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The latest from around the world

Wake Up To Politics: The latest from Ukraine and Iraq
The latest from around the world

by Gabe Fleisher

Good morning! It’s Tuesday, August 30, 2022. Election Day 2022 is 70 days away. Election Day 2024 is 798 days away.

Around the world

UKRAINE. Bolstered by new weapons systems from the U.S., Ukraine is launching a major counteroffensive in its southern region. The new campaign is aimed at retaking territory captured by Russia in the early days of its invasion, such as Kherson, the first city to fall at the beginning of the war.

“The occupiers must know: we will chase them to the border,” Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly television address Monday. “To our border, which line has not been changed.”

  • Meanwhile: Kyiv and Moscow continue to spar about shelling around the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, which has led to fears of a nuclear accident. UN inspectors are set to visit the plant later this week.
  • Also: Iran has sent its first shipment of drones to help boost Russia in the war, although some of them have already malfunctioned.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. (Ukraine government)

IRAQ. Deadly protests broke out Monday in Iraq after Muqtada al-Sadr, an influential Shiite cleric, announced plans to resign. Sadr’s followers stormed the government palace to register their anger; at least 12 of them were killed during clashes with security forces. Sadr told his supporters to withdraw this morning, seeking to end the latest round of violence in a chaotic summer for Iraq.

  • The context: Sadr’s party won the largest share of seats during parliamentary elections last October, but not enough to secure a majority. The government has been deadlocked for a historic stretch since then; Sadr’s resignation is expected to only exacerbate the divide.

The latest Trump investigation developments

The Justice Department said in a Monday court filing that the FBI had completed a review of the documents seized during its Mar-a-Lago raid and found that a “limited set” contained information protected by attorney-client privilege.

What this means: The fact that an FBI “taint team” — which is made up of agents who are not directly involved with the underlying investigation — has already finished reviewing the documents could make it less likely that an independent special master will be appointed to determine if any documents are privileged.

  • This is partly a reflection of how long it took former President Donald Trump to file his request for a special master. His motion came weeks after the raid of his Florida estate, another twist in his ever-shifting legal strategy. That slow, chaotic response could hurt him if a judge decides that a special master is unnecessary now that the FBI has already begun the proper procedures for privileged documents.

What happens next: The DOJ is expected to file a more detailed response to Trump’s request today, and then Trump-appointed judge Aileen Cannon will hold a hearing on the matter Thursday.

  • If a special master is appointed, the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents could be delayed, much like Trump was successful in stonewalling many inquiries into him while he was president. Cannon has already signaled her intent to name a special master.
Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. (Flickr)

Meanwhile: Trump further inflamed the situation Monday with a post on Truth Social calling for the 2020 election to be declared “irreparably compromised” and for a new election to be called “immediately.” There is, of course, no mechanism for that to happen — as well as no proof of systemic fraud in the 2020 vote.

More headlines: “Intel agencies have been working with the FBI for months on assessing Mar-a-Lago documents” CNN

  • “Secret Service official at center of testimony about Trump's actions on Jan. 6 retires” CBS News
  • “Judge rejects bid by Gov. Kemp and Trump attorney Chesebro to quash subpoenas” Politico

What else caught my eye

-- Republican Senate candidates are shifting their positions on abortion to try to moderate ahead of the general election.

-- The fences outside the Supreme Court have come down after nearly four months.

-- New Omicron-specific Covid boosters are set to be approved this week... before human testing on them has completed.

-- Americans are not good at guessing what other Americans think.

-- Persuadable voters are breaking for Democrats in new polls, a rare development for the party in power during a midterm cycle.

-- Migrants from a growing range of countries are trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

Today’s political daybook

All times Eastern.

President Joe Biden will receive his daily intelligence briefing (10:15 am). Then, he’ll travel to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where he’ll deliver remarks on his “Safer American Plan” to prevent crime and increase police funding (3:15 pm). After the speech, Biden will return to the White House. Watch the speech

Vice President Kamala Harris will join Biden for his intel briefing.

First Lady Jill Biden will return to the White House today after testing negative from a rebound case of Covid. She had been quarantining in Delaware.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre will hold a press gaggle aboard Air Force One during the flight to Wilkes-Barre.

The White House Monkepox Response Team will hold a press briefing on the federal monkeypox response (2 pm). The briefers will include Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, White House Monkeypox Response Coordinator Bob Fenton, and Gov. Jon Bel Edwards (D-LA). Watch

The Senate is on recess until September 6. The chamber will briefly convene for a pro forma session (10 am), a quick meeting held only to satisfy the constitutional obligation of meeting every three days. No business will be conducted. Watch

The House is on recess until September 13. The chamber will also hold a brief pro forma session (12 pm). Watch

The Supreme Court is on recess until October 3.

Before I go...

Here’s a lighter news story: Hillary Clinton and Kim Kardashian — both attorneys — faced off in a quiz of legal knowledge... and Kardashian won in a landslide.

Kardashian beat Clinton 11-4 in the contest, which was taped as part of the 2016 presidential candidate’s new Apple TV+ documentary series “Gutsy.”

Here’s more via People, including the video preview below:

That’s it for today. If you enjoy Wake Up To Politics, it’s always appreciated if you donate to support the newsletter or buy some merch. Or if you tell your friends and family to sign up at wakeuptopolitics.com.

If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to email me: my inbox is always open.

Thanks for waking up to politics! Have a great day.

— Gabe