Day 573: "Extraordinary impacts."
1/ The House passed the Inflation Reduction Act over unanimous Republican opposition, sending the multibillion-dollar climate, health, and tax bill to Biden’s desk to be signed into law. The legislation marks the single largest federal investment in addressing climate change and the most substantial change to national health care policy since the Affordable Care Act. In total, more than $370 billion will be dedicated to climate and energy programs aimed at reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 2005 levels by the end of the decade. (Washington Post / New York Times / ABC News / NBC News / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)
2/ More than 107 million Americans will live in an “extreme heat belt” by 2053 and experience heat index temperatures over 125 degrees at least one day a year – the extreme danger level on the National Weather Service’s heat index. A new report using hyperlocal data and climate projections finds that the future heat belt will stretch from Texas, Louisiana, and the Southeast through Missouri and Iowa to the Wisconsin border. Texas and Florida will bear the brunt of climate change, with the number of extreme heat days nearly doubling in the next thirty years. The model also finds that next year more than 8 million American are expected to experience heat index temperatures above 125 degrees. The heat index is what it feels like when humidity and air temperature are combined. It is commonly referred to as the “feels like” temperature. (NBC News / Bloomberg / CNBC)
3/ A new study finds that California is overdue for a once-a-century “megaflood” that could drop up to 100 inches of rain and 34 feet of snow. California last experienced a month-long, atmospheric river superstorm in 1862. The paper warns of “extraordinary impacts” and reports that such an event could transform “the interior Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys into a temporary but vast inland sea nearly 300 miles in length and [inundate] much of the now densely populated coastal plain in present-day Los Angeles and Orange Counties.” Most of California’s major highways would also be washed out or become inaccessible. A separate study concluded that human-caused climate change will intensify atmospheric rivers and could double or triple their economic damage in the western U.S. by the 2090s. Government agencies last studied a hypothetical California megaflood more than a decade ago and estimated that it could cause $725 billion in damages – three times the projected fallout from a severe San Andreas Fault earthquake, and five times the economic damage from Hurricane Katrina. While researchers can’t say when the next megaflood will strike, forecasters say there’s a 0.5 to 1.0% chance of it happening in any given year. (Washington Post / New York Times)
4/ The Justice Department is investigating Trump for violations of the Espionage Act. A federal magistrate judge unsealed the warrant authorizing the search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort on Friday, which shows that agents were seeking all “physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed in violation of three potential crimes,” including a part of the Espionage Act, which outlaws unauthorized retention of national security information that could harm the U.S. or aid a foreign adversary. The warrant also cited obstruction of justice as one of the potential crimes justifying the search, as well as the possible destruction of government records as another potential charge. Trump, meanwhile, argued that he used his authority to declassify the material before he left office. The three laws cited in the search warrant, however, don’t depend on whether the documents were classified or not. The FBI recovered 11 sets of classified documents from Mar-a-Lago, including some marked as top secret and meant to be only available in special government facilities. Federal agents were reportedly looking for classified documents related to nuclear weapons in particular, which Trump called a “hoax” before accusing the FBI of planting evidence. In total, agents took around 20 boxes from the property. In June, at least one Trump lawyer certified that all documents marked as classified and held in boxes in storage at Mar-a-Lago had been returned to the government. Leaders of the House Intelligence committee and House Oversight committee asked the Director of National Intelligence to initiate a review of Trump’s handling of the documents and potential harm to national security. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / Politico / NBC News / Bloomberg)
Intelligence officials sometimes purposely withheld sensitive information from Trump during classified briefings for fear of the “damage” he’d do if he knew. While in office, Trump shared classified information with the public multiple times, including revealing that he shared classified information with Russian diplomats, tweeting a classified satellite photo of an Iranian space facility, and disclosing that he ended a covert CIA program to arm anti-Assad rebels in Syria. (New York Times / Business Insider)
Rand Paul called for the repeal of the Espionage Act, claiming the FBI’s search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home was an “egregious affront to the 1st Amendment.” The Espionage Act made it illegal for people to obtain or disclose information relating to national defense that could harm the U.S. or benefit another country. (NPR / Axios)
The National Archives shot down Trump’s baseless claim that Obama “kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified.” In its statement, the National Archives and Records Administration said that it obtained “exclusive legal and physical custody” of Obama’s records when he left office in 2017, and that about 30 million pages of unclassified records were transferred to a NARA facility in the Chicago area and that they continue to be maintained “exclusively by NARA.” (Washington Post)
Trump frantically packed up documents to take with him in the last days of his presidency after accepting he was leaving the White House. “West Wing aides and government movers frantically tossed documents and other items into banker boxes that were shipped to a storage room at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida along with other, previously packed records set aside by Trump, sometimes erratically so, according to two sources with knowledge of Trump’s move and records issues.” (NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Business Insider)
Trump claimed that he “will do whatever” he can “to help the country” after the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago. Trump, however, added: “The people of this country are not going to stand for another scam.” (Fox News)
5/ The FBI seized Scott Perry’s phone a day after agents searched Mar-a-Lago. While Perry hasn’t said why his phone was seized, the Justice Department’s inspector general has been investigating former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark and others as it examines the department’s role in seeking to assist Trump to block certification of the 2020 election results. Separately, the Jan. 6 committee previously subpoenaed Perry for information about his effort to help install Clark as acting attorney general. Perry has has refused to appear. (Politico / CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press)
6/ Rudy Giuliani is a “target” in Georgia’s criminal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Giuliani is set to testify before the Fulton Country special grand jury investigating the case on Wednesday after trying to delay or avoid travel to Atlanta to testify, citing recent surgery to have a heart stent implanted. Meanwhile, a federal judge rejected Lindsey Graham’s request to throw out a subpoena compelling him to testify before the same grand jury. (New York Times / Politico / Washington Post / CNN / ABC News / NBC News)
7/ A federal grand jury investigating the Jan. 6 attack subpoenaed Trump’s White House lawyer for documents and testimony. Eric Herschmann represented Trump during the first impeachment trial. Pat Cipollone, who served as White House counsel, and Patrick Philbin, who served as deputy counsel, have also been subpoenaed. (Politico)
8/ Lawyers associated with Trump organized a multistate effort to access voting equipment and sensitive voting data in at least three battleground states as part of the effort to overturn the 2020 election. Under subpoena, a forensic data firm turned over documents showing that Sidney Powell and an attorney for the Trump campaign directed and paid for the firm to copy election data in Georgia, Michigan, and Nevada. (Washington Post)
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