Trump sues to halt FBI review of seized documents. Over 15,000 US monkeypox cases, in all 50 states. Russia claims Ukraine assassinated journalist; Ukraine denies it.
Trump sues to halt FBI review of documents seized from Mar-a-Lago
Yesterday, Donald Trump’s attorneys filed a lawsuit seeking to temporarily halt the FBI’s review of classified documents seized earlier this month from his Florida home. Trump’s team want a “special master” appointed to oversee the document review before FBI investigators can probe the documents further.
A special master is a neutral party, usually a retired lawyer or judge, appointed to ensure that investigators follow correct procedures when reviewing evidence. In this case, Trump’s lawyers want the special master to review the seized documents to see if they contain any material that is protected either by attorney-client privilege or executive privilege. The FBI has already appointed agents not connected with the investigation to perform this task. It’s a time-consuming and laborious process, considering the FBI seized over 300 documents carried out in 20 or so boxes.
Trump’s attorneys justify this request in their filing by broadly implying that the Aug. 8 search of his Florida home by the FBI violated Trump’s Fourth Amendment rights, which guard against unreasonable search and seizure. They contend that the search warrant was “overly broad” and that Trump is entitled to a more detailed list of items seized. The filing also alleges that the FBI and Justice Department have treated Trump “unfairly”.
“Stop DOJ in their tracks”
However, Trump’s team are hoping for more than just a procedural delay. One of Trump’s attorneys, Jim Trusty, said in a radio interview last week that they hope that a special master will “stop DOJ in their tracks when it comes to inspecting these documents“.
Following the search, Trump first claimed that the FBI had planted the classified documents agents found in his home. He has since pivoted to asserting that he had declassified the classified documents he had in his home. However, there is a formal bureaucratic procedure for declassifying top secret documents, and there is no evidence that Trump ever made any attempt to even initiate such a procedure. Even a sitting President cannot simply declassify documents on a whim.
Nevertheless, Trump’s team seem hopeful they can find a special master who will buy this argument and return the seized documents to Trump, essentially putting an end to the FBI’s criminal probe. In the warrant for the search, the Justice Department said the search was necessary to investigate several serious crimes Trump may have committed, including violations of the Espionage Act.
Over 15,000 monkeypox cases in US, found in all 50 states
Since May when the CDC began tracking monkeypox cases in the US, there have been over 15,000 cases reported. Every US state and territory has now reported cases (Mississippi has 19 confirmed cases so far). Worldwide, there have been about 40,000 monkeypox cases in 87 countries. The US has now reported more monkeypox cases in the current outbreak than any other country.
Members of the LGBTQ community, particularly gay men, have so far accounted for most, but not all, cases in the US. However, it is dangerous and misleading to assume that only gay people are getting sick. Firstly, people who may suspect they have an infection may be reluctant to seek treatment for fear of stigma. Secondly, it gives the false impression that only a certain segment of the population is vulnerable.
It’s important to know that 1) monkeypox is not an STD, and 2) anyone can get it. A person can contract the virus through any prolonged contact with an infected person, particularly skin-on-skin contact. According to MedicalNewsToday, the virus mainly spreads through “close, intimate contact with people with monkeypox infections who have open sores, or through contact with clothing or articles handled by a person with a monkeypox infection”. It can also spread through respiratory droplets or contaminated surfaces.
The early symptoms of monkeypox can be flu-like and include fever, chills, headaches, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes and fatigue. In the latter stages, sores or pustules form on the skin, possibly in the genitals or anus but also in the face, hands or feet.
Monkeypox symptoms can be painful, but they are rarely fatal. The sores can leave scars.
Monkeypox and kids
Up to this point, only 10 children in the US so far have contracted the virus. Most of these cases have been the result of contact with an infected person in the household. According to the CDC, children can contract monkeypox in the household through “holding, cuddling, feeding, as well as through shared items such as towels, bedding, cups, and utensils”.
For now, unless you’re in New York City or another area with a high number of cases, there is low risk of children contracting monkeypox in communal situations like schools or daycares. However, as cases continue ticking upward, this is likely to change.
Infants, children under 8 and those with skin conditions, such as eczema, and those with immune disorders may face more serious health risks if they contract monkeypox.
Limited vaccines available for now
There is a safe and effective vaccine against monkeypox, but unfortunately it remains in short supply. At the moment, in Mississippi, vaccines are only available to individuals with certain risk factors. Vaccines are available by appointment only, and only at county health department clinics in Lee, Panola, Leflore, Lowndes, Lauderdale, Adams, Hinds, Forrest and Harrison counties.
According to the Mississippi State Department of Health website:
Adults 18 and older may be eligible (for the vaccine) if:
- They have been notified or are aware of close, intimate or sexual contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox,
- Or they identify as gay, bisexual, or as other men who have sex with men, or as a transgender individual, and they report:
- having multiple or anonymous sex partners,
- or having attended an event or venue where monkeypox may have been transmitted (for instance, by sex or skin-to-skin contact).
If you don’t fall into those categories, all you can do for now is be careful and keep an eye on cases in your local area.
Russia claims Ukraine assassinated journalist; Ukraine denies it
On Saturday, Russian journalist Darya Dugina, 29, was killed by a car bomb as she was leaving a cultural event outside Moscow. Dugina was the daughter of political scientist Alexander Dugin, an ultra-nationalist whose philosophy is highly influential in Kremlin circles, particular on Putin. Dugin is considered to be one of the leading advocates and architects of a policy of Russian aggression towards Ukraine, beginning with the 2014 invasion of Crimea. Darya shared her father’s views and promoted them vociferously in her work as a TV journalist.
The bomb may have been intended to kill Dugin as well. He attended the event with his daughter, but Dugin decided at the last moment to travel back to Moscow separately.
Russian authorities have pinned the blame for the assassination on Ukraine’s intelligence forces, which Ukraine denies. A Russian anti-Kremlin group has claimed responsibility for the bombing, but Russia claims this organization is a front for Ukrainian intelligence.
Russia further asserts that a Ukrainian woman was involved in the bombing. A few months ago, they say, a Ukrainian woman came to live in Ms. Dugina’s apartment building, and followed her vehicle around town. The woman, if she existed, has purportedly escaped to Estonia shortly after the bombing.
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