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Source: Trump team handed over more classified documents
WASHINGTON — Lawyers for former President Donald Trump have in recent months turned over to federal investigators additional documents with classified markings as well as a laptop belonging to a Trump aide, a person familiar with the situation said Friday night.
The lawyers also provided an empty folder with classified markings, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press to discuss an ongoing investigation.
A Justice Department special counsel has been investigating the retention by Trump of hundreds of documents marked as classified at his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago. FBI agents who served a search warrant at the property in August recovered roughly 100 classified documents, including records classified at the top-secret level. A federal grand jury has been hearing evidence in the case for months.
ABC News first reported the discovery of the additional documents.
The person familiar with the matter said a handful of pages with classified markings were found during a search weeks ago at the Mar-a-Lago complex that was supervised by the Trump legal team, and were promptly provided to the Justice Department. The documents were found in a box containing thousands of pages, the person said.
Abortion pill lawsuit: A Texas lawsuit with a key deadline this month is posing a threat to the nationwide availability of medication abortion, which now accounts for the majority of abortions in the U.S.
The case, filed by abortion opponents who helped challenge Roe v. Wade, seeks to reverse a decades-old approval by the Food and Drug Administration.
If a federal judge appointed by former President Donald Trump sides with them, it could halt the supply of the drug mifepristone in all states, both where abortion is banned and where it remains legal.
Anti-abortion groups have been preparing for a possible decision shortly after a Feb. 24 filing deadline. There is scant precedent for a lone judge overruling the FDA’s scientific decisions. A swift appeal of any ruling is likely.
The lawsuit was filed by the group Alliance Defending Freedom, which was also involved in the Mississippi case that led to Roe being overturned.
They argue the FDA overstepped its authority in approving mifepristone by using an accelerated review process reserved for drugs to treat “serious or life-threatening illnesses.” But in its legal response, the agency said it didn’t accelerate the drug’s approval, which came four years after the manufacturer first submitted its application to market the pill.
Biden pregame interview: After a day of mixed signals, President Joe Biden will grant the traditional Super Bowl pregame interview to the little-known Fox Soul entertainment streaming service.
The decision, confirmed by the Fox Corp. on Friday, represents a presidential rejection of Fox News, whose commentators are frequent critics of Biden.
A presidential interview has become a regular feature of the Super Bowl pregame show over the past two decades, usually conducted by the news division of the network broadcasting the game. This year, the game is on the Fox broadcast network.
While Fox News opinion hosts Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity conducted past interviews of Barack Obama and Donald Trump, Fox had offered the White House a session with a newscaster like Bret Baier or Shannon Bream.
Fox Soul has no regular news programming. The interview will be conducted by Vivica Fox, host of “Cocktails with Queens,” and sportscaster Mike Hill.
It hadn’t been determined Friday evening whether the interview would air on the Super Bowl pregame show, a spokesman said.
White House staff change: President Joe Biden is getting a new communications director at the White House as he inches closer to an expected reelection campaign.
The administration tapped a veteran of the Obama-Biden years to lead the team, Ben LaBolt. He will replace Kate Bedingfield.
The communications director leads the White House’s strategy on messaging policies and goals and generally works behind the scenes.
Bedingfield is expected to be key in Biden’s likely reelection campaign as a consultant, according to a person familiar with the president’s plans who was not authorized to speak publicly about them and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Bedingfield was Biden’s communications director when he was vice president and served as his deputy campaign manager during his 2020 presidential run.
Texas AG settles: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has agreed to apologize and pay $3.3 million in taxpayer money to four former staffers who accused him of corruption in 2020, igniting an ongoing FBI investigation of the three-term Republican.
Under terms of a preliminary lawsuit settlement filed Friday, Paxton made no admission of wrongdoing to accusations of bribery and abuse of office, which he has denied for years and called politically motivated.
But Paxton did commit to making a remarkable public apology toward some of his formerly trusted advisers whom he fired or forced out after they reported him to the FBI. He called them “rogue employees” after they accused Paxton of misusing his office to help one of his campaign contributors, who also employed a woman with whom the attorney general acknowledged having an extramarital affair.
The deal comes more than two years after Paxton’s staff accused him of misusing his office to help Austin real estate developer Nate Paul, whose business was also under federal investigation.
But the investigation, accusations and a separate 2015 securities fraud indictment for which Paxton has yet to face trial have done little to hurt him politically.
India Valentine’s Day: India’s government on Friday withdrew its appeal to citizens to mark Valentine’s Day next week not as a celebration of romance but as “Cow Hug Day” to better promote Hindu values.
The appeal had drawn widespread criticism from political rivals and on social media.
Young, educated Indians typically spend Valentine’s Day crowding parks and restaurants, exchanging gifts and holding parties.
Devout Hindus, who worship cows as holy, say the Western holiday goes against traditional Indian values.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been pushing a Hindu agenda, seeking the religion’s supremacy in a secular nation known for its diversity.