The FBI seized more than 150 documents marked “classified” when it searched the residence of former President Donald Trump earlier this month. That’s according to The New York Times, which reports the sheer number of top-secret documents held by Trump ignited intense concern at the Justice Department and triggered the criminal investigation that led to the August 8 search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. On Monday, Trump’s lawyers filed a lawsuit in a federal court in Florida, asking a judge to appoint an independent arbiter known as a “special master” to review whether the documents were seized properly by the FBI. If District Judge Aileen Cannon approves the request, it could slow a federal criminal investigation into whether Trump broke the Espionage Act and the Presidential Records Act. Judge Cannon was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in 2020 by then-President Trump. It’s now believed Trump took about 300 classified documents to Mar-a-Lago.
Ukraine’s government has issued a curfew in the capital Kyiv and banned public events commemorating the nation’s 31 years of independence from the former Soviet Union. Officials in Kyiv cited the risk of Russian attacks on the mass gatherings that would normally mark Wednesday’s anniversary. This comes as the State Department is warning U.S. nationals to leave Ukraine, saying it expects Russia to step up its attacks on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure and government buildings. Ukraine said Monday some 9,000 of its troops were killed during the six months that followed Russia’s invasion. Fighting continues to rage in the east, where on Monday residents of the frontline city of Toretsk struggled to find water, power and essential supplies.
Nina Burykina: “The situation is tense and very hard. Very hard. They shell us every day. … There is no water, no gas. There’s electricity in the city center only, unless it’s turned off.”
In Moscow, officials are blaming Ukrainian special forces for the weekend assassination of Darya Dugina, the daughter of a close ally of President Vladimir Putin. Russia’s FSB security service said on Monday the bombing was carried out by a Ukrainian woman who arrived in Russia last month and fled to Estonia after the blast. Ukraine has denied any involvement. Meanwhile, officials in Estonia — a former Soviet republic turned NATO member — deny they’re harboring Darya Dugina’s assassin.
The United States has launched joint military exercises with South Korea in a massive show of force against North Korea. The exercises are the largest such war games in at least five years, involving tanks, naval vessels, warplanes and potentially tens of thousands of troops. This follows a series of North Korean missile tests earlier this year and comes amid U.S. intelligence claims that Pyongyang is preparing its first nuclear weapons test since September 2017.
Iran says the Biden administration has not responded to its proposal to restore the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement, which former President Trump unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from in 2018. A week ago, Iran submitted its response to what European negotiators called their “final text” of an agreement that would once again see Tehran agree to stop enriching uranium in exchange for sanctions relief. On Monday, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson accused the U.S. of “procrastination” after it failed to respond to either the Iranian or the EU proposals. This comes after Axios reported over the weekend that the Biden administration is seeking to reassure Israel that it has not agreed to new concessions with Iran and a nuclear deal is not imminent. In Washington, State Department spokesperson Ned Price denied the U.S. was delaying negotiations with Iran.
Ned Price: “This negotiation, it is true — and you all in this room know this — has at times languished. And it has languished at times for months and months because of the action or, oftentimes was the case, inaction from Iran. The notion that we have delayed this negotiation in any way is just not true.”
In Haiti, thousands of people continue to take to the streets demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry and protesting worsening gang violence, political instability, poverty, and shortages of food, water and gas. On Monday, protesters set up barricades in the capital Port-au-Prince as they chanted, “If Ariel doesn’t leave, we’re going to die!” This comes as the Biden administration is still mass deporting Haitian asylum seekers, including young children.
Immigrant rights advocates are demanding justice for Patrick Julney, a 38-year-old man from Haiti who says he was kidnapped and held for ransom after the Biden administration deported him in June. Julney had been fighting his deportation for three years, as he had no memory of Haiti and doesn’t speak Haitian Creole. Julney says Haitian security forces imprisoned him without explanation the day he arrived on a deportation flight. Since then, officers have repeatedly contacted Julney’s wife demanding thousands of dollars in exchange for his release. Julney spoke about the torturous conditions he’s faced in a video taken inside the Port-au-Prince prison and shared by his family and friends.
Patrick Julney: “Good afternoon. I’m Patrick Julney. I’m being held for ransom in Port-au-Prince in a Haitian prison. It’s bad. Medical conditions is bad. My ankles are swollen. My legs are swollen. I’ve been sick since I’ve been here. I have no help, no assistance. My family going through it.”
In Texas, at least one person was killed after a record-breaking storm system brought flash flooding to Dallas, Fort Worth and other parts of the region. Some parts of East Dallas received up to 15 inches of rainfall over a span of just 24 hours. Despite the deluge, Dallas remains in exceptional drought, having posted 67 consecutive days with no measurable rainfall earlier this year.
In China, an unprecedented streak of hot summer days has passed the 70-day mark, becoming China’s longest and most intense heat wave on record.
Pfizer and BioNTech have asked the FDA to approve a new version of its COVID-19 vaccine that targets mutated forms of the coronavirus. Pfizer’s updated shot is based on both the original virus that first emerged in 2019, as well as the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants that now account for nearly all U.S. cases. Pfizer submitted its application without completing a new clinical trial, meaning it’s not clear whether the updated vaccine will provide more protection. mRNA vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna remain highly effective at preventing severe disease and death from COVID but are much less effective at preventing infection and mild disease.
Top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday he will retire in December after a career at the National Institutes of Health spanning more than half a century. In the 1980s, Dr. Fauci advised Ronald Reagan on the HIV/AIDS pandemic. He has since advised six other presidents on diseases including Ebola, Zika, influenza, COVID-19 and monkeypox.
New York’s Health Department has confirmed the state’s first case of monkeypox in a person under the age of 18. The reported case came as New York health officials announced plans to administer one-fifth doses of monkeypox vaccine in order to stretch supplies. On Monday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul called on the Biden administration to accelerate vaccine shipments to New York City, where over 90% of U.S. cases have been identified.
Gov. Kathy Hochul: “They are dealing with severe supply chain shortages, as well. They’re not unnecessarily withholding this. They have an allocation. They’d like it to be more. … But we’re continuing to press, first in line. My hand is out, saying, 'What more evidence do you need than the number of cases that we're seeing right here in New York, especially right here in New York City?’”
On Monday, Wyoming’s Department of Health said it had confirmed its first-ever case of monkeypox, meaning the virus has now been detected in all 50 U.S. states. The U.S. has recorded over 15,000 cases — by far the highest toll in the world.
In California, Governor Gavin Newsom has vetoed a bill that would have allowed Oakland, San Francisco and Los Angeles to establish safe drug consumption and injection sites, aimed at reducing the number of overdose deaths. Newsom claimed the sites would have brought “a world of unintended consequences.” But advocates have long said the facilities save lives and connect people to medical resources, including treatment for drug dependency.
A conservative, dark money group that’s pushed a far-right agenda in the U.S. judiciary received $1.6 billion in funding last year from an obscure Republican donor — the largest known donation to a political advocacy group in U.S. history. That’s according to The New York Times, as well as a joint investigation by ProPublica and The Lever. The donor is Barre Seid, a 90-year-old conservative industrialist from Chicago. Over the past two years, Seid funneled hundreds of millions of dollars through secretive transactions to a nonprofit led by Leonard Leo, the co-chair of the far-right Federalist Society who’s known as Donald Trump’s “Supreme Court whisperer.” Leonard Leo has been instrumental in the rollback of federal voting rights and reproductive rights. Leo also directly helped select judges to be nominated to the Supreme Court, including Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, and organized massive media campaigns to see them confirmed.