncover the extent of former President Trump’s misconduct and conflicts of interests, and to pursue reforms to prevent similar abuses in the future.’ She did not specify which documents Mazars has sent the committee thus far.”


Sunday, 18 September 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Ukraine’s Southern Counteroffensive Pressures Russian Forces. Ukraine has been pushing a counteroffensive in the Kherson region, but Russia had been preparing for weeks, and there was no indication of a mass withdrawal. The New York Times, Sunday, 18 September 2022:

  • Ukraine reports more strikes in Kherson as gun battles break out in the city.

  • Iranian attack drones have reached the battlefield, Ukraine’s military says.

  • A Russian attack during an evacuation of psychiatric patients kills four Ukrainian health care workers.

  • Russia’s defining 20th-century pop star comes out against the war.

  • The U.S. is warning Ukraine about Russian air threats in real time, a top American general says.

  • Exhumations in Izium will continue for two more weeks, its mayor says.

Echoing Trump, These Republicans Won’t Promise to Accept 2022 Results. Six Republican nominees for governor and the Senate in key midterm states, all backed by Donald Trump, would not commit to accepting the November outcome. Five others did not answer the question. The New York Times, Reid J. Epstein, Sunday, 18 September 2022: “Nearly two years after President Donald J. Trump refused to accept his defeat in the 2020 election, some of his most loyal Republican acolytes might follow in his footsteps. When asked, six Trump-backed Republican nominees for governor and the Senate in midterm battlegrounds would not commit to accepting this year’s election results, and another six Republicans ignored or declined to answer a question about embracing the November outcome. All of them, along with many other G.O.P. candidates, have pre-emptively cast doubt on how their states count votes. The New York Times contacted Republican and Democratic candidates or their aides in 20 key contests for governor and the Senate. All of the Democrats said, or have said publicly, that they would respect the November results — including Stacey Abrams of Georgia, who refused to concede her 2018 defeat to Brian Kemp in the state’s race for governor. Mr. Kemp, now running against her for another term, ‘will of course accept the outcome of the 2022 election,’ said his press secretary, Tate Mitchell. But several Republicans endorsed by Mr. Trump are hesitant to say that they will not fight the results. Among the party’s Senate candidates, Ted Budd in North Carolina, Blake Masters in Arizona, Kelly Tshibaka in Alaska and J.D. Vance in Ohio all declined to commit to accepting the 2022 results. So did Tudor Dixon, the Republican nominee for governor of Michigan, and Geoff Diehl, who won the G.O.P. primary for governor of Massachusetts this month.” See also, Republican candidates in key battleground races refuse to say they will accept election results. Of the 19 Republican candidates questioned by The Washington Post, a dozen declined to answer or refused to commit. Democrats all said they would respect the results. The Washington Post, Amy Gardner, Hannah Knowles, Colby Itkowitz, and Annie Linskey, Sunday, 18 September 2022: “A dozen Republican candidates in competitive races for governor and Senate have declined to say whether they would accept the results of their contests, raising the prospect of fresh post-election chaos two years after Donald Trump refused to concede the presidency. In a survey by The Washington Post of 19 of the most closely watched statewide races in the country, the contrast between Republican and Democratic candidates was stark. While seven GOP nominees committed to accepting the outcomes in their contests, 12 either refused to commit or declined to respond. On the Democratic side, all 19 nominees contacted by The Post said they would accept the outcome. The reluctance of many GOP candidates to embrace a long-standing tenet of American democracy shows how Trump’s assault on the integrity of U.S. elections has spread far beyond the 2020 presidential race. This year, multiple losing candidates could refuse to accept their defeats.”


Monday, 19 September 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Russian Setbacks Are Hampering Army Recruitment, Says Pentagon Official. A Ukrainian official said that of 146 bodies exhumed so far in a northeastern city, most were civilians and some had been tortured. The New York Times, Monday, 19 September 2022:

  • Russia is struggling to attract new recruits for its army, a U.S. official says.

  • Most of the 146 bodies exhumed in Izium so far were civilians, a Ukrainian official said.

  • A Russian missile hits less than 900 feet from nuclear reactors.

  • The strike increases concerns about nuclear safety in Ukraine.

  • After Putin acknowledges Xi’s ‘concerns,’ Russia and China pledge closer cooperation.

  • World leaders gather in New York under the shadow of the Ukraine war.

  • McDonald’s begins to reopen restaurants in Ukraine this week.

Weekly Update on Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Putin met China’s leader Xi Jinping, and mass graves found in Izium, NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 19 September 2022: “As the week begins, here’s a look ahead and a roundup of key developments from the past week. What to watch this week: Russia’s war in Ukraine is the big topic at the United Nations General Assembly and a number of related events this week. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s prerecorded address happens on Wednesday, as does an in-person speech by President Biden. Russian President Vladimir Putin isn’t expected to attend or provide a video address, though his foreign minister will speak Saturday. Also Wednesday, Ukraine’s prosecutor general is scheduled to testify at a U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on accountability for atrocity crimes by Russia in Ukraine. This week, Poland and the Baltic nations of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have begun barring most Russian travelers. There’s pressure on the rest of the European Union to follow suit but some members are resisting an all-out ban. What happened last week: Monday, Sept. 12: The Kremlin acknowledged pulling back troops but insisted Russia would achieve all its military objectives in Ukraine, in its first public comments after Ukrainian forces recaptured large areas of the northeastern Kharkiv region. Ukraine now controls key cities including Izium. The International Atomic Energy Agency announced the restoration of a second backup power line at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. That allowed the operator to keep a line in reserve while the other provided external electricity for cooling and other essential safety functions during shutdown. A celebrated Ukrainian ballet dancer, Oleksandr Shapoval, was killed by mortar shelling. The 47-year-old had retired from the National Opera of Ukraine and was a college teacher when Russia invaded Ukraine this year, and he volunteered to help fight to defend his country. Tuesday, Sept. 13: Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The German leader pressed Putin to end the war, withdraw Russian troops and ensure the safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, according to the Chancellor’s Office. Putin spoke of a need to unblock Russian exports like foodstuff and fertilizer, according to the KremlinWednesday, Sept. 14: Russian cruise missiles hit the Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih, damaging a dam and causing flooding. Kryvyi Rih is President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s hometown. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres spoke with Putin about Ukrainian grain exports, later telling reporters: ‘We are far away from the end of the war.’ Thursday, Sept. 15: Putin said China’s leader Xi Jinping had questions and concerns about the situation in Ukraine but said he appreciated Beijing’s ‘balanced position’ on the issue, as the two met in Uzbekistan. The State Department imposed new sanctionson key Russia-installed authority figures in Ukrainian territories currently controlled by the Russian military, and on 31 defense, technology, and electronics entities, to further constrain Russia’s advanced technology industries and their contribution to Russia’s defense industrial base.’ Friday, Sept. 16: Ukrainian authorities found a mass burial site near a forest outside Izium, one of the northeastern cities that Ukraine took back from Russian forces earlier this month. The U.N. General Assembly voted in favor of allowing Ukrainian President Zelenskyy to submit a prerecorded speech for the following week’s gathering. Countries that voted ‘no’ were Belarus, Cuba, Eritrea, Nicaragua, North Korea, Russia and Syria. The German government took over local subsidiaries of Russian oil company Rosneft to secure energy supplies disrupted by fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The government put Rosneft’s German operations — which provide 12% of Germany’s oil refining capacity — under a federal trusteeship. Saturday, Sept. 17: Pope Francis’ representative in Ukraine, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, came under fire while delivering humanitarian aid near the city of Zaporizhzhia. He was not injured. The Czech Republic, current president of the Council of the EU, called for an international tribunal after Ukraine said it found evidence civilians were tortured in Izium. Russia has been using Iranian-made drones to cause serious damage in Ukraine, as The Wall Street Journal reported, citing Ukrainian commandersSunday,  Sept. 18: Russia’s beloved pop singer Alla Pugacheva spoke out against the war. In an Instagram post, she said she stands in solidarity with her husband, comedian Maxim Galkin, who she said ‘wants an end to our boys dying for illusory goals.’ She said the Justice Ministry should add her to the same ‘foreign agents’ list where it had put Galkin’s name.”

Trump Was Warned Late Last Year of Potential Legal Peril Over Documents. A former White House lawyer sought to impress on him the need to return material he had taken with him upon leaving office. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Monday, 19 September 2022: “A onetime White House lawyer under President Donald J. Trump warned him late last year that Mr. Trump could face legal liability if he did not return government materials he had taken with him when he left office, three people familiar with the matter said. The lawyer, Eric Herschmann, sought to impress upon Mr. Trump the seriousness of the issue and the potential for investigations and legal exposure if he did not return the documents, particularly any classified material, the people said. The account of the conversation is the latest evidence that Mr. Trump had been informed of the legal perils of holding onto material that is now at the heart of a Justice Department criminal investigation into his handling of the documents and the possibility that he or his aides engaged in obstruction. In January, not long after the discussion with Mr. Herschmann, Mr. Trump turned over to the National Archives 15 boxes of material he had taken with him from the White House. Those boxes turned out to contain 184 classified documents, the Justice Department has said. But Mr. Trump continued to hold onto a considerable cache of other documents, including some with the highest security classification, until returning some under subpoena in June and having even more seized in a court-authorized search of his Mar-a-Lago residence and private club by F.B.I. agents last month.”

Trump lawyers acknowledge Mar-a-Lago investigation could lead to indictment. Explaining whether Trump declassified documents could be ‘a defense’ to a future criminal charge, attorneys say. The Washington Post, Perry Stein and Devlin Barrett, Monday, 19 September 2022: “The Justice Department and lawyers for Donald Trump filed separate proposals Monday for conducting an outside review of documents seized at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago home, with key disagreements over how the process should work and Trump’s team acknowledging that the criminal probe could lead to an indictment. Both sides referenced a ‘draft plan’ given to them by Judge Raymond J. Dearie, the newly appointed special master. Trump’s lawyers expressed concern that Dearie posed questions about the documents that the judge who appointed Dearie has left unasked, arguing that Trump might be left at a legal disadvantage if he answered them at this stage of the process. Specifically, the legal team objected to what it said was Dearie’s request that it ‘disclose specific information regarding declassification to the Court and to the Government.'”

Texas sheriff is investigating Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ role in flying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard. The sheriff’s move follows requests from Democrats for the Justice Department to investigate DeSantis over the flights. Politico, Andrew Atterbury, Monday, 19 September 2022: “A Texas sheriff on Monday opened an investigation into the legality of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ recent move to fly dozens of mostly Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard. Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar, an elected Democrat, said that while he could not cite specific laws that may have been broken by relocating the migrants, his office will be investigating what he called an ‘abuse of human rights.’ The threat of criminal charges is an escalation against DeSantis amid widespread criticism from Democrats as the Republican governor promises to continue diverting migrants in Texas as a statement against Biden administration immigration policies. ‘Somebody saw fit to come from another state, hunt them down, prey upon them, and then take advantage of their desperate situation just for the sake of political theater, just for the sake of making a statement,’ Salazar told reporters Monday. ‘I believe people need to be held accountable for it to the extent possible.'” See also, Texas sheriff announces investigation into how migrants went from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, CNN, Amy Simonson and Paul P. Murphy, Monday, 19 September 2022: “A Texas sheriff said Monday evening his agency will open an investigation into the transportation of 48 Venezuelan migrants from the state to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, last week. Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar, a Democrat, told reporters at a Monday news conference that his understanding was that on Wednesday a Venezuelan migrant was paid a fee to recruit 50 migrants from a resource center in San Antonio, the county seat of Bexar County. The sheriff of the south Texas county, located about 160 miles north of the US-Mexico border, said he believes laws were broken not only in the county but also on the federal side. A total of 48 migrants were ‘lured’ to a hotel where they were housed for two days, according to Salazar. The migrants were flown to Florida and then to Martha’s Vineyard under ‘false pretenses,’ he said. The sheriff said they were flown to Martha’s Vineyard for ‘a photo-op and stranded.’ He believes the migrants were ‘exploited and hoodwinked’ into making the trip for political posturing. The sheriff has been speaking with an attorney who represents some of the migrants for first-hand accounts of what took place, Salazar told reporters. The allegations that he has heard thus far are ‘disgusting and a violation of human rights,’ he said. Salazar said he believes there needs to be accountability for what happened.” See also, Bexar County Sheriff in Texas Opens Criminal Investigation After Migrant Flights to Martha’s Vineyard. The sheriff said it was clear that many of the 48 migrants flown to Massachusetts had been misled and lured away to score political points. The New York Times, Edgar Sandoval and Eliza Fawcett, Monday, 19 September 2022: “A county sheriff in Texas announced on Monday that he had opened a criminal investigation into flights that took 48 migrants from a shelter in San Antonio to the island resort of Martha’s Vineyard last week. Sheriff Javier Salazar of Bexar County, which includes San Antonio, said that he had enlisted agents from his office’s organized crime task force and that it was too early to determine which laws might have been broken. But he said it was clear that many of the migrants had been misled and lured away from Texas to score political points. The migrants, caught in a mounting political fight between Republican governors of border states and Democratic officials, were flown to Massachusetts by Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida last week. A day later, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas sent two busloads of migrants to Vice President Kamala Harris’s residence in Washington. A migrant appears to have been paid to recruit other Venezuelan migrants, who have been crossing the southwest border in greater numbers, from the area around a migrant resource center in San Antonio, Sheriff Salazar said. The migrants were ‘lured under false pretenses’ with promises of work and a better life, he added. ‘They had a right to walk around the streets just like you and me, and they had a right not to be preyed on and played for a fool and transported halfway across the country, just for the sake of a media event or a video opportunity,’ Sheriff Salazar, a Democrat, said. ‘That’s a tragedy.'” See also, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s Migrant Flights Aim to Jolt Midterms, and Lay Groundwork for 2024. The Florida governor’s move sending migrants to Martha’s Vineyard from Texas brought liberals’ condemnation, and more such flights may follow. The New York Times, Lisa Lerer and Michael C. Bender, Monday, 19 September 2022:; “For months, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas and Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona have been busing migrants across the country, using immigrants as political props as they try to score points in the midterm elections and bolster their conservative bona fides. But last week, Ron DeSantis, Florida’s Republican governor, supercharged the tactic, flying two chartered planeloads of undocumented migrants out of Texas — about 700 miles from the Florida state line — to Martha’s Vineyard, the moneyed Massachusetts vacation spot frequented by liberal celebrities and former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. The migrants had not set foot in Florida and said they were misled about their destination. The island was unprepared to handle the influx. But Mr. DeSantis got exactly the reaction he wanted. Liberal condemnation. Conservative applause. And national attention. The ambitious governor is betting that the tactic will not hurt his re-election race in Florida, long the nation’s largest political battleground, and will reinject the issue of border security into the midterm contest. As voters remain focused on economic uncertainty and abortion rights, it remains unclear whether immigration will gain a major foothold in the final weeks before the election in November.”

Migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard file class-action lawsuit against Florida governor Ron DeSantis, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang, Monday, 19 September 2022: “A group of Venezuelan migrants who were flown from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard last week — allegedly after being falsely promised work and other services — have filed a class-action lawsuit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and other officials who arranged the flights, saying the officials used fraud and misrepresentation to persuade them to travel across state lines. The migrants said they were approached outside a shelter in San Antonio by people ‘acting in concert’ with the Florida officials ‘pretending to be good Samaritans offering humanitarian assistance,’ according to a copy of the complaint. The supposed Good Samaritans told the migrants that if they were willing to board airplanes to other states, they would receive employment, housing, educational opportunities and other assistance, the complaint alleged. ‘Defendants rounded up and sequestered the individual Plaintiffs and other class members in hotel rooms while they gathered enough of them to fill two planes and carry out their scheme,’ the complaint stated, adding that the migrants were sequestered so they could not discuss the plans with anyone else. The complaint says the migrants were taken to a private airstrip, where they boarded two planes Sept. 14. Just before the flights landed on Martha’s Vineyard, each migrant was given ‘a shiny, red folder’ that included official-looking materials, including a brochure titled ‘Massachusetts Refugee Benefits,’ according to the complaint. ‘Once the individual Plaintiffs and class members landed, it became clear that the promises made to induce them on the planes were in fact bold-faced lies,’ the complaint stated. ‘Defendants completely abandoned the class members. They did not travel with the class members or connect them to or arrange for any services on arrival.’ The migrants are seeking unspecified damages, as well as the cost of their legal fees, for emotional and economic harm.” See also, Migrants Who Were Flown to Martha’s Vineyard Sue Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, The New York Times, Eduardo Medina and Remy Tumin, published on Tuesday, 20 September 2022: “The migrants who were flown from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard last week filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida and other state officials who orchestrated the flights to Massachusetts, saying that they had engaged in a ‘fraudulent and discriminatory scheme.’ The complaint, which was filed in federal court in Boston, states that the Florida officials induced the migrants to board the two planes from Texas by falsely promising them that there would be ‘work opportunities, schooling for the children and immigration assistance’ when they arrived at their destination. Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, the executive director of Lawyers for Civil Rights, an organization providing legal assistance to the migrants, said in a statement that ‘no human being should be used as a political pawn in the nation’s highly polarized debate over immigration.'” See also, Migrants Flown to Martha’s Vineyard have filed a lawsuit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, NPR, Matt Adams, published on Tuesday, 20 September 2022: “A civil rights law firm filed a federal class action lawsuit on Tuesday against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and others for transporting around 50 immigrants from San Antonio, Texas, to Martha’s Vineyard, without shelter or resources in place. The firm Lawyers for Civil Rights, in conjunction with the migrant-led nonprofit Alianza Americas, filed the suit on behalf of the ‘Vineyard migrants and all similarly situated people who are fraudulently induced to travel across state lines by DeSantis and the State of Florida,’ the group told NPR in an email. In addition to Gov. DeSantis, the lawsuit also named the state of Florida, Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared Perdue, and their accomplices as defendants. The legal action comes after last Wednesday, when nearly 50 migrants were taken on planes from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, with a stop in Florida in between. They arrived with no warning, and the local community scrambled to provide food, shelter and translation services. The migrants say they were not told about their final destination, but were promised a chance at jobs and a better life. Alianza Americas’ Executive Director Oscar Chacòn said that DeSantis used the migrants to ‘advance a hate-filled agenda. That is why we have taken the steps to legally challenge what we view as not only a morally reprehensible action, but what we believe is also illegal,’ he said.”

The Story So Far: Where 6 Investigations Into Donald Trump Stand. The former president finds himself without the power of the presidency, staring at a host of prosecutors and lawyers who have him and his associates in their sights. The New York Times, Peter Baker, Monday, 19 September 2022: “Former President Donald J. Trump has set up his office on the second floor of his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida as part replica of the Oval Office and part homage to his time in the real White House. On the wall during a visit last year were six favorite photographs, including ones with Queen Elizabeth II and Kim Jong-un. On display were challenge coins, a plaque commemorating his border wall and a portrait of the former president fashioned out of bullet casings, a present from Jair Bolsonaro, the so-called Trump of Brazil. This has become Mr. Trump’s fortress in exile and his war room, the headquarters for the wide-ranging and rapidly escalating conflict with investigators that has come to consume his post-presidency. It is a multifront war, with battlefields in New York, Georgia and the nation’s capital, featuring a shifting roster of lawyers and a blizzard of allegations of wrongdoing that are hard to keep straight. Never before has a former president faced an array of federal, state and congressional investigations as extensive as Mr. Trump has, the cumulative consequences of a career in business and eventually politics lived on the edge, or perhaps over the edge. Whether it be his misleading business practices or his efforts to overturn a democratic election or his refusal to hand over sensitive government documents that did not belong to him, Mr. Trump’s disparate legal troubles stem from the same sense that rules constraining others did not apply to him. The story of how he got to this point is both historically unique and eminently predictable. Mr. Trump has been fending off investigators and legal troubles for a half century, since the Justice Department sued his family business for racial discrimination and through the myriad inquiries that would follow over the years. He has a remarkable track record of sidestepping the worst outcomes, but even he may now find so many inquiries pointing in his direction that escape is uncertain. His view of the legal system has always been transactional; it is a weapon to be used, either by him or against him, and he has rarely been intimidated by the kinds of subpoenas and affidavits that would chill a less litigious character. On the civil side, he has been involved in thousands of lawsuits with business partners, vendors and others, many of them suing him because he refused to pay his bills. While president, he once explained his view of the legal system to some aides, saying that he would go to court to intimidate adversaries because just threatening to sue was not enough.”

Democracy Challenged: Representative government faces its most serious threats in decades. The New York Times, Joseph Kahn, Monday, 19 September 2022: “This is an election year unlike any we’ve experienced in recent decades. Not only do candidates of both major parties in the United States have starkly different views on the pressing issues of the day, including climate change, war, taxes, abortion, education, gender and sexual identity, immigration, crime and the role of government in American life. They also disagree on democracy itself, especially one of its essential pillars — willingness to accept defeat at the polls. All year, our staff has sought to balance what we think of as politics, the candidates, polling, policy positions, campaign strategies, and views of voters on important issues, with coverage of acute challenges to democracy. Those include a deterioration in the integrity of constitutional democracy, manipulation of state election laws to limit or overturn the will of voters, and a global trend toward autocracy in places where democratic institutions once seemed solid. While we may continue to witness robust political competition in this midterm election cycle in ways that appear in keeping with American history, threats to that electoral system have grown relentlessly at the same time. Our coverage must examine both. So while we have a large staff dedicated to reporting on politics, a special team of some of our best journalists, nationally and internationally, has produced dozens of explanatory and investigative stories on the causes of our democratic decline. These include the rise in political violence, especially on the right, election denial and its hold on many Republicans, disinformation and the profiteers peddling falsehoods, the people and money behind the Jan. 6 insurrection, the origins and popularity of leading conspiracy theories, and the partisan political motives of some leading jurists. It is our deep and ongoing commitment to expose the cancers eating away at democracy, as well as joining the search for solutions. We have been gathering our coverage in a collection called Democracy Challenged.”


Tuesday, 20 September 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Russia Pushes for Staging Annexation Votes; U.S. Calls Them a ‘Sham.’ With Ukrainian forces on the offensive in the east and south, the Kremlin could use the votes to try to justify absorbing occupied parts of Ukraine and a possible escalation of the war. The New York Times, Tuesday, 20 September 2022:

  • Russia’s moves on referendums have echoes of Putin’s actions in Crimea in 2014.

  • Putin kept Russia and the world waiting hours for a speech that never happened.

  • Amid Russia’s battlefield losses, its proxies in Ukraine push for annexation.

  • As fighting intensifies in Ukraine’s east, a frontline town is cut off from the world.

  • Russian lawmakers toughen penalties for soldiers as Moscow appears to signal a possible escalation.

  • In occupied Ukraine, resistance to Russian rule deepens.

  • Russia’s invasion casts a shadow over the U.N. General Assembly.

Special Master Expresses Skepticism of Declassification Claims by Trump’s Lawyers. The former president insists he shouldn’t have to state in a leal proceeding that he declassified the documents, while casting doubt on their status. The New York Times, Alan Feuer and Charlie Savage, Tuesday, 20 September 2022: “A federal judge expressed skepticism on Tuesday about the efforts by former President Donald J. Trump’s legal team to avoid offering any proof of his claims that he had declassified sensitive government documents that were seized from his Florida estate last month. The statements by the judge, Raymond J. Dearie, who is acting as a special master reviewing the seized materials, were an early indication that he may not be entirely sympathetic to the former president’s attempts to bog down the judge’s evaluation with time-consuming questions over the classification status of some of the documents. ‘My view is, you can’t have your cake and eat it too,’ Judge Dearie said at a hearing called to determine the process he would use to do a sweeping review of materials seized from Mr. Trump. Judge Dearie, who had been suggested for the role by Mr. Trump’s legal team, was referring to a set of sometimes confusing arguments made by that team as it seeks to limit or delay the Justice Department’s criminal investigation. Days after the extraordinary search of Mr. Trump’s estate, Mar-a-Lago, the former president made public statements claiming that he had in fact declassified some of the seized records, suggesting that the Justice Department had no case against him for illegally retaining sensitive government material. But neither he nor his lawyers have ever made those same assertions in court — or in court papers — where they could face penalties for lying. Instead, they have danced a fine line between suggesting that, as president, Mr. Trump had the authority to declassify the documents, while remaining silent on the issue of what he actually did — or did not do. At the same time, Mr. Trump’s lawyers have pursued another line of argument, telling Judge Dearie that he should not simply take the Justice Department’s word that some of the seized records are classified, as prosecutors claim. At his first hearing as special master, Judge Dearie seemed to cut through this confusing web, telling Mr. Trump’s lawyers in direct terms that he was likely to deem the documents classified — unless they offered evidence to the contrary. That prompted one of the lawyers, James Trusty, to say that Mr. Trump’s legal team might in the future offer that sort of evidence — in witness statements, for example — but that to do so now would telegraph its legal strategy to the government.” See also, Special master prods Trump lawyers: ‘You can’t have your cake and eat it too.’ Donald Trump’s attorneys joust with Judge Raymond Dearie on classification question and access to Mar-a-Lago documents. The Washington Post, Perry Stein, Devlin Barrett, and Shayna Jacobs, Tuesday, 20 September 2022: “A special master pressed Donald Trump’s attorneys to move quickly and provide more answers about whether the former president did or didn’t declassify documents marked ‘top secret’ that were found in his Florida home last month, saying ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it’ if they want to argue the documents might not still be secret. At his first meeting with lawyers for Trump and the Justice Department in his new role as special master, U.S. District Judge Raymond J. Dearie urged the Trump side to spell out its position on the question of roughly 100 documents marked classified that were taken by FBI agents as part of a court-authorized search of Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8. ‘We have little time to complete the tasks assigned to the court,’ Dearie told the lawyers Tuesday, prodding them to quickly resolve legal questions about the high-profile national security investigation into a former president who frequently indicates he may again seek the White House. ‘We are going to proceed with what I call responsible dispatch.’ Dearie issued no rulings at the hearing. But he made clear that if Trump’s side remained silent on whether their client had at some point in his presidency declassified the documents, Dearie was likely to agree with prosecutors that the documents at the heart of the case are still classified. Trump’s legal team has argued that answering the question now could put them at a disadvantage in the face of a possible future criminal prosecution, or a future legal fight over getting seized documents returned to Trump.”

Videos Show Trump Allies Handling Georgia Voting Equipment. The footage raises new questions about efforts by Trump affiliates in a number of swing states to gain access to and copy sensitive voting software after the 2020 election. The New York Times, Danny Hakim, Richard Fausset, and Nick Corasaniti, Tuesday, 20 September 2022: “Newly released videos show allies of former President Donald J. Trump and contractors who were working on his behalf handling sensitive voting equipment in a rural Georgia county weeks after the 2020 election. The footage, which was made public as part of long-running litigation over Georgia’s voting system, raises new questions about efforts by Trump affiliates in a number of swing states to gain access to and copy sensitive election software, with the help of friendly local election administrators. One such incident took place on Jan. 7 of last year, the day after supporters of Mr. Trump stormed the Capitol, when a small team traveled to rural Coffee County, Ga. The group included members of an Atlanta-based firm called SullivanStrickler, which had been hired by Sidney Powell, a lawyer advising Mr. Trump who is also a conspiracy theorist.” See also, Video appears to undercut fake Trump elector Cathy Latham’s account of alleged voting-data breach in Georgia, The Washington Post, Jon Swaine and Emma Brown, Tuesday, 20 September 2022: “On Jan. 7, 2021, a group of forensics experts working for lawyers allied with President Donald Trump spent eight hours at a county elections office in southern Georgia, copying sensitive software and data from its voting machines. Under questioning last month for a civil lawsuit, a former Georgia Republican Party official named Cathy Latham said in sworn testimony that she briefly stopped by the office in Coffee County that afternoon. She said she stayed in the foyer and spoke with a junior official about an unrelated matter at the front desk. ‘I didn’t go into the office,’ Latham said, according to a transcript of her deposition filed in court. She said she had seen in passing a pro-Trump businessman who was working with the experts. She said they chatted for ‘five minutes at most’ — she could not remember the topic — and she left soon after for an early dinner with her husband. Surveillance video footage reviewed by The Washington Post shows that Latham visited the elections office twice that day, staying for more than four hours in total. She greeted the businessman, Scott Hall, when he arrived and led him into a back area to meet the experts and local officials, the video shows. Over the course of the day, it shows, she moved in and out of an area where the experts from the data forensics firm, SullivanStrickler, were working, a part of that building that was not visible to the surveillance camera.” See also, New footage confirms fake Trump elector Cathy Latham spent hours inside Georgia elections office the day it was breached, CNN Politics, Zachary Cohen and Jason Morris, Tuesday, 20 September 2022: “Newly obtained surveillance video shows for the first time what happened inside a Georgia county elections office the day its voting systems are known to have been breached on January 7, 2021. A Republican county official in Georgia and operatives working with an attorney for former President Donald Trump spent hours inside a restricted area of the Coffee County elections office that day. Among those seen in the footage is Cathy Latham, a former GOP chairwoman of Coffee County who is under criminal investigation for posing as a fake elector in 2020. CNN previously reported that Latham escorted operatives working with former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell through the front door of the elections office on January 7, 2021. The new footage appears to undercut previous claims by Latham that she was not ‘personally involved’ in the breach.”


Wednesday, 21 September 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Over 1,000 Russian Protesters Arrested After Putin Mobilizes More Troops. Over 200 Ukrainian fighters, including commanders of the Azov Battalion that fought in Mariupol, were released in an exchange with Russia, the war’s largest. Two U.S. military veterans were also released. The New York Times, Wednesday, 21 September 2022:

  • At least 1,252 people are detained in protests across Russia.

  • Russia releases 215 fighters, including Mariupol commanders, in a prisoner exchange.

  • 10 imprisoned foreign fighters, including Americans, are released as part of a Russia-Ukraine exchange, Saudi Arabia says.

  • In a defiant address, Zelensky says, ‘Russia should pay for this war.’

  • With a ‘partial mobilization,’ Putin escalates the war.

  • Biden says U.S. and its allies will ‘stand in solidarity’ against Russia’s aggression.

  • Putin announces his support for referendums in occupied Ukraine.

  • Russia is desperate for troops, but it will take time to mobilize new recruits, analysts say.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Zelensky urges ‘just punishment’ for Russia in U.N. address, The Washington Post, Annabelle Timsit, Jennifer Hassan, Robyn Dixon, Rachel Pannett, Miriam Berger, and Praveena Somasundaram, Wednesday, 21 September 2022: “In an address to the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the country’s people ‘demand just punishment’ for Russia’s ‘crime’ during the war. Zelensky’s pre-recorded address was an exemption to the rule requiring in-person speeches at this year’s session. President Biden in his address said that Russia’s war in Ukraine is about extinguishing the country’s right to exist, and he accused Russia of ‘extremely significant’ violations of the U.N. charter. The speeches came after U.S. and European officials decried as a dangerous escalation Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement that he would call up as many as 300,000 reservists. In a national address Wednesday, Putin made a threatening reference to Russia’s nuclear arsenal: ‘With a threat to the territorial integrity of our country, to protect Russia and our people, we of course will use all the means at our disposal. This is not a bluff.’ Ukraine has mounted a successful counteroffensive in the northeast, and Kremlin-backed officials are pressing ahead with staged referendums that could result in Moscow illegally annexing occupied parts of Ukraine — which would mark a major escalation in the conflict.

  • More than 200 Ukrainians — including Azov Regiment commander Denys Prokopenko and many fighters — were released in a prisoner swap.
  • Demand for one-way flights out of Russia appeared to soar after Putin’s announcement that reservists would be called up for his war against Ukraine.
  • Ukraine’s military said that Russian forces continued to shell locations throughout the country with artillery and rocket attacks, while Ukraine troops repelled offensives along the front line in Ukraine’s east and south.
  • More than 1,000 people in Russia have been detained for demonstrating against Putin’s mobilization order since protests broke out, according to the independent protest-monitoring group OVD-Info.

United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit Frees the Justice Department to Use Sensitive Files Seized From Trump. Federal judge Aileen Cannon had temporarily barred the department from using the records marked as classified in its inquiry into whether the former president illegally retained national defense documents. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Glenn Thrush, and Alan Feuer, Wednesday, 21 September 2022: “A federal appeals court on Wednesday freed the Justice Department to resume using documents marked as classified that were seized from former President Donald J. Trump, blocking for now a lower court’s order that had strictly limited the investigation into Mr. Trump’s handling of government materials. In a strongly worded 29-page decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit set aside key parts of an order by a Florida federal judge that has kept the department from using about 100 files with classification markings in its inquiry into whether Mr. Trump illegally retained national defense documents and obstructed repeated efforts to recover them. The appeals court also agreed with the Justice Department that Mr. Trump’s lawyers — and an independent arbiter recently appointed to review the seized materials — need not look at the classified documents that the F.B.I. carted away from Mr. Trump’s estate, Mar-a-Lago, on Aug. 8. The Justice Department ‘argues that the district court likely erred in exercising its jurisdiction to enjoin the United States’ use of the classified records in its criminal investigation and to require the United States to submit the marked classified documents to a special master for review,’ a three-judge panel of the appeals court wrote. ‘We agree.’ The decision by the Atlanta-based court was a repudiation of the decision by Judge Aileen M. Cannon, whom Mr. Trump appointed to the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida, to broadly intervene in the Justice Department’s investigation. The appellate ruling will permit the arbiter, known as a special master, to review most of the more than 11,000 files seized from Mar-a-Lago, but allow prosecutors unfettered access to the smaller batch of classified records. The appellate panel consisted of two other Trump appointees, Judges Britt Grant and Andrew L. Brasher, and Judge Robin S. Rosenbaum, an Obama appointee.” See also, United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit rules the Justice Department can use Mar-a-Lago documents in criminal investigation. Federal appeals panel says Judge Aileen Cannon ‘abused’ her discretion in requiring outside review of seized classified documents. The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Wednesday, 21 September 2022: “An appeals court sided with the Justice Department in a legal fight over classified documents seized in a court-authorized search of former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, ruling Wednesday that the FBI may use the documents in its ongoing criminal investigation. The decision by a three-judge panel of the appeals court marks a victory, at least temporarily, for the Justice Department in its legal battle with Trump over access to the evidence in a high-stakes investigation to determine if the former president or his advisers mishandled national security secrets, or hid or destroyed government records. It was the second legal setback of the day for Trump, who was sued Wednesday morning by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The lawsuit said Trump and his company flagrantly manipulated property and other asset valuations to deceive lenders, insurance brokers and tax authorities to get better rates and lower tax liability. In Wednesday night’s ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta found fault with Trump’s rationale that the classified documents seized on Aug. 8 might be his property, rather than the government’s. The appeals court also disagreed with the rationale used by U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon in agreeing to have the classified documents reviewed by a special master to see if they should be shielded from investigators because of executive or attorney-client privilege. ‘For our part, we cannot discern why [Trump] would have an individual interest in or need for any of the one-hundred documents with classification markings,’ the court wrote, noting that the stay it issued is temporary and should not be considered a final decision on the merits of the case. The lower court ‘abused its discretion in exercising jurisdiction … as it concerns the classified documents,’ the panel wrote in a 29-page opinion. Two judges on the panel were appointed by Trump; the third was appointed by President Barack Obama.” See also, The United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit rules the Department of Justice can regain access to documents seized from Mar-a-Lago, NPR/The Associated Press, Wednesday, 21 September 2022: “In a stark repudiation of Donald Trump’s legal arguments, a federal appeals court on Wednesday permitted the Justice Department to resume its use of classified records seized from the former president’s Florida estate as part of its ongoing criminal investigation. The ruling from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit amounts to an overwhelming victory for the Justice Department, clearing the way for investigators to continue scrutinizing the documents as they consider whether to bring criminal charges over the storage of top-secret records at Mar-a-Lago after Trump left the White House. In lifting a hold on a core aspect of the department’s probe, the court removed an obstacle that could have delayed the investigation by weeks. The appeals court also pointedly noted that Trump had presented no evidence that he had declassified the sensitive records, as he maintained as recently as Wednesday, and rejected the possibility that Trump could have an ‘individual interest in or need for’ the roughly 100 documents with classification markings that were seized by the FBI in its Aug. 8 search of the Palm Beach property. The government had argued that its investigation had been impeded, and national security concerns swept aside, by an order from U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon that temporarily barred investigators from continuing to use the documents in its inquiry. Cannon, a Trump appointee, had said the hold would remain in place pending a separate review by an independent arbiter she had appointed at the Trump team’s request to review the records. The appeals panel agreed with the Justice Department’s concerns. ‘It is self-evident that the public has a strong interest in ensuring that the storage of the classified records did not result in exceptionally grave damage to the national security,’ they wrote. ‘Ascertaining that,’ they added, ‘necessarily involves reviewing the documents, determining who had access to them and when, and deciding which (if any) sources or methods are compromised.'” See also, The United States Court of Appeals for the 11th District says the Department of Justice can resume criminal probe of classified documents from Mar-a-Lago, CNN Politics, Katelyn Polantz and Tierney Sneed, Wednesday, 21 September 2022: “A federal appeals court is allowing the Justice Department to continue looking at documents marked as classified that were seized from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and resort. The emergency intervention upends a trial judge’s order over those documents that had blocked federal investigators’ work on the documents, and is a strong rebuke of the Trump team’s attempt to suggest without evidence that materials were somehow declassified. Trump’s options to block the criminal investigation are now dimming with one of his only remaining possibilities being an emergency request to the Supreme Court. The ruling was issued by a three-judge panel of the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals — two of whom were nominated by Trump.”

New York Lawsuit Against Trump: New York Attorney General Letitia James Accuses Trump of ‘Staggering’ Fraud in Lawsuit, The New York Times, Jonah E. Bromwich, William K. Rashbaum, and Ben Protess, Wednesday, 21 September 2022: “Attorney General Letitia James of New York filed a sweeping lawsuit on Wednesday that accused Donald J. Trump, his family business and three of his children of lying to lenders and insurers by fraudulently overvaluing his assets by billions of dollars. Ms. James is seeking to bar the Trumps, including Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka, from ever running a business in the state again. She concluded that Mr. Trump and his business violated state criminal laws and ‘plausibly’ broke federal laws as well. Her office, which lacks authority to file criminal charges in this case, referred the findings to federal prosecutors in Manhattan. They declined to comment on whether they would investigate. The 220-page lawsuit, filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, lays out in new and startling detail how Mr. Trump’s annual financial statements were a compendium of lies, according to Ms. James. The statements — yearly records that include the company’s estimated value of its holdings and debts — wildly inflated the worth of nearly every one of its marquee properties, according to the lawsuit. They include Mar-a-Lago in Florida, Trump Tower and 40 Wall Street in Manhattan. The company also routinely spurned the assessments of outside experts. After a bank ordered an appraisal that found 40 Wall Street was worth $200 million, the Trumps promptly valued it at well over twice that amount. Overall, the lawsuit said that 11 of Mr. Trump’s annual financial statements included more than 200 false and misleading asset valuations. ‘The number of grossly inflated asset values is staggering, affecting most if not all of the real estate holdings in any given year,’ according to the lawsuit. Ms. James, a Democrat who is running for re-election, filed the lawsuit just weeks after the former president refused to answer hundreds of questions under oath in an interview with her office. Mr. Trump, in a post on his social media site, Truth Social, attacked the investigation and Ms. James, as he has throughout the inquiry. ‘Another Witch Hunt by a racist Attorney General, Letitia James,’ Mr. Trump wrote, adding, ‘she is a fraud who campaigned on a “get Trump” platform.'” See also, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit accusing former president Donald Trump, three of his grown children and executives at his company of flagrantly manipulating property and other asset valuations to deceive lenders, insurance brokers and tax authorities into giving them better bank-loan and insurance policy rates and to reduce their tax liability, The Washington Post, Shayna Jacobs and Jonathan O’Connell, Wednesday, 21 September 2022: “The 222-page civil complaint asks the New York Supreme Court to bar Trump, as well as Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump, from serving as executives at any company in New York, and to bar the Trump Organization from acquiring any commercial real estate or receiving loans from any New York-registered financial institution for five years. It seeks to recover more than $250 million in what James’s office says are ill-gotten gains received through the alleged deceptive practices. While the lawsuit itself is not a criminal prosecution, James said she has referred possible violations of federal law to the Justice Department and the IRS…. The lawsuit, filed in New York Supreme Court, is the result of a more than two-year investigation by James. It names 23 assets that are mostly properties and ground leases in the Trump Organization portfolio, including his Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida, his Seven Springs estate in Westchester County, N.Y., and the D.C. hotel in the Old Post Office building on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, which he leased from the federal government until he sold it in May. ‘The inflated asset valuations in the [financial] Statements cannot be brushed aside or excused as merely the result of exaggeration or good faith estimation about which reasonable real estate professionals may differ,’ the lawsuit says. The civil complaint cites drastic manipulations of Trump’s personal asset portfolio — allegedly at his direction and with the assistance of Trump Organization executives — in representations made to financial institutions and insurance carriers. It alleges that the true value of his assets were concealed through careful doctoring of reports and by changing the methodologies used for various calculations.” See also, New York Attorney General Letitia James sues Trump, his company the Trump Organization, and Trump family members over alleged fraud scheme and misrepresentation. James is also making a criminal referral to federal prosecutors in Manhattan and a separate tax fraud referral to the IRS for the same underlying allegations. Politico, Josh Gerstein, Erin Durkin, and Kyle Cheney, Wednesday, 21 September 2022: “New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed suit against former President Donald Trump, three of his adult children and his business empire, accusing them of large-scale fraudulent financial practices and seeking to bar them from real estate transactions for the next five years. The attorney general’s civil suit alleges more than a decade of deception, including billions of dollars in falsified net worth, as part of an effort by Trump to minimize his companies’ tax bills while winning favorable terms from banks and insurance companies. It seeks about $250 million in allegedly illegal profits netted from the scheme, as well as a five-year ban on the former president, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump participating in any real estate transactions–a restriction that would spell the end of the Trump real estate empire. In addition, it seeks a permanent ban on the former president and his family members involved in his business enterprises from serving as directors or officers of any New York corporation or business licensed in the state.” See also, New York Attorney General Letitia James files civil fraud lawsuit against Trump, some of his children, and his business, CNN, Kara Scannell, Tierney Sneed, Marshall Cohen, and Hannah Rabinowitz, Wednesday, 21 September 2022: “The New York state attorney general filed a sweeping lawsuit Wednesday against former President Donald Trump, three of his adult children and the Trump Organization, alleging they were involved in an expansive fraud lasting over a decade that the former President used to enrich himself. In the more than 200-page lawsuit, Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, alleges the fraud touched all aspects of the Trump business, including its properties and golf courses. According to the lawsuit, the Trump Organization deceived lenders, insurers and tax authorities by inflating the value of his properties using misleading appraisals. ‘This conduct cannot be brushed aside and dismissed as some sort of good-faith mistake,’ James said at a news conference in New York. ‘The statements of financial condition were greatly exaggerated, grossly inflated, objectively false, and therefore fraudulent and illegal,’ she added. ‘And as a result of that we are seeking relief, and Mr. Trump, the Trump Organization, his family — they should all be held accountable.'”

Ginni Thomas agrees to January 6 House committee interview, CNN Politics, Jamie Gangel, Ariane de Vogue, and Zachary Cohen, Wednesday, 21 September 2022: “The House select committee investigating January 6, 2021, has come to an agreement with Ginni Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, to be interviewed by the panel in the coming weeks, according to a source close to the committee. Ginni Thomas’ attorney, Mark Paoletta, confirmed the voluntary interview in a statement, saying, ‘As she has said from the outset, Mrs. Thomas is eager to answer the Committee’s questions to clear up any misconceptions about her work relating to the 2020 election. She looks forward to that opportunity.’ Members of the panel have long said they are interested in speaking with Thomas, particularly after CNN first reported text messages she exchanged with then-Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows prior to January 6 about overturning the election. But in the months since those messages emerged, there has been little indication that compelling her to testify was a top priority for the panel despite subsequent evidence that Thomas also encouraged state lawmakers in Arizona and Wisconsin to overturn Joe Biden’s legitimate electoral win.” See also, Virginia Thomas Agrees to Interview With January 6 House Committee. The committee has sought for months to interview Ms. Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, about her involvement in efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Maggie Haberman, Wednesday, 21 September 2022: “Virginia Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas and a conservative activist who pushed to overturn the 2020 election, has agreed to sit for an interview with the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The development could represent a breakthrough for the committee, which for months has sought to interview Ms. Thomas, who goes by Ginni, about her communications with a conservative lawyer in close contact with former President Donald J. Trump.”

House Passes Overhaul of the 135-Year-Old Electoral Count Act to Avert Another January 6 Crisis, The New York Times, Carl Hulse, Wednesday, 21 September 2022: “The House on Wednesday took the first major step to respond to the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol, voting mostly along party lines to overhaul the 135-year-old Electoral Count Act, the law that former President Donald J. Trump tried to exploit that day to overturn his defeat. The bill was the most significant legislative answer yet to the riot and the monthslong campaign by Mr. Trump and his allies to invalidate the 2020 presidential election, but it also underscored the lingering partisan divide over Jan. 6 and the former president’s continuing grip on his party. It cleared a divided House, passing on a 229 to 203 vote. All but nine Republicans opposed the measure, wary of angering Mr. Trump and unwilling to back legislation co-written by Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming and a leader of the House select committee investigating the events of Jan. 6 and what led to them. The partisan division could complicate future negotiations with the Senate, which is moving ahead with its own bipartisan version of the legislation that differs from the House bill in some significant respects. Lawmakers now say they do not expect final approval before Congress returns for a lame-duck session after the Nov. 8 midterm elections.” See also, House passes bill to prevent efforts to subvert presidential election results, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang, Wednesday, 21 September 2022: “The House voted Wednesday to pass an electoral reform bill that seeks to prevent presidents from trying to overturn election results through Congress, the first vote on such an effort since the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob seeking to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral win. The bill passed on a 229-203 vote, with just nine Republicans breaking ranks and joining Democrats in supporting the measure. None of those nine Republican lawmakers will be members of Congress next year — either because they lost their primaries or chose to retire. The Presidential Election Reform Act, written by Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), explicitly cites the Capitol attack as a reason to amend the Electoral Count Act of 1887, ‘to prevent other future unlawful efforts to overturn Presidential elections and to ensure future peaceful transfers of Presidential power.’ ‘Legal challenges are not improper, but Donald Trump’s refusal to abide by the rulings of the courts certainly was,’ Cheney said Wednesday during House debate on the measure. ‘In our system of government, elections in the states determine who is the president. Our bill does not change that. But this bill will prevent Congress from illegally choosing the president itself.’ Later, Cheney added, ‘This bill is a very important and crucial bill to ensure that what happened on January 6 never happens again.'” See also, House passes bill to prevent stolen elections, despite strong Republican opposition. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where a bipartisan working group has released a similar package that will be reviewed in committee next week. NBC News, Sahil Kapur, Wednesday, 21 September 2022: “The House voted 229-203 on Wednesday to pass a bill aimed at preventing future election subversion, inspired by the investigation into Jan. 6 and a determination to prevent such an attack from occurring again. The Presidential Election Reform Act was written and introduced earlier this week by Reps. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., two members of the Jan. 6 select committee. The bill would amend the 1887 Electoral Count Act to remove any doubt that the vice president’s role in counting Electoral College votes is simply ministerial. It would lift the threshold for members of Congress to force a vote on discounting presidential electors from just one member of the House and the Senate each to one-third of both chambers. And it would require governors to send electors to Congress for the candidate who won, based on state law set before Election Day, which cannot be retroactively changed. Democrats unanimously supported the bill and were joined by just nine Republicans; 203 Republicans voted ‘no.’ The nine GOP ‘yes’ votes came from Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, Chris Jacobs of New York, John Katko of New York, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Peter Meijer of Michigan, Tom Rice of South Carolina and Fred Upton of Michigan. All nine are retiring from Congress or lost their primaries.” 

Senate Ratifies International Climate Treaty to Curb Hydrofluorocarbons, a Broad Category of Potent Greenhouse Gases. In a bipartisan vote, lawmakers voted to join an international agreement to phase out the hydrofluorocarbons commonly found in refrigerators and air-conditioners. The New York Times, Lisa Friedman and Coral Davenport, Wednesday, 21 September 2022: “The Senate voted on Wednesday to approve an international climate treaty for the first time in 30 years, agreeing in a rare bipartisan deal to phase out of the use of planet-warming industrial chemicals commonly found in refrigerators and air-conditioners. By a vote of 69 to 27 the United States joined the 2016 Kigali Amendment, along with 137 other nations that have agreed to sharply reduce the production and use of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs. The chemicals are potent greenhouse gases, warming the planet with 1,000 times the heat-trapping strength of carbon dioxide. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, called the ratification ‘a historic step forward to combating global warming in a huge way.’ He predicted that the vote may count as one of the most important bipartisan accomplishments during this Congress. Twenty-one Republicans joined all present members of the Democratic caucus to approve the treaty, including Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader. ‘Ratifying the Kigali Amendment, along with passing the Inflation Reduction Act, is the strongest one-two punch against climate change any Congress has ever taken,’ Mr. Schumer said, referring to last month’s passage of the nation’s first major climate change law, which pumps $370 billion into expanding wind and solar energy and electric vehicles. If the Kigali pact is successfully implemented, scientists estimate it would prevent up to 0.5 degrees Celsius, or roughly 1 degree Fahrenheit, of warming by the end of this century. At this stage in the planet’s rapid warming, every fraction of a degree makes a difference.” See also, Senate ratifies global treaty curbing hydrofluorocarbons which are climate super-pollutants, The Washington Post, Steven Mufson, Wednesday, 21 September 2022: “With broad bipartisan support, the Senate on Wednesday ratified by a 69-27 vote a global treaty that would sharply limit the emissions of super-pollutants that frequently leak from air conditioners and other types of refrigeration. The treaty — known as the Kigali Amendment to the 1987 Montreal Protocol — compels countries to phase out the use of the potent hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, which are hundreds to thousands of times as powerful as carbon dioxide in speeding up climate change. The United States became the 137th country to ratify the amendment — and negotiators said the move would encourage the remaining nations to follow suit. The earlier Montreal Protocol clamped down on the production of ozone-depleting substances. U.S. climate envoy John F. Kerry, who was in the Rwandan capital of Kigali when the amendment was negotiated, said the Senate vote ‘was a decade in the making and a profound victory ​for the climate and the American economy.”


Thursday, 22 September 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Russia vows to defend annexed territories ahead of staged referendums, The Washington Post, Annabelle Timsit, Kelly Kasulis Cho, Mary Ilyushina, Robyn Dixon, Karina Tsui, John Hudson, and James Bikales, Thursday, 22 September 2022: “A senior Russian official vowed Thursday that Moscow would be willing to use ‘strategic nuclear weapons’ to defend annexed territories on the eve of Russia’s planned referendums in occupied parts of Ukraine. The pronouncement came as further details have emerged regarding Wednesday’s elaborate prisoner exchange between Moscow and Kyiv, in which nearly 300 people were released, including two American military veterans, leaders of Ukraine’s Azov Regiment and a pro-Kremlin politician.

  • Moscow-backed officials in occupied parts of Ukraine are preparing for referendums from Friday to Tuesday on the prospect of joining Russia. The moves indicated an escalation in Russia’s apparent plans to annex swaths of Ukraine. Officials in occupied Kherson are working to obtain ‘personal data from local residents’ under the pretext of providing humanitarian aid, and authorities in the eastern city of Starobilsk are banning residents from leaving during the referendum, Ukraine’s general staff wrote on Facebook.
  • Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, now the deputy head of the country’s Security Council, said Donbas and other occupied regions ‘will be accepted into Russia,’ warning that Moscow would be open to using strategic nuclear weapons for the ‘protection’ of those territories. The U.S. has for months been sending private warnings to Russia about the grave consequences if it used a nuclear weapon in Ukraine, though it was unclear if any new messages were sent in recent days, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
  • Thousands of Russians took to public spaces to protest Russia’s partial military mobilization, and authorities arrested at least 1,300 people on Wednesday, according to the human rights group OVD-Info. Video footage from rallies across the country shows police officers pushing protesters to the ground, stuffing them into buses and, in at least one instance, attempting to punch an apparent protester in the head on a busy street.
  • Speaking in Russian, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged Russians to resist the mobilization in his nightly address Thursday. ‘Fifty-five thousand Russian soldiers died in this war in six months. Tens of thousands are wounded and maimed. Want more? No? Then protest. Fight back. Run away. Or surrender to Ukrainian captivity. These are options for you to survive,’ he said.
  • Two U.S. military veterans and five Britons were among the nearly 300 people freed Wednesday as part of the prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine. The deal, brokered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, also led to the release of 215 Ukrainians and 55 Russians. Viktor Medvedchuk, a pro-Kremlin opposition politician from Ukraine who is considered a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was also freed.
  • The prisoner exchange sparked anger on Russia’s far right.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Russia Is Denounced at U.N. Over Nuclear Threat and Alleged War Crimes. A day after Putin escalated the war, Russian men were receiving draft papers and some were fleeing the country. The war’s biggest prisoner exchange prompted jubilation in Ukraine, but some backlash in Russia. The New York Times, Thursday, 22 September 2022:

  • ‘One man chose this war.’ Harsh words fly at a U.N. Security Council meeting.

  • As freed Ukrainian soldiers return, joy and relief ripple across the country.

  • Some men flee Russia, fearing they could be called up to fight.

  • Russians are already receiving draft papers.

  • The European Union weighs its response to Russians fleeing Putin’s call-up announcement.

  • Putin confidant Viktor Medvedchuk is the most prominent captive released in a prisoner swap.

  • How Putin’s mobilization might play out: ‘The Daily’ explores the next phase of the war.

  • A northeastern city reclaimed by Ukraine attempts to return to normalcy.

Trump Claims He Declassified Documents. Why Don’t His Lawyers Say So in Court? Judges this week highlighted the gap between Mr. Trump’s public claims that he declassified everything and his lawyers’ reluctance to repeat that claim in a courtroom. The New York Times, Glenn Thrush, Alan Feuer, and Charlie Savage, Thursday, 22 September 2022: “Former President Donald J. Trump claimed on Wednesday that when he was in the White House, his powers were so broad he could declassify virtually any document by simply ‘thinking about it.’ That argument — which came as he defended his decision to retain government documents in his Florida home in an interview with the Fox host Sean Hannity — underscored a widening gap between the former president and his lawyers. By contrast, they have so far been unwilling to repeat Mr. Trump’s declassification claim in court, as they counter a federal investigation into his handling of government documents.” See also, Trump says presidents can declassify a document ‘even by thinking about it,’ The Washington Post, Julian Mark, Thursday, 22 September 2022: “In his first TV appearance since a court-authorized search of his Florida home last month, Donald Trump reasserted Wednesday that any documents taken from the White House to Mar-a-Lago were declassified while he was in office, adding that a president can carry that out ‘even by thinking about it.’ ‘There doesn’t have to be a process, as I understand it,’ Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity. Prosecutors have said that about 100 of the documents taken from Mar-a-Lago were marked classified, including some labeled top secret. ‘If you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying it’s declassified,’ the former president added. ‘You’re the president — you make that decision.'”

Mar-a-Lago special master Judge Raymond Dearie orders Trump team to back up any claims of FBI ‘planting’ evidence, CNN Politics, Marshall Cohen, Thursday, 22 September 2022: “The special master overseeing the Mar-a-Lago documents investigation has ordered former President Donald Trump’s lawyers to back up out-of-court assertions that the FBI may have planted evidence at the property during their search last month. Judge Raymond Dearie, the court-appointed special master, said in a filing Thursday that Trump’s team needs to submit a sworn declaration saying if they believe the Justice Department included any items on their ‘inventory’ of materials taken from Mar-a-Lago that were not actually seized during the search. The declaration must include ‘a list of any specific items set forth in the Detailed Property Inventory that Plaintiff asserts were not seized from the Premises on August 8, 2022,’ Dearie wrote in the order. This has come up as an issue in the case because Trump himself, some of his attorneys, and several of his outside Republican allies have publicly claimed that the FBI planted evidence at Mar-a-Lago during the August 8 search. However, they have offered no evidence to support these accusations. Thursday’s new order from Dearie came two days after he held his first in-person hearing with Trump’s lawyers and federal prosecutors, and it spells out his plan for how the special master review will move forward.” See also, Mar-a-Lago special master Judge Raymond Dearie asks Trump lawyers whether they believe FBI lied about seized documents. This order by Dearie is the first time Donald Trump’s attorneys have been asked to confirm or deny his claims in court. The Washington Post, Perry Stein, Thursday, 22 September 2022: “The Mar-a-Lago special master on Thursday ordered Donald Trump’s lawyers to state in a court filing whether they believe FBI agents lied about documents seized from the former president’s Florida residence in a court-authorized search last month, or claimed to have taken items that were not actually in Trump’s possession. In a Thursday afternoon filing, U.S. District Judge Raymond J. Dearie — the special master — told Trump’s legal team to state by Sept. 30 whether they believe any of the seized items were incorrectly described in the Justice Department’s 11-page inventory list, which said some of the documents were highly classified. Dearie also told them to say whether they are claiming that any items on the inventory list were not in fact taken from the premises. Trump has said on social media and in television interviews that the FBI planted items when they searched his Mar-a-Lago residence and private club on Aug. 8. He also claimed to have declassified documents found in that search that were marked classified and were highly sensitive. His lawyers have not made similar assertions in court, however, instead saying they have not reviewed the seized materials and are unable to confirm whether the government’s inventory list is accurate. Dearie’s order, in essence, demands that Trump’s lawyers back up their client’s claims. ‘This submission shall be Plaintiff’s final opportunity to raise any factual dispute as to the completeness and accuracy of the Detailed Property Inventory,’ he wrote.”


Friday, 23 September 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Russia stages annexation referendums and announces exceptions to military call-up, The Washington Post, Ellen Francis, Andrew Jeong, James Bikales, Robyn Dixon, Karina Tsui, David L. Stern, and Karoun Demirjian, Friday, 23 September 2022: “Moscow staged annexation referendums on Friday in Ukrainian territory under its control, in a dramatic push to consolidate its grip over swaths of the country. Ukraine’s allies condemned the votes as illegal and escalatory. In the face of backlash, Russia somewhat narrowed the parameters of a mass call-up to swell the ranks of its beleaguered military. Those working in certain roles in information technology, telecommunications, media and finance would be excluded from the push to mobilize as many as 300,000 reservists, according to a statement from Russia’s Defense Ministry. The call-up order has prompted protests and an exodus, with traffic jams forming along some of Russia’s borders, including the Mongolian frontier.

  • The referendums on the prospect of joining Russia, illegal under international law, are set to last five days in Ukraine’s east and southeast: the separatist Luhansk and Donetsk territories in the east, Kherson in the south and occupied parts of nearby Zaporizhzhia. The move has drawn U.S. and European condemnation.
  • The Kremlin pledged to swiftly accept the regions into Russia and said any Ukrainian attack would then be seen as an attack on Russia. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday that Moscow would consider Ukrainian attempts to retake the territory ‘as an attack on its lands in case of a positive decision in the referendums.’ Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared his support for the process, with little doubt that the announced result will overwhelmingly favor becoming part of Russia. When the Kremlin annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 after a disputed vote, it claimed that nearly 97 percent backed joining Russia.
  • Kyiv attacked the legitimacy of the referendums as a ‘propaganda show.’ Mariupol residents began voting in a Kremlin-orchestrated referendum on becoming part of Russia on Sept. 23.
  • Moscow-backed authorities assured support for a potential annexation. ‘We’re coming home,’ Denis Pushilin, the leader of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, said Friday. He appeared in a video filling out his ballot in the street, surrounded by cameras, before he displayed it for all to see. Russian news agencies said hundreds of polling stations would only open Tuesday, and local authorities said much of the voting would be house-to-house or in ‘public places.’
  • The Group of Seven — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States — released a joint statement condemning ‘the sham referenda that Russia attempts to use to create a phony pretext for changing the status of Ukrainian sovereign territory,’ according to a White House release. President Biden said in a statement that the United States “will work with our allies and partners to impose additional swift and severe economic costs on Russia.’
  • U.N. Secretary General António Guterres described the referendums as a ‘violation of the U.N. Charter and international law.’
  • Alexander J. Drueke and Andy Tai Huynh, the two Americans freed this week after months of captivity in Russian-occupied Ukraine, arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York just before noon Friday and were met by a State Department representative who whisked them through customs, according to Dianna Shaw, Drueke’s aunt. The two men were photographed smiling upon their arrival, but they have been through an ordeal they have yet to detail in full to their relatives.
  • Finland looks to cut off entry for Russian tourists in the coming days amid elevated border crossings after Putin’s partial mobilization order, according to state broadcaster Yle. Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania closed their borders to most Russian citizens.
  • A team of U.N. experts found Friday that Russian forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine, including ‘rapes, deportations and torture,’ the AP reported.
  • Ukraine said it would revoke the accreditation of Iran’s ambassador for supplying weapons to Russia. In his nightly address, Zelensky said the foreign ministry would also ‘significantly reduce the number of diplomatic personnel of the Iranian Embassy.’

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Ukrainians Express Fear and Defiance as Staged Voting Begins. Residents in Russian-occupied territories said their homeland was being usurped by force in what they called a sham vote. Russia announced that some workers will be exempt from the draft.  The New York Times, Friday, 23 September 2022:

  • After businesses warn of repercussions, Russia says it will exempt some workers from the call-up.

  • Staged voting is happening amid international condemnation.

  • U.N. experts find that war crimes have been committed in Ukraine.

  • Russian aviation scientist dies, adding to a series of suspicious deaths.

  • On a corpse’s wrist, an emblem of Ukrainian fortitude.

  • Russians fleeing the draft will not be welcomed in the Baltic States, Lithuania’s foreign minister says.

Former President Donald Trump’s attorneys are fighting a secret court battle to block a federal grand jury from gathering information from an expanding circle of close Trump aides about his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, CNN Politics, Evan Perez, Katelyn Polantz, and Zachary Cohen, Friday, 23 September 2022: “The high-stakes legal dispute — which included the appearance of three attorneys representing Trump at the Washington, DC, federal courthouse on Thursday afternoon — is the most aggressive step taken by the former President to assert executive and attorney-client privileges in order to prevent some witnesses from sharing information in the criminal investigation events surrounding January 6, 2021. The court fight over privilege, which has not been previously reported and is under seal, is a turning point for Trump’s post-presidency legal woes. How the fight is resolved could determine whether prosecutors can tear down the firewall Trump has tried to keep around his conversations in the West Wing and with attorneys he spoke to as he sought to overturn the 2020 election and they worked to help him hold onto the presidency. This dispute came to light as former Trump White House adviser and lawyer Eric Herschmann received a grand jury subpoena seeking testimony, the people briefed said.” See also, Trump Lawyers Push to Limit Aides’ Testimony in January 6 Inquiry. The former president’s legal team is seeking to invoke attorney-client and executive privilege over grand jury testimony after waves of subpoenas went out to witnesses. The New York Times, Alan Feuer and Maggie Haberman, Friday, 23 September 2022: “Lawyers for former President Donald J. Trump are engaged in a behind-the-scenes legal struggle to limit the scope of a federal grand jury investigation into the role he played in seeking to overturn the 2020 election, according to people familiar with the matter. The closed-door battle, unfolding in Federal District Court in Washington, has centered on how far Mr. Trump can go in asserting attorney-client and executive privilege as a means of keeping witnesses close to him from answering potentially damaging questions in their appearances before the grand jury, the people said. The issue is important because it will determine how much evidence prosecutors can get from an inner circle of some of Mr. Trump’s most trusted former lawyers and advisers. The outcome will help to shape the contours of the information that the Justice Department will be able to gather, as it looks into Mr. Trump’s involvement in the chaotic events after the election that culminated in the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.” See also, Trump lawyers argue to limit White House aides’ testimony to January 6 grand jury, The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany, Spencer S. Hsu, Devlin Barrett, and Josh Dawsey, Friday, 23 September 2022: “Lawyers for former president Donald Trump have entered a high-stakes legal battle seeking to limit the scope of former top White House aides’ testimony to a federal grand jury that is investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 elections, according to people familiar with the matter. The action sets up a potentially precedent-setting struggle that could affect the Justice Department’s investigation of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack, and address the scope of a former president’s assertion of executive or attorney-client privilege to preserve the confidentiality of advisers’ communications. The specific contours of the fight, reported first by CNN, are unclear. One person familiar with the matter said that the dispute concerned the testimony of two top aides to former vice president Mike Pence — his former chief of staff, Marc Short, and former counsel, Greg Jacob. The men appeared before the grand jury in July and answered some, but not all, questions, based on Trump’s assertion of privilege, people familiar with the matter said.”

Intelligence officials have resumed their national security risk review of classified documents that were seized at former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate, Politico, Andrew Desiderio, Friday, 23 September 2022: “Intelligence officials have resumed their national security risk review of top-secret documents that were seized at former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate, according to a spokesperson for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The resumption, which has not been previously reported, comes after a federal appeals court delivered the Justice Department a decisive win, unanimously blocking elements of a lower-court ruling that forced federal prosecutors to seek a pause in the highly anticipated intelligence review. ‘In consultation with the Department of Justice, ODNI is resuming the classification review of relevant materials and assessment of the potential risk to national security that would result from the disclosure of the relevant documents,’ an ODNI spokesperson said. The intelligence community’s assessment of national security risks stemming from Trump’s possession of the classified materials has two tracks, as laid out by Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines in a letter to congressional committee leaders last month. The first review centers on the classification levels of the seized documents, and the second examines the national security fallout if the materials were improperly disclosed.”

Arizona Judge Reinstates Strict Abortion Ban From 1864. A 15-week abortion ban passed this year will take effect on Saturday. But the attorney general has argued that the near-total ban from the 19th century should take precedence. The New York Times, Eliza Fawcett, Friday, 23 September 2022: “A judge on Friday ruled that a near-total abortion ban written before Arizona became a state must be enforced, throwing abortion access into question one day before the start of a 15-week ban that passed the Legislature this year. The stricter ban, which can be traced to 1864, was blocked by a court injunction in 1973 shortly after the Supreme Court, in Roe v. Wade, determined that there was a constitutional right to abortion. On Friday, Judge Kellie Johnson of Pima County Superior Court lifted that injunction, noting that Roe had been overruled in June and that Planned Parenthood’s request for the court to ‘harmonize the laws’ in Arizona was flawed. The 1864 law, first established by the state’s territorial legislature, mandates a two- to five-year prison sentence for anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion. In 1901, the law was updated and codified. ‘No archaic law should dictate our reproductive freedom,’ Brittany Fonteno, the president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood Arizona, said in a statement after the judge’s ruling.”


Saturday, 24 September 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Hundreds arrested in Russia during anti-mobilization protests, The Washington Post, Nick Parker, Katerina Ang, Ellen Francis, Robyn Dixon, Andrea Salcedo, and Praveena Somasundaram, Saturday, 24 September 2022: “Hundreds of people were arrested Saturday during demonstrations in Russia against the nation’s ‘partial mobilization’ of troops that the Kremlin plans to throw into its invasion of Ukraine. Some who had participated in demonstrations earlier in the week had been given military summonses, state media reported. The Kremlin’s staged referendums in Ukraine — which some residents called a vote ‘under a gun barrel’ — were underway for a second day and were scheduled to continue until Tuesday in regions controlled by Russian forces. Western leaders have condemned the orchestrated referendums as a pretext to annex swaths of the country.

  • About 775 people had been arrested across Russia during protests against mobilization by early Saturday evening local time. Large columns of riot police confronted protesters in cities and towns, outnumbering protesters in some cases. Independent Russian outlets have posted videos of police beating protesters, most of them young people, before dragging them to vans. The number of arrests since Putin announced the mobilization is 2,080, according to OVD-Info.
  • Arrested people are receiving summonses for Russian military service, state media reported. Margarita Simonyan, editor in chief of state news outlet RT, tweeted that more than 200 male protesters who took part in Wednesday’s demonstrations against mobilization had been sent military summonses.
  • Anger is flaring as Russia’s mobilization affects minority regions and protesters. Despite official assurances that it is only a partial mobilization to help the war in Ukraine, the initial process has sparked fears that far more soldiers could be sent to fight than the 300,000 first announced, The Washington Post reports. Rights groups and activists expressed concern that the call-up was disproportionately targeting ethnic minorities in remote or impoverished parts of Russia.
  • The referendums, illegal under international law, will run until Tuesday in the separatist Luhansk and Donetsk territories in the east, Kherson in the south and parts of nearby Zaporizhzhia. There is little doubt that the announced result will overwhelmingly favor becoming part of Russia. When the Kremlin annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 after a disputed vote, it claimed that nearly 97 percent supported joining Russia. The Kremlin has pledged to swiftly accept the regions into Russia after the vote.
  • The State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, may hold an emergency session for bills about incorporating occupied regions of Ukraine, Russia’s state-run news agency Tass reported on Saturday, citing an unnamed source. The bills may be submitted on Wednesday in time to pass them the following day, per Tass.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Armed Russian Soldiers Oversee Referendum Voting. Witnesses and Ukrainian officials described intimidating scenes in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine where what Western officials have called ‘sham’ referendums are taking place. Protests against Putin’s mobilization policy continue across Russia. The New York Times, Saturday, 24 September 2022:

  • Moscow has threatened to annex Ukrainian territory and defend it as Russian land.
  • At least 745 people are detained in protests across Russia.
  • The U.S. says Russia isn’t preparing to use nuclear weapons, yet.
  • In a U.N. speech, Russia’s foreign minister says ‘the future of the world order’ is at stake.
  • Russia’s Defense Ministry shakes up its leadership.
  • The line at Georgia’s border with Russia is 2,300 cars long.
  • Defying travel warnings, Hasidic Jewish pilgrims flock to Ukraine.
  • The exhumation of a mass burial site in Izium is complete, with 447 bodies recovered.

Liz Cheney says she will do whatever it takes to keep Donald Trump from the White House, even if it means leaving the Republican Party. The top Republican on the House January 6 committee urged voters to prioritize preserving democracy over policy differences during this year’s midterms at The Texas Tribune Festival. The Texas Tribune, Matthew Choi, Saturday, 24 September 2022: “U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney said she would do ‘whatever it takes’ to make sure former President Donald Trump is not the GOP presidential nominee during the 2024 elections, including stumping for Democrats running against election deniers running as Republicans. When asked by Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith if she would consider running for president toward that end, the Republican congresswoman reiterated she would do everything in her power to prevent the former president from representing her party in the next presidential election…. ‘I’m going to make sure Donald Trump, make sure he’s not the nominee,’ Cheney said. ‘And if he is the nominee, I won’t be a Republican.’ Cheney maintained that she is an ardent conservative on policy issues, voting in near lockstep with Trump’s legislative agenda when he was in office. But she warned a House Republican majority would give outsized power to members who have been staunch allies of the former president and his efforts to keep the White House, including U.S. Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert and Jim Jordan. Cheney excoriated Trump for his failure to call off rioters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. She said without equivocation that any decision by the investigating committee about whether there should be criminal prosecution would be unanimous across the seven Democrats and two Republicans. She did not say whether the committee would decide in favor of a criminal prosecution.”


Sunday, 25 September 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Zelensky says Russian troop mobilization targets ethnic minorities, The Washington Post, David L. Stern, Annabelle Timsit, Rachel Pannett, Marisa Iati, Robyn Dixon, and Nick Parker, Sunday, 25 September 2022: “Kremlin-backed forces in Crimea are mobilizing Tatars to fight in Kherson, in a ‘catastrophic’ attempt to put ethnic minorities in harm’s way, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday, the same day that protests in an impoverished Russian region led to clashes with police. In Russia and areas that its troops control, the Kremlin has begun to mobilize hundreds of thousands of reservists to fight its foundering war in Ukraine. Kremlin-staged referendums to annex occupied areas of Ukraine are underway, and Russia’s foreign minister insisted that regions would be ‘under the full protection of the state’ if they are added to his nation — despite widespread condemnation. Some residents called it a vote ‘under a gun barrel,’ with the outcome predetermined by the Kremlin.

  • In his nightly address, Zelensky said Russian-backed forces were targeting Indigenous peoples of Siberia and Crimea through a ‘deliberate imperial policy’ of issuing military summonses that could force them to fight Ukrainians. On Sunday, the Ukrainian military said occupying forces in Crimea had handed out 1,000 summonses to join the Russians in the Kherson region.
  • The impoverished Russian region of Dagestan, which has borne a disproportionate share of military casualties in Ukraine, emerged as a hot spot for protests on Sunday. Women in the regional capital, Makhachkala, struggled with police and tried to keep them from dragging male protesters to vans. Furious residents blocked a highway elsewhere in Dagestan. At least 100 people were detained in the region Sunday, according to the human rights group OVD-Info.
  • At least 800 people across the country were detained by Russian authorities during protests of mobilizations this weekend, according to OVD-Info. Since Wednesday, more than 2,300 have been detained.
  • Zelensky said Russian-backed troops will retaliate against people who don’t vote in the ‘sham’ referendum. ‘Those people who don’t come to referendum, you know, Russians can turn off their electricity and won’t give them an opportunity to live a normal human life,’ Zelensky said earlier Sunday on CBS News’s ‘Face the Nation.’ ‘They force people. They throw them in prisons.’
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, despite global criticism, said any new annexed Ukrainian territory would be under Russia’s ‘full protection’ in a news conference at the United Nations. He also did not rule out using nuclear weapons to defend the areas. ‘All of the laws, doctrines, concepts and strategies of the Russian Federation apply to all of its territory,’ he said Saturday.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Russia Seeks to Force Ukrainians to Fight Their Countrymen, Russia is stepping up its conscription efforts even as it forces residents to vote in staged referendums that could lead to annexation, according to Ukrainian officials, witnesses, and rights groups.  The New York Times, Sunday, 25 September 2022:

  • The Kremlin’s mobilization effort includes forcing Ukrainians to fight their own country.
  • Zelensky urges allies to step up pressure on Putin amid ‘nuclear blackmail.’
  • ‘We didn’t know where else to go’: Ukrainians displaced by a counteroffensive seek shelter.
  • Ukraine warns of growing attacks by drones Iran has supplied to Russia.
  • A Polish venue cancels a concert by Roger Waters after his Ukraine views prompt criticism.
  • Two Americans return home months after being captured fighting in Ukraine.


Monday, 26 September 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Gunman attacks Russian military center; Edward Snowden granted Russian citizenship, The Washington Post, Annabelle Timsit, Kelly Kasulis Cho, Adam Taylor, Kreina Tsui, and Nick Parker, Monday, 26 September 2022: “A man shot and wounded an official at a Siberian military recruitment office Monday amid a wave of unrest in Russia after President Vladimir Putin announced a military mobilization last week. Putin on Monday granted Russian citizenship to Edward Snowden, a former security consultant who was granted asylum in Russia in 2013 after leaking information about top-secret U.S. surveillance programs. Staged referendums continued in Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, and are expected to end Tuesday. The votes have been widely criticized in the West — and by some of Russia’s own allies — as a pretext for and prelude to Russian annexation.

  • Putin granted citizenship on Monday to Edward Snowden, the former security consultant who leaked information about top-secret U.S. surveillance programs and is still wanted by Washington on espionage charges, The Washington Post’s Mary Ilyushina reports. The ‘only thing that has changed is as a result of his Russian citizenship, he may now be conscripted to fight in Ukraine,’ White House spokesman Ned Price said at a news briefing. That could only happen in a full national draft, which remains improbable.
  • A gunman was detained after he shot and severely wounded an official overseeing Russia’s military mobilization at a commissariat in the Irkutsk region in Siberia, the area’s governor, Igor Ivanovich Kobzev, said Monday on Telegram. The official, Alexander Eliseevan, is in ‘critical condition’ and undergoing emergency medical treatment, the governor said. According to local news outlets, the alleged gunman’s mother said his best friend had been called up to fight despite having never served in the army.
  • The Kremlin acknowledged that some Russians who do not meet the criteria for military mobilization have received summons, and it pledged to rectify errors. Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday that ‘no decisions’ have been made to close Russia’s borders to prevent military-age men from fleeing, despite media reports in recent days that a decision was imminent.
  • The United States is set to send $457.5 million in new nonmilitary aid to Ukraine, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Monday. The funds will go toward bolstering the capacity of Ukrainian law enforcement and criminal justice institutions, he added.
  • Protesters blocked a highway Sunday and took to the streets in Dagestan, a largely impoverished Russian republic that borders Georgia and Azerbaijan, to oppose the call-up of reservists to Russia’s armed forces. Videos posted on Twitter by the independent Russian outlet Mediazona show people shouting, ‘No war!’ and ‘Our children are not fertilizer!’ on a busy street interspersed with police vehicles and officers. More than 140 people in the region were arrested, according to OVD-Info.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Russia’s Draft Sweeps Up Vulnerable Groups, Activists Say. Crimean Tatars and other minorities have been disproportionally targeted by the draft, which faces growing opposition in Russia. Edward Snowden, who has lived in Russia. The New York Times, Monday, 26 September 2022:

  • Edward Snowden is granted Russian citizenship nine years after fleeing the U.S.

  • A recruitment officer was wounded in the latest attack on a Russian draft office.

  • U.S. announces $457.5 million in new nonmilitary aid to Ukraine.

  • Ukraine denounces reports of prisoners of war being forced to vote in Russia’s staged referendums.

  • Despite war and Griner’s arrest, American men are still playing basketball in Russia.

  • A Putin ally acknowledges he is the founder of the Wagner mercenary group.

  • A Ukrainian soldier whose bracelet made him a symbol receives posthumous honors.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Regions vote on joining Russia, and Putin orders a draft, NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 26 September 2022: “As the week begins, here’s a look ahead and a roundup of key developments from the past week. What to watch this week: On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko in Moscow. On Tuesday, annexation votes end in four Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine. Also, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will deliver a virtual address at an event hosted by Harvard University. On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on U.S. sanctions on Russia. On Friday, European Union energy ministers will meet to approve emergency plans. What happened last week: Monday, Sept. 19: Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia began barring most Russian travelers. Poland followed suit, and Finland later announced it too would ‘significantly restrict the entry and issuing visas to Russian citizens.’ Tuesday, Sept. 20: Leaders of four separatist and partially Russian-occupied regions said they would hold referendums on whether to formally join Russia, part of Russia’s move to annex the regions. Wednesday, Sept. 21: Putin announced a mobilization of hundreds of thousands of Russian reservists to fight in Ukraine. Zelenskyy delivered remarks to the U.N. General Assembly via video, urging punishment for Russia. President Biden addressed the General Assembly as well, saying ‘Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenets of the United Nations charter’ by invading Ukraine. Thursday, Sept. 22: Ukraine and Russia announced a prisoner swap involving the release of more than 200 Ukrainian and foreign citizens from Russia — including two U.S. military veterans — and more than 50 prisoners from Ukraine, including Ukrainian pro-Russian opposition leader Viktor Medvedchuk. Friday, Sept. 23: In what the U.S. and others called ‘sham referendums,’ voting began in four Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine on whether to join Russia. Saturday, Sept. 24: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the U.N. General Assembly that the West is out to ‘destroy and fracture Russia.’ On Thursday, he appeared at a Security Council meeting on Ukraine to deliver his own remarks and then left. Sunday, Sept. 25: White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan warned of ‘catastrophic consequences’ if Russia uses a nuclear weapon in Ukraine. Also, at the start of the Jewish new year, thousands of Hasidic Jews made a Rosh Hashana pilgrimage to the Ukrainian city of Uman, despite official pleas not to do so during the war.”

Texts of Mark Meadows reveal direct White House communications with pro-Trump operative behind plans to seize voting machines, CNN Politics, Zachary Cohen, Monday, 26 September 2022: “As allies of then-President Donald Trump made a final push to overturn the election in late-December 2020, one of the key operatives behind the effort briefed then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows about his attempts to gain access to voting systems in key battleground states, starting with Arizona and Georgia, according to text messages obtained by CNN. Phil Waldron, an early proponent of various election-related conspiracy theories, texted Meadows on December 23 that an Arizona judge had dismissed a lawsuit filed by friendly GOP lawmakers there. The suit demanded state election officials hand over voting machines and other election equipment, as part of the hunt for evidence to support Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud. In relaying the news to Meadows, Waldron said the decision would allow opponents to engage in ‘delay tactics’ preventing Waldron and his associates from immediately accessing machines. Waldron also characterized Arizona as ‘our lead domino we were counting on to start the cascade,’ referring to similar efforts in other states like Georgia.”

Top State Judges Make a Rare Plea in a Momentous Supreme Court Election Case. In a surprising filing, state chief justices opposed an argument pressed by Republicans–that state legislatures may set federal election rules unconstrained by state constitutions. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Monday, 26 September 2022:“’It’s the biggest federalism issue in a long time,’ Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht of the Texas Supreme Court said on the phone the other day. ‘Maybe ever.’ He was explaining why the Conference of Chief Justices, a group representing the top state judicial officers in the nation, had decided to file a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in a politically charged election-law case. The brief urged the court to reject a legal theory pressed by Republicans that would give state legislatures extraordinary power. Nicholas Stephanopoulos, a law professor at Harvard, said the brief underscored how momentous the decision in the case could be. ‘It’s highly unusual for the Conference of Chief Justices to file an amicus brief in the Supreme Court,’ he said. ‘It’s even rarer for the conference to do so in a controversial, ideologically charged case.’ If the Supreme Court adopts the theory, it will radically reshape how federal elections are conducted by giving state lawmakers independent authority, not subject to review by state courts, to set election rules in conflict with state constitutions. The conference’s brief, which was nominally filed in support of neither party, urged the Supreme Court to reject that approach, sometimes called the independent state legislature theory. The Constitution, the brief said, ‘does not oust state courts from their traditional role in reviewing election laws under state constitutions.'”

The mysterious nine-second call from the White House to a January 6 rioter: CNN reveals the rioter’s identity for the first time, CNN Politics, Jamie Gangel and Elizabeth Stuart, Monday 26 September 2022: “At 4:34 pm on January 6, 2021, a cell phone registered to a Capitol rioter who had stormed the building, received a phone call from a White House landline, according to records obtained by CNN. The call lasted for only nine seconds. Who placed the call and why remains a mystery, but it is notable as the only known call made from the White House to the phone of a rioter during this critical time period. According to the records, the call came from 202-456-1414, the publicly available number for the White House. Like many businesses, outgoing calls from the White House do not show a specific extension. The call was placed in the late afternoon, shortly after former President Donald Trump posted a video message on social media telling the rioters at the Capitol, ‘go home, we love you, you’re very special,’ at 4:17pm. It’s unclear what, if any, connection exists between the White House and the rioter, including whether the call was made by mistake or whether the call went to voicemail. The call was first disclosed by Denver Riggleman in an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes. Riggleman is a former Republican congressman who left his job working as a technical adviser for the January 6 committee in April.” See also, According to a New Book by Denver Riggleman the Trump White House Called Capitol Rioter on January 6. Riggleman, a former staff member of the House committee investigating the assault on the Capitol, said the call came from a White House landline. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Alan Feuer, Monday, 26 September 2022: “On the afternoon of Jan. 6, 2021, shortly after President Donald J. Trump took to Twitter to tell the mob of his supporters assaulting the Capitol that ‘you have to go home now,’ someone used a White House landline to call the phone of one of the rioters, according to a new book from a former staff member of the House Jan. 6 committee. The book, written by Denver Riggleman, who was also previously a Republican member of the House from Virginia, did not name the man whose phone was called by the White House. But in an interview on Monday, Mr. Riggleman said he and his staff determined that the phone belonged to Anton Lunyk, 26, of Brooklyn, who was later charged with breaching the Capitol and sentenced to a year of probation. The call lasted nine seconds and took place at 4:34 p.m. Mr. Lunyk’s name was reported earlier by CNN. A lawyer for Mr. Lunyk did not respond to requests for comment. In an appearance on Sunday night on ’60 Minutes’ on CBS, Mr. Riggleman referred to the incident as an ‘aha moment’ — but in the interview Monday he said he was not willing to call it a ‘smoking gun’ showing a connection between rioters and the Trump White House.”


Tuesday, 27 September 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Final day of staged referendums in four Ukrainian territories; ‘sabotage’ investigation after Nord Stream pipeline explosions, The Washington Post, Annabelle Timsit, Rachel Pannett, Mary Ilyushina, Adam Taylor, and Praveena Somasundaram, Tuesday, 27 September 2022: “Staged referendums in four Ukrainian territories, organized by Kremlin-backed officials, paved the way for Russian annexation Tuesday, yielding never-in-doubt results: supposed pro-annexation majorities of more than 95 percent across regions. The votes were neither free nor fair and were illegal under international law. In a speech to Russian lawmakers Friday, President Vladimir Putin could announce the annexation of the occupied regions of Ukraine, a British intelligence update said. The operator of the Nord Stream pipelines built to carry Russian natural gas to Europe reported Tuesday ‘unprecedented’ damage to the system, raising suspicions of sabotage after mysterious leaks caused sudden drops in pressure in three underwater lines in the Baltic Sea.”

  • Denmark’s prime minister said it was ‘hard to imagine’ that the damage to the gas pipelines was ‘accidental.’ At an event in Poland on Tuesday,Mette Frederiksen said, ‘We cannot rule out sabotage, but it is too early to conclude’ — appearing to add credence to fears in Europe that the leaks were caused deliberately, possibly from within Russia. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also said he could not ‘rule out’ the possibility of sabotage, describing the pressure drop affecting Nord Stream’s pipelines as ‘an unprecedented situation that needs to be dealt with urgently.’
  • The incident won’t have much of an impact on already tight gas supplies to the continent since Russia’s Gazprom shut down Nord Stream 1 in August, while Western nations blocked Nord Stream 2 from becoming fully operational as part of sanctions over Russia’s war in Ukraine.
  • Swedish police opened an investigation into ‘sabotage,’ a spokesman for the Swedish public prosecutor’s office, Karl Jigland, told The Washington Post. Germany and Denmark were also investigating. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday that the United States is aware of reports leaks of the Nord Stream pipeline may be the result of an ‘attack or some kind of sabotage’ but said that hasn’t been verified.
  • Danish authorities released photographs of gas leaks forming what appeared to be severe gaseous turbulence in the Baltic Sea. A spokesperson for Sweden’s maritime authority told Reuters that Russia’s Nord Stream 1 pipeline was leaking gas into Swedish and Danish waters. The Danish authorities established prohibition zones around the leaks to reduce the risk to ship and air traffic. Experts have also expressed concern about the environmental impact.
  • Putin could declare Russia’s absorption of the four regions — Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia — as soon as Friday, the British Defense Ministry said.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the referendums a ‘farce’ in his virtual address to the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday, saying that the annexation of seized territories is the ‘most brutal violation’ of the U.N. charter. ‘This is a very cynical attempt to forcibly mobilize men in the occupied territory of Ukraine into the Russian army,’ Zelensky said.
  • Zelensky, in remarks delivered by video link to Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government on Tuesday, urged world leaders to take ‘preventive’ action as Russia prepares to annex more territory and send tens of thousands of newly mobilized forces to the front, rather than waiting to ‘react’ to the escalation and risk losing lives and time, The Post reported.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Officials Say Leaks in Undersea Gas Pipelines After Explosions Point to Sabotage. Ukraine and Poland blamed Russia after blasts were recorded and two gas pipelines were ruptured under the Baltic Sea. The sudden leaks deepened uncertainty about energy security in Europe. The New York Times, Tuesday, 27 September 2022:

  • Leaks in undersea gas pipelines from Russia to Germany after blasts raise suspicions of sabotage.

  • The C.I.A. had warned European governments of potential attacks on pipelines.

  • Putin is expected to annex parts of Ukraine after referendums end on Tuesday.

  • At the United Nations, Zelensky rails against Russia for trying to ‘steal’ Ukrainian territory.

  • Vote-getting tactics in the staged referendums: Concerts, promises and armed men at the door.

  • The number of Russian citizens entering the E.U. has jumped 30 percent since Putin’s call for more troops.

  • Foreign minister denies Iran has sent arms to Russia to use against Ukraine.

Sedition Trial of Oath Keepers to Get Underway. Jury selection begins on Tuesday in the case of Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the far-right militia group, and four other members charged with seditious conspiracy in the January 6 attack on the Capitol. The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Tuesday, 27 September 2022: “When Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers militia, and four other members of the far-right group go on trial on Tuesday for seditious conspiracy in the attack on the Capitol last year, they will join a list of defendants who have faced sedition charges, one that includes Islamic terrorists, Puerto Rican nationalists and radical left-wing unionists. But Mr. Rhodes and his subordinates intend to offer a novel and risky defense in seeking to rebut the accusations that they plotted to use force against the government: They plan to tell the jury that when armed teams of Oath Keepers prepared to rush into Washington from Virginia on Jan. 6, 2021, they believed they would be following legal orders from the president himself. Lawyers for the five defendants are set to argue at the trial — which will begin on Tuesday with jury selection — that the Oath Keepers were waiting on Jan. 6 for President Donald J. Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act, a Revolutionary-era law that grants the president wide powers to deploy the military to quell unrest in emergencies. As the trial in Federal District Court in Washington moves forward, lawyers in the case have said, Mr. Rhodes intends to take the stand himself and testify that even though Mr. Trump never did invoke the act, the Oath Keepers believed that he was going to do so. Their preparations for violence on Jan. 6, he will argue, should be thought of as a lawful attempt to help the president, not as an illegal attack against the United States.”

‘Let’s get right to the violence’: New documentary film footage shows Roger Stone pre-Election Day, CNN Politics, Zachary Cohen, Holmes Lybrand, and Jackson Grigsby, Tuesday, 27 September 2022: “The day before the 2020 election, Roger Stone, the long-time Republican operative and ally of former President Donald Trump, said in front of a documentary film crew that he had no interest in waiting to tally actual votes before contesting the election results. ‘F**k the voting, let’s get right to the violence,’ Stone can be heard saying, according to footage provided by a Danish documentary film crew and obtained by CNN. The clip is one of multiple pieces of footage obtained by CNN that the filmmakers also shared with the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol. The video shows Stone as an early proponent of contesting the election – even before the results were in – and raising the possibility of violence months before January 6.”

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson decries Republican leaders who back Trump election claims: ‘Afraid of losing their power.’ At a sentencing of one of the January 6 defendants, a federal judge says Republicans are afraid of contradicting Trump. Politico, Kyle Cheney, Tuesday, 27 September 2022: “A federal judge delivered a blistering rebuke of Republican Party leaders Tuesday for what she said was a cynical attempt to stoke false claims of election fraud of the kind that fueled the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson said former President Donald Trump had turned his lies about the election into a litmus test for Republican candidates and that ‘high-ranking members of Congress and state officials’ are ‘so afraid of losing their power’ that they won’t contradict him. That fealty, she said, comes even as law enforcement and judges involved in cases related to the former president are facing unprecedented threats of violence.”

Former President Trump’s staggering record of uncharged crimes, CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington), Conor Shaw, Tuesday, 27 September 2022: “As of September 2022, Donald Trump has been credibly accused of committing at least 55 criminal offenses since he launched his campaign for president in 2015. That total only reflects allegations relating to his time in or running for office and omits, for instance, Trump’s criminal exposure for fraudulent business dealings. The seven offenses we have added since we published the first version of this table in March 2022 include three criminal offenses relating to the investigation of election fraud and related crimes in Fulton County, Georgia; one offense relating to potential wire fraud stemming from fraudulent representations made to solicit PAC contributions after the 2020 election; and three offenses relating to Trump’s unlawful possession of government records at Mar-a-Lago after leaving office. The updated tracker likely understates Trump’s legal exposure because the high volume of sensitive records discovered at Mar-A-Lago suggests that he could be indicted for multiple counts of willfully retaining without authorization government records containing national defense information, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 793(e)), even though it is only listed once on CREW’s tracker.”


Wednesday, 28 September 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: West condemns staged Russian referendums; U.S. to send more long-range rocket systems to Ukraine, The Washington Post, Adela Suliman, Robyn Dixon, Praveena Somasundaram, Karina Tsui, and Alex Horton, Wednesday, 28 September 2022: “Russia concluded staged referendums in parts of four Ukrainian regions under its control this week. The votes were illegal under international law, with reports of residents coerced into voting. Western leaders have condemned the staged referendums, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Moscow of engaging in a ‘diabolical scheme’ to annex Ukraine’s territory. The United States on Wednesday announced a new package of military aid to Ukraine. The $1.1 billion package is to include 18 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, The Washington Post’s Alex Horton reports. The explosions that damaged the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines, causing leaks into the Baltic Sea, appear to be the ‘result of a deliberate act,’ according to European Union statement released Wednesday. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said investigations are underway into what she called ‘sabotage action,’ vowing that deliberate disruption of European energy infrastructure would ‘lead to the strongest possible response.’

  • Several European leaders said the explosions that caused leaks in the undersea natural gas pipelines appeared to be sabotage, as the E.U. put out a statement vowing to respond. ‘These incidents are not a coincidence and affect us all,’ the bloc said. Five European officials with direct knowledge of security discussions said it is widely assumed that Russia was responsible.
  • The Kremlin denied responsibility for the explosions, saying it was not in Russia’s economic interest to damage the pipelines. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was ‘absurd’ to blame Moscow, adding that ‘this is a big problem for us.’ He accused the United States of making ‘super profits’ from European energy disruption and suggested that Washington was behind the blasts. Speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter, a U.S. official said the United States had nothing to do with any attack on the Nord Stream pipelines, calling the idea ‘preposterous.’
  • Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Wednesday that Russia would convene a U.N. Security Council meeting on the Nord Stream explosions, which she blamed on the United States. ‘On February 7, 2022, Joe Biden said that Nord Stream would not move forward if Russia invaded Ukraine,’ Zakharova said on Telegram. ‘If Russia invades, if tanks or troops cross the Ukrainian border again, then there will be no more Nord Stream 2,’ she quoted Biden as saying.
  • Norway said it would increase security around its oil and gas infrastructure, while Swedish, Danish and German authorities have all opened investigations into the blasts. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he met Wednesday with Denmark’s defense minister to discuss the ‘sabotage’ and emphasized that ‘protection of critical infrastructure’ in NATO countries remains paramount. Russia said it would consider participating in a joint investigation with European officials into the incidents but complained that it has not been approached.
  • Russian state media said the staged referendums were in line with international law and showed that voters in all four Ukrainian territories overwhelmingly favor joining Russia. In Donetsk, 99 percent of those voting favored accession, 98 percent in Luhansk, 93 percent in Zaporizhzhia and 87 percent in Kherson, according to Russia’s state-run Tass news agency. Western leaders have called the staged votes a ‘sham’ and say they are invalid amid reports of voter coercion and other violations. When Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, it claimed that 97 percent of those voting in a referendum supported joining Russia.
  • The Moscow-backed leaders of Donetsk and Luhansk are traveling to Moscow to ‘complete the legal part’ of their accession to Russia, Luhansk leader Leonid Pasechnik said Wednesday on Telegram. The pro-Russian leaders of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia also said they had appealed to the Kremlin to proceed with making their territories part of Russia. The speaker of Russia’s State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, said absorbing the four regions could take place on Oct. 3 or 4.
  • The United States will put forward a U.N. Security Council resolution on the annexations, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said. The resolution will ‘condemn Russia’s sham referenda,’ she added, and call on all member states ‘not to recognize any altered status of Ukraine.’ Zelensky said Russia should be suspended ‘from all international organizations,’ including the United Nations.
  • Canada will impose sanctions on individuals and entities ‘complicit’ in annexation attempts,Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. His country ‘will not ever recognize the results of Russia’s illegitimate referendums or its attempted, illegal annexation of Ukrainian territories.’
  • The E.U. also announced a new sanctions package, set to target individuals involved in the organization of the referendums in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, as well as high-ranking officials participating in the recruitment process launched by the Kremlin last week meant to mobilize up to 300,000 soldiers, The Washington Post’s Beatriz Rios reports.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Latest U.S. Military Package for Ukraine Suggests Shift in Focus to Long, Open-Ended War. Rather than sending more powerful HIMARS rocket launchers from its stockpile, the U.S. is ordering them from Lockheed-Martin, so delivery will take years. European Union officials proposed a new round of sanctions in response to Russia’s recent actions to escalate the war. The New York Times, Wednesday, 28 September 2022:

  • The Pentagon announces an additional $1.1 billion in long-term aid for Ukraine.

  • The European Union proposes a fresh round of sanctions against the Kremlin over ‘sham’ referendums.

  • A mystery hovers over the apparent sabotage of two undersea gas pipelines: Did Russia do it?

  • What we know about the pipeline breaks in Europe.

  • At least 200,000 Russians have left the country since Putin’s draft began.

  • Russia-backed officials ask Putin to annex Ukrainian regions after referendums widely dismissed as sham.

  • Kyiv’s advances show the challenges to Putin as he prepares to annex parts of Ukraine.

‘Putin Is a Fool’: Intercepted Calls Reveal Russian Army in Disarray. In phone calls to friends and relatives at home, Russian soldiers gave damning insider accounts of battlefield failures and civilian executions, excoriating their leaders just weeks into the campaign to take Kyiv. The New York Times, Yousur Al-Hiou, Masha Froliak, and Evan Hill, Wednesday, 28 September 2022: “The Ukrainian capital was supposed to fall in a matter of days. But plagued by tactical errors and fierce Ukrainian resistance, President Vladimir V. Putin’s destructive advance quickly stalled, and his forces became bogged down for most of March on the city’s outskirts. From trenches, dugouts and in occupied homes in the area around Bucha, a western suburb of Kyiv, Russian soldiers disobeyed orders by making unauthorized calls from their cellphones to their wives, girlfriends, friends and parents hundreds of miles from the front line. Someone else was listening in: the Ukrainian government. The New York Times has exclusively obtained recordings of thousands of calls that were made throughout March and intercepted by Ukrainian law enforcement agencies from this pivotal location. Reporters verified the authenticity of these calls by cross-referencing the Russian phone numbers with messaging apps and social media profiles to identify soldiers and family members. The Times spent almost two months translating the recordings, which have been edited for clarity and length.”

Biden hosts conference on hunger and announces $8 billion of commitments. Administration officials say they have secured the money from pubic and private sources to help provide more food and better nutrition by 2030. The Washington Post, Matt Viser, Wednesday, 28 September 2022: “President Biden on Wednesday hosted the first White House summit in nearly a half-century dedicated to combating hunger, with administration officials announcing they had secured $8 billion of public and private-sector commitments toward helping provide more food and better nutrition by 2030. This goal is within our reach — just look at how far we’ve come on child poverty,’ Biden said during a morning session. The conference also featured several members of Congress — including Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.), and Reps. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) — and several Cabinet officials. It also included José Andrés, the chef and founder of World Central Kitchen, and New York Mayor Eric Adams (D). Some 500 people, as well as 1,000 others virtually, attended various panels and brainstorming sessions during the day-long conference. The White House on Tuesday released a 44-page report summarizing policies that were to be discussed in depth during the conference. The goals are to make healthful food more affordable and accessible and to invest in expanding physical activity options and enhancing research on food and nutrition.” See also, Biden on ending hunger in US: ‘I know we can do this,’ Associated Press, Ashraf Khalil and Darlene Superville, Wednesday, 28 September 2022: “President Joe Biden said Wednesday his administration’s goal of ending hunger in the U.S. by the end of the decade was ambitious but doable, if only the nation would work together toward achieving it. ‘I know we can do this,’ Biden told an auditorium full of public health officials, private companies and Americans who have experienced hunger. They were gathered for the first White House conference on hunger, nutrition and health since 1969. It was the president at his most optimistic, sketching out a future where no child in the U.S. would go hungry, and diet-related diseases would diminish because of better, healthier food alternatives and access to vast outdoor spaces. ‘That’s why we’re here today, to harness our greatest resource: our fellow Americans,’ Biden said. ‘Everyone, everyone has an important role to play.’ He’s counting on a variety of private-sector partnerships to help fund and implement his ambitious goal of ending hunger in America by 2030.” See also, Biden Administration Unveils Plan Aiming to End Hunger in U.S. by 2030. The initiative comes at a time when food prices are rising at their fastest rate in four decades and lines at food banks are swelling. The New York Times, Alan Rappeport, Wednesday, 28 September 2022: “President Biden promised on Wednesday to end hunger in the United States by the end of the decade, unveiling an expansive government effort during the first White House conference on health and nutrition in 50 years. The meeting of hundreds of policymakers, health activists, farmers and business leaders came at a time of steep inflation in the United States. Lines at food banks are swelling. Food prices are rising at their fastest rate in four decades. And fears of a recession that could toss more Americans into unemployment lines are growing. ‘In every country in the world, in every state in this country, no matter what else divides us, if a parent cannot feed a child, there’s nothing else that matters to that parent,’ Mr. Biden said in an address to the conference. It was the first such gathering since 1969, when President Richard M. Nixon hosted a summit that aimed to end hunger in America ‘for all time.’ The White House plan hinges on $8 billion in commitments from the private sector to help fight hunger, including $4 billion that will be dedicated by philanthropies that are focused on expanding access to healthy food. The investments will come from some of the largest corporations in America, including Google, Tyson Foods and Walgreens.”

‘Giant Backfire’: Trump’s Demand for a Special Master Is Looking Like a Mistake. The former president failed to derail the criminal investigation into his hoarding of sensitive documents and is stuck paying for a costly process that threatens to undermine his public claims. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Wednesday, 28 September 2022: “Former President Donald J. Trump’s request that a judge intervene in the criminal investigation into his hoarding of government documents by appointing a special master increasingly looks like a significant blunder, legal experts say. ‘Maybe from Trump’s point of view, creating delay and chaos is always a plus, but this has the feel of a giant backfire,’ said Peter M. Shane, a legal scholar in residence at New York University and a specialist in separation-of-powers law. Initially, Mr. Trump’s demand that an outside arbiter sift through the materials the F.B.I. seized from his Florida estate seemed to turn in his favor. His lawsuit was assigned to a judge he had appointed, Aileen M. Cannon of the Southern District of Florida, who surprised legal experts by granting his request. In naming a special master suggested by Mr. Trump’s lawyers, she effectively froze the Justice Department’s investigation and gave the arbiter a broad mandate. The judge, Raymond J. Dearie of Federal District Court for the Eastern District of New York, would filter the materials not just for attorney-client privilege, which is not unusual, but also for executive privilege, which is unprecedented. But Mr. Trump’s apparent triumph would prove short-lived. An appeals court ruling last week and a letter the Justice Department filed late Tuesday about subsequent complaints his legal team had filed under seal to Judge Dearie suggest that the upsides to obtaining a special master are eroding and the disadvantages swelling. James Trusty, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, did not respond to a request for comment. But late Wednesday, the Trump team refiled its complaints to Judge Dearie — a letter dated Sept. 25 — in unsealed form, bringing the tensions more clearly into view.”

Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for Pennsylvania governor, once urged murder charges for women getting abortions, The Washington Post, Mariana Alfaro and Annabelle Timsit, Wednesday, 28 September 2022: “Doug Mastriano, a Pennsylvania state senator who is the GOP nominee for governor, once said that women who violated his proposed abortion ban should be charged with murder. Mastriano — who was endorsed by former president Donald Trump in May — has appealed to hard-right voters, including by supporting strict abortion restrictions, calling the separation of church and state a ‘myth’ and promoting the false claim that there was widespread fraud in the 2020 election.”

‘Obscene,’ Says Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders After Nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CB) Reports Richest 1% Now Own Over 1/3 of US Wealth, Common Dreams, Brett Wilkins, Wednesday, 28 September 2022: “U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders reacted Wednesday to new government figures showing the wealthiest 1% of Americans now owns over one-third of the country’s wealth by reasserting calls for systemic reforms to tackle the highest economic inequality of any major developed nation in the world. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Tuesday published Trends in the Distribution of Family Wealth, 1989 to 2019, a report revealing that while the total real wealth of U.S. families tripled over those 30 years, the growth was dramatically unequal. ‘Families in the top 10% and in the top 1% of the distribution, in particular, saw their share of total wealth rise over the period,’ the report notes. ‘In 2019, families in the top 10% of the distribution held 72% of total wealth, and families in the top 1% of the distribution held more than one-third; families in the bottom half of the distribution held only 2% of total wealth.’ In a statement, Sanders (I-Vt.) said that ‘this report confirms what we already know: The very rich are getting much, much richer while the middle class is falling further and further behind, and being forced to take on outrageous levels of debt.’ ‘The obscene level of income and wealth inequality in America is a profoundly moral issue that we cannot continue to ignore or sweep under the rug,” the two-time Democratic presidential candidate argued.”


Thursday, 29 September 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Putin to formalize annexation of Ukrainian territories after staged referendums, The Washington Post, Adela Suliman, Erin Cunningham, Adam Taylor, and Sammy Westfall, Thursday, 29 September 2022: “Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to sign treaties on Friday that would claim to annex four areas of Ukraine, as separatist leaders from Ukraine arrived in Moscow for what they called ‘a historic decision’ to join Russia. Staged referendums — illegal under international law and widely condemned by Western countries — concluded earlier this week in occupied parts of Ukraine’s Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. Late on Thursday, Putin signed two decrees recognizing Kherson and Zaporizhzhia as ‘independent’ territories, a step toward annexation. Russia already recognizes Donetsk and Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine, as sovereign republics. Russian state television has been airing an on-screen clock that counts down the hours until Putin signs the treaties. ‘The United States will never, never, never recognize Russia’s claims on Ukraine sovereign territory,’ President Biden said Thursday, at a summit in Washington between the United States and Pacific island countries. ‘The so-called referendum was a sham, an absolute sham.’ Explosions that damaged the Nord Stream pipelines and caused natural gas to leak into the Baltic Sea this week appeared to be ‘the result of deliberate, reckless, and irresponsible acts of sabotage,’ NATO said Thursday. It vowed to meet any attacks against its members’ infrastructure ‘with a united and determined response.’ Meanwhile, Putin described the incidents as ‘an act of international terrorism.’

  • Separatist leaders from Russian-occupied portions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia are in Moscow to complete the procedure of Russian annexation of Ukrainian territory, Kirill Stremousov, a Russian-installed official from Kherson, said in a Telegram post. He shared a group photo of the arrival and called it a ‘happy ending.’
  • Putin is set to address lawmakers Friday at 3 p.m. local time (8 a.m. Eastern time). The ceremony will take place in the Grand Kremlin Palace to sign ‘agreements on the accession of new territories into the Russian Federation,’ Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. The inflammatory move appears likely to slam the door on diplomacy for years to come and almost certainly ensures further escalation of the war, with Kyiv vowing to fight to reclaim all of its lands.
  • The annexation requires a number of procedural sign-offs within Russia, including votes from both houses in Russia’s parliament, the State Duma and the Federation Council, to approve the treaty, as happened when Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014. The United States, Canada and the European Union have all vowed never to recognize the annexed land as part of Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Kyiv was working with Western allies to firm up support against annexation.
  • The White House has said it is working with ‘allies and partners to impose additional economic costs on Russia,’ should annexation go ahead. ‘You can expect additional measures from us in the coming days,’ State Department spokesman Ned Price said this week.
  • United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said Russia’s annexation plans ‘cannot be reconciled with the international legal framework; it stands against everything the international community is meant to stand for; it flouts the purposes and principles of the United Nations; it is a dangerous escalation; it has no place in the modern world.’ In a Thursday news briefing, he said that Russia, as one of five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, has a ‘particular responsibility’ to respect the U.N. charter.
  • A total of four leaks in the Nord Stream pipelines have been reported, after the Swedish coast guard confirmed Thursday that there were two leaks in Sweden’s economic zone and two in Denmark’s. Investigations into the cause of the explosions are continuing.
  • The E.U. and several nations suspect sabotage and have blamed Russia, which denies causing any damage to the underwater energy infrastructure in the Baltic Sea, which supplies gas to Western Europe. NATO said Thursday that current evidence shows the leaks were ‘the result of deliberate, reckless, and irresponsible acts of sabotage.’ The alliance vowed it would defend against ‘hybrid tactics.’
  • Putin called it ‘unprecedented sabotage, in fact, an act of international terrorism against the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines,’ in a phone call with Turkey’s president, according to a Kremlin readout.
  • Russia has denied any involvement and blames the United States. Its Foreign Ministry said Thursday that the leaks occurred in the trade and economic zones of ‘NATO-centric countries’ that are completely ‘controlled by the U.S. intelligence services.’ Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said: ‘This looks like an act of terrorism, possibly on a state level. … It is very difficult to imagine that such an act of a terrorism could have happened without the involvement of a state of some kind.’ The Kremlin has said it was not in Russia’s economic interest to damage the pipelines and called for a U.N. Security Council meeting. A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the United States had nothing to do with any attack, calling the idea ‘preposterous.’
  • The damage to the Nord Stream pipelines could result in the largest single release of methane into the atmosphere ever recorded, experts said. The Danish Energy Agency said sections of the damaged pipes contained 778 million cubic meters of natural gas, which, if it reached the atmosphere, would be equivalent to about 1/1,000th of estimated annual global methane emissions, according to calculations by scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Gas Hydrates Project.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Putin Acknowledges Mistakes in Carrying Out His Draft. The Russian president’s remarks, which were shown on state television, came after anger with the draft spilled over into street protests across Russia. The New York Times, Thursday, 29 September 2022:

  • Putin concedes that some men were wrongly drafted.

  • With annexation plans, Putin escalates a battle of wills with the West.

  • The U.S. denounces Russia’s move to annex parts of Ukraine as a ‘land grab.’

  • What to know about Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian provinces.

  • A sergeant who died fighting in eastern Donetsk is brought home for burial.

  • Russia beat and denied food to prisoners of war, Ukraine says.

  • Ukraine closes in on a rail hub that is helping Russia hold its line in the east.

Federal Judge Aileen Cannon Overrules Special Master Judge Raymond Dearie’s Demands to Trump in Document Review. The dueling moves by Cannon and the special master she appointed reflect a larger struggle over who should control the rules of the review–and whom those rules would favor. The New York Times, Charlie Savage and Alan Feuer, Thursday, 29 September 2022: “A federal judge on Thursday eased several demands a special master had imposed on former President Donald J. Trump’s lawyers in conducting a review of documents the F.B.I. seized from his residence last month, overruling an arbiter she had appointed herself. In a six-page order, Judge Aileen M. Cannon of the Southern District of Florida set aside requirements the special master, Judge Raymond J. Dearie, put in place in recent days that would have tested excuses Mr. Trump has made in connection with the trove of documents taken from his estate, Mar-a-Lago. Judge Cannon also rejected a swift timetable Judge Dearie had set to resolve the review of the documents, slowing the matter down. While the dueling moves and countermoves by the judges were procedural in nature, they reflected a larger struggle over who should control the rules of the review — and whom those rules would favor. In removing the restrictions the special master had sought to impose, Judge Cannon essentially let Mr. Trump and his legal team out of a box that Judge Dearie had tried to put them in. As the judge who appointed the special master, Judge Cannon has the authority to overrule Judge Dearie. But a federal appeals court in Atlanta has already blocked part of her original order as well, exempting documents with classification markings from the special master’s review and allowing the Justice Department to continue using them in its investigation.” See also, Federal Judge Aileen Cannon rules Trump lawyers don’t have to clarify Mar-a-Lago document claims. Special master Raymond Dearie had told Donald Trump’s attorneys to address whether documents were, as Trump has claimed, planted or declassified. The Washington Post, Perry Stein, Thursday, 29 September 2022: “Judge Aileen M. Cannon told Donald Trump’s lawyers Thursday that they did not need to comply with an order from special master Raymond J. Dearie and state in a court filing whether they believe FBI agents lied about documents seized from the former president’s Florida residence. Thursday’s ruling was the first clash between Cannon, a Trump appointee who has generally shown the former president deference in litigation over the Mar-a-Lago investigation, and Dearie, a federal judge she appointed as an outside expert in the case, who appears to be far more skeptical of Trump. After Trump’s lawyers requested a special master, Cannon chose Dearie to review approximately 11,000 documents seized Aug. 8 from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club and residence and determine whether any should be shielded from investigators because of attorney-client or executive privilege. An appeals court separately overruled Cannon’s decision that about 100 additional documents that the government says are classified — some of them top-secret — should be part of Dearie’s review. Dearie last week told the former president’s legal team that it couldn’t suggest in court filings that the government’s description of the seized documents — including whether they were classified — was inaccurate without providing any evidence. He ordered them to submit to the court by Oct. 7 any specific inaccuracies they saw in the government’s inventory list of seized items. It would have been a key test of Trump’s legal strategy, as his lawyers decided whether to back up Trump’s controversial public claims that the FBI planted items at his residence and that he had declassified all the classified documents before leaving office — or whether they would take a more conciliatory approach.”

Tracker: Evidence of Trump’s Knowledge and Involvement in Retaining Mar-a-Lago Documents, Just Security, Ryan Goodman and Clara Apt, Thursday, 29 September 2022: “A central question in the Mar-a-Lago espionage and stolen documents investigation involves former President Donald Trump’s knowledge and involvement in retaining government records. We have compiled a comprehensive account of the publicly available information that addresses that question. Especially significant findings are highlighted in red textReaders should decide for themselves what conclusions they reach based on the record below. On our view, the record as a whole points to Trump’s culpability based on evidence that

  • Trump was warned in late 2021 by his former White House lawyer that it was unlawful to retain the documents, especially classified information;
  • Trump personally sorted through the documents in late 2021;
  • Trump’s personal knowledge and possession, access, and control of the documents is indicated by the quantity, content, and location of documents with classified markings (including intermingled with personal belongings) and by his admissions on Truth Social;
  • Trump repeatedly stated privately that the documents were his to possess and he was not willing to deliver them to the government;
  • Trump aides repeatedly tried to get him to return the documents to the government;
  • Trump was repeatedly put on notice by Archives and Justice Department that his retention of the documents were unlawful and a potential threat to national security;
  • Trump was apparently involved in obstructive acts of trying to conceal documents from the government after receiving a subpoena.”

Bennie Thompson says Ginni Thomas falsely asserted to the House committee investigating the January 6 violent attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters that the 2020 election was stolen, The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany, Thursday, 29 September 2022: “Virginia ‘Ginni’ Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, reiterated her belief that the 2020 election was stolen during her interview Thursday with the committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to the committee’s chairman, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.). Her false assertion, nearly two years after Joe Biden’s victory, came during a five-hour closed-door interview with the committee. Ginni Thomas, a conservative activist, drew the attention of the committee after investigators obtained emails between her and lawyer John Eastman, who had advocated a fringe legal theory that Vice President Mike Pence could block the congressional certification of Biden’s electoral college win. She also repeatedly pressed White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to find ways to overturn the election, according to messages she sent to him weeks after the election. The messages represent an extraordinary pipeline between Thomas and one of Trump’s top aides as the president and his allies were vowing to take their efforts all the way to the Supreme Court.” See also, Ginni Thomas Denies Discussing Election Subversion Efforts With Her Husband Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. In a closed-door interview with the House committee investigating the January 6 attack, Ms. Thomas reiterated her false assertion that the 2020 election was stolen from President Donald J. Trump. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Stephanie Lai, Thursday, 29 September 2022: “Virginia Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas and a conservative activist who pushed to overturn the 2020 election, told the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol that she never discussed those efforts with her husband, during a closed-door interview in which she continued to perpetuate the false claim that the election was stolen. Leaving the interview, which took place at an office building near the Capitol and lasted about four hours, Ms. Thomas smiled in response to reporters’ questions, but declined to answer any publicly. She did, however, answer questions behind closed doors, said Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the committee, who added that her testimony could be included in an upcoming hearing.”

Trump Lawyer Boris Epshteyn Appears Before Atlanta Grand Jury. One of former President Donald J. Trump’s most prominent lawyers, Mr. Epshteyn was involved in efforts to keep Mr. Trump in power despite his loss in 2020. The New York Times, Danny Hakim and Sean Keenan, Thursday, 29 September 2022: “Boris Epshteyn, one of former President Donald J. Trump’s most prominent lawyers, testified on Thursday before a special grand jury in Atlanta that has been convened as part of a criminal investigation into election interference by Mr. Trump and his allies. Mr. Epshteyn played a central role in efforts to keep Mr. Trump in power despite his loss in the 2020 election. He now serves as an in-house counsel for the former president, helping coordinate the Trump team’s various legal defense efforts; a separate federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s mishandling of classified documents is underway, along with the inquiry by the Congressional committee investigating the attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters on Jan. 6, 2021. The grand jury appearance was the latest legal complication for Mr. Epshteyn — one of a number of Trump lawyers who have themselves faced an onslaught of criminal and civil exposure. Earlier this month, federal investigators seized Mr. Epshteyn’s cellphone as part of yet another federal investigation, this one into the attempts to overturn the election results and the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. His lawyer did not return calls for comment. The investigation is being conducted by Fani T. Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County, which includes most of Atlanta. Ms. Willis is weighing potential conspiracy and racketeering charges in the investigation, among others, documents have shown. Her office is known to have already identified nearly 20 targets who could face criminal charges, including Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer. It is not clear whether Mr. Epshteyn also faces potential legal jeopardy in the case or is appearing solely as a witness.”


Friday, 30 September 2022:


Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Ukraine claims control of Lyman after Russians withdraw, The Washington Post, Isabelle Khurshudyan, Ellen Francis, Erin Cunningham, Andrea Salcedo, Robyn Dixon, and Praveena Somasundaram, Saturday, 1 October 2022: “The Russian Defense Ministry says its troops withdrew from the eastern Ukrainian city of Lyman ‘due to the threat of encirclement’ — a day after the Kremlin illegally annexed that region. Ukraine’s military suggested it had full control of the city after it announced that Russian troops had been killed or captured. Ukrainian forces surrounded thousands of Russian troops in the Donetsk region’s city after moving on the transport hub overnight, after the Kremlin hosted an elaborate ceremony and pop concert celebrating its annexation of Ukrainian territory. Russia’s land seizure has drawn a forceful rebuke from Western countries and the United Nations.

  • In a tweet, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said ‘almost all’ of Russian troops in Lyman had been killed or captured, suggesting that the city was under its control. A video recorded in the city shows Ukrainian troops throwing Russian flags from atop a government building, a ceremonial end to Kremlin-backed control of the area. A spokesman with the Russian Defense Ministry said its troops had retreated from Lyman.
  • Ukrainian troops recaptured villages near Lyman and encircled the city, Serhiy Cherevaty, spokesman for the Ukrainian armed forces, told The Washington Post on Saturday. The city sits on the edge of the eastern Donetsk region, one of the four territories now claimed by Russia and where separatists have held territory since 2014.
  • Ukrainian forces appeared to wave the country’s blue and yellow flag at a sign on the outskirts of Lyman in a video shared by the head of the Ukrainian’s president’s office. The Washington Post could not immediately verify that footage’s location. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke about the flag in his nightly address on Saturday, saying that it was in Lyman and that it “will be everywhere” as the country combats Russia’s annexation efforts.
  • Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, called for ‘more drastic measures’ that could include ‘the use of low-yield nuclear weapons’ after the Russian Defense Ministry said its forces had retreated from Lyman. The prominent pro-war figure is one of the many hard-line right-wing voices who have been pushing for a sharp escalation in Russian attacks on Ukraine. Putin has warned that the annexed territories will be defended with ‘all military means’ at Russia’s disposal, while the deputy head of the Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, has warned that Russia could use a nuclear weapon to that end.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: U.S. imposes new sanctions over Russia’s illegal annexation, The Washington Post, Ellen Francis, Louisa Loveluck, Adela Suliman, Erin Cunningham, and Karina Tsui, Friday, 30 September 2022: “Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees Friday to annex four regions of Ukraine. In a grand ceremony in the Kremlin, he said Russia would formally incorporate Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions — and that the people living there would ‘be our citizens forever.’ The United States and Western nations denounced the move as a flagrant violation of international law, with the Biden administration announcing a new round of sanctions against Russian military and government officials, as well as defense procurement networks in Russia and Belarus. But even as Moscow moved to annex the Zaporizhzhia region, suspected Russian missiles struck a civilian convoy there and killed more than 25 people early Friday, Ukrainian officials said.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his country was applying for ‘accelerated ascension’ into NATO. But the remarks were more symbolic than practical: The speedy admittance of Ukraine would require NATO members to immediately send troops to fight Russia under the alliance’s collective defense obligations.
  • ‘The United States is never going to recognize’ the results of the staged referendums, President Biden said in remarks on Friday. ‘And quite frankly, the world is not going to recognize it either.’
  • A United Nations resolution condemning Russia’s ‘illegal, so-called referenda’ in Ukraine, and calling on ‘all states’ not to recognize Moscow’s annexation, failed to pass at the Security Council Friday following Russia’s veto.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Putin Frames Illegal Annexation as Part of Existential Battle With West. In Moscow, the Russian leader declares four Ukrainian regions part of his country, a widely denounced move. The U.S. and Britain ordered new sanctions on Russia in response. The New York Times, Friday, 30 September 2022:

  • Putin’s speech on annexation paints a stark picture of a face-off with the West.
  • Biden declares the West will not be intimidated by Putin’s actions.
  • New U.S. sanctions on Russia hit top officials and the defense and technology sectors.
  • Europe and allies condemn Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukrainian territory.
  • Ukraine submits application to join NATO, with big hurdles ahead.
  • Ukraine says 30 people are dead in an attack on a civilian convoy in Zaporizhzhia.
  • Russian forces are partly encircled in the town of Lyman, a pro-Kremlin proxy leader says.

January 6 and Mar-a-Lago Inquiries Converge in Fights Over Executive Privilege. In both cases, former President Donald Trump is claiming a novel power to keep White House information from his time in office secret from the Justice Department. The New York Times, Charlie Savage and Glenn Thrush, Friday, 30 September 2022: “Two high-profile criminal investigations involving Donald J. Trump are converging on a single, highly consequential question: How much residual executive privilege can a former president invoke after leaving office? As the Justice Department investigates both Mr. Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election and his retention of sensitive documents at his Florida residence, his legal team has repeatedly claimed that he has retained power to keep information secret, allowing him to block prosecutors from obtaining evidence about his confidential Oval Office communications. President Biden is not backing Mr. Trump’s attempt to use that power, and many legal scholars and the Justice Department have argued that he is stretching the narrow executive privilege rights the Supreme Court has said former presidents may invoke. But there are few definitive legal guideposts in this area, and the fights could have significant ramifications. In the short term, the disputes could determine whether Mr. Trump is able to use the slow pace of litigation to delay or impede the inquiries. They could also establish new precedents clarifying executive secrecy powers in ways that will shape unforeseen clashes involving future presidents and ex-presidents.”

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson takes her seat on the Supreme Court. Investiture ceremony marks the first time that Jackson, the first Black woman to serve as a Supreme Court justice, has taken her place on the bench. The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Friday, 30 September 2022: “Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson received her official commission to the Supreme Court on Friday, in a tradition-laden ceremony that welcomed the court’s first African American woman. Jackson, 52, has been on the job since late June. But the investiture ceremony marked the first time she has taken her place on the mahogany bench, in the newest justice’s traditional spot at the far left of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. Roberts wished her a long and happy career in their ‘common calling,’ and President Biden and Vice President Harris, along with their spouses, were in the front row. They met privately with the justices before the ceremony, which started late and lasted only five minutes. The court’s new term begins Monday. The scripted ceremony provided no opportunity for Jackson — or anyone else — to make remarks. But during an event later that day at the Library of Congress, she appeared to become emotional as she reflected on what she said has been an outpouring of support since her confirmation in the spring. She said she was humbled by the ‘fanfare’ that has accompanied her ascension to the high court, and that young people are ‘seeing themselves portrayed in me. I can see it in their eyes, I can hear it in their voices,’ Jackson said.” See also, In a Stately Ceremony, Supreme Court Welcomes Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. The investiture of Justice Jackson, the first Black woman to serve on the court, was attended by President Biden and other dignitaries. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Friday, 30 September 2022: “Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court, was welcomed by her colleagues on Friday at an investiture ceremony at the court that was attended by President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. The proceedings were ‘purely ceremonial,’ the court’s public information office noted, as Justice Jackson has been a member of the court since she was sworn in on June 30. But the event was nonetheless stately and steeped in history. The courtroom was filled with supporters and dignitaries, among them Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives, and two retired members of the court, Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Stephen G. Breyer. Justice Jackson was once a law clerk to Justice Breyer and succeeded him after he stepped down on the last day of the term that ended in June.” See also, Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson gets formal induction before the new term, NPR, Deepa Shivaram, Friday, 30 September 2022: “Ahead of the Supreme Court’s term beginning next week, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson participated in her investiture ceremony Friday. Both President Biden, who made a campaign promise to appoint a Black woman to the Supreme Court, and Vice President Harris, attended. Jackson has already been sworn in as a justice — and made history as the first Black woman to ever serve on the Supreme Court. In June, she took took two oaths: a constitutional oath, administered by Chief Justice John Roberts, and a judicial oath, administered by outgoing Justice Stephen Breyer, whose seat Jackson replaced. The investiture ceremony is more of a formality, but carries significance given Jackson’s historic role. Members of the press are not allowed to record video or audio, but photographs of the event were provided by the court.”

Federal Judge Rules Against Fair Fight Action in Georgia Voting Lawsuit. A U.S. District Court judge found that the sections of the state’s election law that cover absentee ballots, voter rolls, and voter applications ‘violate neither the constitution nor the Voting Rights Act.’ The New York Times, Maya King, Friday, 30 September 2022: “A federal judge on Friday evening ruled that Georgia’s election law does not violate voters’ constitutional rights, dealing a blow to Fair Fight Action, the voting rights group aligned with the Democratic nominee for governor, Stacey Abrams. U.S. District Court Judge Steven Jones ruled against all the claims brought by Fair Fight Action, which had challenged Georgia’s absentee ballot provisions, oversight of voter rolls and the state’s ‘exact match’ law, which mandates that a voter’s name on their voter application be identical to their government identification, even in the case of hyphens or accent marks. A majority of the voter applications flagged for inconsistencies in 2018 belonged to voters of color, according to an investigation by The Associated Press. ‘Although Georgia’s election system is not perfect, the challenged practices violate neither the constitution nor the Voting Rights Act,’ Judge Jones wrote in his 288-page order. The judge, who was nominated by President Barack Obama, added that the ‘burden on voters is relatively low’ and that Fair Fight Action did not provide ‘direct evidence of a voter who was unable to vote, experienced longer wait times, was confused about voter registration status.’ The plaintiffs, many of whom were Georgia voters, had argued that the 2018 election had been marked by a number of barriers to access to the ballot that had been racially discriminatory. Subsequent research showed that Georgia voters in 2018 saw longer lines in majority-minority precincts, faulty election equipment and undertrained staff. In a statement, the Fair Fight Action executive director Cianti Stewart-Reid called the ruling a ‘significant loss for the voting rights community in Georgia and across the country.’ The ruling, which caps a four-year legal battle between the voting rights group and Georgia’s secretary of state, is a blow to Ms. Abrams, who founded Fair Fight in 2018 after losing to now-Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, by less than 60,000 votes in her first run for governor. She has said she believes discriminatory election rules were a factor in her loss.”

Fox’s Jeanine Pirro is back in the hot seat in $1.6 billion election defamation suit against Fox by Dominion Voting Systems over false claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential elections, NPR, David Folkenflik, Friday, 30 September 2022: “Dominion Voting Systems is putting Fox News star ‘Judge Jeanine’ Pirro back on the legal hot seat in its clash with the network in a $1.6 billion defamation suit over baseless claims of fraud in the 2020 elections, NPR has learned. In documents filed Thursday in a Delaware courthouse, the voting tech company explicitly identified Pirro, a former Westchester County district attorney and New York state judge, as central to its case. Its filings argue that by questioning Pirro, Dominion can meet the key legal threshold of proving Fox showed ‘actual malice’ when it broadcast false claims the firm sought to throw the race to Joe Biden over then-President Donald Trump. The case is at a pre-trial phase of the litigation, where both sides are able to obtain testimony and documentary evidence from key figures in a process called ‘discovery.’ ‘Discovery has revealed that…Fox News host Jeanine Pirro help[ed] spread the verifiably false yet devastating lies against Dominion,’ the company’s lawyers wrote in the legal documents. Earlier this month, NPR revealed that a Fox producer had warned colleagues in an email against putting Pirro on the air in the days after the election, saying she was pulling conspiracy theories from extremist conspiracy-minded websites to justify Trump’s lies. That was just one example of the vast cache of documents and testimony that Dominion has acquired.”




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!