Federal investigators searched Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida on Monday bearing a warrant that broadly sought presidential and classified records that the justice department believed the former president unlawfully retained, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
The criminal nature of the search warrant executed by FBI agents, as described by the sources, suggested the investigation surrounding Trump is firmly a criminal inquiry that comes with potentially far-reaching political and legal ramifications for the former president.
And the extraordinary search, the sources said, came after the justice department grew concerned – as a result of discussions with Trump’s lawyers in recent weeks – that presidential and classified materials were being unlawfully and improperly kept at the Mar-a-Lago resort.
Meanwhile, Republican and rightwing groups have swiftly used the FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago to raise money from their supporters by bombarding them with fundraising emails and appeals for donations.
Could the Mar-a-Lago raid benefit Trump politically? Trump is widely believed to be pursuing a presidential run in 2024. Some suggested that it would fuel his supporters’ suspicion of federal law enforcement officials, whom Trump and his allies have long disparaged as corrupt and biased.
Why didn’t the FBI just use a subpoena? The fact that the FBI sought a search warrant rather than a subpoena implies it did not trust Trump to hand over or preserve official documents in his possession.
What else have to FBI done? Federal investigators seized the cellphone of the Republican congressman Scott Perry on Tuesday, his office said. Perry is a close ally of Trump.
Biden administration ends Trump-era ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy
A US border patrol looks on as people wait to have their identities checked and taken to a processing center in Yuma, Arizona, in June. Photograph: Étienne Laurent/EPA
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that it had ended a Trump-era policy requiring asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for hearings in US immigration court, hours after a judge lifted an order, in effect since December, that the so-called Remain in Mexico rule be reinstated.
The timing had been in doubt since the US supreme court ruled on 30 June that the Biden administration could end the policy.
Homeland security officials had been largely silent, saying they had to wait for the court to certify the ruling and for a Trump-appointed judge, Matthew Kacsmaryk, in Amarillo, Texas, to then lift his injunction.
The supreme court certified its ruling last week and critics of the policy had been increasingly outspoken about the Biden administration’s reticence on Remain in Mexico, calling for an immediate end to it.
What will happen now? The program now will be unwound in a “quick, and orderly manner”, DHS said in a statement. No more people are being enrolled and those who appear in court will not be returned to Mexico when they appear in the US for their next hearings.
Why did the Biden administration decide to end the policy? The policy “has endemic flaws, imposes unjustifiable human costs, and pulls resources and personnel away from other priority efforts to secure our border”, the department said.
‘This is about striking fear’: China’s Taiwan drills the new normal, analysts say
Chinese People’s Liberation Army warplanes conduct what it described as a combat training exercise around Taiwan on Sunday. Photograph: Wang Xinchao/AP
China’s military drills targeting Taiwan have set a new normal, and are likely to “regularise” similar armed exercises off the coast or even more aggressive action much closer to the island, analysts have said.
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been conducting live-fire exercises and other drills in the seas around Taiwan’s main island for almost a week, in a purported response to the controversial visit to Taipei by the US House speaker, Nancy Pelosi.
Beijing claims Taiwan as a province. It has not ruled out taking it by force and objects to any and all foreign shows of support for its sovereignty. Taiwan has accused Beijing of using Pelosi’s visit as an excuse to prepare for an invasion.
While some drills are continuing, the big show put on last week has ended, and observers are now trying to assess how the dynamics of the region have changed, and what the future holds for cross-strait relations.
What does Taiwan think? Taiwan’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu, said yesterday there was concern the PLA would “routinise” crossing the median line. He urged the international community to push back, saying Beijing clearly aimed to control the strait.
In other news …
In an article for Vogue, Serena Williams explained her intention to further expand her family was one of the main reasons she was retiring. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian
Serena Williams, one of the greatest athletes of all time and a 23-time grand slam singles champion, has announced that she is retiring from professional tennis, indicating she could step away after the upcoming US Open. Here’s how how Serena Williams became a rare legend.
Elon Musk has sold $6.9bn (£5.7bn) worth of shares in Tesla after admitting that he could need the funds if he is forced to buy the social media platform. The Tesla chief executive walked away from a $44bn deal to buy Twitter in July but the company has launched a lawsuit demanding that he complete the deal.
China is racing to stamp out Covid-19 outbreaks in the tourist hubs of Tibet and Hainan, with the authorities launching more rounds of mass testing and closing venues to contain the highly transmissible Omicron variant as Beijing presses ahead with its Covid zero strategy.
A former Twitter employee has been found guilty of spying on Saudi dissidents using the social media platform and passing their personal information to a close aide of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. A jury found Ahmad Abouammo had acted as an unregistered agent of the Saudi government.
Don’t miss this: A rebel fighter who risked his life for love was murdered, and part of me died too
Naxalite fighters in the forests of Chhattisgarh in 2007: Korsa Joga had been a member of the revolutionary group for many years. Photograph: Mustafa Quraishi/AP
“As a journalist in a conflict zone I was used to covering deaths. But then a young insurgent who had laid down his weapons and become a friend was killed,” writes Ashutosh Bhardwaj. “I was sent photographs on WhatsApp, of his corpse lying on a road in a puddle of blood. In that moment a man deep inside me, who loves, who yearns for love, a part of that man was also murdered. A journalist often lives in bewildering haste, in a frenzied endeavour to locate news in every element around … Imperceptibly, but profoundly, reporting begins to mutate your being. You find yourself ineligible for writing on topics that don’t involve blood or sorrow.”
Climate check: Can citizen scientists turn the tide against America’s toxic algal blooms?
An aerial view of red tide off Florida’s south-west coast. Photograph: Mote Marine Laboratory’s Manatee Research Program
As climate change heats the oceans, predictions of a dangerous phenomenon known as “red tides” are on the rise. Red tides occur a type of rust-colored alga known as Karenia brevis grows, which produces toxic compounds that are harmful to humans as well as dolphins, manatees and other sea life. In an effort to address the threat, the Red Tide Respiratory Forecast was launched. It’s an online map that shows the presence and severity of red tide at select locations, which community of citizen science volunteers contribute to.
Last Thing: The transatlantic battle over a 7ft Frankenstein figure
Schoolchildren get up close with Frankenstein’s monster. Photograph: Getty
Measuring almost 7ft tall, a Frankenstein’s monster mannequin and costume is one of the largest – and strangest – costumes owned by the V&A museum in London. The only problem? The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) thinks it owns it too. The NHM said it was given the monster, and the costume, by Universal Studios in 1935. It in turn lent it to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, where it was reported as being destroyed in 1967. So the NHM was a bit surprised when it showed up in London.
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