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Secret Service watchdog suppressed memo on January 6 texts erasure

Secret Service suppressed memoTop career officials at the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) office of the inspector general (OIG) tried to alert Congress in April that Secret Service texts from the time of the January 6 Capitol attack had been erased, but their efforts were nixed by its leadership, documents show.

The officials inside the inspector general’s office – the chief watchdog for the Secret Service – prepared a memo that detailed how the Secret Service was resisting the oversight body’s review into January 6, and delayed informing it about the lost texts.

But after the memo was emailed to the DHS inspector general Joseph Cuffari’s chief of staff, its contents were never seen again, and the disclosure about the erased text messages was never included in Cuffari’s semi-annual report to Congress about oversight work.


Officers Of Color Barred From Guarding Derek Chauvin Due To Race Get $1.5 Million

Derrek ChauvinA Minnesota county agreed this week to settle a lawsuit brought by eight correctional officers who say jail management kept them away from Derek Chauvin, the now-former Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd, due to their race.

The eight officers, all nonwhite, are expected to receive $1.45 million from Ramsey County after its board of commissioners voted unanimously to resolve the matter Tuesday. The county will also formally apologize.

The officers’ complaint stemmed from an incident involving Steve Lydon, then-superintendent of the Rammsey County Adult Detention Center.

When Chauvin was brought to the facility on May 29, 2020 ― four days after Floyd’s death in police custody ― Lydon issued an order barring corrections officers of color from entering the fifth floor where Chauvin was being held, according to documents filed with the county. Lydon rescinded the order around an hour later.


Merrick Garland: DOJ asks judge to unseal Mar-a-Lago search warrant

Merrick Garland

Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday that the Justice Department had filed a motion to unseal a search warrant and property receipt from the FBI’s recent search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.

Garland announced the motion at a press conference, marking his first public statement about the matter since Trump publicly confirmed the search at his Florida residence on Monday evening.

Although he declined to answer questions or provide any further details about the search, Garland said that he “personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter,” adding, “The department does not take such a decision lightly.”


Armed man approaches FBI office, exchanges gunfire with cops

Armed man in standoff with police at Cincinnatte FBI field officeAn armed man decked out in body armor tried to breach a security screening area at an FBI field office in Ohio on Thursday, then fled and exchanged gunfire in a standoff with law enforcement, authorities said.

The confrontation at the FBI's Cincinnati field office comes as officials warn of an increase in threats against federal agents in the days following a search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

Federal officials said the man had “attempted to breach” the visitor's screening area at the FBI office and fled when he was confronted by agents. He was chased onto Interstate 71 and has exchanged gunfire with police, according to the Clinton County Emergency Management Agency.

Authorities have closed the interstate in both directions as police remained in a standoff. No injuries were immediately reported.


Tim Kaine has long Covid. That’s not moving Congress to act.

Long Covid

Tim Kaine was once hopeful that his colleagues would take the looming threat of long Covid more seriously if they knew someone living with the mysterious post-viral illness — himself.

Earlier this year, the Virginia senator and former vice presidential candidate started bringing up the nerve sensitivity that he fears may be permanent at every health care-related hearing, in backroom conversations with colleagues, in speeches and during press conferences.

After he was infected in March of 2020 — with strange symptoms he first thought were an allergic reaction — Kaine watched his wife, other loved ones, and fellow senators make full recoveries while his own discomfort remained. Weeks turned into months, then into years.

Now, he stresses to fellow lawmakers and top Biden officials that he’s spent two years feeling “as if every nerve ending in my body has had five cups of coffee.”


Biden signs law to fund health benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits

Burn pits  benefits gill signed by Biden

President Biden signed into law a measure to improve federal health benefits for millions of veterans exposed to toxic smoke from burn pits while serving overseas.

In a ceremony that was equal parts a personal and political victory, Biden enacted the bill on Wednesday that he made a signature goal, not least because his late son, Beau Biden, died of cancer after serving in Kosovo and Iraq.

“We owe you,” Biden said in an emotional ceremony. “You’re the backbone. You’re the steel. You’re the sinew. You’re the very fiber that makes this country what it is.”

Biden was introduced by Danielle Robinson, the widow of Sgt. 1st Class Heath Robinson, who died of cancer two years ago. The legislation is named for him.



Facebook gave police their private data. Now, this duo face abortion charges

Facebook gave police personal data used to charge duoIn the wake of the supreme court’s upheaval of Roe v Wade, tech workers and privacy advocates expressed concerns about how the user data tech companies stored could be used against people seeking abortions.

When a Facebook staffer posed the dilemma to the chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, asking how the platform would protect the user data of individuals seeking abortion care, Zuckerberg said the company’s ongoing push to encrypt messaging would help protect people from “bad behavior or over-broad requests for information”.

But when local Nebraska police came knocking in June – before Roe v Wade was officially overturned – Facebook handed the user data of a mother and daughter facing criminal charges for allegedly carrying out an illegal abortion. Private messages between the two discussing how to obtain abortion pills were given to police by Facebook, according to the Lincoln Journal Star. The 17-year-old, reports say, was more than 20 weeks pregnant. In Nebraska, abortions are banned after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The teenager is now being tried as an adult.


Second trial opens for men accused of plot to kidnap Michigan governor

Secod trial for men accused of kidnap plot of Michigan Governor Federal prosecutors in Michigan on Wednesday began laying out their case against two men accused of plotting to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2020, saying that conversations about their plan went beyond just idle talk.

Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. face kidnapping and weapons conspiracy charges for the second time after a federal judge in Grand Rapids, Michigan declared a mistrial last April.

The men - alleged members of the Three Percenters, a self-styled militia group - are accused of plotting to abduct Whitmer from her vacation home and stage a "trial" for her for treason. Two other defendants were found not guilty in the men's first trial.


Iranian Operative Charged In Plot To Murder John Bolton

 Bolton and Pompeo targeted by Irani assassinU.S. authorities on Wednesday charged an Iranian operative with plotting to assassinate former national security adviser John Bolton as part of a revenge plot for the U.S. airstrike that killed top commander Qassem Soleimani in 2020.

The Justice Department announced the charges against Shahram Poursafi, a member of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps who prosecutors said tried to put someone else up to killing former President Donald Trump's top national security adviser.

Poursafi, 45, has not been captured and his whereabouts are not known.

The charges say Poursafi was working on behalf of the Iranian military when he tried to arrange Bolton's death in or around Washington, D.C. Prosecutors said Poursafi offered to pay $250,000 to anyone in the Washington area to carry out the assassination. The amount was later increased to $300,000 in cryptocurrency.

"The Justice Department has the solemn duty to defend our citizens from hostile governments who seek to hurt or kill them," Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen said in a statement.


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