Special master asks Trump team for proof of claims that FBI planted evidence – live

Special master demands proof of tampering from Trump’s lawyers in Mar-a-Lago case

The special master appointed to filter out privileged materials from the documents taken by the government from Mar-a-Lago has asked Donald Trump’s lawyers to provide proof of their allegations that the FBI planted evidence.

In a new court filing, Raymond Dearie, the senior federal judge tasked with separating out documents covered under executive or attorney-client privilege from the trove taken by the FBI as part of its investigation into whether Trump unlawfully possessed government secrets, also laid out a series of deadlines in the case.

Here’s more from Reuters:

The Mar-a-Lago special master is telling Trump’s lawyers to say once and for all whether they really think the FBI planted evidence during its search, as the former president has publicly alleged. pic.twitter.com/hVF7fCTjIj

— Brad Heath (@bradheath) September 22, 2022

This isn’t the first time Judge Dearie has told Trump’s lawyers to essentially put up or shut up about the things they’ve been saying in TV but not in court.

— Brad Heath (@bradheath) September 22, 2022

Judge Dearie is also setting some pretty short deadlines on the review of materials seized from Mar-a-Lago. He wants Trump’s lawyers to decide by Monday whether to assert privilege over items singled as potentially privileged by the FBI filter team. pic.twitter.com/8BX6IT310f

— Brad Heath (@bradheath) September 22, 2022

The demands regarding evidence planting appear to be a response to claims made without evidence by Trump and his allies after the August search of Mar-a-Lago.

Key events

In August, Democratic senator Joe Manchin agreed to support the marquee Inflation Reduction Act – but only if party leaders would in turn put up for a vote a proposal to fast-track permitting for energy projects. The bill is here, and Nina Lakhani reports on advocates’ concerns it will gut environmental protections:

Scientists, health experts and environmental groups have condemned new legislation negotiated in secret by the fossil-fuel-friendly Democratic senator Joe Manchin and the Senate leader, Chuck Schumer, which will fast-track major energy projects by gutting clean water and environmental protections.

The permitting bill published on Wednesday was the result of a deal between Manchin and Democratic leaders, which secured the West Virginia senator’s vote for Joe Biden’s historic climate legislation, the Inflation Reduction Act, which Manchin held up for months.

The bill mandates all permits for the Mountain Valley pipeline (MVP), a project long delayed by environmental violations and judicial rulings, be issued within 30 days of passage and strips away virtually any scope for judicial review.

Judge blocks Indiana’s hardline abortion ban

Indiana led the charge in tightening abortion access after Roe v Wade was overturned in June, but a judge today blocked the new law on grounds that the state’s constitution protects access to the procedure.

The decision underscores the complications Republican-led states face as they move to take advantage of the conservative-led court’s decision, which cleared the way for states to ban the procedure.

Here’s more from the Associated Press:

Owen County Judge Kelsey Hanlon issued a preliminary injunction against the ban that took effect one week ago. The injunction was sought by abortion clinic operators who argued in a lawsuit that the state constitution protects access to the medical procedure.

The ban was approved by the state’s Republican-dominated Legislature on Aug. 5 and signed by GOP Gov. Eric Holcomb. That made Indiana the first state to enact tighter abortion restrictions since the U.S. Supreme Court eliminated federal abortion protections by overturning Roe v. Wade in June.

The judge wrote “there is reasonable likelihood that this significant restriction of personal autonomy offends the liberty guarantees of the Indiana Constitution” and that the clinics will prevail in the lawsuit. The order prevents the state from enforcing the ban pending a trial on the merits of the lawsuit.

Republican state Attorney General Todd Rokita said in a statement: “We plan to appeal and continue to make the case for life in Indiana.”

Dominic Rushe

Since 1978 Ray Fair, ​​professor of Economics at Yale University, has been using economic data to predict US election outcomes. His bare-boned, strictly by the numbers approach has a fairly impressive record, usually coming within 3% of the final tally.

Sadly for Democrats – if Fair’s on track again this time – the Biden administration will struggle to keep control of Congress in November’s crucial midterm elections.

Elections are noisy events and this year’s is no different. Recent polling suggests Joe Biden is on a roll, reclaiming some of the ground he lost earlier in his presidency.

The Democrats have passed major legislation. There has been a surge in women registering to vote after the supreme court overturned Roe v Wade. Abortion rights drove voters to the polls in deep-red Kansas. Gas prices, if not overall inflation, are falling. In the meantime, Donald Trump and the candidates he has backed are dominating the headlines and helping Democrats’ poll numbers.

But if Fair is right, we can largely set aside the personalities and the issues: the economy is the signal behind the noise and Biden is still in trouble.

Stephanie Kirchgaessner

Greg Norman faced accusations of promoting Saudi “propaganda” following meetings with Washington lawmakers in which the Australian golfer sought to garner support for the Saudi-backed LIV Series in its bitter dispute with the PGA Tour.

Greg Norman.
Greg Norman. Photograph: Richard Cashin/USA Today Sports

Norman, who is LIV’s CEO and the public face of the breakaway tour, ostensibly came to the capital this week to criticise what he has called the PGA’s “anti-competitive efforts” to stifle LIV.

But – apart from some lawmakers who allegedly sought to take their picture with Norman – the Saudi tour instead faced a considerable backlash from both Democrats and Republicans, who defended the PGA and accused LIV of being little more than a sportswashing vehicle for the kingdom.

Tim Burchett, a Republican congressman from Tennessee, left a meeting of the Republican Study Committee on Wednesday at which dozens of his party colleagues had met with Norman, expressing dismay that members of Congress were discussing a golf league backed by Saudi funds. He also called Norman’s LIV pitch “propaganda”.

“We need to get out of bed with these people. They are bad actors. We need to keep them at arm’s length,” Burchett told the Guardian.

He cited the September 11 attacks on the US, the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and the kingdom’s treatment of gay people and women, which he called “just unacceptable”.

Blinken: UN must send ‘clear message’ to Russia on nuclear weapons

Martin Pengelly

Martin Pengelly

The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, spoke at the United Nations in New York earlier, seeking to “send a clear message” to Russia over its threats concerning the possible use of nuclear weapons during its war in Ukraine.

Tony Blinken.
Tony Blinken. Photograph: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/REX/Shutterstock

“Every council member should send a clear message that these reckless nuclear threats must stop immediately,” Blinken said during a security council session, adding: “The very international order we’ve gathered here to uphold is being shredded before our eyes. We cannot – we will not – let President Putin get away with it.”

Blinken also said it was critical to show that “no nation can redraw the borders of another by force” and said: “If we fail to defend this principle when the Kremlin is so flagrantly violating it, we send the message to aggressors everywhere that they can ignore it, too.”

As the Associated Press reports, the session on Thursday was “called by France, the current council president, [and] focused on addressing accountability for alleged abuses and atrocities, and the US and other western members repeatedly accused Russia of committing them”.

Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, was not in the room when Blinken and others spoke. In his own remarks, he claimed Ukraine was oppressing Russian speakers in the east of the country and western allies of the Ukrainian government “have been covering up the crimes of the Kyiv regime”.

Security council action against Russia is vastly unlikely, given Russia’s veto power.

Here’s some more Ukraine-based reading, from Oliver Milman:

The day so far

The legal offensive against Donald Trump flared anew after a federal appeals court cleared the justice department to continue reviewing documents seized from Mar-a-Lago as it probes his potentially unlawful retention of government secrets. Meanwhile, a slew of new polls show tights races in battleground states like Georgia and Arizona, Americans fired up to vote nationwide and Democrats with a slight lead on the generic congressional ballot.

Here’s what else has happened so far:

  • Ginni Thomas, the wife of rightwing supreme court justice Clarence Thomas and a supporter of efforts to keep Joe Biden from getting into the White House, will speak to the January 6 committee.

  • There appear to be enough votes for the Senate to pass a bill to prevent the type of legal schemes Trump’s allies tried to execute on January 6 to stop the certification of Biden’s election win.

  • The Manhattan attorney general said his investigation into Trump and his organization is continuing.

Lauren Gambino

Lauren Gambino

The race to be the next governor of Arizona is shaping up to be a nailbiter, according to a new survey from AARP Arizona.

The poll found Democrat Katie Hobbs and Republican Kari Lake in a statistical tie at 49% and 48% respectively, with just 3% of voters in the southwest battleground state undecided.

Among Arizonans aged 50 and over, who make up an estimated 60% of the state’s electorate, Lake narrowly leads Hobbs, 50% to 48%, respectively. Among political independents, who comprise roughly one third of voters in the state, Hobbs holds a 4-point edge.

The picture is slightly brighter for Democrats in the state’s competitive senate race, where incumbent Mark Kelly leads his Republican challenger, Blake Masters, by 8-points.

A Republican senator wants to seize on Joe Biden’s recent statement that the “pandemic is over” to pass a resolution ending the national emergency declared to combat Covid-19, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The resolution to be proposed by Roger Marshall of Kansas would end the state of emergency that the administration has used to justify suspending student loans repayments and some procedures at international borders, among other uses.

A previous attempt to end the declaration passed the Senate in March but went nowhere in the House. Both chambers are narrowly led by Democrats, but the White House promised then to veto the measure, if it made it to Biden’s desk.

Back to the polls, Monmouth University has a new one on Georgia’s governorship race that shows Democratic challenger Stacy Abrams with a narrower path to victory but more dedicated support base than the Republican incumbent Brian Kemp as she again challenges him for the job.

The race is among the more high-profile gubernatorial contests to be decided in the 8 November midterms, and could make Abrams Georgia’s first Black and first female governor if elected. Kemp, meanwhile, is known for resisting Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of Joe Biden’s election win there in 2020, though has backed a strict voting law.

According to Monmouth, 34% will definitely and 15% will probably back Kemp, against Abrams’ slightly worse 33% definite support and 12% probable support. Kemp is also viewed more favorably at 54%, versus Abrams’s 48% favorability.

However, Democrats are more fired up for Abrams than Republicans are for Kemp. Monmouth finds that 83% of Democrats will definitely vote for Abrams versus 73% of GOP voters for Kemp – perhaps a consequence of his clashes with Trump.

“Some election conspiracists may still hold a grudge against Kemp for not stepping in to overturn the 2020 result, but it’s unlikely to cost him much support. They may not be enthusiastic, but they’ll still vote for him over Abrams,” Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said.

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