Day 568: "Absolutely no choice."
1/ Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during a deposition with the New York attorney general’s office. Since March 2019, Letitia James’s office has been investigating whether the Trump Organization manipulated asset values to secure more favorable loans and tax benefits. Attorneys for James’ office have said in court that their investigation has collected evidence that Trump and his company have repeatedly used “fraudulent and misleading financial statements,” and that many of those statements were “generally inflated as part of a pattern to suggest that Mr. Trump’s net worth was higher than it otherwise would have appeared.” Trump nevertheless said he had “absolutely no choice” but to take the Fifth during his under-oath interview. Trump, Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump all agreed to each sit for sworn testimony after losing a court battle to quash the subpoenas. While it’s unclear whether Ivanka or Trump Jr. invoked the Fifth, Eric Trump did so more than 500 times during a deposition in the same investigation in 2020. At a campaign stop in Iowa in 2016, Trump suggested that people who cite the Fifth were guilty, saying: “If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” (New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNN / Politico / Associated Press / NPR / CNBC / CBS News)
2/ The FBI search of Mar-a-Lago was reportedly focused on whether Trump and his aides had returned all the documents and other material that were government property. Following a Justice Department investigation into Trump’s handling of classified and other material, officials became suspicious that Trump had not fully complied with requests to return material taken from the White House. While Trump returned 15 boxes of material to the National Archives in January, FBI agents removed another 12 boxes from Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday that had been in the resort’s basement. The warrant authorizing the search was reportedly based on information from an FBI confidential human source, who identified what classified documents Trump was still had and the location of those documents. (Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Politico / Newsweek
3/ U.S. inflation rose 8.5% in July from a year ago, a slight deceleration from 9.1% in June. The slower pace reflects lower energy costs and a drop in the price of gasoline, which has have fallen for 57 consecutive days since reaching a high of more than $5 a gallon in June. (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNBC / Washington Post / New York Times)
4/ Biden signed legislation expanding health care benefits to millions of veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits during their military service. The bipartisan bill, known as the PACT Act, is the most significant expansion of veterans’ health care and benefits in more than 30 years. (NBC News / ABC News / Washington Post)
5/ The Justice Department charged a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps with plotting the assassination of John Bolton, who served in senior national security positions during the Trump and Bush administrations. Prosecutors said Shahram Poursafi had offered $300,000 to hire someone to kill Bolton at his office in D.C. or his home in Maryland. The Justice Department said the plot was likely in retaliation for the U.S. killing of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in January 2020. (Washington Post / NPR / Wall Street Journal / Politico / New York Times / CNN)
poll/ 63% of Americans support using the popular vote to select a president, compared to 35% who would rather use the electoral college system. (NPR)
poll/ 70% of Americans say support using a ballot measure to decide abortion rights in their state. 54% said they would vote in favor of making abortion legal if there were a ballot measure. (USA Today)
poll/ 40% of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing as president – his highest approval rating in two months. 55%, meanwhile, disapprove. (Reuters)
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