FirstFT: US politicians draw battle lines over search of Trump’s home
US lawmakers have demanded more information about the potential threat to national security posed by the treasure trove of classified documents found in Mar-a-Lago during the unprecedented search of the home of former President Donald Trump.
Yesterday’s comments by Democrats and Republicans were among Congress’ first responses to Friday’s release of the FBI’s search warrant filed on the day of the August 8 visit, which revealed that Trump was under investigation for serious violations of law related to defense of the country, mishandling of government material and obstruction of justice.
They highlighted the sharp partisan divide regarding Trump’s treatment by US law enforcement, with Democrats focusing on the legal seriousness of his behavior and Republicans skeptical and critical of the search.
Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, has asked the director of national intelligence to review the damage to US interests — known formally as a damage assessment — as a result of Trump’s decision to release a wealth of sensitive material. after leaving the White House in early 2021.
“What worries me most here is the extent to which . . . it appears to be intentional on the part of the president – keeping these documents after the government requested them back. And that adds another concern,” Schiff said.
Republicans, many of whom have rushed to Trump and last week attacked the Justice Department, the FBI and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, have asked federal authorities to release the affidavit in support of the search warrant. Affidavits, which typically remain secret during a federal investigation, detail why the DoJ asked a federal judge to approve the search.
Trump has maintained that the search was a politically motivated stunt and claimed to have released all material before leaving office, although there is no record of such a move.
“I think in the long run it’s really important for justice, now that they’ve done this, that they show that this wasn’t just another fishing expedition – that they had a good reason to go in and do this, that they exhaust all other resources. And if they can’t, we’ve got a serious problem,” Mike Rounds, a Republican senator from South Dakota, told NBC.
Happy Monday and thanks for reading FirstFT Asia. We hope you have a nice week. —Sophia
Five more stories in the news
1. EU calls for an end to war talks in the Balkans Tensions between Serbia and Kosovo spilled over into violent protests and border disruptions last month. In an effort to avoid conflict between neighboring countries, the EU has demanded that they drop talking about war as the bloc and NATO prepare to hold crisis talks this week.
2. US and China Hold Separate Military Exercises in Southeast Asia The rival powers showed their military prowess this weekend; China sent fighter jets to Thailand yesterday as the US and Indonesia wrapped up two weeks of war games, the largest version of the annual Garuda Shield live fire drills since its inception in 2009. Japan, Australia and Singapore also participated for the first time.
3. Saudi prince made a $500 million bet on Russia around the start of the war in Ukraine Kingdom Holding, one of Saudi Arabia’s leading investors, announced yesterday that it deposited hundreds of millions of dollars into Russian energy companies shortly before and after the invasion of Ukraine. Majority owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Kingdom made the investments even as Western leaders threatened sanctions against Russia.
4. Germany must reduce gas consumption by 20% to avoid winter rationing Businesses and households are bracing for Europe’s biggest energy crisis in a generation, which Germany has feared since Gazprom restricted supplies in mid-June. Now Germany’s top regulatory body has warned the country to cut gas consumption by a fifth to avoid a crippling shortage.
5. Saudi Aramco profit hits new record amid high energy prices The Russian invasion of Ukraine caused soaring energy prices, generating gains that are now visible in earnings results. State oil group Saudi Aramco has broken its May quarterly profit record, rising 90 percent year-on-year in the second quarter.
the next day
Economic data A wide range of figures are released today, including China’s July retail sales and industrial production data, Japan’s monthly industrial production data and India’s monthly trade statistics.
A Year of the Taliban Today marks the first anniversary since the Taliban took power in Afghanistan.
Indian Independence India celebrates Independence Day on the 75th anniversary of the end of British rule.
Anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II Emperor Naruhito, Empress Masako and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga attend a memorial ceremony today at Tokyo’s Budokan Stadium to mark the 77th anniversary of Japan’s surrender and the end of World War II.
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Classroom computers need to be rebooted Children don’t necessarily learn more from laptops than from textbooks, suggesting that we may have approached technology the wrong way for education.
North Pole is melting four times faster than the rest of the planet, study says Scientists have long known that the Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the planet, but they don’t agree on a rate. The warming effect, along with long-term declines in sea ice levels, are considered two key indicators of climate change.
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