1/ A federal magistrate judge ordered the Justice Department to release a redacted version of the affidavit used to justified the FBI’s search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. Judge Bruce Reinhart accepted the Justice Department’s redactions to keep secret the identities of witnesses, law enforcement agents, people who haven’t been charged, grand jury information, as well as details about “the investigation’s strategy, direction, scope, sources, and methods.” Reinhart ordered the government to release the redacted version by noon Friday. (Washington Post / Bloomberg / New York Times / Politico / Wall Street Journal)
2/ Trump’s lawyers had concerns about the two dozen boxes of presidential records that Trump took to Mar-a-Lago and agreed that the documents should be returned, according National Archive officials. In a May 2021 email to Trump’s lawyers, the National Archives chief counsel wrote: “It is also our understanding that roughly two dozen boxes of original presidential records were kept in the Residence of the White House over the course of President Trump’s last year in office and have not been transferred to NARA, despite a determination by Pat Cipollone in the final days of the administration that they need to be.” Trump eventually returned 15 boxes of documents to the Archives in early 2022 after Gary Stern, the Archives chief counsel, told Trump officials that he would have to notify Congress. After realizing there were hundreds of pages of classified material in the returned boxes, National Archives officials referred the matter to the Justice Department. (Washington Post)
The FBI search of Mar-a-Lago took place after Trump tried to delay the FBI from reviewing the classified material he took when he left office for months. “Trump ignored multiple opportunities to quietly resolve the FBI concerns by handing over all classified material in his possession — including a grand jury subpoena that Trump’s team accepted May 11.” (Washington Post)
Trump ordered his lawyers to get “my documents” back from federal law enforcement. Trump “has been demanding that his team find a way to recover ‘all’ of the official documents that Trump has long referred to as ‘mine’ — including the highly sensitive and top secret ones.” (Rolling Stone)
Trump claimed he needs his White House records back so he can add them to his presidential library. While the National Archives set up a website after he left office for his presidential library, the plans for the library are unclear. (Business Insider)
Trump is serving as his own communications director and strategic adviser, seeking tactical political and in-the-moment public relations victories, sometimes at the risk of stumbling into substantive legal missteps. “Facing serious legal peril in the documents investigation, the former president has turned to his old playbook of painting himself as persecuted amid legal and political stumbles.” (New York Times)
3/ The Justice Department released the unredacted memo justifying former Attorney General William Barr’s decision not to prosecute Trump for obstructing Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. The nine-page memo advised Barr that Mueller’s report “identifies no actions that, in our judgment, constituted obstructive acts, done with a nexus to a pending proceeding, with the corrupt intent necessary to warrant prosecution under obstruction-of-justice statutes.” The Mueller report, however, laid out 10 possible instances of obstruction of justice, including Trump directing his White House counsel to fire Mueller, pressuring then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to narrow Mueller’s investigation, and the firing of the FBI Director James Comey. The D.C. Circuit ordered the release of the full memo, affirming two federal courts decisions that found Barr didn’t rely on the memo and had already made up his mind to not charge Trump before he commissioned the memo. A heavily redacted version of the memo was previously released in 2021. (Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / ABC News / CNN)
4/ The Trump administration pressured the FDA to accelerate the authorization of vaccines and unproven treatments for Covid-19 before Election Day, according to a report released by the House subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis. Senior Trump administration officials also pressed the health agency to reauthorize the use of hydroxychloroquine after the FDA revoked emergency clearance of the drug because data showed it was ineffective against Covid-19 and could cause potentially dangerous heart complications. The report concluded the “crusade” against the FDA “resulted in damaging consequences for the coronavirus response.” (Politico / CNN / Washington Post / Associated Press)
5/ Former interior secretary Ryan Zinke lied to investigators several times about whether he wrongly blocked two native tribes from opening a casino in Connecticut in 2017. Investigators found that Zinke and his chief of staff made statements to inspector general’s office “with the overall intent to mislead them.” Zinke is favored to win a House seat in Montana this fall. (Politico / Washington Post)
6/ A federal judge in Idaho blocked part of the state’s abortion ban that criminalizes performing an abortion on a woman to protect her health. Earlier this month the Justice Department sued Idaho, arguing that the law would prevent emergency room doctors from performing abortions necessary to protect the health of a pregnant patient. The preliminary injunction left intact most of the bill’s other provisions, which constitute a near-total ban on the procedure. (New York Times / Washington Post)
7/ Texans who perform abortions now face up to life in prison after the state’s trigger law went into effect. The law criminalizes performing an abortion from the moment of fertilization unless the patient is facing “a life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy.” The statute also directs that the attorney general to seek a civil penalty of not less than $100,000, plus attorney’s fees. (Texas Tribune)
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