[guest post by Dana]
First news item
About that search warrant issued for Mar-a-Lago:
Federal investigators obtained a search warrant for former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate earlier this month by pointing to a raft of highly classified material they’d already obtained from there, according to a legal affidavit unsealed Friday.
Records the FBI obtained from Trump’s Florida home in advance of the Aug. 8 search bore indications they contained human source intelligence, intercepts under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and signals intelligence, as well as other tags indicating high sensitivity. Several of those tightly-controlled documents contained Trump’s “handwritten notes,” the partially-redacted affidavit detailing the Justice Department investigation says.
In those boxes, agents found 184 unique documents, 25 of which were marked “top secret,” 92 of which were marked “secret,” and 67 of which were marked “confidential”–the lowest level of national security classification.
Prosecutors also added in another court filing unsealed Friday that the ongoing criminal probe into government records stashed at Trump’s Florida home has involved “a significant number of civilian witnesses” whose safety could be jeopardized if their identities were revealed.
From the affidavit:
47. From May 16-18, 2022, FBI agents conducted a prelimina1y review of the FIFTEEN BOXES provided to NARA and identified documents with classification markings in fourteen of the FIFTEEN BOXES. A prelin1ina1y triage of the documents with classification markings revealed the following approximate numbers: 184 unique documents bearing classification markings, including 67 documents marked as CONFIDENTIAL, 92 documents marked as SECRET, and 25 documents marked as TOP SECRET. Further, the FBI agents observed markings reflecting the following compartments/dissemination controls: HCS, FISA, ORCON, NOFORN, and SI. Based on my training and experience, I know that documents
classified at these levels typically contain NDI. Several of the documents also contained what
appears to be FPOTUS ‘s handwritten notes.
Thoughts on what the affidavit means with regard to charges:
Of course, *under* the redactions will be the allegations relating to *that* potential criminal violation. And it’s worth stressing that Judge Reinhart knows what’s in them. My own view is that we have much more clarity on two of the charges in the warrant, but not all three.
— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) August 26, 2022
Trump responded to the release of the redacted affidavit:
Second news item
More concerns about the lack of security at Mar-a-Lago where classified documents were stored: Woman who passed herself off as an heiress and ingratiated herself with Trump and Republican lawmakers at Mar-a-Lago is now the subject of FBI investigation:
But the 33-year-old woman was not a member of the famous banking family, and is now a subject of a widening FBI investigation that has delved into her past financial activities and the events that led her to the former president’s home.
In addition to the FBI, law enforcement agents in Canada have confirmed that she has been the subject of a major crimes unit investigation in Quebec since February.
A year before the FBI’s spectacular raid of the former president’s seaside home, the woman whose real name is Inna Yashchyshyn, a Russian-speaking immigrant from Ukraine, made several trips into the estate posing as a member of the famous family while making inroads with some of the former president’s key supporters.
The ability of Ms. Yashchyshyn — the daughter of an Illinois truck driver — to bypass the security at Mr. Trump’s club demonstrates the ease with which someone with a fake identity and shadowy background can get into a facility that’s one of America’s power centers and the epicenter of Republican Party politics.
Her entry — multiple trips in and out of the club grounds — lays bare the vulnerabilities of a facility that serves as both the former president’s residence and a private club, and highlights the gaps in security that can take place.
Third news item
On top of everything else, the timing is off and could hurt Democrats:
When President Joe Biden announced student loan debt relief this week, his allies celebrated.
But a string of Democrats in tight races across the country want little to do with it.
That’s because the president may have just handed Republicans a new line of attack at a moment when Democrats were strengthening their positions in swing states and signs were emerging that the party could stave off what was to have been a GOP sweep in the midterm elections, campaign officials, party members, pollsters and national strategists in both parties say.
Mike Noble, who has conducted extensive independent polling in Nevada and Arizona, among other states, said the timing of Biden’s announcement was a “head-scratcher,” given that Democrats were just hitting their stride: Gas prices are coming down, the Republican Party is increasingly divided, Donald Trump is dominating headlines again, and abortion rights are fueling fundraising and party enthusiasm.
“It doesn’t make strategic sense. They were in a good position. All the momentum was going in their favor,” Noble said of Democrats…
“Why forgive debt on a group that never turns out to vote in the first place? The people who vote are the ones who paid their loans back or never had loans to begin with.”
Fourth news item
Two and a half years into the pandemic, Washington D.C. Mayor Bowser is mandating Covid vaccine for all student 12 and older will adversely impact the Black community in a big – and likely irreversible – way:
School starts on Monday for District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), which is requiring—per D.C. Council vote—that all students ages 12 and up be vaccinated against COVID-19. In addition to teens providing proof of vaccination, students of all ages must provide proof of a negative COVID test prior to the first day of school.
“We’re not offering remote learning for children, and families will need to comply with what is necessary to come to school,” said Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser in a press briefing.
…Though 87 percent of D.C.’s white teens, between the ages of 12 and 15, are vaccinated, only 53 percent of D.C.’s black teens are. For the next age group up—comprised of 16- and 17-year-olds—89 percent of white teens are fully vaccinated, whereas only 58 percent of black teens are.
Note: There is a 20-day grace period for students to get vaccinated. If, after the 20 day grace period, the student is still not compliant, the school must remove the student from school until the immunization certification is secured by the school. Given that any number of students will no longer be attending school in person, why on earth not keep distance learning intact for those who would avail themselves of it?
Fifth news item
President Zelensky says catastrophe avoided at nuclear power plant:
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the world narrowly sidestepped a radiation disaster on Thursday when Europe’s largest nuclear power plant was disconnected from the country’s power grid.
Zelenskyy warned that it was only due to backup electricity kicking in that the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia power plant was able to operate safely.
“Every minute the Russian troops stay at the nuclear power plant is a risk of a global radiation disaster,” Zelenskyy said. He called on the international community to help force Russian forces to immediately withdraw from the territory of the power plant.
Russia is burning off vast amounts of natural gas which experts believe would once have been destined for Germany, as Europe struggles with rocketing energy costs exacerbated by Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.
This as Putin seeks to increase decreasing troop numbers:
President Vladimir Putin has issued a decree to increase the size of the Russian armed forces by 137,000, assigning whatever budget is necessary to continue funding his war machine.
The decree will go into effect on January 1, 2023. It increases the total personnel of the Russian armed forces, including non-combatants, to 2.03 million people. The Ministry of Defense will have to enlist more than 130,000 new combatants. This will bring the number of military personnel to 1,150,628 soldiers, a 13% increase on the current limit (1,013,628).
Sixth news item
California’s Governor Newsom continues to lay the groundwork for a 2024 bid:
People keep asking why I’m calling out DeSantis and these Republican governors.
The answer is simple: I don’t like bullies. pic.twitter.com/dksyOash8A
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) August 26, 2022
Seventh news item
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis would like to hear from former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and attorney Sidney Powell about communications they had with former President Donald Trump in November 2020. Willis is looking into potential election interference in Georgia and filed a brief Thursday to “compel” the two to testify. In the brief, Willis writes she wants testimony from Meadows, Powell, and “other known and unknown individuals involved in the multi-state, coordinated efforts to influence the results of the November 2020 elections in Georgia and elsewhere.” The prosecutor added, “Finally, the witness’s anticipated testimony is essential in that it is likely to reveal additional sources of information regarding the subject of this investigation.”
Eighth news item
Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said on Thursday that she was the subject of a “swatting” at her home in Rome, Georgia, for the second time in two days…In a statement shared on Twitter by Fox 5 Atlanta reporter Claire Simms, the Rome Police Department said that officers responded to a call at Greene’s home shortly before 3am on Thursday, saying that the call was “received on what appeared to be a suicide crisis line.”
“This is an active investigation and no further information can be released at this time,” read the release…
On Wednesday, Greene was the victim of the first apparent “swatting” — a form of harassment in which someone calls law enforcement to report a false threat in order to summon armed police to their home. The tactic is highly dangerous, as police may respond with aggressive force and have little way of telling whether or not it’s a hoax.
According to the Rome Police Department, officers responded to a call shortly after 1am on Wednesday morning claiming that someone had been “shot multiple times” at Greene’s home. Police also said that in a second call, the suspect used a computer-generated voice to say that they were “upset about Mrs. Greene’s political view on transgender youth rights.”
Ninth news item
Wow, being this afraid of one person doesn’t seem healthy. In fact, it’s ridiculous. Stop embarrasing yourselves:
The world’s largest podcast conference holding an event in Dallas apologized Thursday for the presence of a conservative podcaster who showed up at his company’s booth.
The Podcast Movement conference brings together some of the top and most popular podcast companies and voices every year. In 2022, the conference is being held at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel in downtown Dallas.
The Daily Wire, which is a conservative news website and media company, did have a booth near the PM22 expo area, according to Podcast Movement. It’s most known for its podcast, “The Ben Shapiro Show.”
There’s no way around it: We agreed to sell The Daily Wire a first-time booth based on the company’s large presence in podcasting. The weight of that decision is now painfully clear. Shapiro is a co-founder. A drop-in, however unlikely, should have been considered a possibility.
— Podcast Movement at #PM22 (@PodcastMovement) August 25, 2022
Those of you who called this “unacceptable” are right. In 9 wonderful years growing and celebrating this medium, PM has made mistakes. The pain caused by this one will always stick with us. We promise that sponsors will be more carefully considered moving forward.
— Podcast Movement at #PM22 (@PodcastMovement) August 25, 2022
The “why” is still unknown, but a puzzling discovery made when restoring Rembrandt’s “Night Watch” painting:
…AkzoNobel research and development manager Gerard van Ewijk has found some interesting details about Rembrandt’s impasto technique, in which the artist’s brushstrokes are clearly visible on the canvas, The Guardian wrote this week.
Rijksmuseum head of science Katrien Keune told the newspaper that researchers had detected egg yolk in one “tiny square of paint, smaller than a crumble.” At first, they figured the artist mixed it with boiled linseed oil and lead oxide to create a thicker paint.
Upon examining the material though, Van Ewijk realized Rembrandt didn’t really need yolk to achieve this texture. “A 30:70 ratio of raw linseed oil and lead white creates the perfect impasto paint, raising a perfectly plausible alternative recipe to that previously assumed to have been used,” the publication wrote.
Petria Noble, head of paintings conservation at the Rijksmuseum, told the Guardian that AkzoNobel’s exploration disproved previous theories that wax or paint scrapings had been used by Rembrandt to create the artist’s signature impasto touches.
“It is still a bit of a mystery why it is there,” Van Ewijk said of the egg.
Have a great weekend!