The TAKE with Averi Harper
A flurry of developments in investigations involving former President Trump and his companies is a reminder of the grave legal liability that could await him.
A Florida judge announced Thursday, over objections from the Justice Department, that he may release portions of an affidavit used by investigators to justify the raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
Trump’s former White House attorney Pat Cipollone and former deputy White House attorney Pat Philbin are among many other witnesses the FBI is interviewing as part of its investigation.
It happened on the same day Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s longtime chief financial officer, pleaded guilty on Thursday to charges in New York that accused him of tax evasion. As part of a deal with prosecutors, Weisselberg has agreed to testify against the Trump family business when the company goes to trial in October.
These add to an investigation by the Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and the DOJ’s investigation into the events surrounding Jan. 6. .
Trump’s open files could threaten any attempt to return to the White House, but despite various investigations, his influence in the GOP is strong, his endorsers are advancing toward the November election, and the investigations have been used to further fundraising efforts. of funds ahead of a possible 2024 race for president.
The RUNDOWN with Alisa Wiersema
The start of the new school year highlights tensions in classrooms as schools become ground zero for the culture wars that stem from some conservative efforts to review — or outright block — certain books from being taught or made available. the disposition of the students.
This week, a school district in Texas ordered the removal of 41 books from library shelves. The challenged books included The Bible, Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” and an adaptation of Anne Frank’s “The Diary of a Young Girl”, the Texas Grandstand reported. According to the Tribune, the move coincides with the election of three new conservative school board members added to the district’s board of directors.
The nonprofit organization PEN America, which seeks to protect literary freedom, has identified Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida, Oklahoma, Kansas and Tennessee as the states with the most book bans in place in a report released earlier this year. The group also identified trends among banned books, including topics related to race or racism and LGBTQ-related themes.
Librarian advocacy groups say the increased scrutiny of public education is unprecedented. According to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF), which tracks book-related challenges on an annual basis, during the three-month period between September 1 and November 30 last year , “more than 330 unique cases [of book challenging] were reported, doubling the number of reports from 2020” which included 156 challenges. The trajectory put the total number of book challenges in 2021 “on pace to break records with 729 challenges for 1,597 pounds”.
Tensions around censorship could also have an impact on the country’s troubling teacher shortage, which, according to Dr. Erika Kitzmiller of Barnard College, “follows a massive attack on public education and the rise of anti-critical race theory, the rise of anti-black rhetoric [and] censorship in school libraries.”
The COUNCIL with Miles Cohen
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made a pit stop on his nationwide rally tour on Thursday to announce that his new election police force had uncovered voter fraud.
Flanked by law enforcement and in front of a South Florida crowd holding flyers with the words “my vote matters,” DeSantis announced that 20 Floridians had been charged with illegal voting in the last presidential election.
They were all convicted of murder and criminal sex offences, he said, making them ineligible to vote.
“Yet they went ahead and voted anyway. It’s against the law, and now they’re going to pay the price,” he said, from a dais at the county courthouse. of Broward.
DeSantis said others are also being investigated by the Bureau of Election Crimes and Security, which passed Florida’s GOP-controlled legislature earlier this year and just received funding this month. last. Some groups they study include dual voters and “illegal aliens.”
DeSantis said the “real protections for voter integrity” will be “live” on the Aug. 23 ballot, when voters head to the polls to vote in Florida’s primary election.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist in a statement accused DeSantis of “playing politics” and said the presser was a “voter intimidation event” ahead of the primary.
“DeSantis went to Broward County today for one reason and one reason only: to intimidate voters and suppress turnout in Florida’s most Democratic counties,” added his Democratic challenger, Nikki Fried.
The governor is also facing a re-election bid but has barely mentioned his opponents. On Friday, DeSantis will leave Florida again to cross the Rust Belt with two Trump-backed GOP hopefuls.
NUMBER OF THE DAY, powered by FiveThirtyEight
71. According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in May. The majority of Americans polled, including Republicans, believed these events were also linked to climate change and they want the federal government to take action. But like FiveThirtyEight’s Kaleigh Rogers and Zoha Qamar writemany Americans don’t know what the federal government is doing to fight climate change.
ABC News’ “Start Here” podcast. “Start Here” begins Friday morning with ABC’s Terry Moran discussing whether the Justice Department’s Mar-a-Lago search affidavit could be unsealed. Next, ESPN’s Mina Kimes reacts to the NFL’s Deshaun Watson decision. And, ABC’s Mireya Villarreal reports from Texas’ border with Mexico as the number of migrants increases. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is holding rallies for candidates in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
- ABC “This Week” Exclusive: Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY). Round table: ABC News Contributor Jane Coastoneditor of the national journal Ramesh PonnuruUSA Today Washington bureau chief Suzanne PageThe Atlantic Writer Marc Leibovich.
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The Note is a daily feature of ABC News that highlights the top political stories of the day. Please check back next week for the latest news.