Attorney General Merrick Garland has asked a federal judge to unseal the warrant the FBI used in its August 8 search of former President Donald Trump’s estate in Florida. Garland announced the request Thursday as he delivered his first public comments since Trump said the FBI had searched his Mar-a-Lago residence on Monday.
Attorney General Merrick Garland: “The department filed the motion to make public the warrant and receipt in light of the former president’s public confirmation of the search, the surrounding circumstances and the substantial public interest in this matter.”
Garland said he personally approved the warrant, and condemned verbal attacks on the FBI and Justice Department by Trump and his allies.
The Washington Post reports the FBI was seeking, among other things, highly classified documents about U.S. nuclear weapons. Hours after Garland’s remarks, Donald Trump said in a statement he encouraged the immediate unsealing of the warrant. If Trump is proven to have mishandled classified documents, he could be guilty of a felony. In 2018, then-President Trump signed a bill upgrading the crime from a misdemeanor to a felony, while increasing punishments for those who mishandle classified information.
In Ohio, a man wearing body armor and armed with an AR-15-style assault rifle fired a nail gun into an FBI field office in Cincinnati on Thursday, prompting a gun battle, chase and armed standoff that ended hours later when the gunman was shot dead by police in a cornfield. Officials identified the man as 42-year-old Ricky Shiffer, a supporter of Donald Trump and the far-right Proud Boys movement. Two days before Thursday’s attack on the FBI, Shiffer posted on Trump’s “Truth Social” online forum, calling on allies to “kill the F.B.I. on sight.” Shiffer also appears in a video posted to Facebook on January 5, 2021, showing him at a pro-Trump rally in Washington, D.C., the night before the assault on the Capitol, and he boasted online that he was at the insurrection.
The FBI’s execution of a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago this week has spawned extremely violent rhetoric among Trump’s supporters. The pro-trump Gateway Pundit website declared, “This. Means. War.” — a message echoed by Trump’s former top political adviser, Steve Bannon, who declared, “The FBI is the Gestapo.”
Today is the fifth anniversary of the deadly 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a self-described neo-Nazi slammed his car into a crowd of antiracist counterprotesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens of others.
A federal court in Washington, D.C., has sentenced former police officer Thomas Robertson to more than seven years in prison over his role in the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol. Robertson had served as a police officer in Rocky Mount, Virginia. A month prior to the insurrection, Robertson called for an “open armed rebellion.” Another former Rocky Mountain police officer, Jacob Fracker, is being sentenced today.
Newly revealed documents show officials at the Department of Homeland Security tried to warn Congress last April that text messages sent by Secret Service agents around the time of the January 6 insurrection were missing, but their attempts were thwarted by DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari — a Donald Trump appointee. The revelation prompted renewed calls for Cuffari to resign, and President Biden has not ruled out firing him.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has further relaxed its guidelines on COVID-19. The CDC’s new recommendations shift the onus to individuals — rather than public health measures — to reduce the risks of catching the disease. The CDC no longer recommends people remain at least six feet apart, and no longer recommends quarantine for people who’ve been exposed to an infected person. On Thursday, a CDC epidemiologist told reporters, “We know that COVID-19 is here to stay.” More than 40,000 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 across the United States, where the disease continues to kill more than 3,300 people each week.
The International Atomic Energy Agency is calling on Russia and Ukraine to immediately halt fighting around Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which Russia has occupied since March. On Thursday, Ukraine reported at least 10 shells exploded near the sprawling Zaporizhzhia nuclear complex — the latest in a series of attacks that have threatened to trigger a nuclear catastrophe. In Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday Russia had taken the whole world hostage.
President Volodymyr Zelensky: “Russia has again hit the bottom in the world history of terrorism. No one else has used a nuclear power plant so obviously to threaten the whole world and to put forward some conditions.”
Earlier today, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations said he does not support international calls for a demilitarized zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.
Elsewhere in Ukraine, residents of Kharkiv continue to come under heavy shelling, with people reporting missiles struck a crowded neighborhood Thursday.
Olena Ostapets: “There are no military vehicles here. It’s the center of Kharkiv. People live here. It’s usually very quiet, with no military objects nearby. I have no idea why our yard was shelled.”
Russia’s Foreign Ministry has acknowledged for the first time that it’s negotiating with the Biden administration for a prisoner swap that could see jailed U.S. citizens Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan freed from Russian penal colonies. President Biden said the news left him “hopeful” a prisoner swap could soon be completed.
Five people were killed and a hundred others injured Thursday as Somali government forces clashed with demonstrators in towns across the breakaway region of Somaliland. Witnesses said security forces used clubs and live fire to attack protesters who were calling on Somali leader Muse Bihi Abdi not to delay presidential elections in November.
This comes as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said it recently registered the 1 millionth person displaced by Somalia’s devastating drought, which has led to widespread crop failure and the death of livestock since January 2021. The U.N. says the number of Somalis facing hunger is expected to rise to more than 7 million in the coming months due to the effects of the climate crisis and rising food prices caused by Russia’s war on Ukraine.
In southwestern France, more than 10,000 people have been forced to evacuate a massive wildfire that continues to burn out of control near the city of Bordeaux. Firefighters from Austria, Greece, Germany, Poland and Romania have joined some 10,000 French firefighters battling the blaze.
This comes as much of Europe continues to bake in an unprecedented heat wave. Wildfires are raging in central Portugal, and parts of the United Kingdom are again under an extreme heat warning.
In Brazil, thousands of people took to the streets of cities across the country Thursday in defense of democracy, after far-right President Jair Bolsonaro threatened to reject the results of October’s first-round presidential election if he loses. Former leftist Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who is running again, currently leads in the polls. Bolsonaro has been claiming — without evidence — Brazil’s electronic voting system is vulnerable to fraud. This is a protester in Rio de Janeiro.
Pedro Lucas: “We are here to ask for free elections, free education and improvements for our people, because our people cannot be dying of hunger.”
In more news from Brazil, police have arrested another five people linked to the June murders of British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian Indigenous rights advocate Bruno Pereira. Authorities also identified one of the suspects in the murder as the leader of an illegal fishing organized crime group in the Amazon region. Phillips and Pereira went missing in Brazil’s Javari Valley in June; their remains were found dismembered about two weeks later. Click here to see our interview with Indigenous lawyer Eliésio Marubo in Brasília about calls to independently investigate their murders.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports at least seven employees with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office have resigned since Brooke Jenkins was appointed DA in July. She replaced former progressive DA Chesa Boudin, who was ousted by voters in June in a multimillion-dollar-funded special recall election led by the real estate industry. Fifteen other staff members were fired following the recall election. Jenkins previously said she volunteered in Boudin’s recall efforts. But records show she received over $100,000 as a consultant for a nonprofit called Neighbors for a Better San Francisco, which led efforts to recall Boudin. The nonprofit’s largest funder is billionaire and Republican political donor William Oberndorf. Chesa Boudin aimed to reform the criminal justice system but faced mounting attacks by the real estate industry.