Day 610: "Numerous acts of fraud."
1/ New York Attorney General Letitia James sued Trump, Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, and executives at the Trump Organization. In the more than 200-page lawsuit, James alleges that the Trumps enriched themselves through “numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentations” for more than a decade by “grossly” inflating Trump’s net worth by billions of dollars and deceiving lenders, insurers, and tax authorities with false and misleading financial statements. “For too long, powerful, wealthy people in this country have operated as if the rules do not apply to them,” James said in a statement. “Donald Trump stands out as among the most egregious examples of this misconduct. With the help of his children and senior executives at the Trump Organization, Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself and cheat the system.” The civil lawsuit seeks to permanently bar the Trumps from ever running a business in the state again and about $250 million in penalties. In addition, James said she believes Trump and his family business violated several state criminal laws and “plausibly” broke federal criminal laws as well. Her office has referred the matter to federal prosecutors in Manhattan and the IRS. “The pattern of fraud that was used by Mr. Trump and the Trump organization was astounding,” James added. (New York Times/ CNN / Politico / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / NPR / Axios / Bloomberg / ABC News)
2/ The special master tasked with reviewing documents seized from Mar-a-Lago repeatedly challenged Trump’s lawyers refusal to offer proof that Trump had declassified any of the 100 documents that the FBI recovered from his estate. At the first hearing in the matter, U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie said the Justice Department had presented evidence that several of the documents were classified – noting they are marked as such – and asked James Trusty, one of Trump’s attorneys, to explain why he should question the government’s determination. Trusty, however, repeatedly refused to disclose whether Trump had declassified any of the documents he brought to Mar-a-Lago. At one point, Dearie said that if Trump’s attorneys didn’t directly dispute the government’s argument that the documents are classified, “As far as I’m concerned, that’s the end of it.” Trusty then called it “premature” for Dearie to consider that issue right now, to which Dearie responded: “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.” Trump has implied that the 11,000 documents taken from Mar-a-Lago by the FBI were declassified, including the 100 bearing classification markings that suggest they contain highly sensitive national security-related intelligence. (Politico / New York Times / Bloomberg / Washington Post / Axios / Wall Street Journal / CNN / NPR)
3/ Biden condemned Russia’s efforts to “erase” Ukraine from the map after Putin threatened to use nuclear weapons if Kyiv continues its efforts to reclaim occupied territory. Putin also declared a “partial mobilization” to call up as many as 300,000 reservists to reverse setbacks in his war. At the United Nations, Biden said Putin’s war “shamelessly violated” U.N. principles by “extinguishing Ukraine’s right to exist as a state […] and Ukraine’s right to exist as a people,” while calling out Putin for making “irresponsible nuclear threats.” The world’s “blood should run cold” over the invasion, Biden added. On Wednesday, Putin threatened to use nuclear weapons, saying, “If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will use all available means to protect our people — this is not a bluff.” Putin’s reference to his nuclear arsenal came a day after four Russian-controlled areas announced “referendums” on the annexation of nearly 15% of Ukraine into the Russian Federation – a plan Kyiv and its Western allies dismissed as a “sham” aimed at deterring a successful counteroffensive by Ukrainian troops. Russian airlines, meanwhile, were reportedly ordered to stop selling tickets to Russian men aged 18 to 65. (Washington Post / NBC News / Politico / New York Times / Bloomberg / Axios / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)
4/ The Federal Reserve approved its third consecutive 75-basis-point interest-rate hike as inflation remains near a 40-year high. The decision lifts the benchmark federal funds rate to a range between 3% and 3.25% – the highest level since early 2008 – and officials expect to raise interest rates to a range between 4.75% and 5% next year. Officials expect inflation to decline from 6.3% in August to 5.4% by the end of this year before eventually falling back to the Fed’s 2% goal by 2025. The U.S. unemployment rate, meanwhile, is projected to climb from 3.7% to 4.4% by next year, and GDP growth is forecasted to slump to 0.2% for 2022. (Bloomberg / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / CNN / NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post)
5/ Sales of existing U.S. homes fell for the seventh straight month in August as mortgage rates climbed toward their highest level in 14 years. The string of monthly sales declines is the longest stretch since the housing market crashed in 2007. The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage, meanwhile, hit 6.25% last week. (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)
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