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HeadlinesAugust 16, 2022

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Rudy Giuliani Is Target of Georgia Prosecutors’ Criminal Probe of 2020 Election Interference

Aug 16, 2022

In Georgia, prosecutors have informed Rudy Giuliani he’s the target of a criminal investigation into interference in the 2020 election. Giuliani is scheduled to appear before a special grand jury in Atlanta tomorrow, where he faces questions about his efforts to keep former President Donald Trump in power. Giuliani led Trump’s attempts to overturn the results of Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia by more than 12,000 votes. He repeatedly cited baseless conspiracy theories and led an unlawful effort to put forward an “alternate” slate of presidential electors.

Sen. Lindsey Graham Must Testify to Georgia Grand Jury About Efforts to Overturn 2020 Election

Aug 16, 2022

A federal judge in Georgia has denied a bid by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham to quash a subpoena ordering him to testify to the grand jury in Atlanta. Fulton County prosecutors want Senator Graham to explain the reason for two calls he placed just after the 2020 election to Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s Republican secretary of state. Raffensperger told reporters after the calls that Graham had hinted he should throw away ballots from areas where Joe Biden likely got more votes.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger: “He asked if the ballots could be matched back to the voters. And then he — I got the sense it implied that then you could then throw those out for any — really would look at the counties with the highest frequent error of signatures. … Well, it’s just an implication that 'Look hard and see how many ballots you could throw out.'”

Senator Graham has promised to appeal the order compelling him to testify in court, arguing he’s shielded under the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause. 

Justice Department Opposes Calls to Unseal Affidavit Used to Search Trump’s Home

Aug 16, 2022

The Justice Department has asked a federal judge not to unseal a sworn affidavit used by the FBI to recover 11 sets of secret government documents from Trump’s home in Florida. The affidavit was the basis of an application that convinced a judge to sign off on the warrant used by federal agents in their search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence on August 8. In a federal court filing, prosecutors said the affidavit contains highly classified material and sensitive information about witnesses and that its release would compromise the continuing investigation.

GOP Incumbents Who Criticized Trump Face Primary Challengers in Alaska, Wyoming

Aug 16, 2022

Voters in Alaska and Wyoming head to the polls today for primary elections. In Wyoming, pro-Trump primary challenger Harriet Hageman is poised to unseat incumbent Congressmember Liz Cheney amid backlash over Cheney’s role as one of two Republicans on the House January 6 committee.

In Alaska, former governor and 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin leads a crowded field seeking to fill Alaska’s lone U.S. House seat, which had been held by Don Young for nearly a half-century before his death in March.

Meanwhile, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski faces 18 Republican primary challengers, including pro-Trump candidate Kelly Tshibaka. Last year, Murkowski was one of just seven Republican senators who voted to convict then-President Trump after the House impeached him over the January 6 Capitol insurrection. 

Biden Admin Rejects Unfreezing Afghanistan’s Central Bank Assets

Aug 16, 2022

The Biden administration has ruled out releasing roughly $7 billion in foreign assets held by Afghanistan’s central bank on U.S. soil. That’s according to The Wall Street Journal, which reports Biden’s decision not to return the funds came after he ordered the assassination of al-Qaeda’s leader in Kabul. This comes as the United Nations warns a staggering 95% of Afghans are not getting enough to eat, with that number rising to almost 100% in female-headed households. Earlier this year, Democracy Now! spoke with Masuda Sultan, Afghan American women’s rights activist. 

Masuda Sultan: “Human Rights Watch agrees with us. The head of the U.N. agrees with us. The head of the International Rescue Committee, David Miliband, agrees with us. You talk to just about every humanitarian organization, any economist, they will tell you that a central bank’s reserves belong in the central bank. … But instead, we have just decided that Afghanistan cannot have its central bank reserves, that that economy will now be crippled. We just knocked the legs out of it. And the humanitarian crisis will just grow and grow. Afghanistan will be an aid-dependent country.”

Masuda Sultan is a founding member of Unfreeze Afghanistan.

Ukraine’s Military Takes Credit for Explosion at Russian Ammunition Depot in Crimea

Aug 16, 2022

Ukraine’s military says an elite unit operating behind enemy lines was responsible for a massive explosion at a Russian ammunition depot earlier today in the Russian-annexed province of Crimea in southern Ukraine. Video shows a huge fireball and smoke rising over a village in northern Crimea near the site of the blast. Russian state media described the explosion as “sabotage” that damaged civilian infrastructure. This follows another explosion last week at a Russian air base in Crimea which destroyed as many as nine Russian warplanes.
Elsewhere, a massive United Nations-chartered ship carrying more than 23,000 metric tons of wheat has left a port in southern Ukraine bound for Ethiopia. It’s the first shipment of food to Africa from a Black Sea port in Ukraine since Russia invaded more than six months ago. 

William Ruto Declared Winner of Kenya’s Razor-Thin Presidential Race

Aug 16, 2022

In Kenya, William Ruto has been declared winner of a highly contested presidential election. Kenya’s electoral commission says Ruto defeated former prime minister and opposition leader Raila Odinga by a narrow margin, getting just over 50% of votes. Ruto has been deputy president of Kenya since 2013. Ruto’s party, the Kenya First coalition, has also won a majority of seats in Kenya’s Senate. At least four Kenyan election commissioners said they did not support the results due to the “opaque nature” of the vote count as diplomats and international election officials were removed from the tallying hall right before Ruto’s victory was announced Monday. Ruto will serve as Kenya’s fifth president since its independence from Britain in 1963. He addressed the East African nation on Monday.

President-elect William Ruto: “There is no room for vengeance. There is no room for looking back. We are looking into the future.”

Saudi Activist Gets 34 Years in Prison for Tweets Demanding Women’s Rights

Aug 16, 2022

In Saudi Arabia, women’s rights defender Salma al-Shehab has been sentenced to 34 years in prison over her advocacy. It’s reportedly the longest sentence ever given to a Saudi women’s rights activist. Al-Shehab was initially sentenced to a six-year prison term over tweets she posted critical of Saudi Arabia’s treatment of women. But an appeals court last week increased the sentence to 34 years behind bars and banned al-Shehab from leaving the kingdom for an additional 34 years. Human rights advocates warn of worsening conditions for Saudi women as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman intensifies his crackdown on dissent.

Saudi Aramco Posts Record $48.4 Billion Quarterly Profit

Aug 16, 2022

Saudi Arabia’s state-controlled oil company has broken its own record after posting a profit of $48.4 billion for the second quarter of 2022. It’s the largest quarterly profit ever posted by a publicly traded company, coming as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine helped push oil prices soaring. 

German Protesters Block Train Tracks Demanding Halt to Construction of LNG Terminals

Aug 16, 2022

In Germany, police used batons, pepper spray and water cannons to attack about 150 climate justice advocates, who staged a nonviolent sit-in protest Saturday on a rail supply line leading to the harbor in Hamburg. The protesters are seeking to halt construction of new liquified natural gas terminals along Germany’s coast. This comes as German households face spiraling fuel costs that could see them spend hundreds of euros more per year to power their homes. This is protest spokesperson Charly Dietz.

Charly Dietz: “In Germany, too, the energy crisis is hitting those hardest who contributed the least, a crisis in which many bear the costs while the few corporations pocket billions in profits. It is explicitly not an energy crisis; it is a capitalist distribution crisis.”

Lawsuit Alleges CIA Spied on Journalists and Julian Assange’s Lawyers

Aug 16, 2022

Lawyers for Julian Assange have filed a lawsuit against the CIA and its former director, Mike Pompeo, charging they spied on U.S. lawyers and journalists who met Assange while he was living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he had political asylum. The lawsuit is being filed as Britain prepares to extradite the WikiLeaks founder to the United States, where he faces up to 175 years in prison for violating the Espionage Act by publishing classified documents exposing U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Later in the broadcast, we’ll speak with the lead attorney behind the lawsuit.

Prisoner’s Death by Suicide Is 12th This Year at New York’s Rikers Island Jail

Aug 16, 2022

Here in New York, another person has died at the Rikers Island jail complex — the 12th so far this year. The New York Times reports Ricardo Cruciani was found Monday morning, sitting in a shower area with a sheet around his neck. The 68-year-old died about an hour later. His attorney had reportedly alerted Rikers officials to put him on suicide watch. Cruciani was a former neurologist who was convicted two weeks ago of sexually assaulting and raping at least six of his patients.

Over 2,000 Mental Health Workers Begin Strike at Kaiser Permanente Clinics in California

Aug 16, 2022

In California, thousands of unionized mental healthcare providers in multiple cities have gone on strike, demanding the country’s largest nonprofit healthcare organization provide better care to people who desperately need services. Kaiser Permanente serves some 9 million people in California. According to the Union of Healthcare Workers, Kaiser has just one mental health provider for every 2,600 patients, forcing people to wait months for an appointment. Union members are also accusing Kaiser of violating treatment clinical guidelines and California state laws. The strike comes after a year of negotiations between the National Union of Healthcare Workers and Kaiser, which has rejected union proposals to expand the workforce and improve access to care. 

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