Nation & World Glance
AP source: Trump team turns over items marked as classified
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.
Nicaraguan bishop who refused exile gets 26 years in prison
MEXICO CITY – Roman Catholic Bishop Rolando Álvarez, an outspoken critic of Nicaragua’s government, was sentenced to 26 years in prison and stripped of his Nicaraguan citizenship Friday, the latest move by President Daniel Ortega against the Catholic church and his opponents.
A day after he refused to get on a flight to the United States with 222 other prisoners, all opponents of Ortega, a judge sentenced Álvarez for undermining the government, spreading false information, obstruction of functions and disobedience, according to a government statement published in official outlets.
The sentence handed down by Octavio Ernesto Rothschuh, chief magistrate of the Managua appeals court, is the longest given to any of Ortega’s opponents over the last couple years.
Álvarez was arrested in August along with several other priests and lay people. When Ortega ordered the mass release of political leaders, priests, students and activists widely considered political prisoners and had some of them put on a flight to Washington Thursday, Alvarez refused to board without being able to consult with other bishops, Ortega said.
Nicaragua’s president called Álvarez’s refusal “an absurd thing.” Álvarez, who had been held under house arrest, was then taken to the nearby Modelo prison.
Alec Baldwin says part of shooting charge unconstitutional
Alec Baldwin on Friday asked a judge in New Mexico to dismiss a five-year firearm sentencing enhancement in the charges against him, saying it is unconstitutionally based on a law passed after the shooting on the set of the film “Rust.”
“The prosecutors committed a basic legal error by charging Mr. Baldwin under a version of the firearm-enhancement statute that did not exist on the date of the accident,” a court filing from Baldwin’s attorneys said.
Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-reed, the weapons supervisor on the set of the Western, were charged last month with felony involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
Hutchins died shortly after being wounded during rehearsals at a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe on Oct. 21, 2021. Baldwin was pointing a pistol at Hutchins when the gun went off, killing her and wounding the director, Joel Souza. Hutchins’ parents and sister filed a lawsuit over the shooting Thursday, after a similar suit filed by her husband and son was settled.
Baldwin’s attorneys also filed a motion on Tuesday to disqualify the special prosecutor in the case, asserting that her position as a state lawmaker constitutionally prohibits her from holding any authority in a judicial capacity.
New classified document found in FBI search of Pence home
WASHINGTON – The FBI discovered an additional document with classified markings at former Vice President Mike Pence ’s Indiana home during a search Friday, following the discovery by his lawyers last month of sensitive government documents there.
Pence adviser Devin O’malley said the Department of Justice completed “a thorough and unrestricted search of five hours” and removed “one document with classified markings and six additional pages without such markings that were not discovered in the initial review by the vice president’s counsel.”
The search, described as consensual after negotiations between Pence’s representatives and the Justice Department, comes after he was subpoenaed in a separate investigation into efforts by former President Donald Trump to overturn the 2020 election and as Pence contemplates a Republican bid for the White House in 2024.
Pence is now the third current or former top U.S. official, joining Trump and President Joe Biden, to have their homes scoured by FBI agents for classified records. The willingness of Pence and Biden to permit the FBI to search their homes, and to present themselves as fully cooperative, reflects a desire by both to avoid the drama that enveloped Trump last year and resulted in the Justice Department having to get a warrant to inspect his Florida property.
Police blocked the road outside Pence’s neighborhood in Carmel, just north of Indianapolis, on Friday afternoon as the FBI was inside the home. They were seen leaving shortly after 2 p.m. Pence and his wife were out of state, visiting family on the West Coast following the birth of their second and third grandchildren.
Biden, Lula focus on democracy, climate during visit
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva met at the White House on Friday and reflected on how their nations were tested in their respective battles to preserve democracy, with the U.S. president declaring that democracy ultimately “prevailed” over the far-right mobs that stormed their governments’ halls of power in an attempt to overturn election victories.
Biden defeated incumbent Donald Trump in a fraught 2020 race, securing victory with thin margins in several battleground states. In Brazil’s recent election, its tightest since its return to democracy over three decades ago,
Lula, the leftist leader of the Workers’ Party, squeaked out a win against right-wing incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, who earned the nickname “Trump of the Tropics” and was an outspoken admirer of the former U.S. president.
Both Trump and Bolsonaro sowed doubts about the vote, without presenting evidence, but their claims nevertheless resonated with their most die-hard supporters. In the U.S. Capitol, Trump supporters staged the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection seeking to prevent Biden’s win from being certified. Last month, thousands of rioters stormed the Brazilian capital aiming to oust the newly-inaugurated Lula.
“Both our nations’ strong democracies have been tested of late ... very much tested,” Biden said at the start of their Oval Office meeting. “But both in the United States and Brazil, democracy prevailed.”
Lula said that he was moving to restore Brazil on the world stage after Bolsonaro’s term. before Memphis Police officer Demetrius Haley pulled Tyre Nichols from his car on Jan. 7, setting in motion a deadly confrontation, Haley was accused of taking part in the savage beating of an inmate at a county prison.
The 2015 assault of the inmate was so disturbing that 34 others – the entire cellblock – signed a letter to the corrections director.
“We are truly asking that this matter gets looked into before someone gets hurt really bad or lose their life because of some unprofessional officers,” the letter stated.
The warning from dozens of inmates at the Shelby County prison is the clearest indication yet that one of the five officers who took part in the violent beating of Nichols had an event in his past that should have raised concerns before he was hired as a police officer. Nichols died three days after the beating.
The letter asks how the inmates are supposed to feel “safe and secure when the staff members at the Shelby County Correctional Center are assaulting and threatening us?”