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FBI reportedly found top secret documents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort – live

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The Washington Post broke the story last night that documents pertaining to nuclear weapons were among those the FBI investigators looked for at Mar-a-Lago.

Investigators arrived at the property on Monday after months of investigation into whether the former president unlawfully took papers from the White House, which he departed in January 2021. According to the Post, among the documents the FBI found were signals intelligence, which are intercepted phone or email communications that are among the most sensitive type of classified material.

The Post had few other details about the Mar-a-Lago search, but we may find out more this afternoon. Lawyer for the former president have until 3 pm eastern time today to tell a court whether he objects to unsealing the warrant allowing the search, which Trump said last night he would not do. It’s unclear when the document would then be released, but it may offer more insight into what the FBI expected to find at his Florida club.

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Donald Trump has put out yet another statement about the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago.

“Number one, it was all declassified. Number two, they didn’t need to ‘seize’ anything”, it begins, in apparent reference to reports that classified and top secret documents were found among his possessions.

The statement continues:

They could have had it anytime they wanted without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago. It was in secured storage, with an additional lock put on as per their request. They could have had it anytime they wanted—and that includes LONG ago. ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS ASK. The bigger problem is, what are they going to do with the 33 million pages of documents, many of which are classified, that President Obama took to Chicago?

Yesterday, top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer asked voters to keep his party in control of the upper chamber of Congress next year, and in return, they’ll pass bills to lower costs for elder and child care.

Those were priorities of party leaders and president Joe Biden, but they couldn’t find the support in Congress to enact them. Today, a House Democrat made a similar, although perhaps more controversial, plea. According to Bloomberg News, Richard Neal, the Democratic chairman of the House Ways and Means committee, would resurrect the party’s attempts to raise taxes on businesses and individuals:

TAXES: @RepRichardNeal says if Dems keep the House will look to raise corp and individual tax rates next year

— Erik Wasson (@elwasson) August 12, 2022

The National Republican Congressional Committee quickly pounced on his comments:

Vote. Them. Out. https://t.co/NxQ16UzEfw

— NRCC (@NRCC) August 12, 2022

Slate writer Jordan Weissman highlighted the opposition such proposals might get from other Democrats, such as Arizona senator Kyrsten Sinema, who resisted several tax proposals over the past year. He tweeted the well-known moment when she nixed raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour with a thumbs down.

Back in the House of Representatives, Democrats are likely hours away from passing the Inflation Reduction Act, which would be a major win for the Biden administration.

They have a slim but workable majority in the chamber, and their members are believed to be ready to approve the bill. That doesn’t mean Republicans aren’t objecting vociferously to it. Indeed, rightwing congresswoman Lauren Boebert of Colorado got her microphone turned off as she railed against the legislation, which is intended to lower health care costs and help cut into America’s carbon emissions:

Federal investigators found sensitive government documents in Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club during their search there earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reports, including some marked top secret.

The article based on the search warrant obtained by the FBI and a list of property seized appears to confirm that the former president possessed documents in his private residence that normally require special handling and a formal government process before they can be declassified.

The FBI took about 20 boxes of items during the search on Monday, according to the Journal, including documents that were marked as top secret, secret and classified. They also found information about the “President of France” and Trump’s grant of clemency for Roger Stone, one of his allies.

Attorney general Merrick Garland said yesterday the justice department would move to release the documents allowing the search, which Trump’s attorneys must respond to by 3pm eastern time today. Trump has said he does not plan to object to the department’s motion.

Washington awaits more details on the FBI’s search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club, while Democrats in the House of Representatives are on the verge of passing Joe Biden’s landmark climate change and healthcare plan. Meanwhile, author Salman Rushdie was attacked in upstate New York, and his condition at this time is unknown.

Here is a rundown of what has happened so far today:

  • House Republicans showed no signs of backing down in their support of Trump, holding a press conference where they accused the Biden administration of politicizing the FBI.

  • Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi meanwhile accused Republicans of “instigating assaults on law enforcement”.

  • China’s president Xi Jinping is considering a face-to-face visit with Biden amid soaring tensions over Taiwan, The Wall Street Journal reports.

  • Biden is potentially considering an early announcement of his 2024 re-election campaign to build on recent positive developments in his presidency, Reuters reports. Meanwhile, there are more signs that his approval rating is on the upswing.

China’s president Xi Jinping is making plans to potentially meet with Joe Biden in November, in what would be the first face-to-face encounter between the leaders since Biden took office last year, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Tensions between the United States and China have risen since House speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan earlier this month, sparking the ire of Beijing, which considers the island a breakaway province.

While Biden has traveled regularly since taking office, Xi has not left China since January 2020 after the country adopted some of the strictest measures of any major economy to stop the spread of Covid-19. According to the Journal, his meeting with Biden could take either in Bangkok, Thailand or the Indonesian island of Bali, likely on the sidelines of one of two major summits being held in those locations. The White House declined to comment, according to the report, but an official said the two leaders did discuss an in-person meeting during a recent phone call.

Author Salman Rushdie has been attacked at an event in upstate New York, the Associated Press reports. Rushdie has been the subject of death threats from Iran since the 1980s.

The Guardian has started a live blog covering the attack, which you can read below.

Further evidence that things are looking up for Democrats: Joe Biden’s approval rating is above 40 percent for the first time since early June, per RealClearPolitics’ polling average:

Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned attacks by Donald Trump and other Republicans on the FBI following their search this week of the former president’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.

Speaking at a press conference before she was to preside over the House’s vote on her party’s landmark climate legislation, Pelosi reacted to the Thursday attack on an FBI office in Cincinnati, Ohio by a man who may have been present at the January 6 insurrection.

“You would think there would be an adult in the Republican room that would say just calm down, see what the facts are and let’s go for that instead of again instigating assaults on law enforcement,” Pelosi said.

Donald Trump is known to be mulling whether to announce another campaign for president at an early date, potentially before the November midterm election. Now, Reuters reports that Joe Biden’s advisers are also pushing him to make an early announcement that he’ll stand for office again in 2024.

According to the report, the rationale is that an earlier-than-usual announcement would allow Biden to build on what his advisers see as an increasingly favorable electoral landscape, with voters revolting against the supreme court overturning Roe v. Wade and Democrats in Congress having passed several notable pieces of legislation in recent weeks.

It would also quell speculation that Biden, whose approval ratings have plunged over the past year, won’t stand for re-election. A Biden announcement would however most likely come after the midterms, while Trump, in contrast, is weighing whether announcing his own bid before voters even go to the polls.

Here’s more from Reuters:

People involved in planning the president’s campaign told Reuters that an early announcement would be a smart step for Biden, sending a signal to political donors, potential rivals inside and outside the party, as well as the general public that Biden is no lame duck and that Democrats are unified behind his agenda, personality and leadership.

“The Republican campaign for president begins after the midterms and the president needs to make the announcement during the same time to satisfy concerns within the party,” one top Democratic official said.

The move also would outfit a vast and much-better-funded campaign operation designed to sell Biden’s agenda to the country than the White House alone could muster as their efforts to sell their legislative accomplishments over two years wilted under red-hot inflation and bitter partisanship.

Biden is having meetings with his political advisers, a source familiar with the president’s thinking said, and in those meetings he keeps stressing that the attention right now needs to be on the midterms, rather than the timing of any presidential campaign.

“There is no planned date or timeframe. As the president has said before, he fully expects to run for reelection,” that source said.

The White House and the Democratic National Committee declined to comment.

The Inflation Reduction Act is the Biden administration’s marquee plan to lower health care costs and fight climate change, but as Michael Sainato reports, it won’t tackle the high price of insulin in the United States – thanks to Republicans:

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Erin Connelly had to ration insulin while transitioning to a different health insurance plan. When Connelly heard the Biden administration was planning to cap the price of the life-saving drug, she was delighted. She was soon to be disappointed.

The prices of insulin has soared in the US in recent decades and is more than eight times higher in the US than in 32 comparable, high-income nations, according to a Rand Corporation study.

With an average list price of $98.70 per unit in the US, compared with $7.52 in the UK, US insulin sales account for nearly half the pharmaceutical industry’s insulin revenue, though the US makes up only about 15% of the global market.

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee have just offered some of the party’s first comments since last night’s report that Trump may have kept documents with details of nuclear weapons at Mar-a-Lago.

From the sounds of it, The Washington Post’s story hasn’t changed their view of the former president.

“President Donald Trump is Joe Biden’s most likeliest his political opponent in 2024 and this is less than 100 days from critical midterm elections. The FBI raid of President Trump is a complete abuse and overreach of its authority,” Elise Stefanik, the number-three House Republican, said at a press conference.

She and other lawmakers invoked old controversies such as the Hillary Clinton email scandal and Trump’s firing of FBI chief James Comey, as well as more recent matters such as Hunter Biden’s business dealings, to make the case that the bureau has a credibility issue.

“The American people are smart, and they have had enough. It is unfortunately why there is a fundamental lack of trust in these agencies, and the American people deserve answers,” Stefanik said. “A House Republican majority will leave no stone unturned when it comes to transparency and accountability into the brazen politicization of Joe Biden’s DOJ and FBI targeting their political opponents.”

As to the report regarding documents on nuclear weapons being found at Mar-a-Lago, Mike Turner, the top Republican on the House intelligence committee, called on attorney general Merrick Garland to make public the rationale for the raid.

“I’m asking the same questions you are and if there are rational answers for it, then he needs to come to this committee, disclose what the classified information is, disclose what the national security threat is, so that we know,” Turner said.

“Release the documents now!”

That’s the closing line of Donald Trump’s statement released last night, in which he said his lawyers won’t oppose the justice department’s move to unseal the warrant and property receipt allowing the FBI to search of Mar-a-Lago earlier this week.

That would appear to clear the way for it to be made public via the courts, but bear in mind that Trump could just release the documents himself. Attorney general Merrick Garland said yesterday copies of both were left with his attorney by the federal agents who came to Mar-a-Lago.

Here’s the full statement:

Not only will I not oppose the release of documents related to the unAmerican, unwarranted, and unnecessary raid and break-in of my home in Palm Beach, Florida, Mar-a-Lago, I am going a step further by ENCOURAGING the immediate release of those documents, even though they have been drawn up by radical left Democrats and possible future political opponents, who have a strong and powerful vested interest in attacking me, much as they have done for the last 6 years. My poll numbers are the strongest they have ever been, fundraising by the Republican Party is breaking all records, and midterm elections are fast approaching. This unprecedented political weaponization of law enforcement is inappropriate and highly unethical. The world is watching as our Country is being brought to a new low, not only on our border, crime, economy, energy, national security, and so much more, but also with respect to our sacred elections!

Release the documents now!

In another Trump-related affair, The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell reports on the latest development in the furor surrounding the Secret Service’s deletion of text messages around the time of the January 6 insurrection.

Top career officials at the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) office of the inspector general (OIG) tried to alert Congress in April that Secret Service texts from the time of the January 6 Capitol attack had been erased, but their efforts were nixed by its leadership, documents show.

The officials inside the inspector general’s office – the chief watchdog for the Secret Service – prepared a memo that detailed how the Secret Service was resisting the oversight body’s review into January 6, and delayed informing it about the lost texts.

But after the memo was emailed to the DHS inspector general Joseph Cuffari’s chief of staff, its contents were never seen again, and the disclosure about the erased text messages was never included in Cuffari’s semi-annual report to Congress about oversight work.

Oliver Milman

Oliver Milman

In an exclusive interview with The Guardian’s Oliver Milman, former vice president Al Gore explains the historic nature of Democrats’ plan to fight climate change:
America’s passing of its first ever climate legislation will prove a pivotal moment in history that will help bring to an end the era of fossil fuels, according to Al Gore, the former US vice-president.

Joe Biden is poised to sign a huge $370bn package of clean energy spending, overcoming decades of American political rancor and inaction on the climate crisis. Gore said he was now sure the fossil fuel industry and its political backers will not be able to reverse the shift to a decarbonized world, even if Republicans are able to wrest back control of Congress or the White House.

“In crossing this threshold we have changed history and will never go backwards,” Gore told the Guardian in an interview. “I’m extremely optimistic that this will be a critical turning point in our struggle to confront the climate crisis.”

The Washington Post broke the story last night that documents pertaining to nuclear weapons were among those the FBI investigators looked for at Mar-a-Lago.

Investigators arrived at the property on Monday after months of investigation into whether the former president unlawfully took papers from the White House, which he departed in January 2021. According to the Post, among the documents the FBI found were signals intelligence, which are intercepted phone or email communications that are among the most sensitive type of classified material.

The Post had few other details about the Mar-a-Lago search, but we may find out more this afternoon. Lawyer for the former president have until 3 pm eastern time today to tell a court whether he objects to unsealing the warrant allowing the search, which Trump said last night he would not do. It’s unclear when the document would then be released, but it may offer more insight into what the FBI expected to find at his Florida club.

Good morning, US politics blog readers. Today, the House of Representatives is expected to approve Democrats’ plan to fight the climate crisis and lower healthcare costs, handing Joe Biden’s administration a historic victory. They do this as the actions of a certain former White House occupant hang over lawmakers, namely Donald Trump. It turns out that federal investigators were looking for documents pertaining to nuclear weapons when they searched his Mar-a-Lago residence earlier this week, the Washington Post reported yesterday.

Here’s a rundown of what to expect today:

  • Trump said he would not oppose the justice department’s effort to release the warrant and property inventory from the Mar-a-Lago search, though it’s unclear when the documents would actually be made public.

  • The House will convene at 9am ET to consider the Inflation Reduction Act, and is expected to cast its final votes at around 3.30pm.

  • Mike Turner, the top Republican on the House intelligence committee, holds a press conference at 9:30 am eastern time, providing a glimpse into how the GOP views the latest developments around the former president.

  • John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat, will return to the campaign trail for the first time since suffering a stroke.


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