Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: August 23, 2022

Dr. Anthony Fauci, face of the pandemic response, says he's stepping down, Trump asks for a special master to review material seized at Mar-a-Lago, and more

1

Fauci to step down in December

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, announced Monday that he will resign as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and President Biden's chief medical adviser in December. Fauci, 81, told The Washington Post he is stepping down because he doesn't "want to be here so long that I get to the point where I lose a step." Fauci joined the National Institutes of Health in 1968 and has been director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. He told The New York Times he is "not retiring in the classic sense," but plans to use his experience to "advance science and public health and to inspire and mentor the next generation of scientific leaders."

2

Trump asks for special master to review Mar-a-Lago evidence

Former President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to prevent the FBI from examining materials seized in a search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago home and club in Palm Beach, Florida, and requesting the appointment of a special master to review the documents. Trump also said he wants the FBI to return any items that weren't targeted in the search warrant. The FBI seized boxes of material it said included highly classified and top secret documents. Trump's lawyers claimed in their legally unorthodox complaint that Trump had been "fully cooperative" and the government had "failed to legitimize its historic decision" to search a former president's home. A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment on the case, Trump v. United States Government.

3

Judge says redactions might make Trump search affidavit 'meaningless'

A federal magistrate judge considering a request to release the affidavit used to justify the recent FBI search of former President Donald Trump's Florida home said Monday he favors releasing parts of the document, but redactions requested by the Justice Department could render the affidavit "meaningless" to the public. Judge Bruce Reinhart has given the Justice Department until Thursday to identify what should be omitted to safeguard its ongoing investigation. The federal government has recovered more than 300 documents with classified markings that Trump improperly took from the White House. In a May letter released by a Trump-aligned journalist, the National Archives warned of potential national security damage from Trump's warehousing of the material at Mar-a-Lago.

4

Pfizer and BioNTech ask FDA to approve updated vaccine

Pfizer and BioNTech announced Monday that they have requested Food and Drug Administration authorization for an updated version of their COVID-19 vaccine designed to target the Omicron coronavirus subvariants that now account for more than 90 percent of new U.S. cases. The new "bivalent" booster, which mixes two vaccine versions, has been shown in early tests to be effective against both the original and latest coronavirus strains, the drugmakers said. If authorized by the FDA, distribution could begin "immediately" with widespread availability as soon as this fall, ahead of expected winter surges, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement.

5

Russian intelligence claims Ukrainian woman carried out deadly car bombing

Russia's FSB domestic intelligence agency said Monday that a Ukrainian woman working under contract carried out the car bombing that killed ultranationalist commentator Darya Dugina, in an attack allegedly "prepared and committed by the Ukrainian intelligence agencies." Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted that the allegation was "propaganda" from a "fictional world." The Kremlin released a letter from Russian President Vladimir Putin to Dugina's parents calling the bombing "a vile, cruel crime" against "a bright, talented person with a real Russian heart." Dugina's father is a prominent Putin ally and supporter of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Her killing raised concerns that Russia would use the bombing as a pretext for escalating its six-month war in Ukraine.

6

Ohio teachers go on strike 

Teachers at Ohio's largest school district picketed outside Columbus schools on Monday after voting a day earlier to go on strike, just days before the start of the school year. The teachers are demanding smaller class sizes and safer, better-funded schools. The Columbus Board of Education called the move "incredibly disappointing." It is the first strike since 1975 by the Columbus Education Association union, which represents more than 4,000 teachers, nurses, and other employees of the Columbus City Schools district. A day before the Ohio vote, a union representing about 2,000 employees of the School District of Philadelphia seeking higher wages and better training voted to authorize a strike a week ahead of the start of classes.

7

Crews rush to rescue people trapped in Texas floods 

Emergency responders conducted dozens of high-water rescues in and around Dallas on Monday after heavy rains caused widespread flooding in parts of Texas. Authorities received more than 450 pleas for help during and after the sudden storms, which weather experts say were fueled by climate change. The National Weather Service said some areas got more than 10 inches of rain — a whole summer's worth — in less than 24 hours, and some parts of eastern Dallas got more than 13 inches, rates expected every 100 to 1,000 years. Authorities issued flood warnings that affected more than four million people in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Arlington, and flood watches that covered nearly 15 million people in northeastern Texas and northern Louisiana. The flooding came amid a "flash drought" in an extremely dry year across Texas.

8

South Dakota ethics board says Noem may have 'engaged in misconduct'

South Dakota's Government Accountability Board on Monday said "appropriate action" could be taken against Gov. Kristi Noem (R), who may have "engaged in misconduct" when she intervened after a state agency denied her daughter's application for a real estate appraiser license. The three retired judges on the ethics board referred a separate complaint over the Republican governor's use of a state airplane to the state attorney general for investigation. Former state Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, also a Republican, filed the initial complaints against Noem and says he stands by them. Noem, who faces reelection in November, has denied any wrongdoing.

9

Arkansas says DOJ investigating police shown beating suspect in viral video

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said Monday that the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division is investigating the beating of a man by three law enforcement officers outside a Mulberry, Arkansas, convenience store on Sunday. The Crawford County Sheriff's Office said two of its deputies, Zack King and Levi White, and Mulberry police officer Thell Riddle were involved in the incident. The officers were suspended after viral video taken from a vehicle showed the white law enforcement officers holding down and beating a shoeless suspect, who also appeared to be white. It was not immediately clear what happened before the video started. The clip ends after one of the officers tells the witness to stop recording.

10

'House of the Dragon' debut sets HBO ratings record

House of the Dragon, a Game of Thrones spinoff set about 200 years before the original series, brought in 9.9 million viewers for its Sunday premiere episode, the biggest series debut in HBO's history, the network said Monday. The show also drew the largest audience for one night since the 2019 Game of Thrones series finale, which had 19.3 million viewers over all HBO platforms. Based on George R.R. Martin's Fire & Blood, House of the Dragon follows members of House Targaryen, ancestors of Daenerys, and their civil war over dueling succession claims. It retains iconic imagery from the original fantasy series. Unlike the original series, House of the Dragon focuses on a single central storyline.

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