Day 595: "The appearance of fairness and integrity."
1/ The FBI found 48 empty folders that contained classified information at Mar-a-Lago. Agents also found 42 empty folders of sensitive documents labeled with instructions to return to the staff secretary or a military aide. In all, the Justice Department’s search inventory list said the FBI seized 18 documents marked as top secret, 54 marked as secret, 31 marked as confidential, and 11,179 government documents without classification markings. The Justice Department did not say whether all the contents of the folders had been recovered. (New York Times / CNN / Associated Press)
2/ A federal judge granted Trump’s request for a special master to review the documents seized by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago, temporarily halting the Justice Department’s review of the documents in its criminal investigation. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon — a Trump appointee — authorized an independent third party to review the nearly 13,000 records taken during the Aug. 8 search for anything that may be protected by attorney-client privilege, or executive privilege as Trump is claiming. Cannon wrote that she had made her decisions “to ensure at least the appearance of fairness and integrity under the extraordinary circumstances.” While Cannon ordered the Justice Department to cease using the records for any “investigative purpose” until the review is complete, the special master appointment will not impede the ongoing national security assessments being conducted by the intelligence community. (NBC News / Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / NPR / CNN / ABC News)
3/ Trump’s attorney general said there is no “legitimate reason” for classified documents to have been at Mar-a-Lago. “No, I can’t think of a legitimate reason why they could be taken out of government, away from the government, if they are classified,” William Barr said on Fox News. “People say this [search] was unprecedented, but it’s also unprecedented for a president to take all this classified information and put them in a country club, okay?” Barr added that he was “skeptical” Trump’s claim that he declassified everything. Trump, meanwhile, posted a deluge of poppycock not worth repeating about Barr in response on his personal social network. (Washington Post / CNN)
4/ Surveillance video shows a Republican county official in Georgia escorting consultants working with Trump lawyer Sidney Powell into the county’s election offices on the same day the voting system was breached. The footage shows that Cathy Latham, a former GOP chairwoman of Coffee County who is under criminal investigation for posing as a fake elector in 2020, escorting a group of pro-Trump data forensics experts into the elections office shortly before noon on Jan. 7, 2021. Two of the men seen in the video with Latham, Scott Hall and Paul Maggio, have previously said that at the behest of Powell they gained access to and copied software and data from the Dominion Voting Systems machines used by Coffee County. Surveillance footage also shows that 11 days later Doug Logan and Jeffrey Lenberg visited the elections office, seeking evidence that Trump’s 2020 defeat was fraudulent. They’re under investigation for separate alleged breaches of voting machines in Michigan. Latham previously claimed in sworn testimony that she taught a full day of school that day and visited the elections office briefly after classes ended. (CNN / Washington Post)
5/ A judge removed a New Mexico county commissioner from office for his role in the Jan. 6 attack. Couy Griffin is the first public official in more than a century to be disqualified from office for violating the 14th Amendment. It also the first time a judge has formally ruled that the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol was an “insurrection.” Griffin was convicted earlier this year of trespassing when he breached barricades outside the Capitol. (New York Times / CNN)
poll/ 195 Republicans nominees running for office fully deny the legitimacy of the 2020 election, and an additional 61 candidates have raised questions around the results. There are 529 total Republicans running for office. (FiveThirtyEight)
poll/ 60% of voters said abortion should be legal in all or most cases - up from 55% in March. (Wall Street Journal)
poll/ 80% of Americans believe the U.S. is more divided now than it was during their parents’ generation. 64% of Americans said they think the potential for political violence will increase in the coming years. (CBS News)
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