In case you missed ’em—here are some of the stories making headlines this week.
Trump Pick Named Special Master in Mar-a-Lago Probe
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon appointed Judge Raymond Dearie, who was on the Trump legal team’s list of candidates, to serve as Special Master to review the documents taken when the FBI conducted its August 8 search warrant on the former President’s residence at his Florida country club, Mar-a-Lago.
Simultaneous with choosing Dearie, Judge Cannon also rejected the DOJ’s bid to resume its criminal investigation into classified materials seized at Mar-a-Lago, writing, “[T]here has been no actual suggestion by the Government of any identifiable emergency or imminent disclosure of classified information arising from Plaintiff’s allegedly unlawful retention of the seized property. Instead, and unfortunately, the unwarranted disclosures that float in the background have been leaks to the media after the underlying seizure.”
Governors Transporting Migrants
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) is claiming credit for sending two planes of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday, saying states like Massachusetts, New York and California are “incentivizing illegal immigration through their designation as ‘sanctuary states.'”
His move follows that of Governors Greg Abbott (R-TX) and Doug Ducey (R-AZ) who last month began busing migrants to New York City and Washington, DC.
January 6th Subpoena Sweep and Cell Phone Seizures
On Monday, the New York Times reported the DOJ had seized the phones of two top advisers to former President Trump, along with issuing about 40 subpoenas, in one of the most aggressive sweeps so far related to its investigation of the January 6, 2021 attempt to overturn the 2020 Presidential election.
According to the Times, at least one phone belonged to former In-House Counsel Boris Epshteyn while warrants were issued to former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik and former Trump Social Media Director Dan Scavino.
On Tuesday, news broke that the DOJ had served a grand jury subpoena to and seized the cell phone of “My Pillow” CEO Mike Lindell. In an interview with CNN, Lindell said agents asked him about Tina Peters, a County Clerk in Colorado connected with an alleged scheme to allow an unauthorized person access to voting machines.
Lindell himself streamed a video Tuesday night saying his phone was taken while he was eating at a Hardee’s restaurant in Minnesota.
Abortion Policy Turnaround
On Tuesday, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced a nationwide 15-week abortion ban, stating, “America’s got to make some decisions.”
As of Wednesday, only two prominent Republicans had publicly expressed support for Graham’s proposal—Georgia Senate nominee Herschel Walker and Dakota Senator John Thune. Two other Republican Senators, John Cornyn of Texas and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, said Wednesday that decisions on abortion rights should be left to the states.
A national ban was a turnaround for Graham, who said back in June, “[T]here’s nothing in the Constitution giving the federal government the right to regulate abortion.” And he added that he supported the pre-Roe “law of the land” that “each state can decide the issue of life when life begins.”
Disappointing Inflation Report
Economists had hoped that two months of dropping gas prices would impact overall inflation, but data released Tuesday showed, instead, persistent price increases in key categories, including housing and food.
This has led to suspicion that the Fed will instill a fourth straight 75-point interest rate hike which some analysts worry could crash the housing market.
On Tuesday afternoon President Biden, attempting to do some damage control, celebrated the signing of The Inflation Reduction Act, a sweeping health care, climate and tax package, insisting, “The future of America is bright and the promise of America is real.”
Monarchy or Republic? Australian Youth Say Stay
The transition from Queen Elizabeth II to King Charles III has reignited calls among progressives in Australia to “move forward” and sever its ties with the British Crown.
The last time Australia held a referendum on transitioning to a republic was in 1999. The measure failed with 55% of voters opposing the move.
Current polls show some 60% of Australians want to stay in the monarchy with Generation Z—those age 18 to 24 years old—being most reticent to break off and form an independent republic.
Apart from the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II also served as the head of state of 14 other nations including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Papua New Guinea, Jamaica and several other island nations in the Caribbean and the South Pacific.
Political IQ Update: A Merchant Code for Gun Sales
On Friday, Political IQ reported on efforts by members of Congress and others to compel credit card companies to reclassify the merchant codes for firearms and ammunition sales as something other than “sporting goods” or “retail.”
It has since happened. Visa was the third and final big card company to join on, along with MasterCard and American Express, to adopt the International Standard Organization’s brand new merchant code for gun sales.