Justice department submits redactions to Mar-a-Lago search affidavit – live | US news

Justice department expected to submit redactions to Mar-a-Lago search affidavit today

The justice department will probably submit today their proposed redactions to the affidavit that justified the FBI’s search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, US media report.

The redactions are likely to be filed under seal, meaning they won’t be available to the public, and come after news organizations and others sought the release of the affidavit that outlines the justice department’s reasons in asking for the warrant authorizing the FBI’s search, according to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. The justice department has until noon eastern time to submit its proposal.

A federal judge is weighing how much, if anything, of the affidavit can be made public, which could offer further details into what the justice department is looking into, and how involved the former president might be.

Here’s more from the Times on what the document’s release could mean:

The submission by the Justice Department is a significant legal milepost in an investigation that has swiftly emerged as a major threat to Mr. Trump, whose lawyers have offered a confused and at times stumbling response. But it is also an inflection point for Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, who is trying to balance protecting the prosecutorial process by keeping secret details of the investigation, and providing enough information to defend his decision to request a search unlike any other in history.

“There are clearly opposed poles here,” said Daniel C. Richman, a former federal prosecutor and a law professor at Columbia University, who said it might be difficult, even impossible, for Mr. Garland to strike the right balance.

Last week, Bruce E. Reinhart, a federal magistrate judge in Florida, surprised prosecutors by saying he was inclined to release portions of the affidavit at the request of news organizations, including The New York Times, after the government proposed redactions.

Disclosing even a partial version of the affidavit would be highly unusual: Such documents, which typically include evidence gathered to justify the search, like information provided by witnesses, are almost never unsealed before the government files criminal charges. There is no indication the Justice Department plans to file charges anytime soon.

Judge Reinhart reiterated this week that he might agree to extensive redactions, acknowledging that they could be severe enough to render release of the final document “meaningless.”

“I cannot say at this point that partial redactions will be so extensive that they will result in a meaningless disclosure, but I may ultimately reach that conclusion after hearing further from the government,” he wrote in an order issued on Monday.

Key events

Martin Pengelly

Martin Pengelly

The Democratic candidate for governor in Texas, Beto O’Rourke, has released his first general election ads targeting his opponent, the incumbent Republican, Greg Abbott – and the subject is abortion.

Beto O'Rourke.
Beto O’Rourke. Photograph: Suzanne Cordeiro/REX/Shutterstock

The ads on an issue proving electorally productive for Democrats across the US as the midterm elections approach, come on the day Texas’s stringent post-Roe v Wade abortion ban goes into effect.

One says: “From this day forward, 25 August, women all across Texas are no longer free to make decisions about our own body, no longer free to choose if a pregnancy is right for us or our families, not even in cases of rape or incest.

“And women will die because of it. Because of Greg Abbott’s abortion law. It’s too extreme. So I’m voting for Beto, who will give women are freedom back.”

Another features a couple, the woman described as a “lifelong Democrat”, the man a “lifelong Republican”.

“Of course people are going to disagree on the big issues,” the woman says. “But Greg Abbott signed the most extreme abortion ban in the United States.

The man says: “No exception for rape? No exception for incest? $100,000 fines and jail time?”

The woman: “Only 11% of Texans agree with it.”

The man: “I mean, this is a free country. We need a governor that gets that. That’s Beto.”

Polling gives Abbott nearly nine points up on O’Rourke. But here’s Lauren Gambino with a look about how focusing on the supreme court ruling which removed the right to an abortion has paid off so far for Democrats:

Maya Yang

Three US states saw abortion trigger bans kick-in on Thursday, Tennessee, Texas and Idaho joining eight other states that have formally outlawed the procedure since the supreme court overturned Roe v Wade in June.

Depending on the state, trigger laws are designed to take effect either immediately following the overturn of Roe or 30 days after the supreme court’s transmission of its judgement, which happened on 26 July.

Nearly one in three women between the ages of 15 to 44 live in states where abortion has been banned or mostly banned. According to US census data, that is nearly 21 million women.

“More people will lose abortion access across the nation as bans take effect in Texas, Tennessee and Idaho. Vast swaths of the nation, especially in the south and midwest, will become abortion deserts that, for many, will be impossible to escape,” Nancy Northup, chief executive of the Center of Reproductive Rights, said in a statement.

“Evidence is already mounting of women being turned away despite needing urgent, and in some cases life-saving, medical care. This unfolding public health crisis will only continue to get worse. We will see more and more of these harrowing situations, and once state legislatures reconvene in January, we will see even more states implement abortion bans and novel laws criminalizing abortion providers, pregnant people, and those who help them.”

More:

Taiwan has a new American visitor: Republican senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.

I just landed in Taiwan to send a message to Beijing — we will not be bullied. 
 
The United States remains steadfast in preserving freedom around the globe, and will not tolerate efforts to undermine our nation and our allies. pic.twitter.com/yVcaYN7yIA

— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) August 25, 2022

She elaborated on her reasons for visiting the island in a statement:

Taiwan is our strongest partner in the Indo-Pacific Region. Regular high-level visits to Taipei are long-standing U.S. policy. I will not be bullied by Communist China into turning my back on the island. During my visit to Taiwan, I look forward to hearing directly from the nation’s leadership about their needs and how we can support freedom for the Taiwanese people. I look forward to meeting with leaders in Taipei to advance and strengthen our partnerships.

Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island enraged China, which launched military exercises in response. But since then, more American lawmakers have visited what Beijing considers to be a breakaway province.

The day so far

The wheels of justice have ground forward ever so slowly in Donald Trump’s various court battles today. The justice department appears to have submitted the redactions it proposes should a judge decide to release the affidavit for the Mar-a-Lago search. Meanwhile, the ex-president’s lawyers are due to respond to another judge’s questions about their own lawsuit over the case.

Here’s what else happened today:

  • Barack Obama is set to appear at Democratic fundraisers ahead of the midterm elections, as the party aims to maintain its majority in the Senate.

  • A brass band appeared before the White House to thanks Joe Biden for relieving some student debt, though some Democrats aren’t comfortable with the plan.

  • The Biden administration plans to unveil a federal rule to protect “dreamers”, as undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children are known, but it could still face a court challenge.

It appears the justice department has filed its proposed redactions to the affidavit in the Mar-a-Lago search, the Guardian’s Hugo Lowell reports:

Just in: New entry on the Trump Mar-a-Lago docket — under seal — appears to indicate the Justice Dept has now filed proposed redactions for the FBI affidavit

— Hugo Lowell (@hugolowell) August 25, 2022

Another lawyer for Donald Trump who assisted in his attempt to overturn the result of the 2020 election has filed a court motion resisting a subpoena for his appearance before a special grand jury in Georgia, Politico reports.

The panel in Fulton county is looking into election meddling in the state two years ago, and has already heard from testimony Rudy Giuliani, who was informed he is a target of its investigation.

Republican senator Lindsey Graham has also been subpoenaed by the grand jury, but is currently fighting it in court.

As midterm election campaigns hit the home stretch over the next two months, voters may start seeing a familiar Democratic face: Barack Obama.

Axios reports that the former president is scheduled to appear at two upcoming fundraisers for the party, one of which is focused on Democrats’ campaign to maintain their majority in the Senate, which they seem slightly favored to do.

Justice department expected to submit redactions to Mar-a-Lago search affidavit today

The justice department will probably submit today their proposed redactions to the affidavit that justified the FBI’s search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, US media report.

The redactions are likely to be filed under seal, meaning they won’t be available to the public, and come after news organizations and others sought the release of the affidavit that outlines the justice department’s reasons in asking for the warrant authorizing the FBI’s search, according to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. The justice department has until noon eastern time to submit its proposal.

A federal judge is weighing how much, if anything, of the affidavit can be made public, which could offer further details into what the justice department is looking into, and how involved the former president might be.

Here’s more from the Times on what the document’s release could mean:

The submission by the Justice Department is a significant legal milepost in an investigation that has swiftly emerged as a major threat to Mr. Trump, whose lawyers have offered a confused and at times stumbling response. But it is also an inflection point for Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, who is trying to balance protecting the prosecutorial process by keeping secret details of the investigation, and providing enough information to defend his decision to request a search unlike any other in history.

“There are clearly opposed poles here,” said Daniel C. Richman, a former federal prosecutor and a law professor at Columbia University, who said it might be difficult, even impossible, for Mr. Garland to strike the right balance.

Last week, Bruce E. Reinhart, a federal magistrate judge in Florida, surprised prosecutors by saying he was inclined to release portions of the affidavit at the request of news organizations, including The New York Times, after the government proposed redactions.

Disclosing even a partial version of the affidavit would be highly unusual: Such documents, which typically include evidence gathered to justify the search, like information provided by witnesses, are almost never unsealed before the government files criminal charges. There is no indication the Justice Department plans to file charges anytime soon.

Judge Reinhart reiterated this week that he might agree to extensive redactions, acknowledging that they could be severe enough to render release of the final document “meaningless.”

“I cannot say at this point that partial redactions will be so extensive that they will result in a meaningless disclosure, but I may ultimately reach that conclusion after hearing further from the government,” he wrote in an order issued on Monday.

While many in the party cheered Biden’s student debt relief plan, some lawmakers who are in tough re-election fights expressed hesitancy towards it.

Colorado senator Michael Bennet argued that it should have been more narrowly targeted:

Nevada’s Catherine Cortez Masto, who is among the most vulnerable Democratic senators, said she opposed it, according to the Nevada Independent. “I don’t agree with today’s executive action because it doesn’t address the root problems that make college unaffordable,” she said. “We should be focusing on passing my legislation to expand Pell Grants for lower income students, target loan forgiveness to those in need, and actually make college more affordable for working families.”

House Democrat Tim Ryan, who is vying for the open Senate seat in Ohio, was also critical:

Biden’s measures announced yesterday provide a reprieve for student borrowers, but may not be enough to address racial inequities when it comes to college debt, the Guardian’s Edwin Rios reports:

As Joe Biden announced the details of his plan to help those with student loan debt, Kat Welbeck wrestled with the idea. For millions of Americans, the unprecedented relief would be “life-changing”, especially for low-income and Black and Latino Americans, who are disproportionately saddled with decades-long debt, she said.

But the plans’ income cap on who can receive cancellation, and its unclear bureaucratic process for Americans seeking debt relief could perpetuate the inequities that underpin the nation’s student loan system, Welbeck, director of advocacy and civil rights counsel for the Student Borrower Protection Center, said.

“While a $10,000 cancellation is so meaningful for millions of student loan borrowers, there’s a lot that’s still to be done to fix this student debt crisis,” Welbeck says.

Meanwhile outside the White House, a brass band has appeared at a rally to thank Joe Biden for his student debt relief measures announced yesterday.

White House plans to issue immigration regulation to protect ‘dreamers’

The Biden administration will soon issue a federal rule to protect from deportation “dreamers”, the undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children, CBS News reports.

The proposal would formalize Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca), in an attempt to protect it from court challenges, which it has already faced from Republican officials. According to CBS, “The regulation will maintain the longstanding eligibility rules for DACA, which include requirements that applicants prove they arrived in the U.S. by age 16 and before June 2007; studied in a U.S. school or served in the military; and lack any serious criminal record.”

The new regulation would satisfy a judge’s opinion that Daca should have been created via the federal government’s official rule-making process, rather than by the 2012 memo under which it currently operates, CBS reports. Last year, a judge in Texas blocked the program from taking on more applicants.

However, the new regulation is not immune from being sued over, according to CBS:

U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen, who closed DACA to first-time applicants in July 2021, ruled that the policy itself violates federal immigration law, as Texas and other Republican-led states have argued in a lawsuit.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which held a hearing in July on the Biden administration’s appeal of Hanen’s ruling, is expected to issue an opinion on DACA’s legality later this year. The conservative-leaning appeals court is expected to side with Republican state officials who argue that DACA is unlawful. The Biden administration could appeal such a ruling to the Supreme Court.

The ongoing litigation could keep DACA closed to new applicants and even lead to its complete termination, a scenario that would bar the program’s beneficiaries from working in the U.S. legally and render them eligible for deportation, though they would likely not be prioritized for arrest under the Biden administration.

Last week, Florida governor and potential aspirant for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 Ron DeSantis announced charges against 19 people over election fraud. But as Sam Levine reports, there may be less to the cases than it initially appeared:

Several Floridians facing criminal voter fraud charges, loudly trumpeted by Governor Ron DeSantis last week, believed they were eligible to vote, and in some cases said they were advised by government officials that they could cast ballots.

Court and election documents reviewed by the Guardian raise questions about whether the 19 people charged last week knowingly committed fraud or whether they were confused about their eligibility. All those charged have prior murder or sexual offense convictions, which means they cannot vote in Florida unless they receive clemency. All of the defendants also submitted voter registration applications, which were approved by local election officials, ahead of the 2020 election, and several said they had received voter registration cards in the mail, which they took as a signal that they were eligible to vote.

Jared Kushner’s memoir of his time in the White House was critically panned but has one famous reader: Donald Trump. Martin Pengelly reports:

Donald Trump was notoriously averse to reading his briefing papers as president but according to Jared Kushner he has started reading Breaking History, his son-in-law and former adviser’s 500-page White House memoir.

Speaking to the Fox News host Brian Kilmeade on Wednesday, Kushner said: “When I gave it to him, he said, ‘Look, this is a very important book. I’m glad somebody wrote a book that’s really going to talk about what actually happened in the room.’ And he says, ‘I’m going to read it.’

“So he started reading and he’s given me some compliments on it so far. And again, I hope he’s proud of it. I don’t know if he’ll like anything [in it].”

Critics have not liked much in Kushner’s book. For the Guardian, Lloyd Green called it “a mixture of news and cringe” which “selectively parcels out dirt”. In the New York Times, Dwight Garner called the book “earnest and soulless”, saying “Kushner looks like a mannequin, and he writes like one. “Kushner’s fealty to Trump remains absolute. Reading this book reminded me of watching a cat lick a dog’s eye goo,” he wrote.

Donald Trump’s latest legal salvo following the FBI’s search of his Mar-a-Lago resort may have inadvertently tipped his hand.

As the Guardian’s Hugo Lowell reported earlier this week, the former president appeared to concede in a court filing that some of the documents agents found at Mar-a-Lago could be subject to executive privilege – meaning they should have been turned over to the National Archives when he left the White House, rather than kept.

“If he’s acknowledging that he’s in possession of documents that would have any colorable claim of executive privilege, those are by definition presidential records and belong at the National Archives,” Asha Rangappa, a former FBI agent and former associate dean at Yale Law School, said of the matter.

“And so it’s not clear that executive privilege would even be relevant to the particular crime he’s being investigated for and yet in this filing, he basically admits that he is in possession of them, which is what the government is trying to establish.”

Whether a federal judge agrees could be made apparent in the days and weeks to come. But the government secrets investigation isn’t the only one the former president faces – indeed, he’s caught up in array of lawsuits and inquiries. Fortunately, Reuters has a good explainer that briefly summarizes each one.

Trump to answer judge’s questions over Mar-a-Lago lawsuit

Good morning, US politics blog readers. Answers could come today from Donald Trump, after a federal judge he appointed during his time in office asked him to explain a recently filed lawsuit that seeks to block the FBI from reviewing documents taken from Mar-a-Lago. The response from the former president’s lawyers could give a sense of his legal strategy against the investigation into whether he took government secrets with him when he left the White House.

Here’s what else is going on today:

  • President Joe Biden will hold a rally in suburban Maryland at 7pm eastern time, where he’ll no doubt promote his recent legislative accomplishments as well as yesterday’s move to cancel some student debt.

  • The White House cheered a court ruling blocking Idaho’s abortion ban in cases of medical emergencies.

  • Tennessee’s strict abortion ban, which has no exceptions for rape or incest, comes into effect today.

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