Friday, August 12, 2022

Wake-Up Call: DOJ Wants Warrant Unsealed

The Justice Department has asked a federal court to unseal the search warrant used in searching former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday. It’s a very unusual move as warrants usually remain sealed during a pending investigation, but the request reflects the high public interest in the case and widespread calls for details about what led to the search. It also comes amid attacks from Trump and his allies over the search. 

The motion filed in federal court yesterday said, “The public’s clear and powerful interest in understanding what occurred under these circumstances weighs heavily in favor of unsealing.” CNN cited a source as saying Trump's team is considering potentially challenging the motion to unseal the warrant. Garland also revealed that he personally approved the search warrant, and condemned the attacks on the FBI and Justice Department over the search, saying, “I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked.” 

The search was part of the Justice Department investigation into the discovery of classified White House records at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year. Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported last night that the FBI sought to locate classified documents related to nuclear weapons, among other items, during the Mar-a-Lago search.

➤ARMED MAN KILLED AFTER TRYING TO ‘BREACH’ SECURITY SCREENING AREA AT OHIO FBI OFFICE: An armed man wearing body armor who tried to “breach” a security screening area at an FBI field office in Cincinnati yesterday was shot and killed by police after he fled and was involved in an hours-long standoff with law enforcement. The 42-year-old suspect, Ricky Shiffer, is believed to have been in Washington, D.C., in the days leading up to the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, AP reported, citing an unnamed law enforcement official. Lieutenant Nathan Dennis, a Ohio State Highway Patrol spokesperson, said Shiffer was shot after he raised a gun toward police at around 3 p.m. after negotiations failed and police tried unsuccessfully to use "less lethal tactics." The incident came as officials have warned of an increase in threats against FBI agents and officers across the country after the FBI executed a search warrant at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

➤CAUSE OF INDIANA HOUSE EXPLOSION THAT KILLED THREE BEING INVESTIGATED: Authorities were working yesterday to try to find the cause of a house explosion in Evansville, Indiana, a day earlier that killed three people, injured another, and damaged 39 homes. Fire Chief Mike Connelly told reporters yesterday that 11 of the homes were uninhabitable and will have to be demolished, and said that finding a cause is expected to be a, quote, “very tedious process -- and lengthy.” The victims were identified yesterday as a husband and wife, 43-year-old Charles Hite and 37-year-old Martina Hite, and a 29-year-old neighbor, Jessica Teague.

➤CDC RELAXES SOME COVID RECOMMENDATIONS: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) relaxed some of its Covid-19 guidelines yesterday, reflecting that more than two-and-a-half years into the pandemic, some 95 percent of Americans age 16 and older have some level of immunity, whether from infection, vaccination or both. The recommendations being dropped include: quarantining if you come into close contact with an infected person; staying at least six feet away from others; schools doing routine daily testing; and “test-to-stay,” in which students exposed to Covid could test to say in school instead of having to quarantine. Wearing masks continues to be recommended only in areas where community transmission is high, or if a person is considered at high risk of severe illness. While quarantining is no longer recommended for those who come into close contact with an infection person, the CDC is urging those people to wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and get tested after five days.

➤EX-VIRGINIA POLICE OFFICER GET SEVEN-YEAR-PLUS SENTENCE IN JAN. 6TH CASE: Former Rocky Mount, Virginia, Police Sergeant Thomas Robertson was sentenced yesterday seven years and three months in prison for his actions in the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, matching the longest sentence given so far in hundreds of cases related to the attack. Robertson was still a police officer when he stormed the Capitol with a fellow officer. A jury found Robertson guilty in April on all six counts again him. Robertson will get credit for the 13 months he has already spent in custody, as he’s been jailed since the judge ruled last year that he violated the terms of his pretrial release by possessing firearms.

Daily Mail 8/12/22

Anne Heche “is not expected to survive” the catastrophic brain injury she suffered during last week’s car crash.
 A rep for the Emmy-winning actress told People Thursday, “Unfortunately, due to her accident, Anne suffered a severe anoxic brain injury and remains in a coma, in critical condition and on full life support. The statement continued, “It has long been her choice to donate her organs and she’s being kept on life support to determine if any are viable.”  Heche never regained consciousness after crashing into a Los Angeles home in a firey wreck that took place last Friday (August 5th). LAPD sources told TMZ Thursday that the actress had cocaine and fentanyl in her system at the time of the accident.

🤑GAS PRICES ARE LOWER (FOR NOW): The average nationwide price of a gallon of gas dropped below $4 yesterday for the first time since March. The main reason for the relief is a decline in the price of crude oil. Experts say that further declines are unlikely in the short term as those crude prices are already beginning to climb back up.

💸MORTGAGE RATES TOP 5% AGAIN: Home mortgage rates climbed back above 5% after briefly declining last week, according to Freddie Mac. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averages 5.22%, up from 4.99% last week. On the other hand, a slowdown in home sales are beginning to force some sellers to lower their asking prices.

💰BACK-TO-SCHOOL SUPPLIES COST MORE: If you’re shopping for back-to-school supplies you may find they have gotten pricier. According to CNN Business, the average price of a Sharpie pen is up 55% over last year, while Scotch tape costs nearly 70% more and Elmer’s Glue is up 30%.

➤THE FASTEST ELECTRIC CAR: An electric car made by Porsche has set a new time record for an electric vehicle now in production. The Porsche Taycan Turbo S completed a 12.9-mile circuit on the course in Germany in 7 minutes 33 seconds. That’s two seconds faster than the previous record-holder, a Tesla Model S Plaid. Both cars cost well over $100,000.

TEENS PREFER YOUTUBE: Facebook use by teenagers has fallen dramatically, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center. Use of the popular social site by Americans ages 13 to 17 has dropped nearly 40% since 2014. YouTube is their overall favorite, followed by TikTok, Instagram and SnapChat.

➤ABC TO AIR 'RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN'S CINDERELLA': ABC will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella with a 20/20 news special cast reunion and a presentation of the original film. Cinderella: The Reunion, A Special Edition of 20/20, airs on ABC-TV on Tuesday, Aug. 23rd stating at 8 PM ET/PT and will stream the next day on Hulu. The reunion will feature Brandy, Whoopi Goldberg, Paolo Montalban, Victor Garber, Bernadette Peters, Jason Alexander, and Veanne Cox.

⚾CUBS TOP REDS 4-2 IN 'FIELD OF DREAMS' GAME: The Chicago Cubs topped the Cincinnati Reds 4-2 in MLB's second annual "Field of Dreams" game last night. The game took place in a small throwback ballpark in Dyersville, Iowa, right near where the 1989 movie was filmed, one year after the Chicago White Sox topped the New York Yankees 9-8 in the inaugural game. Last night's festivities began with Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. and his father emerging from the outfield cornstalks, with Junior telling his father, "Hey dad, do you wanna have a catch?" and his dad answering, "I'd like that." The two then played catch as more parents and children joined them on the field, followed by the Cubs and Reds.

🏈NFL KICKS OFF PRESEASON: The NFL kicked off the preseason with two games last night. The New York Giants topped the New England Patriots 23-21 and the Baltimore Ravens topped the Tennessee Titans 23-10.

The late Bill Russell’s Number 6 will be permanently retired across the NBA, the league and the National Basketball Players Association announced yesterday, the first time that’s been done in the NBA. Commissioner Adam Silver said of the Hall of Famer, “Bill Russell’s unparalleled success on the court and pioneering civil rights activism deserve to be honored in a unique and historic way.” Players who currently wear Number 6, among them LeBron James, can continue to do so. Russell, who died on July 31st at age 88, won 11 championships in his 13-year career, and was the first Black coach in any of the major U.S. pro sports to win a championship. MLB has permanently retired Number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball’s color line, and the NHL has retired Wayne Gretzky’s Number 99 in honor of the all-time scoring leader.

🏈BRADY TO BE AWAY FROM BUCCANEERS FOR 11 DAYS FOR ‘PERSONAL’ REASONS: Tom Brady was not at Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp yesterday, beginning what head coach Todd Bowles said is an 11-day planned absence by the quarterback to address, quote, “personal things.” Bowles said Brady won’t be back until after Tampa Bay’s preseason game against the Tennessee Titans on August 20th, stating, “We allotted this time because he wanted to get in and get chemistry with the guys with two weeks of training camp, knowing he wasn’t going to play the first two [preseason] games.” The 45-year-old Brady is back with the Bucs after retiring in February and then changing his mind six weeks later.

⚾WOMAN WHO ACCUSED BAUER COUNTERSUES AGAINST HIS DEFAMATION CLAIM: The woman who accused L.A. Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer of sexually abusing her has filed a countersuit to the defamation claim he filed against her, according to a court filing. Bauer has denied the woman’s claim, contending they engaged in consensual rough sex, and claims in his defamation suit that she lied about their sexual encounters in order to destroy his reputation and enrich herself. The woman’s countersuit filed Tuesday again alleges that Bauer punched and choked her during two sexual encounters in 2021. The L.A. District Attorney declined to file criminal charges against Bauer, but MLB has suspended him for two years, which he is appealing. Bauer is also suing two media outlets for defamation over their coverage of the allegations.

Running back James White, who scored the game-winning touchdown in the New England Patriots’ historic comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl 51 in 2017, announced Thursday that he’s retiring. The 30-year-old has been trying to come back from hip surgery after he dislocated it early in the 2021 season. White set Super Bowl records for points scored in a game and receptions as the Pats rallied from a 28-3 third quarter deficit to beat the Falcons 34-28 in Super Bowl 51, the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.

🏒GOLDEN KNIGHTS GOALIE LEHNER TO MISS UPCOMING SEASON: The Vegas Golden Knights announced yesterday that goalie Robin Lehner needs hip surgery and is expected to miss the upcoming season. No timeline for his recovery has been determined yet. The 31-year-old Lehner started 44 games for the Golden Knights last season and finished 23-17-2. Backup goalie Laurent Brossoit’s status also uncertain after he had hip surgery during the offseason.

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