Closing summary

New details emerged about the federal government’s alarm over the trove of documents Donald Trump kept at Mar-a-Lago, which allegedly included secret materials that were supposed to be in the custody of the National Archives. Meanwhile, voters in New York and Florida are casting ballots in primary elections, which will set the stage for showdowns in the November midterms.

Here’s a rundown of today’s events:

  • Two men were found guilty for plotting to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2020.

  • The Republican senator in charge of winning the party a majority in Congress’ upper chamber went on vacation even as GOP candidates appeared to be struggling in key races nationwide.

  • The January 6 committee interviewed Trump’s former national security adviser, according to a report.

  • In Colorado, a Republican state senator left the party for the Democrats, saying he couldn’t abide by its stance on climate change or its embrace of 2020 election denial.

  • He may be a rival of Trump but fellow Republican and Florida governor Ron DeSantis joined in on attacking the FBI for searching the former president’s Mar-a-Lago resort. He also released an advertisement attacking the news media.

The Internal Revenue Service is launching a safety review after Republicans attacked the agency during their campaign to derail the Biden administration’s plan for lowering healthcare costs and carbon emissions, the Washington Post reports.

The plan, dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act and signed into law earlier this month after winning passage in the Democrat-controlled Congress, also allocates $80bn to the IRS over the next 10 years. The tax authority has complained of underfunding, but Republicans seized on the infusion of money to claim that armed agents would soon be going through Americans’ bank accounts. In reality, it’s not yet clear how the funds will be used, and only a minority of the IRS’s employees carry weapons, chiefly those involved in criminal investigations.

“We see what’s out there in terms of social media. Our workforce is concerned about their safety,” IRS commissioner Charles Rettig told the Post in an interview. “The comments being made are extremely disrespectful to the agency, to the employees and to the country.” Union officials in the story also say employees are worried about their safety amid the rightwing attacks.

Here’s more from the Post’s report:

In a letter to employees sent Tuesday, he wrote that the agency would conduct risk assessments for each of the IRS’s 600 facilities, and evaluate whether to increase security patrols along building exteriors, boost designations for restricted areas, examine security around entrances and assess exterior lighting. It will be the agency’s first such review since the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, which killed 168 people.

“For me this is personal,” Rettig wrote in the letter, which was obtained by The Post. “I’ll continue to make every effort to dispel any lingering misperceptions about our work. And I will continue to advocate for your safety in every venue where I have an audience. You go above and beyond every single day, and I am honored to work with each of you.”


US to announce $3bn in Ukraine aid to address longer conflict: AP

The United States will as soon as Wednesday unveil $3bn in additional military aid for Ukraine intended to help it withstand a longer conflict with Russia, the Associated Press reports.

The funds will bring Washington’s total military assistance to the country to $10.6bn since Biden took office, and pay for new weaponry that Ukraine will take longer to get to the battlefield.

Here’s more from the AP:

Unlike most previous packages, the new funding is largely aimed at helping Ukraine secure its medium- to long-term defense posture, according to officials familiar with the matter. Earlier shipments, most of them done under Presidential Drawdown Authority, have focused on Ukraine’s more immediate needs for weapons and ammunition and involved materiel that the Pentagon already has in stock that can be shipped in short order.

In addition to providing longer-term assistance that Ukraine can use for potential future defense needs, the new package is intended to reassure Ukrainian officials that the United States intends to keep up its support, regardless of the day-to-day back and forth of the conflict, the officials said.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg noted the more extended focus Tuesday as he reaffirmed the alliance’s support for the conflict-torn country.

“Winter is coming, and it will be hard, and what we see now is a grinding war of attrition. This is a battle of wills, and a battle of logistics. Therefore we must sustain our support for Ukraine for the long term, so that Ukraine prevails as a sovereign, independent nation,” Stoltenberg said, speaking at a virtual conference about Crimea, organized by Ukraine.


Florida senator Rick Scott is the man charged with leading the Republican party’s campaign to win a majority in the chamber, but Axios is reporting today that he’s on vacation in Italy amid mounting signs that GOP candidates are struggling in key races nationwide.

That news of the senator’s whereabouts leaked shows just how upset GOP lawmakers are with Scott, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee. The party’s candidates are struggling in states where they shouldn’t. Consider the situation in Ohio, which has increasingly trended towards the GOP in recent years but where a Republican Super Pac just spent $28m to support JD Vance’s flagging Senate campaign.

The Senate’s Republican leader Mitch McConnell has also taken to repeating that if he has a majority in the chamber next year, he expects it will be slim – not exactly a sign of confidence in the party’s chances.

“If House Republicans coast to victory while Senate Republicans fail to pick up the one seat necessary to win a majority, Scott is poised to be the GOP’s fall guy. It would be a rare setback for the Florida politician, who has beaten long odds before and boasts an undefeated record in his own campaigns,” as Axios puts it.


Last week, Florida governor Ron DeSantis traveled to Ohio to campaign for JD Vance, the Republican candidate for the state’s open Senate seat. Journalists obviously wanted to attend, but there was a catch. In fact, there was more than one.

The organizers of the event, Trump-aligned Turning Point Action, put in place a host of restrictions affecting who reporters could talk to and where they could do it. They also required them to share any video shot during the event for promotional use.

Normally, the Cleveland Plain Dealer would send its reporters to this sort of event, but in a strongly worded editorial, the newspaper’s editor Chris Quinn pointed to the rules and said none of his reporters would attend. He also warned voters about what DeSantis and Vance’s apparent acceptance of these restrictions said about their approach to press freedom:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a likely presidential candidate in 2024, scheduled a trip to Ohio Friday to stump for Senate candidate J.D. Vance, and our reporters were not there because of ridiculous restrictions that DeSantis and Vance placed on anyone covering the event.

The worst of the rules was one prohibiting reporters from interviewing attendees not first approved by the organizers of the event for DeSantis and Vance. When we cover events, we talk to anyone we wish. It’s America, after all, the land of free speech. At least that’s America as it exists today. Maybe not the America that would exist under DeSantis and Vance.

Think about what they were doing here. They were staging an event to rally people to vote for Vance while instituting the kinds of policies you’d see in a fascist regime. A wannabe U.S. Senator, and maybe a wannabe president.

Another over-the-top rule was one reserving the right to receive copies of any video shot of the event for promotional use. That’s never okay. News agencies are independent of the political process. We do not provide our work product to anyone for promotional use. To do so would put us in league with people we cover, destroying our credibility.

Yet another of the rules reserved the right to know in what manner any footage of the event would be used. We are news people. We use footage on news platforms. But this rule set up a situation in which reporters could be grilled on their intentions.

I’m scratching my head over one other rule, one that prohibited reporters from entering the hotel rooms of any attendees of the event. If someone invites a reporter into a hotel room for an interview, what’s the harm?

Anyway, we didn’t accept the limitations, because they end up skewing the facts. If we can speak only with attendees chosen by the candidate, we don’t get a true accounting of what people thought of the event. You get spin from the most ardent supporters.


The January 6 committee hasn’t held a hearing in a month and Congress is on recess, but NBC News has details of what their investigators are up to.

The panel has interviewed Robert O’Brien, Donald Trump’s national security adviser for the final part of his term, including when the Capitol was attacked:

SCOOP: The Jan 6 committee interviewed former national security adviser Robert O'Brien TODAY, 2 sources familiar with the panel's work confirmed to @NBCNews

The interview was scheduled for 11:00AM remotely

W/ @alivitali

— Haley Talbot (@haleytalbotnbc) August 23, 2022

The January 6 committee has said it will resume public hearings in September.

Speaking of Ron DeSantis, Gloria Oladipo reports that the Florida governor has released a new advertisement attacking the news media:

Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida on Monday released a campaign advertisement drawing on the movie franchise Top Gun to attack the news media.

The ad is the latest stunt by DeSantis to promote far-right talking points before Tuesday’s statewide primary and a possible future run for the Oval Office in 2024.

In the parody, posted to Twitter, DeSantis wears a bomber jacket similar to outfits worn by the Top Gun star Tom Cruise in the franchise’s two films and discusses “taking on the corporate media” in an airbase.

“The rules of engagement are as follows: number one – don’t fire unless fired upon, but when they fire, you fire back with overwhelming force,” DeSantis says in the video. “Number two – never ever back down from a fight. Number three – don’t accept their narrative.”

When they choose their governorship candidate, Florida Democrats will find a familiar name on their ballots: Charlie Crist. A former Republican governor turned Democrat who is now a House representative, he could become the party’s choice to take on Ron DeSantis. Crist spoke with the Guardian’s Oliver Laughland ahead of the vote:

Charlie Crist exuded a smooth confidence as he bounded into the room, a conference hall at a teachers union building in downtown Tampa, Florida, earlier this month.

He may be facing a primary election to be the Democratic candidate in the next gubernatorial election, but Crist’s focus seems already set on the general in November – and the far-right Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, he hopes to unseat.

“He’s the most arrogant governor I’ve ever seen in my life,” Crist said to the assembled teachers who nodded in agreement. “It is shocking, it really is. Enough is enough.”

As primary voters in the state cast their ballots today, polls forecast that Crist, a Florida political mainstay, is likely to win by a substantial margin against his closest Democratic opponent, the state’s agriculture commissioner, Nikki Fried.


Democratic voters in part of New York City today will be asked to choose a House representative from two ageing lawmakers who have become fierce rivals, as well as a young challenger.

CNN has published a well-done look at the contenders in the district representing Manhattan’s upper east and west sides. Carolyn Maloney is the chair of the House oversight committee but, as the network found out, apparently doesn’t appreciate oversight from reporters:

Maloney has dodged questions about her comments and her aides have refused to give almost any information about her whereabouts in the closing days of the campaign, arguing that she changes her mind too much to keep track of her. When a CNN reporter tracked her down on Monday at a campaign stop on the Upper West Side to ask her about her comments, she began running down the sidewalk to a waiting car, while one of her daughters repeatedly positioned herself with her hands and legs out in an attempt to block any further questions.

Maloney has lately been in the news for comments suggesting Joe Biden won’t run for a second term. The lawmaker has also leveled several attacks against Jerry Nadler, chair of the House judiciary committee, who is seen as her chief rival for the seat:

Maloney has told people privately that Nadler is “half dead” and insinuated he won’t be healthy enough to finish another term if he wins, and people associated with her campaign have suggested that Nadler secretly briefly lost consciousness at a campaign stop last week. (His campaign has said that rather than losing consciousness, he tripped on a subway grate.) She’s also urged voters to read a New York Post editorial that called Nadler “senile” and questioned his grip on reality.

She didn’t want to answer questions about that, either:

When asked why she called Nadler “half dead,” Maloney closed the door of the car and waved goodbye. An hour earlier, finishing her only announced campaign stop of the day before the primary, she also closed the door when another reporter asked if she thinks Nadler is senile.

CNN reports that, for a New Yorker, Nadler is running a remarkably low-key campaign:

Nadler has not been seen much lately – he had a single public event on Monday, his first since Saturday morning, which is a remarkably sparse schedule for a dense urban district where standing on a street corner can mean meeting dozens of voters in just a few minutes. He’s developed some trouble walking over the years due to arthritis, and he’s been spotted appearing to fall asleep. Commentators noted his lethargic performance at one of the candidate debates.

On Monday, Nadler stood in suspenders in front of the famous Fairway supermarket, in the heart of the Upper West Side, handing out campaign flyers and somewhat sheepishly trying to get shoppers’ attention, saying, “Hi, I’m Congressman Nadler,” to each.

The third Democrat in the race is Suraj Patel, who has twice challenged Maloney unsuccessfully, and at 38 years old, presents quite a contrast to the two sitting representatives, who are both in their 70s. Here’s what he has to say:

“The time is different. People feel like the status quo in Washington is broken. And what I’ve learned over the course of the race is people feel like the status quo in New York is broken,” Patel said Sunday afternoon, sipping a beer at a standing table in the Chelsea neighborhood between a full day of campaign stops. “It’s given us the license to both be the serious campaign with policy positions for the future, but also to be the light at the end of the tunnel.”


Whitmer responds to guilty verdicts in kidnap plot

Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer has responded to the guilty verdicts for two men now convicted of a kidnapping plot against her.

She said: “I ran for office because I love my fellow Michiganders and my home state with all my heart. I always will. I will not let extremists get in the way of the work we do. They will never break my unwavering faith in the goodness and decency of our people.”

And added: “Today’s verdicts prove that violence and threats have no place in our politics and those who seek to divide us will be held accountable. They will not succeed. But we must also take a hard look at the status of our politics.”

Kristi Noem in ethics fight

South Dakota governor Kristi Noem is often touted as a rising star of the Republican party as a staunch Trumpist who governs her huge and rural state with a firm rightwing hand.

But she has some serious ethics issues to deal with, the Associated Press reports.

The AP says: “A South Dakota ethics board on Monday said it found sufficient information that Gov. Kristi Noem may have “engaged in misconduct” when she intervened in her daughter’s application for a real estate appraiser license, and it referred a separate complaint over her state airplane use to the state’s attorney general for investigation.”

In a possibly worrying development for Noem (a close ally of Trump sometimes touted as his potential running mate if a 2024 bid emerges) the agency adds: “The three retired judges on the Government Accountability Board determined that “appropriate action” could be taken against Noem for her role in her daughter’s appraiser licensure, though it didn’t specify the action.”

More details follow: The AP first reported that the governor took a hands-on role in a state agency soon after it had moved to deny her daughter’s application for an appraiser license in 2020. Noem had called a meeting with her daughter, the labor secretary and the then-director of the appraiser certification program where a plan was discussed to give the governor’s daughter, Kassidy Peters, another chance to show she could meet federal standards in her appraiser work.”


Trump portrait at Smithsonian funded by own Pac

Politico reports that Donald Trump’s presidential portrait at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC will be mostly funded by his own Super Pac – a situation unique in the annals of the institution.

The news website says:

“The $650,000 donation last month from the Save America PAC – an organization controlled by Trump himself – was unprecedented, as no other political action committee has funded a presidential portrait in the past, Smithsonian spokesperson Linda St Thomas said.”

It adds:

“The Smithsonian has been raising money for commissions of outgoing presidential portraits since George H.W. Bush’s portrait. All presidential portraits in the National Portrait Gallery were paid for by private money through the museum, St Thomas said.”


Student loan announcement now imminent

An announcement on forgiving some student loan debt appears to be set for Wednesday, according to the Washington Post political team.

Earlier the paper had reported there was a White House “feud” over the issue, saying: “The White House’s close allies are feuding over whether the administration should cancel up to $10,000 in student debt for millions of American borrowers.”

It added: “Internal White House discussions have centered on temporarily extending that pause and simultaneously canceling $10,000 per borrower for those below an income threshold, but the president has not yet communicated a decision, according to two people familiar with the matter, speaking on the condition of anonymity to reflect private conversations. Another person familiar with the talks said $10,000 is among the options being considered.”

But according to a tweet from WashPo reporter Jeff Stein, Biden has now made his mind up. Stein says: “UPDATE: President Biden’s long-awaited student loan announcement IS coming tomorrow, ppl tell me & @DaniDougPost Parameters TBD but WH has been looking at $10K in cancelation per borrower under $125K/yr”

The day so far

New details emerged about the federal government’s alarm over the trove of documents Donald Trump apparently kept at Mar-a-Lago, which allegedly included secret materials that were supposed to be in the custody of the National Archives. Meanwhile, voters in New York and Florida are casting ballots in primary elections that will set the stage for general election showdowns in the November midterms.

Here’s a rundown of the day’s events:

  • Two men were found guilty for plotting to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2020.

  • In Colorado, a Republican state senator left the party for the Democrats, saying he couldn’t abide by its stance on climate change or its embrace of 2020 election denial.

  • He may be a rival of Trump but fellow Republican and Florida governor Ron DeSantis joined in on attacking the FBI for searching the former president’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

Ron DeSantis may be a possible contender against Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, but that hasn’t stopped him from joining in on criticizing the FBI for its search of Mar-a-Lago.

He was on Fox News claiming that the bureau has become politicized, but declined to say whether he’d spoken to Trump recently:

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) baselessly attacks the FBI as the “enforcement arm of one particular faction of our country” after the lawful search of Mar-a-Lago:

“I haven’t read the motion in terms of what was going on, but clearly federal agencies ... have been weaponized.”

— The Recount (@therecount) August 23, 2022

Two men guilty in plot to kidnap Michigan governor: AP

A jury has found two men guilty of plotting to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2020, according to the Associated Press.

Here’s more from their report:

The jury also found Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. guilty of conspiring to obtain a weapon of mass destruction, namely a bomb to blow up a bridge and stymie police if the kidnapping could be pulled off at Whitmer’s vacation home.

Croft, 46, a trucker from Bear, Delaware, was also convicted of another explosives charge.

It was the second trial for the pair after a jury in April couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict. Two other men were acquitted and two more pleaded guilty and testified for prosecutors.

The result was a victory for the government following the shocking mixed outcome last spring.

“You can’t just strap on an AR-15 and body armor and go snatch the governor,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler told jurors.

“But that wasn’t the defendants’ ultimate goal,” Kessler said. “They wanted to set off a second American civil war, a second American Revolution, something that they call the boogaloo. And they wanted to do it for a long time before they settled on Gov. Whitmer.”

The investigation began when Army veteran Dan Chappel joined a Michigan paramilitary group and became alarmed when he heard talk about killing police. He agreed to become an FBI informant and spent summer 2020 getting close to Fox and others, secretly recording conversations and participating in drills at “shoot houses” in Wisconsin and Michigan.

The FBI turned it into a major domestic terrorism case with two more informants and two undercover agents embedded in the group.

Fox, Croft and others, accompanied by the government operatives, traveled to northern Michigan to see Whitmer’s vacation home at night and a bridge that could be destroyed.

Defense attorneys tried to put the FBI on trial, repeatedly emphasizing through cross-examination of witnesses and during closing remarks that federal players were present at every crucial event and had entrapped the men.

Fox and Croft, they said, were “big talkers” who liked to smoke marijuana and were guilty of nothing but exercising their right to say vile things about Whitmer and government.

In other Florida news, voters are casting primary ballots as Democrats look ahead to November, where they’ll mount a challenge to governor and potential Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis. Joan E Greve has the latest on what to expect from today’s polls:

Florida voters will head to the polls on Tuesday to determine which candidates will have the chance to face off in this November’s general election. Voters will cast ballots in races for the governorship and Congress, all the way down to circuit courts and local school boards.

Democrats are competing to run against the state’s governor, Ron DeSantis, and US senator Marco Rubio, both of whom are considered potential Republican presidential candidates for 2024. On the House side, a new congressional map drawn by DeSantis is expected to give Republicans a hefty advantage in the November midterms.

Although Florida has long been considered a swing state, Republicans have a considerable edge heading into this election season. Republicans last year overtook Democrats in Florida’s voter registration rolls. And Donald Trump carried the state by three points in the 2020 presidential race, although Joe Biden defeated him in the electoral college while also winning the national popular vote by four points.

A more typical sentiment among Republicans in the House of Representatives is that expressed below by Jim Jordan, a notable ally of Donald Trump who will likely lead the chamber’s judiciary committee if the GOP wins a majority in the midterms:

2016: Russia
2017: Mueller
2018: Mueller (again)
2019: Impeachment
2020: COVID
2021: Impeachment 2
2022: Mar-a-Lago raid

Despite it all, President Trump is still fighting for us.

— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) August 23, 2022

Jordan refers to the many scandals and investigations that occurred during Trump’s four years in office, which generated headlines, rallied Democrats against him but ultimately didn’t lead to his early exit from office, as his most vociferous opponents hoped.

Here’s Donald Trump’s Monday statement about his lawsuit against the FBI to stop them from reading the documents seized at Mar-a-Lago.

In it, he makes a number of assertions, including that the search was illegal and approved by a judge with conflicts. He also seems to suggest “plants” were included in his property:

Statement by Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States of America, Re: Break-In of Mar-a-Lago

— RSBN 🇺🇸 (@RSBNetwork) August 22, 2022

The statement was mocked by House Republican Adam Kinzinger, a foe of the former president who is on the January 6 committee investigating the attack on the Capitol, and will not be returning to Congress next year. Trump’s statement may appear a ramble, but as Kinzinger points out, “people will believe it”:

Why would they inventory Trumps plants? OHHH hes back to saying they planted Top Secret documents but that he still actually declassified everything. By the way folks people will believe it.

— Adam Kinzinger🇺🇦🇺🇸✌️ (@AdamKinzinger) August 23, 2022

Citing many in the Republican party’s insistence that the 2020 election was stolen along with its stance on climate change, a Colorado state senator has defected to the Democratic party from the GOP, the Washington Post reports.

In a two-page letter explaining his decision, Kevin Priola declared there is “too much at stake right now for Republicans to be in charge” and, “Simply put, we need Democrats in charge.” Priola has been a Republican since 1990, and cited the January 6 insurrection as fundamentally changing his beliefs.

“I haven’t changed much in 30 years; but my party has,” he said. “I cannot continue to be a part of a political party that is okay with a violent attempt to overturn a free and fair election and continues to peddle claims that the 2020 election was stolen.” He also cited the GOP’s resistance to address climate change even as Colorado deals with serious wildfires and drought conditions. “I believe it’s immoral to saddle the next generation of Coloradans with even worse impacts,” Priola said.

The defection won’t change the state of play in the Colorado senate, which Democrats control. The Post reports that Republicans are meanwhile hoping to regain the majority in the November elections. The top Republican in the senate, John Cook, said the lawmaker’s defection “will not change the trajectory of this election cycle, nor the outcome of this year’s fight for the state Senate”, and added that Priola’s constituents “may explore their options for new representation”.


Yesterday, Trump unveiled his legal counter attack against the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago by filing a lawsuit to stop agents from reading the documents they retrieved. Here’s Martin Pengelly’s report:

Donald Trump on Monday filed suit against the US government over the FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago home, seeking to temporarily stop the bureau reading seized materials until a special court official can be appointed to review documents concerned.

As the Guardian reported on Saturday, citing Trump’s lead attorney, Jim Trusty, and two sources familiar with the matter, “the suit argues that the court should appoint a special master – usually a retired lawyer or judge – because the FBI potentially seized privileged materials in its search and the Department of Justice (DoJ) should not itself decide what it can use in its investigation”.

The suit, filed in US district court for the southern district of Florida, also “requires the government to provide a more detailed receipt for property; and … requires the government to return any item seized that was not within the scope of the search warrant”.

The brouhaha at Mar-a-Lago isn’t the only one involving Trump and sensitive records. The Washington Post reports lawyers trying to overturn the 2020 election shared election data with conspiracy theorists and rightwing commentators.

The revelation stems from a lawsuit over the security of voting systems in Georgia, according to the Post, and points to larger issues with election security nationwide. Here’s more from their story:

A Georgia computer forensics firm, hired by the attorneys, placed the files on a server, where company records show they were downloaded dozens of times. Among the downloaders were accounts associated with a Texas meteorologist who has appeared on Sean Hannity’s radio show; a podcaster who suggested political enemies should be executed; a former pro surfer who pushed disproven theories that the 2020 election was manipulated; and a self-described former “seduction and pickup coach” who claims to also have been a hacker.

Plaintiffs in a long-running federal lawsuit over the security of Georgia’s voting systems obtained the new records from the company, Atlanta-based SullivanStrickler, under a subpoena to one of its executives. The records include contracts between the firm and the Trump-allied attorneys, notably Sidney Powell. The data files are described as copies of components from election systems in Coffee County, Ga., and Antrim County, Mich.

A series of data leaks and alleged breaches of local elections offices since 2020 has prompted criminal investigations and fueled concerns among some security experts that public disclosure of information collected from voting systems could be exploited by hackers and other people seeking to manipulate future elections.

Access to U.S. voting system software and other components is tightly regulated, and the government classifies those systems as “critical infrastructure.” The new batch of records shows for the first time how the files copied from election systems were distributed to people in multiple states.

Marilyn Marks, executive director of the nonprofit Coalition for Good Governance, which is one of the plaintiffs in the Georgia lawsuit, said the records appeared to show the files were handled recklessly. “The implications go far beyond Coffee County or Georgia,” Marks said.

Some of the documents Trump kept after leaving the White House were marked “special access program materials”, one of the government’s most highly sensitive classifications, Politico reports.

Citing a letter publicly posted by a Trump ally who was one of his liaisons with the National Archives, the report indicates the alarm raised after 700 pages of classified material were retrieved from Mar-a-Lago in January, but it was only in May that the FBI and justice department was able to view them, after lengthy negotiations with the former president’s lawyers.

Here’s more from Politico:

The May 10 letter – posted late Monday on the website of John Solomon, a conservative journalist and one of Trump’s authorized liaisons to the National Archives to review papers from his presidency – showed that NARA and federal investigators had grown increasingly alarmed about potential damage to national security caused by the warehousing of these documents at Mar-a-Lago, as well as by Trump’s resistance to sharing them with the FBI.

These records included 700 pages of classified material, according to the letter, sent by National Archivist Debra Wall to Trump’s attorney, Evan Corcoran, and it doesn’t include records recovered by the Justice Department and FBI during a June meeting and the Aug. 11 search of the Mar-a-Lago premises.

Wall’s letter describes earlier correspondence in which Trump’s team objected to disclosing the contents of the 15 boxes to the FBI.

“As you are no doubt aware, NARA had ongoing communications with the former President’s representatives throughout 2021 about what appeared to be missing Presidential records, which resulted in the transfer of 15 boxes of records to NARA in January 2022,” Wall wrote. “In its initial review of materials within those boxes, NARA identified items marked as classified national security information, up to the level of Top Secret and including Sensitive Compartmented Information and Special Access Program materials.”

NARA aides did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter, and Corcoran could not immediately be reached.

The correspondence shows that even though NARA retrieved the 15 boxes in January, Justice Department and FBI investigators didn’t see their contents until May, after extended negotiations with Trump’s representatives. The letter also shows that in the interim, DOJ asked President Joe Biden to authorize NARA to provide the records to investigators despite an effort by Trump to claim executive privilege over the records. Wall indicated she had rejected Trump’s claim because of the significance of the documents to national security.

“NARA informed the Department of Justice about that discovery, which prompted the Department to ask the President to request that NARA provide the FBI with access to the boxes at issue so that the FBI and others in the Intelligence Community could examine them,” Wall wrote.


Trump kept hundreds of classified documents after leaving White House: report

Despite rules requiring outgoing presidents to turn their materials over to the National Archives, the US government has retrieved more than 300 classified documents from Donald Trump since he left office, beginning with an initial 150 recovered in January, The New York Times reports.

The initial release of documents alarmed the justice department, which feared that the former president may have retained secrets that should have been sent to the government after his departure from the White House. It also laid the groundwork for the FBI’s search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort earlier this month, where they turned up even more sensitive materials.

Since he left the White House, the report says government record keepers have been concerned about the whereabouts of the several documents from the Trump administration, including a note Barack Obama left his successor, and letters from North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-un. Those concerns eventually grew into the national security investigation that led to the FBI’s search.

Here’s more from Times’ report:

The extent to which such a large number of highly sensitive documents remained at Mar-a-Lago for months, even as the department sought the return of all material that should have been left in government custody when Mr. Trump left office, suggested to officials that the former president or his aides had been cavalier in handling it, not fully forthcoming with investigators, or both.

The specific nature of the sensitive material that Mr. Trump took from the White House remains unclear. But the 15 boxes Mr. Trump turned over to the archives in January, nearly a year after he left office, included documents from the C.I.A., the National Security Agency and the F.B.I. spanning a variety of topics of national security interest, a person briefed on the matter said.

Mr. Trump went through the boxes himself in late 2021, according to multiple people briefed on his efforts, before turning them over.

The highly sensitive nature of some of the material in the boxes prompted archives officials to refer the matter to the Justice Department, which within months had convened a grand jury investigation.

Aides to Mr. Trump turned over a few dozen additional sensitive documents during a visit to Mar-a-Lago by Justice Department officials in early June. At the conclusion of the search this month, officials left with 26 boxes, including 11 sets of material marked as classified, comprising scores of additional documents. One set had the highest level of classification, top secret/sensitive compartmented information.

Voters will choose candidates for a slew of offices in New York and Florida today, but one race with an immediate – although not decisive – effect on the balance of power in Congress is taking place in New York.

The state’s 19th district has swung between supporting Democrats and Republicans, and there, voters will choose a new congressman to serve for a few months as a replacement for Antonio Delgado, a Democrat who was appointed New York’s lieutenant governor.

The Republican candidate Marc Molinaro has centered his appeal to voters on fighting inflation, while Democrat Pat Ryan has tried to win support by capitalizing on the party’s recent productivity in Congress, as well as outrage at supreme court decisions like the reversal of Roe v. Wade. “A win here would validate that the ground is shifting,” Ryan told Politico in an interview.

If Ryan wins, the Democrats will have one more vote in their tiny House majority. If Republicans win, they’ll have one less, making any resistance to the last pieces of legislation they’re expected to consider before the year ends more problematic. The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter considers the race a toss-up.

Florida and New York voters to make electoral mood known in primaries

Good morning, US politics live bloggers. Voters in New York and Florida head to the polls today for primary elections that will give the latest signal of how the electorate is leaning this year, and potentially make Democrats’ wafer-thin majority in the House of of Representatives even slimmer.

Here’s a rundown of what to expect today:

  • Polls in New York close at 9pm, while in Florida they shutter at 7pm, meaning results can be expected to trickle out after that.

  • Anthony Fauci granted interviews where he elaborated further on his decision to step down as the nation’s top infectious disease doctor in December, including to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

  • Joe Biden is on vacation and Congress is in recess, meaning it’ll probably be another quiet one in Washington.


Chris Stein in Washington

The GuardianTramp

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