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Post Politics Now: ‘Dark money erodes public trust,’ Biden says as he pushes disclosure legislation

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 9/20/2022 John Wagner, Azi Paybarah
President Biden responds to a question from reporters after delivering remarks about the Disclose Act in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Tuesday. © Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post President Biden responds to a question from reporters after delivering remarks about the Disclose Act in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Tuesday.

Today, President Biden called on Republicans to join Democrats this week in supporting Senate legislation that would require super PACs and so-called “dark money” groups to disclose donors who give $10,000 or more during an election cycle. Speaking at the White House, Biden said that “dark money erodes public trust” and invoked the name of the late senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), saying his “friend” supported campaign finance reforms as matter of fundamental fairness. Republicans are expected to block an attempt to pass the Disclose Act later this week.

In the House, the Rules Committee is expected to advance a bill that aims to prevent future presidents from trying to overturn election results through Congress. The full House could vote on the bill later this week. The Senate is expected to consider its own version of the legislation, inspired by President Donald Trump’s efforts to reverse the 2020 election results.

Your daily dashboard

  • Noon Eastern time: White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and national security adviser Jake Sullivan briefed reporters. Watch here.
  • 1 p.m. Eastern: Biden delivered remarks on the Disclose Act. Watch here.
  • 1:55 p.m. Eastern: Vice President Harris delivered remarks at South Carolina State University’s Fall Convocation in Orangeburg, S.C. Watch here.
  • 7:30 p.m. Eastern: Biden participates in a DNC fundraiser in New York.

Got a question about politics? Submit it here. After 3 p.m. weekdays, return to this space and we’ll address what’s on the mind of readers.

6:17 PM: The latest: Migrants sent to Martha’s Vineyard file lawsuit against DeSantis

A group of Venezuelan migrants who were flown from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard last week — allegedly after being falsely promised work and other services — have filed a class-action lawsuit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and other officials who arranged the flights.

According to a copy of the complaint, the migrants said they were approached outside a shelter in San Antonio by people “acting in concert” with the Florida officials “pretending to be Good Samaritans offering humanitarian assistance,” The Washington Post’s Amy B Wang reports.

Per our colleague:

The supposed Good Samaritans told the migrants that if they were willing to board airplanes to other states, they would receive employment, housing, educational opportunities and other assistance, the complaint alleged.
“Defendants rounded up and sequestered the individual Plaintiffs and other class members in hotel rooms while they gathered enough of them to fill two planes and carry out their scheme,” the complaint stated, adding that the migrants were sequestered so they could not discuss the plans with anyone else.

You can read the full story here.

6:00 PM: This just in: Booster shots were delayed amid inspection at Indiana packaging plant

Updated bivalent coronavirus booster shots are available across the country. © Scott Olson/Getty Images Updated bivalent coronavirus booster shots are available across the country.

The federal government is releasing millions of Moderna booster shots that were delayed by the Food and Drug Administration as a result of a safety inspection at an Indiana packaging plant.

The Post’s Dan Diamond writes that the delay, which has not been previously reported, was the latest wrinkle in the Biden administration’s fall booster campaign.

Per our colleague:

The FDA’s inspection was focused on production issues at a Bloomington, Ind.-based plant operated by Catalent, which is helping to bottle and package Moderna’s vaccine. Inspectors last month began raising concerns the facility was not sufficiently sterile, and checking whether any vials packaged there might have been contaminated, as part of routine safety reviews, said people with knowledge of the inspection. FDA inspectors concluded there were no problems with Moderna’s vaccine, and the agency is set to soon release more than 10 million doses that had been held back.
...
FDA officials first became aware of potential safety concerns at the Catalent plant in late August, even as the agency was preparing to authorize the new boosters, said three people with knowledge of the inspection who were not authorized to comment.

You can read the full story here.

5:48 PM: Noted: Fetterman, in dig at Oz, gives an example of mushing two words together

Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman, who experienced a stroke in May that he said resulted in auditory processing issues, tweeted a video Tuesday where he lightheartedly addresses the issue and takes a dig at his Republican opponent.

“Pretend I want to go to Wegman’s, but I’m actually in a Redner’s,” the state’s lieutenant governor said at an event, referring to two popular supermarket chains. “But I would tell you that I’m shopping in Wegner’s!”

The crowd at the event this month laughed, and Fetterman added, “Sometimes I mush two words together.”

The example Fetterman uses is a play off a flub his opponent, Mehmet Oz, made in an April video that went viral in August. While trying to show how expensive food has become because of inflation, Oz recorded himself in a supermarket he called “Wegner’s,” which does not exist.

Oz, trailing in the polls, has sought to make Fetterman’s health an issue in the campaign. He said he made his verbal gaffe when he was “exhausted” following an 18-hour day of campaigning.

5:04 PM: The latest: Special master to Trump’s lawyer: You ‘can’t have your cake and eat it, too’

Judge Raymond J. Dearie presides over his first public hearing since his appointment as special master to review documents seized last month by the FBI from Donald Trump's Florida residence. © Jane Rosenberg/Reuters Judge Raymond J. Dearie presides over his first public hearing since his appointment as special master to review documents seized last month by the FBI from Donald Trump's Florida residence.

A federal judge pressed Donald Trump’s attorneys on Tuesday to quickly answer whether the former president declassified documents marked top secret that were found at his Florida residence last month.

The Washington Post’s Perry Stein, Devlin Barrett and Shayna Jacobs report that Trump’s lawyers struggled to provide convincing answers to U.S. District Judge Raymond J. Dearie, who has been assigned the role of special master to review the documents.

“We have little time to complete the tasks assigned to the court,” Dearie said.

Per our colleagues:

Dearie issued no rulings at Tuesday’s hearing, his first as special master. But he made clear that if Trump’s side remained silent on the question of whether their client had at some point in his presidency declassified the documents, Dearie was likely to agree with prosecutors that the documents at the heart of the case are still classified.
Trump’s legal team has argued that making them answer that question now could put them at a disadvantage in the face of a possible future criminal prosecution, or a future legal fight over getting seized documents returned to him.
When Trump defense attorney James M. Trusty told Dearie that he should not be forced to disclose declarations and witness statements yet, Dearie replied: “My view is you can’t have your cake and eat it, too."

You can read the full story here.

4:27 PM: Analysis: Understanding the latest immigration numbers

There is no question that the number of people stopped at the U.S.-Mexico border has surged in the past two years.

But, as The Post’s Philip Bump writes, the numbers being thrown around in the immigration debate can easily be misunderstood.

For example: More than 3.6 million people have been prevented from entering the country or apprehended after having done so in the past two years, according to the latest data from Customs and Border Protection.

But, as Philip writes:

… most of those who’ve been stopped at the border since January 2021 were expelled from the country under Title 42 — nearly 1.9 million of the nearly 3.7 million total stops.

So, far fewer people remain in the United States than the top-line figure would suggest.

And, as our colleague writes:

When the Republican Party releases a statement blasting the number of people who have “crossed the border” under Biden — as it did on Monday — it doesn’t mention that most of those people were quickly removed or slated for removal.
It also means that a lot of the people removed from the United States simply come back to the border and try again.

You can read Philip’s full analysis here.

4:16 PM: The latest: Senate unanimously condemns threats against FBI

There's been a spike in threats against the FBI since agents searched former president Donald Trump's Florida residence to recover documents marked classified. © Department Of Justice Handout/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock There's been a spike in threats against the FBI since agents searched former president Donald Trump's Florida residence to recover documents marked classified.

The Senate unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday condemning violence against members of the FBI, and, more broadly, threats of political violence regardless “of its motivation.”

The resolution also condemned “calls from members of Congress” to “destroy the FBI” and “defund the FBI.”

The resolution comes as threats against the FBI have increased since Aug. 8, when federal agents entered the Florida home of former president Donald Trump, with a court-authorized warrant, to retrieve boxes of government documents, some of which were marked classified.

Trump supporters and Republicans quickly called the FBI action illegal and improper, including Sens. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.).

In the House, Republican members who called for defunding or dismantling the FBI include Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Paul A. Gosar (Ariz.), Jeff Duncan (S.C.) and Matt Gaetz (Fla.), who himself is under a separate federal investigation.

Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), chair of the Judiciary Committee, urged his colleagues to support the resolution, saying: “Let’s condemn these baseless attacks on the men and women of the FBI and the despicable political game they represent.”

3:39 PM: This just in: Jan. 6 committee chair says next hearing is Sept. 28

The next public hearing of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sept. 28, the committee’s chairman, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), said Tuesday, per our Post colleague Jacqueline Alemany.

The committee earlier this month sought information from former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), who was in communication with top advisers to President Donald Trump about television ads that, according to the committee, “relied upon and amplified known false claims about fraud in the 2020 election.”

The panel’s previous hearings featured video from the attack as well as prerecorded and live interviews from Republican officials describing what they saw and heard as supporters of the former president sought to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Thompson also has said the committee is considering whether to make referrals to various federal agencies for potential legal action.

3:20 PM: Just in: McConnell says sending migrants to different cities is ‘a good idea’

An immigrant family makes their way to the bus transporting them from Edgartown, Mass., on Martha's Vineyard to Vineyard Haven and the ferry to Woods Hole, Mass., on Sept. 16. © Ron Schloerb/AP An immigrant family makes their way to the bus transporting them from Edgartown, Mass., on Martha's Vineyard to Vineyard Haven and the ferry to Woods Hole, Mass., on Sept. 16.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday embraced the controversial move by Republican governors to send migrants to other parts of the country.

“I personally thought it was a good idea,” McConnell told reporters on Tuesday, referring to recent efforts by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) and Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Tex.). McConnell said the number of migrants who have been sent to Washington, Chicago or Martha’s Vineyard is “fewer than people down in Texas have to deal with on a daily basis.”

McConnell, in addition to being one of the most powerful Republicans in the country, also is married to a person who immigrated to the United States at a young age. McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao — who served as President Donald Trump’s transportation secretary — immigrated to the United States when she was 8 years old and did not speak English.

In 2018, Chao confronted advocates who criticized McConnell’s support for Trump’s handling of migrants at the U.S.-Mexican border.

2:21 PM: The latest: Senate confirms Florence Pan to D.C. federal appeals court

Judge Florence Y. Pan was confirmed Tuesday to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by the Senate, filling the vacancy created when Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was elevated to the Supreme Court.

Sen. Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) noted Pan, now serving on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, will be the first Taiwanese American to serve on the D.C. circuit court. In 2021, Pan took Jackson’s seat on the district court when Jackson went to the appellate court.

Four Republican senators voted with the Democratic majority to confirm Pan: Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rob Portman (Ohio) and Mike Rounds (S.D.).

Those votes are noteworthy because, as The Washington Post’s Rachel Weiner wrote:

Pan was first nominated to the federal bench by President Barack Obama in 2016 but was blocked by Senate Republicans, who refused to hold confirmation hearings for his candidates.

2:15 PM: The latest: House Republican leaders urge ‘no’ vote on bill inspired by Jan. 6

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) speaks during a House Republican news conference on Capitol Hill on May 11. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) speaks during a House Republican news conference on Capitol Hill on May 11.

House Republican leaders are urging their members to vote against legislation, expected to come to the floor as early as Wednesday, that seeks to revise a 135-year-old law to prevent future presidents from trying to overturn election results through Congress.

A notice to GOP members distributed by House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) called the legislation “the Democrats’ latest attempt at a federal takeover of elections in order to stack the electoral deck in their favor.”

The legislation, proposed by Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), would reaffirm that the vice president has no role in validating a presidential election beyond acting as a figurehead who oversees the counting process, barring them from changing the results.

The Presidential Election Reform Act (PERA) also would expand the threshold necessary for members of both chambers to object to a state’s results, as well as clarify the role governors play in the process.

The inspiration for the legislation was President Donald Trump’s attempt to use the counting of electoral votes by Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, to reverse the election results. During the process, 139 House Republicans supported the challenge of at least one state’s results.

“The Majority is rushing this legislation to the floor, bypassing the committee process altogether, without any consultation from Republicans on committees of jurisdiction or even their Senate colleagues, further emphasizing the fact that this is a political messaging exercise prior to the midterms that undermines election integrity,” said the document distributed by Scalise’s office.

2:00 PM: This just in: Many migrants crossing border are from communist or authoritarian countries, Biden says

WASHINGTON, DC ‐ September 20, 2022:  US President Joe Biden enters to deliver remarks about the DISCLOSE Act in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Tuesday September 20, 2022. (Photo by Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post) © Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post WASHINGTON, DC ‐ September 20, 2022: US President Joe Biden enters to deliver remarks about the DISCLOSE Act in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Tuesday September 20, 2022. (Photo by Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post)

President Biden said Tuesday that many of the migrants currently arriving at the border are not from Mexico but are coming from communist countries such as Cuba or leftist regimes.

“There are fewer and fewer immigrants coming from Central America and from Mexico,” Biden said at the White House. “It’s a totally different circumstance. What’s on my watch now is Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, and the ability to send them back to those states is not rational. ... We’re working with Mexico and other countries to see if we can stop the flow. That’s the difference.”

Biden echoed earlier comments made by his press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, that those currently entering the United States are fleeing oppressive governments and are therefore legally seeking asylum.

“They’re using people who are leaving communist countries as a political stunt,” she said about Republican leaders, including Gov. Ron DeSantis (Fla.), who had 50 migrants flown last week from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard.

Texas sheriff to investigate DeSantis flying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard

The White House has been in touch with officials in Delaware following reports that DeSantis might next fly migrants to the president’s home state. The Republican has spearheaded several efforts to ship migrants to cities and states that provide “sanctuary” protections for some immigrants in the country illegally. The White House has repeatedly criticized the governor of political grandstanding, and there has been some suggestion that his efforts might be illegal.

Asked about the latest reports of a flight to Delaware, Biden told reporters: “He should come visit. We have a beautiful shoreline.”

By: Eugene Scott

1:55 PM: This just in: Biden highlights Barre Seid’s donation in push for Disclose Act

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When President Biden said Tuesday that there is too much “dark money” in politics and that such large donations need to be disclosed, he highlighted an example to illustrate why he believes the Senate must pass the Disclose Act: a $1.6 billion donation given to a conservative group focused on a range of issues.

“As far as we know, that’s one of the biggest dark-money transfers in our history,” Biden said. “The public only found out about this [$1.6 billion] transfer because someone tipped off some of you reporters. Otherwise, we still wouldn’t know about.”

The donation Biden was referring to came from Barre Seid, whom the New York Times described last month as an electronics manufacturing mogul. It said his donation “is among the largest — if not the largest — single contributions ever made to a politically focused nonprofit.” The money went to a group led by conservative activist Leonard A. Leo.

Rather than write Leo’s group a check, Seid donated shares of his company before the company was sold for $1.65 billion to another organization, the Times reported. The outlet described it as an “unusual series of transactions that appear to have avoided tax liabilities.”

Leonard Leo helped conservative nonprofits raise $250 million from mostly undisclosed donors in recent years

Biden on Tuesday said dampening the influence of money in politics had previously been a bipartisan goal, noting the efforts of the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). “For him, it was a matter of fundamental fairness, and he was 100 percent right about that,” Biden said.

The Senate is expected to vote on the measure this week, according to Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.).

“Every Senator will have a choice,” Schumer tweeted. “Vote for transparency in our elections, or stand with the forces of dark money.”

1:42 PM: Noted: Nation’s largest LGBTQ group picks first Black woman as president

Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group, hired Kelley Robinson, the executive director of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, as its new president Tuesday.

The Post’s Michael Scherer reports that the vote to bring on Robinson came more than a year after HRC’s directors fired its previous president, Alphonso David, for his role advising the staff of former New York governor Andrew M. Cuomo (D) on how to respond to sexual harassment allegations that eventually led to the governor’s resignation. Per Michael:

Robinson, a Black woman who identifies as queer, said in an interview this week that she hoped to lead a “broad, intersectional coalition for change” that extends beyond the political sphere to include workplaces, schools and sports leagues.
“I am a community organizer, through and through, and I kind of look at the fight that is in front of me,” she said. “It has become clear that reproductive rights is the canary-in-the-coal-mine issue in so many ways. They are coming for abortion rights, they are coming for marriage rights, they are coming for privacy.”

You can read the full story here.

1:31 PM: On our radar: Democrats call for more Puerto Rico aid, recall ‘callousness’ of Trump throwing paper towels

Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) speaks about Puerto Rico and its failed power grid on Tuesday on Capitol Hill. © Jacquelyn Martin/AP Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) speaks about Puerto Rico and its failed power grid on Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

Democratic members of Congress called Tuesday for more federal assistance to be sent to Puerto Rico as the U.S. territory recovers from the devastation of Hurricane Fiona.

At a news conference — originally scheduled to mark the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico in 2017 — several lawmakers recalled how Maria had revealed weaknesses of the island’s infrastructure, many of which had not been properly addressed.

“A year ago, I said that the Puerto Rican power grid was not where it needed to be,” said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.), the first Puerto Rican woman elected to Congress. “And I warned that not even a Category 1 [storm] will lead to a collapse of the power grid. And here we are today.”

Velázquez and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) introduced a House resolution Tuesday to honor the more than 3,000 lives lost to Hurricane Maria and reaffirm the U.S. government’s commitment to the territory.

“It is our colony, and we must act,” she said. “That means that we need to do proper oversight to make sure that the people of Puerto Rico are provided with the solutions that will provide the kind of future that they all deserve.”

Democrats also made several pointed comparisons between President Biden and the previous administration. After Hurricane Maria, President Donald Trump was sharply criticized for tossing rolls of paper towels into a crowd as he delivered aid in San Juan. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) referred to the “callousness” of that incident.

“The people of Puerto Rico have courage and resilience and strength that is beyond words. And to them, I want to say you are not alone,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said. “We’re going to have your back. The time of throwing paper towels and counting it as action is over.”

By: Amy B Wang

1:01 PM: Noted: Biden administration announces Chips Act implementation team

Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo speaks during a moderated conversation on building a semiconductor ecosystem, on Sept. 13 in West Lafayette, Ind. © Darron Cummings/AFP/Getty Images Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo speaks during a moderated conversation on building a semiconductor ecosystem, on Sept. 13 in West Lafayette, Ind.

The White House and Commerce Department announced the team that will oversee the doling out of $52 billion in federal subsidies for the semiconductor industry, pledging strict oversight to “responsibly spend taxpayer dollars.”

Distributing the money provided in the Chips and Science Act will be one of the biggest industrial development programs the federal government has ever administered.

Ronnie Chatterji will oversee the program from the White House’s National Economic Council, managing interagency coordination of an effort that aims to subsidize construction of computer-chip factories and research facilities in the United States. Chatterji was previously chief economist at Commerce and a professor at Duke University’s business school.

Michael Schmidt will lead the new Chips Program Office at Commerce, which is expected to vet industry applications for chip-factory construction. He previously managed implementation of the Child Tax Credit program at the Treasury Department.

A separate Chips Research and Development Office at Commerce that will vet applications for R&D funding will be overseen by Eric Lin. He has a doctorate in chemical engineering and was previously director of the Material Measurement Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The leadership, which is still hiring additional staff, will be “essential to bolstering our supply chains, spurring historic investments in research, strengthening our national security, and creating good-paying jobs for the American people,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement.

By: Jeanne Whalen

12:55 PM: The latest: Sullivan says regular talks continue with Russia over release of Griner, Whelan

U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner is escorted from a courtroom after a hearing in Khimki, just outside Moscow, on Aug. 4. © Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner is escorted from a courtroom after a hearing in Khimki, just outside Moscow, on Aug. 4.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Tuesday that the United States is continuing to have direct discussions with Russia “on a regular basis” about the release of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, both of whom the Biden administration says are wrongfully detained.

Fundamentally, the United States, at the direction of the president, has been prepared to take significant steps in order to secure the release of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, and we have communicated that to the Russians,” Sullivan said during a White House briefing for reporters. “We’ve had direct discussions with the Russians on it on a regular basis over the course of the past few months. Those conversations are continuing.”

Griner, a basketball star, has been detained in Russia since February on a drug-possession charge and faces 10 years in prison, while Whelan, a former Marine, was sentenced to 16 years in Russian prison in 2020 after being convicted of spying.

Biden met last week with Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, and Whelan’s sister in the Oval Office, according to the White House.

Sullivan’s comments came a day after it was announced that Mark Frerichs, an American contractor held captive by the Taliban since his abduction in Kabul in 2020, was freed in exchange for an Afghan imprisoned on drug-trafficking charges in the United States.

U.S. hails release of Taliban captive following prisoner swap

12:46 PM: This just in: Biden will deliver ‘firm rebuke of Russia’ at U.N., top aide says

© Provided by The Washington Post

President Biden will deliver “a firm rebuke of Russia’s unjust war in Ukraine” when he speaks Wednesday at the United Nations, and he will encourage world leaders to continue their opposition to Russia’s “naked aggression,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters at the White House on Tuesday.

Biden will highlight that Russia, “a permanent member of the Security Council” of the United Nations “has struck at the very heart” of the U.N. charter “by challenging the principle of territorial integrity and sovereignty.”

Sullivan warned that Russia was planning “sham” attempts to annex parts of Ukraine.

“If this does transpire, the United States will never recognize Russia claims to purportedly annexed territory,” he said during the White House briefing. “We reject Russia’s actions unequivocally.”

Russia moves toward annexing Ukraine regions in a major escalation

Sullivan also said he spoke this morning with his Ukrainian counterpart, Andriy Yermak, and they discussed the mass burial site near Izyum. “He put it quite bluntly,” Sullivan said. “He said this is in some ways worse than Bucha. And we will see more of these.”

In previewing other key components of Biden’s upcoming address, the national security adviser said the president will announce “significant” investments by the United States to address global food insecurity. Biden will also speak about how the country “restored its global leadership” by recently delivering on promises about global health, climate and emerging technologies, Sullivan said, in a nod to what the administration considers the shortcomings of Biden’s Republican predecessor, Donald Trump.

12:15 PM: The latest: Schumer seeks to frame choice on donor disclosure legislation

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) speaks during a news conferencon Capitol Hill in Washington on Aug. 7. © Shuran Huang/For The Washington Post Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) speaks during a news conferencon Capitol Hill in Washington on Aug. 7.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) sought to frame an upcoming vote on the Disclose Act as a choice between bringing “transparency to elections” and standing “with the forces of dark money.”

Schumer spoke on the Senate floor Tuesday, a few hours before President Biden was scheduled to hold a White House event voicing his support for the legislation that would require super PACs and “dark money” groups to disclose donors who give $10,000 or more during an election cycle.

Schumer has pledged to hold a vote this week to begin debate on the legislation, which Republicans are expected to block.

“What reason under heaven is there for keeping massive political contributions hidden from the public?” Schumer said. “Even the Republican leader, who has dedicated much of his career, unfortunately, to killing many campaign finance reforms, claimed in the past to support increased disclosure, though sadly he is opposed to our bill today for no good reason.”

Schumer argued that anyone who favors more disclosure should support the bill.

“These flimsy arguments saying that it will deter people from giving are absurd,” Schumer said. “Absurd. If a multibillionaire wants to spend colossal sums on candidates or nominees who are deeply anti-choice, or who support anti-democracy candidates, or who harbor views deeply in conflict with the views of the general public, shouldn’t the public at least have a right to know it?”

12:05 PM: Analysis: Trump’s QAnon embrace could pose fresh tests for Silicon Valley

Supporters cheer as Vance speaks at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown, Ohio, on Sept. 17. © Andrew Spear/For The Washington Post Supporters cheer as Vance speaks at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown, Ohio, on Sept. 17.

Former president Donald Trump is suspended from most major social media platforms, but his apparent weekend salute to the QAnon conspiracy theory could still have ripple effects for Silicon Valley — and it highlights the challenge of policing the movement.

Writing in The Technology 202, The Post’s Cristiano Lima recounts that during a rally in Ohio on Saturday, Trump delivered remarks over music resembling a common QAnon theme, prompting a salute from audience members. Per Cristiano:

The incident underscores not only how the harmful and once-fringe theory has entered mainstream politics, but also how subtly it can be referenced or spread.
Trump’s song selection — which his team denied was linked to QAnon — is the type of wink-and-a-nod reference that can at times escape detection on tech platforms, many of which only began cracking down on the conspiracy theory more forcefully in recent years.
It’s a far more cloaked reference than he made in a separate post last week. As the Associated Press reported, Trump took to his Truth Social platform to repost “an image of himself wearing a Q lapel pin overlaid with the words ‘The Storm is Coming,’” both QAnon references.

You can read the full analysis here.

12:05 PM: This just in: U.S. charges ‘brazen’ theft of $250 million from pandemic food program

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at a naturalization ceremony in New York on Saturday. The Justice Department announced charges on Tuesday in connection with what prosecutors say was $250 million in fraud targeting a pandemic food aid program. © Eduardo Munoz/Reuters U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at a naturalization ceremony in New York on Saturday. The Justice Department announced charges on Tuesday in connection with what prosecutors say was $250 million in fraud targeting a pandemic food aid program.

The Justice Department charged 47 defendants on Tuesday with allegedly defrauding a federal program that provided food for needy children during the pandemic, describing the scheme — totaling $250 million — as the largest uncovered to date targeting the government’s generous stimulus aid.

The Post’s Tony Romm reports that federal prosecutors said the defendants — a network of individuals and organizations tied to Feeding Our Future, a Minnesota-based nonprofit — allegedly put the wrongly obtained federal pandemic funds toward luxury cars, houses and other personal purchases in what amounted to a case of “brazen” theft. Per Tony:

“These indictments, alleging the largest pandemic relief fraud scheme charged to date, underscore the Department of Justice’s sustained commitment to combating pandemic fraud and holding accountable those who perpetrate it,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.
The alleged scheme centered on the Federal Child Nutrition Program, which is administered by the Department of Agriculture to provide free meals to the children of lower-income families. Congress greatly expanded the program over the course of the pandemic, including by allowing a wider array of organizations to distribute food at a larger range of locations.

You can read Tony’s full story here.

11:39 AM: On our radar: Trump lawyers, Justice Dept. to meet with Mar-a-Lago special master

The Mar-a-Lago estate is seen in Palm Beach, Fla., on Dec. 17, 2016. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post The Mar-a-Lago estate is seen in Palm Beach, Fla., on Dec. 17, 2016.

Lawyers for Donald Trump are scheduled to meet Tuesday with federal prosecutors and the special master appointed at the request of the former president to review documents seized from his Florida home.

The Post’s Perry Stein, Devlin Barrett and Shayna Jacobs report that in a court filing ahead of the hearing, Trump’s lawyers acknowledged that the investigation into the documents found at Mar-a-Lago could lead to an indictment.

Per our colleagues:

The newly appointed special master, federal judge Raymond J. Dearie, is weighing the mechanics of how to review about 11,000 documents, roughly 100 of which are classified, that were taken Aug. 8 when FBI agents executed a court-authorized search of Trump’s residence and private club.
Prosecutors say the search was necessary to recover highly sensitive national security papers, following months of prevaricating by Trump’s legal team about what classified documents he had after leaving the White House, and whether he had given them all back to the government. Officials say they are investigating several potential crimes, including mishandling of national defense information and hiding or destroying government records. Trump’s lawyers accuse the Justice Department of trying to turn a records-keeping dispute with the National Archives and Records Administration into a criminal case.

You can read the full story here.

11:16 AM: Noted: In N.H., Pompeo says he’ll decide on a presidential bid after midterms

Former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, a Republican presidential prospect, addresses an audience at a “Politics and Eggs” gathering at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. on Tuesday. © Steven Senne/AP Former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, a Republican presidential prospect, addresses an audience at a “Politics and Eggs” gathering at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. on Tuesday.

Former secretary of state Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that he will make a decision “a handful of months from now” about whether to move forward with a Republican presidential bid.

Pompeo’s comments to reporters came during a visit to Manchester, N.H., where he appeared at a “Politics & Eggs” event that is considered a rite of passage for prospective White House contenders in what has traditionally been the first primary state.

“I’m here, it’s not random,” Pompeo told reporters after the event, suggesting he and his wife are giving serious consideration to a run.

“Whether we’ll decide to get in the race and run for president, I can’t answer,” Pompeo said. “But we are doing the things that one would do to be ready to make such an announcement and then to engage with the American people on the ideas that we believe matter.”

He said an announcement would come after the November midterm elections, “a handful of months from now.”

Pompeo, a former congressman from Kansas and former CIA director, also plans to visit Iowa this week.

10:54 AM: Noted: Kemp has edge over Abrams in Georgia gubernatorial race, polls show

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), left, and Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson) © Brynn Anderson/AP Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), left, and Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Two polls released Tuesday show Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) with an edge over Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams in their rematch for governor, while the state’s marquee race for the U.S. Senate is much tighter.

Kemp is leading Abrams, 50 percent to 42 percent among likely voters, a poll from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution finds. In a Marist Poll, Kemp’s lead over Abrams is 53 percent to 42 percent among registered voters who say they definitely plan to vote

Kemp narrowly defeated Abrams in 2018.

In the Senate race, the Journal-Constitution poll shows Republican challenger Herschel Walker drawing the support of 46 percent of likely voters compared to 44 percent for Sen. Raphael G. Warnock (D-Ga.). That finding is within the poll’s margin of error.

The Marist poll finds Warnock at 47 percent and Walker at 45 percent among registered voters who say they will definitely vote — another finding within the margin of error.

10:18 AM: Noted: GOP leaders treating Trump ‘as though he were king,’ Cheney says

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) speaks during a Constitution Day lecture at American Enterprise Institute in Washington on Monday. © Drew Angerer/Getty Images Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) speaks during a Constitution Day lecture at American Enterprise Institute in Washington on Monday.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) is accusing Republican leaders of treating former president Donald Trump “as though he were king.”

Cheney, who lost her primary last month to a Trump-backed challenger, offered her assessment Monday night during an appearance at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington.

“Those who are protecting Donald Trump — elected leaders of my party — are now willing to condemn FBI agents, Department of Justice officials, and pretend that taking top-secret … documents and keeping them in a desk drawer in an office in Mar-a-Lago, or in an unsecured location anywhere, was somehow not a problem,” Cheney said. “They are attempting to excuse this behavior.”

“Bit by bit, excuse by excuse, we’re putting Donald Trump above the law,” Cheney added. “We are rendering indefensible conduct normal, legal and appropriate — as though he were a king.”

Cheney also relayed a story about one of her Republican colleagues referring to Trump as “the orange Jesus” as he signed papers to challenge state election results on Jan. 6, 2021.

10:10 AM: Analysis: Senate set to approve treaty fighting climate super-pollutants

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Capitol Hill. (Tom Brenner for The Washington Post) © Tom Brenner/For the Washington Post Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Capitol Hill. (Tom Brenner for The Washington Post)

When Congress passed the biggest climate bill in U.S. history this summer, not a single Republican voted for the measure.

But now Congress is poised to deliver a bipartisan win on climate action, as the Senate appears set to ratify a treaty amendment fighting climate super-pollutants with plenty of Republican support, The Post’s Maxine Joselow writes in The Climate 202.

Per Maxine:

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) has teed up votes this week on the Kigali Amendment to the 1987 Montreal Protocol, which compels countries to phase down hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs — planet-warming chemicals used in air conditioning and refrigeration that are hundreds to thousands of times as powerful as carbon dioxide.
The Senate will vote on a motion to invoke cloture on the Kigali Amendment on Tuesday afternoon. If 60 senators vote to invoke cloture and end debate on the amendment, a final vote will likely happen Thursday.
At that point, the Kigali Amendment would need the approval of a two-thirds supermajority of the chamber — 67 senators if all 100 senators are present — to become law.

You can read the full analysis here.

9:53 AM: Noted: Another poll shows tight races for Senate, governor in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Democratic Senate candidate Mandela Barnes speaks to supporters in Milwaukee on Aug. 9. © LIANNE MILTON/FTWP Wisconsin Democratic Senate candidate Mandela Barnes speaks to supporters in Milwaukee on Aug. 9.

A new poll shows tight races in Wisconsin for both Senate and governor.

In the Senate race, Democratic challenger Mandela Barnes draws the support of 48 percent of likely voters compared to 47 percent for incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), according to the Spectrum News-Siena College poll.

Johnson remains competitive despite negative favorability ratings. In the poll, he is viewed favorably by 37 percent of likely voters and unfavorably by 50 percent of likely voters. Johnson breaks even among men, but twice as many women view him unfavorably than favorably.

Voters are more evenly split on Barnes, the state’s lieutenant governor, with 41 percent viewing him favorably and 39 percent viewing him unfavorably.

In the gubernatorial race, incumbent Gov. Tony Evers (D) draws the support of 49 percent of likely voters compared to 44 percent for Republican challenger Tim Michels. That finding, like the Senate race, falls within the poll’s margin of error.

A Marquette Law School Poll released last week showed tight races in both contests as well.

9:24 AM: This just in: White House confirms plans for an Elton John performance on the South Lawn

Elton John performs during his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road,” tour on July 15 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. © Matt Rourke/AP Elton John performs during his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road,” tour on July 15 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.

The White House on Tuesday officially announced plans for Elton John to perform on the South Lawn on Friday and said President Biden and first lady Jill Biden would both make remarks.

There have been reports in recent days of the planned concert — dubbed “A Night When Hope and History Rhyme” — based on invitations sent for the event.

The White House said in a statement Tuesday that the concert would “celebrate the unifying and healing power of music, commend the life and work of Sir Elton John, and honor the everyday history-makers in the audience, including teachers, nurses, frontline workers, mental health advocates, students, LGBTQ+ advocates and more.”

9:15 AM: The latest: Sen. Graham says abortion ‘not a states’ rights issue’

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) arrives for a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Dec. 10. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) arrives for a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Dec. 10.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) declared Tuesday that abortion “is not a states’ rights issue” as he advocated during a television appearance for his legislation that would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy nationwide.

His remarks during an appearance on “Fox & Friends” on Fox News are directly at odds with what he said on the issue in May, when it appeared the Supreme Court was on the verge of overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion decision.

“If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, which I believe was one of the largest power grabs in the history of the Court, it means that every state will decide if abortion is legal and on what terms,” Graham tweeted. “That, in my view, is the most constitutionally sound way of dealing with this issue and the way the United States handled the issue until 1973.”

He made a different argument Tuesday morning.

“This is not a states’ rights issue, this is a human right issue,” Graham said. “I don’t care what California does on most things. I care here. I am not going to sit on the sidelines in Washington, D.C., and tell the pro-life community Washington is closed for business.”

Graham’s legislation has divided Republicans, some of whom prefer that abortion policy should be left to the states.

“No matter what California or Maryland will do, these are human beings in development,” Graham said. “I am going to advocate a national minimum standard. … I do not believe federalism requires me to sit on the sidelines and watch a baby at 30 weeks, 28 weeks, be dismembered. I will not do that.”

8:43 AM: Noted: Trump wants you to know he was not ‘dissed’ by Gov. DeWine

Senate Republican candidate J.D. Vance speaks to the crowd at a rally held by former president Donald Trump in Youngstown, Ohio, on Saturday. © Gaelen Morse/Reuters Senate Republican candidate J.D. Vance speaks to the crowd at a rally held by former president Donald Trump in Youngstown, Ohio, on Saturday.

To be seen or not be seen with Donald Trump has become an issue for Republicans in the final stretch before the November midterms.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R), who has been endorsed by the former president, was a no-show at Trump’s rally Saturday in Youngstown, Ohio, where Trump touted the candidacy of GOP Senate nominee J.D. Vance.

DeWine said days earlier that he would not make it because he planned to be cheering on his granddaughters at a cross-country meet. He wound up meeting Trump at the airport ahead of the rally before heading back to his hometown of Cedarville for the race.

Late Monday, DeWine’s absence was apparently still on Trump’s mind, as he took to his social media platform, Truth Social, to say reports that DeWine “dissed” him were untrue.

“The Governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine, met me at the airport as I arrived for the big and very successful Youngstown Rally,” Trump wrote. “He had to fly in to do so. I suggested he go home and spend some time with his family, he has a very busy political life.”

On Sunday, the New York Times reported that Vance had not invited Trump — who is unpopular with many swing voters — to come into the state to campaign with him. The same was true with Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania two weeks earlier, the Times said.

In both cases, Trump’s aides told the campaigns he was coming.

8:12 AM: Analysis: GOP balks at covid funding after Biden declares pandemic over

Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) talks to reporters while walking to a vote on Capitol Hill in Washington on Sept. 8. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) talks to reporters while walking to a vote on Capitol Hill in Washington on Sept. 8.

President Biden’s impromptu remarks that the “pandemic is over” are complicating an already arduous path for more coronavirus aid on Capitol Hill.

Writing in The Health 202, The Post’s Rachel Roubein notes that congressional Republicans are seizing on the comments as they continue to question the necessity of funding the administration’s $22.4 billion request for more testing, treatments and next-generation vaccines. Per Rachel:

This comes as congressional negotiators are hashing out the details of a stopgap spending bill to keep the government’s lights on past Sept. 30 — and top White House officials have pushed lawmakers to attach more money for covid-19 to the must-pass vehicle.
“The president said the pandemic is over,” said Sen. Richard C. Shelby (Ala.), the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, adding that covid funding wasn’t the highest priority. One Senate GOP aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid, went as far as to say it’s off the table, while Democrats said negotiations on a short-term spending bill are ongoing.
The administration’s ask earlier this month for more dollars was already a long shot.

You can read the full analysis here.

7:27 AM: Analysis: House to move quickly on Electoral Count Act bill. When will Trump weigh in?

Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) speak ahead of a House Jan. 6 committee hearing on June 21. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post) © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) speak ahead of a House Jan. 6 committee hearing on June 21. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

The House is moving quickly on a bill to overhaul the Electoral Count Act, the 19th-century law governing the certification of presidential elections.

Writing in The Early 202, The Post’s Leigh Ann Caldwell and Theodoric Meyer say that Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) unveiled their bill Monday, and the House is expected to vote on it on Wednesday, where it is expected to pass with the support of Democrats and at least a few Republicans.

Our colleagues write:

The Senate released its version in June, but the earliest it would be brought up for a vote is after the midterm elections during the “lame duck” session.
The speed at which it is being ushered through the House is, in part, to put Republicans on the record ahead of the midterms.
Then-President Trump tried to exploit the law’s ambiguities in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election results by pressuring Vice President Pence to reject electors from certain states.
Pence declined, but Trump’s effort culminated on Jan. 6, 2021, when rioters backing his false claims of widespread election fraud attacked police and ransacked the Capitol.

You can read the full analysis here.

7:00 AM: On our radar: Biden to tout bill requiring disclosure of super PAC donors

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) walk to a policy luncheon on Capitol Hill on May 10. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) walk to a policy luncheon on Capitol Hill on May 10.

President Biden on Tuesday is seeking to give a boost to legislation that would require super PACs and s0-called “dark money” groups to disclose donors who give $10,000 or more during an election cycle.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Monday that his chamber would vote on the legislation, branded as the Disclose Act, later this week, saying it is needed to address a “cancer” in the nation’s campaign finance rules.

Citizens United and subsequent Supreme Court rulings permit super PACs and certain types of tax-exempt groups, such as 501(c)(4) nonprofits, to spend unlimited sums in elections. Under current law, many of those groups are not required to disclose their donors.

“When was the last time any of us heard voters say it’s better for billionaires and special interests to buy elections in secret, rather than be held accountable to the public?,” Schumer said Monday. “Of course, they don’t think that unless they themselves are the ones cutting the multimillion-dollar checks.”

The legislation is sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who has been pushing similar bills for years.

“Dark money by design can be impossible to trace,” Whitehouse said during a July hearing. “But people instinctively know it when their voices are being drowned out and big corporations always seem to come out on top. They can tell when the ad on their television was put up by some fake front group they’ve never heard of.”

6:37 AM: The latest: Biden’s claim that ‘pandemic is over’ complicates matters on Capitol Hill, elsewhere

President Biden, with first lady Jill Biden, waves to the media on the South Lawn of the White House before boarding Marine One on Saturday. © Oliver Contreras for The Washington Post President Biden, with first lady Jill Biden, waves to the media on the South Lawn of the White House before boarding Marine One on Saturday.

President Biden’s surprise declaration that the coronavirus pandemic is “over” has thrown a wrench into the White House’s efforts to secure additional funding to fight the virus and persuade Americans to get a new booster shot, while fueling more Republican criticism about why the administration continues to extend a covid “emergency.”

The Post’s Dan Diamond reports that Biden’s comments, which aired Sunday on “60 Minutes,” reflect growing public sentiment that the threat of the virus has receded even as hundreds of Americans continue to die of covid each day. Dan writes:

Biden’s remarks caught some senior officials off guard as the White House mounts a fall vaccination campaign, lobbies Congress for billions of dollars to purchase more coronavirus vaccines and treatments, and weighs whether to extend its ongoing public health emergency when it expires next month.
The president’s comments also triggered a sell-off on Wall Street, as vaccine manufacturers Moderna, Novavax, BioNTech and Pfizer collectively lost more than $9 billion in value on Monday.
In interviews, six administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment said the president’s statement would probably make it harder to persuade people to get shots or secure new money from Congress, noting those efforts have already lagged behind their goals.

You can read Dan’s full story here.

6:34 AM: On our radar: A landmark Supreme Court fight over social media now looks likely

© Provided by The Washington Post

Conflicting lower court rulings about removing controversial material from social media platforms point toward a landmark Supreme Court decision on whether the First Amendment protects Big Tech’s editorial discretion or forbids its censorship of unpopular views.

The Post’s Robert Barnes and Ann E. Marimow write that the stakes are high, not just for government and the companies, but because of the increasingly dominant role that platforms such as Twitter and Facebook play in American democracy and elections. Per our colleagues:

Social media posts have the potential to amplify disinformation or hateful speech, but removal of controversial viewpoints can stifle public discourse about important political issues.
Governments that say conservative voices are the ones most often eliminated by the decisions of tech companies scored a major victory Friday, when a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit upheld a Texas law barring companies from removing posts based political ideology.

You can read the full story here.

6:32 AM: Take a look: In Nevada, Democrats seek to link Laxalt to ‘Big Oil’

The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee is out with a new 30-second ad Tuesday linking the Republican Senate candidate in Nevada, Adam Laxalt, to deep-pocketed oil companies.

A man in a T-shirt sitting inside a garage says Laxalt “tried to block a fraud investigation into a Big Oil company” and that “oil executives” spent “millions on his campaign.” The man also says Laxalt “made millions” at a “fancy” lobbying firm “that works for Big Oil.”

The ad broadly echoes attacks made earlier by the Democratic senator Laxalt is trying to unseat, Catherine Cortez Masto. When Laxalt was Nevada’s attorney general, he joined Republican attorneys general in opposing a probe by New York’s attorney general, who, according to PolitiFact, looked into “whether oil companies had made fraudulent disclosures about climate change.”

Laxalt and his colleagues, the outlet wrote, saw the probe “as a threat to First Amendment rights.” Later, super PACs funded by the oil industry spent money independently to support Laxalt when he ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2018, the outlet noted.

The ad is part of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s $33 million effort across various states to keep their Senate majority this election cycle.

6:29 AM: Noted: Video appears to undercut Trump elector’s account of alleged voting-data breach in Georgia

Coffee County Republican Party Chair Cathy Latham, center, shakes hands with Georgia businessman Scott Hall on Jan. 7, 2021, at the county's election office. © Obtained by The Washington Post Coffee County Republican Party Chair Cathy Latham, center, shakes hands with Georgia businessman Scott Hall on Jan. 7, 2021, at the county's election office.

On Jan. 7, 2021, a group of forensics experts working for lawyers allied with President Donald Trump spent eight hours at a county elections office in southern Georgia, copying sensitive software and data from its voting machines.

The Post’s Jon Swaine and Emma Brown report that under questioning last month for a lawsuit, a former Georgia Republican Party official named Cathy Latham said in sworn testimony that she briefly stopped by the office in Coffee County that afternoon. She said she stayed in the foyer and spoke with a junior official about an unrelated matter at the front desk.

But surveillance video footage reviewed by The Washington Post shows that Latham visited the elections office twice that day, staying for more than four hours in total. Per our colleagues:

Latham greeted a pro-Trump businessman, Scott Hall, when he arrived and led him into a back area to meet the experts and local officials, the video shows. Over the course of the day, it shows, she moved in and out of an area where the experts from the data forensics firm, SullivanStrickler, were working, a part of that building that was not visible to the surveillance camera.
She took a selfie with one of the forensics experts before heading out at 6:19 p.m.
A Post examination found that elements of the account Latham gave in her deposition on the events of Jan. 6 and 7, 2021, appear to diverge from the footage and other evidence, including depositions and text messages. Many of those records, including Latham’s Aug. 8 deposition, were filed in a long-running federal civil court case involving election security in Georgia.

You can read the full story here.

6:26 AM: The latest: Trump lawyers acknowledge Mar-a-Lago probe could lead to indictment

Raymond J. Dearie, serving as a chief judge of the federal court in the Eastern District of New York in May 2008. (Gregory P. Mango) © Gregory P. Mango/Gregory P. Mango Raymond J. Dearie, serving as a chief judge of the federal court in the Eastern District of New York in May 2008. (Gregory P. Mango)

The Justice Department and lawyers for Donald Trump filed separate proposals Monday for conducting an outside review of documents seized at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida, with key disagreements over how the process should work and Trump’s team acknowledging that the criminal probe could lead to an indictment.

The Post’s Perry Stein and Devlin Barrett report that both sides referenced a “draft plan” given to them by Judge Raymond J. Dearie, the newly appointed special master. Per our colleagues:

Trump’s lawyers expressed concern that Dearie posed questions about the documents that the judge who appointed Dearie has left unasked, arguing that Trump might be left at a legal disadvantage if he answered them at this stage of the process.
Specifically, the legal team objected to what it said was Dearie’s request that it “disclose specific information regarding declassification to the Court and to the Government.”
Judge Aileen M. Cannon, who is overseeing the special master and document-review process, has not asked Trump’s lawyers to address whether about 100 documents with classified markings that were seized by the FBI on Aug. 8 might in fact not be classified.
Trump’s lawyers have repeatedly suggested in court filings that the former president could have declassified the documents — but they have not actually asserted that he did so.

You can read the full story from Perry and Devlin here.

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