Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: August 17, 2022

Biden signs Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act into law, Trump critic Liz Cheney loses her Wyoming GOP primary in a landslide, and more

1

Biden signs Democrats' sweeping health and climate law

President Biden on Tuesday signed the Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act, a landmark climate change and health care bill representing the "final piece" of Biden's trimmed-down domestic agenda. The law includes $375 billion to fight climate change, the biggest investment the federal government has ever made to address what Biden has described as a key priority for his administration. The legislation will also extend extra health insurance subsidies offered during the coronavirus pandemic, and cap out-of-pocket prescription drug costs at $2,000 per year for Medicare recipients. The package, which won final House approval in a party-line Friday vote, will cover costs with new taxes on large companies and tougher tax enforcement by the Internal Revenue Service on wealthy taxpayers.

2

Liz Cheney loses Wyoming GOP primary in a landslide

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) lost her primary election in a landslide Tuesday in the ongoing Republican purge of former President Donald Trump's critics. Harriet Hageman, who had little support before Trump endorsed her, beat Cheney by 30 percentage points to win the nomination for Wyoming's lone House seat. Cheney, a former Trump ally, was one of 10 GOP House members to vote to impeach Trump over the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack; she became one of his main targets in the primaries due to her leading role on the House select committee investigating the riot. Cheney conceded but remained defiant, saying, "Now the real work begins."

3

Murkowski advances to general election with narrow lead over Trump-backed rival

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), one of seven Senate Republicans who voted to convict Trump for inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack, advanced to the general election against her chief rival, Trump-endorsed Kelly Tshibaka. Murkowski, avoiding the fate of defeated Trump critic Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), led Tshibaka 42.7 percent to 41.4 percent, with just over half the state's precincts reporting. Murkowski and Tshibaka will advance to the November general election along with the third place candidate, Democrat Pat Chesbro, under a new state voting law that eliminated partisan primaries. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin advanced to the general election for the state's sole House seat.

4

Report: Former Trump White House lawyers interviewed about Mar-a-Lago documents

Federal authorities have interviewed Pat Cipollone, who served as former President Donald Trump's White House counsel, and his deputy, Patrick Philbin, in connection with the boxes of purportedly classified and top-secret documents that were stored in Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence, The New York Times reported Tuesday, citing three people familiar with the matter. Cipollone and Philbin are the highest-ranking former Trump administration officials to be interviewed in the documents case. Philbin was reportedly interviewed in the spring. It was not clear when Cipollone was questioned. Philbin reportedly tried to help the National Archives get the material back, but Trump said, "It's not theirs, it's mine," several advisers said.

5

Russia blames latest Crimea blast on 'sabotage'

Russia on Tuesday blamed "sabotage" for an explosion at an ammunition depot in Ukraine's Russia-occupied Crimean peninsula. At least 3,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes as the blast and fires at power facilities, a railway track, and residential buildings sparked panic. "We are in a state of emergency," said Sergey Aksenov, the Russian leader of the Crimean administration. There were no immediate reports of serious injuries. Ukraine presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak did not say whether the country's military forces were behind the explosions and fires, but warned that there is a "high risk of death for invaders and thieves" in a Crimea under Russian occupation. Some Ukrainian officials said the country's special forces were behind the attack.

6

FBI returns Trump passports seized in Mar-a-Lago search

The FBI has returned three of former President Donald Trump's passports — his active diplomatic passport and two expired passports — that agents seized during last week's search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida, CBS News reported Tuesday. The FBI said it "follows search and seizure procedures ordered by courts, then returns items that we do not need to be retained for law enforcement purposes." Trump had posted on his Truth Social platform earlier in the day that the FBI "stole" three passports during the Mar-a-Lago search, which sought to recover government secrets allegedly removed improperly from the White House. "This was an assault on a political opponent at a level never seen before in our country," he wrote. "Third World!"

7

Jill Biden tests positive for COVID

First lady Dr. Jill Biden has tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing mild "cold-like symptoms," her communications director, Elizabeth Alexander, said Tuesday. Biden, 71, is in Kiawah Island, South Carolina, on vacation with President Biden, who has tested negative and returned to Washington later Tuesday to sign the Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act into law. Jill Biden, who is double-vaccinated and twice-boosted, is taking the Pfizer antiviral drug Paxlovid, as the president did after his recent COVID infection. "She is currently staying at a private residence in South Carolina and will return home after she receives two consecutive negative COVID tests," Alexander said. President Biden will follow federal guidelines and wear a mask when indoors near others for 10 days. He'll also test more frequently, the White House said.

8

Odinga refuses to concede to Ruto in Kenya presidential election

Kenyan presidential candidate Raila Odinga said Tuesday he will not concede to William Ruto, who was declared the winner of last week's vote. Wafula Chebukati, chair of Kenya's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), said Monday that Ruto had won the close race, but critics said the contest was marred by vote rigging. Even some members of the electoral commission declined to endorse the result. Odinga said his team was "pursuing constitutional and lawful channels" to invalidate the "illegal and unconstitutional pronouncement" of a victory by Ruto, calling it "null and void." Odinga commended "our supporters for remaining calm and keeping the peace and urge them to continue to do so. Let no one take the law into their own hands."

9

Arizona, Nevada, Mexico face emergency water cuts 

The federal government announced Tuesday that it is declaring a Tier 2 water shortage on the Colorado River starting in January, which will impose further reductions in use of the river by Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico. Arizona will face the deepest cuts, about 21 percent of its annual allotment. California will not yet get hit with the mandatory cuts under the first-ever Tier 2 shortage. The West's historic drought is drying up the Colorado River and draining Lake Mead and Lake Powell, the nation's largest reservoirs. Lake Mead's water level is expected to fall below the Tier 2 cutoff of 1,050 feet above sea level by early 2023. The Colorado River provides drinking water to 40 million people, irrigates farms, and powers electric grids.

10

Academy apologizes to Sacheen Littlefeather, who declined 1973 Oscar for Marlon Brando

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has apologized to Sacheen Littlefeather over the way she was treated at the 1973 Oscars, when she turned down an award on Marlon Brando's behalf. She was booed on stage as she explained that Brando could not accept his Oscar for his role in The Godfather due to "the treatment of American Indians today" in Hollywood. After the protest, Littlefeather was denied acting work, and faced discrimination for 50 years, the Academy said. "The abuse you endured because of this statement was unwarranted and unjustified," Academy President David Rubin said in an apology to Littlefeather, who said she "never thought I'd live to see the day I would be hearing this."

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