Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: September 7, 2022

Steve Bannon expected to surrender to face new state charges in New York, judge bars New Mexico county commissioner from office over Capitol insurrection, and more

1

Bannon reportedly to surrender to face New York charges

Stephen Bannon, once a top adviser to former President Donald Trump, is expected to surrender to New York prosecutors on Thursday to face unspecified state criminal charges, weeks after his conviction for contempt of Congress, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. People familiar with the situation told the Post and other news organizations that the Manhattan district attorney's office is pursuing charges similar to a federal case cut short by Trump's pardon of Bannon. In that indictment, Bannon and several others were accused of defrauding donors to the private "We Build the Wall" fundraising effort, which collected $25 million for the construction of a barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border. Bannon was accused of using $1 million of the money for personal expenses.

2

Judge bars New Mexico county commissioner from office over insurrection

A New Mexico judge on Tuesday ordered Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin removed from office over his participation in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of then-President Donald Trump's supporters. Judge Francis Mathew in 1st Judicial District Court in Santa Fe said Griffin, a Republican and founder of Cowboys for Trump, violated a clause of the 14th Amendment barring people who have participated in an insurrection from holding public office. Griffin, the first person removed under the clause in more than 100 years, vowed to appeal, saying he was "shocked" that "an elected representative can be removed from office in a civil trial by one liberal, Democrat judge."

3

Report: Document seized at Mar-a-Lago described foreign country's nuclear capabilities

FBI agents found a document describing a foreign government's nuclear capabilities and other military defenses among the material seized last month at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence and private club in Florida, The Washington Post reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter. Some of the documents Trump had at the property concerned top-secret matters so sensitive that only the president and a few Cabinet or near-Cabinet-level officials could authorize other officials to know details about them, the Post reports. Records dealing with such special-access programs are kept locked up, almost always in a secure information facility, with precise records of where they are and who has seen them. Trump reportedly kept them at his club for 18 months.

4

Liz Truss promises 'hands on' approach to U.K. energy crisis

Britain's new prime minister, Liz Truss, vowed Tuesday to "deal hands-on with the energy crisis forged" by Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, and said "together we can ride out of the storm" of the economic problems hitting the United Kingdom. Immediately after replacing former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Truss appointed a team of senior Cabinet members diverse in gender and ethnicity but united in commitment to Truss' free-market policies. In a speech outside her new official residence on Downing Street, Truss promised to cut taxes to encourage economic growth as the country contends with high inflation. She is expected to unveil her plans to deal with the country's energy crisis on Thursday.

5

Video shows tech experts entering Georgia elections office on day of breach

Technology consultants seeking evidence that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump through voter fraud visited a rural Georgia elections office during what the Georgia secretary of state's office has called an "alleged unauthorized access" of election equipment two months after the 2020 presidential election, according to security video reviewed by news outlets. The computer experts were greeted outside by the local Republican Party chair, who was part of an effort to overturn Trump's election loss using "fake electors." The breach is now the focus of a criminal investigation. The footage shows consultants Doug Logan and Jeffrey Lenberg visiting the Coffee County elections office twice in January 2021. Lenberg visited alone five other times.

6

U.N. watchdog calls for safety zone around Ukraine nuclear plant

The United Nations atomic watchdog agency on Tuesday released a detailed report on its inspection of Ukraine's Russia-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and called for establishing a "nuclear safety and security protection zone" around the facility, Europe's largest. Ukraine and Russia have blamed each other for shelling dangerously close to the plant, prompting warnings of a potential radiation disaster. "We are playing with fire, and something very, very catastrophic could take place," Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, warned the U.N. Security Council. The IAEA said shelling around Zaporizhzhia must stop immediately. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres demanded that Ukraine and Russia establish a "demilitarized perimeter" around the plant.

7

Massachusetts GOP picks Trump-backed Geoff Diehl to face Democrat Maura Healey in governor race

Former state Rep. Geoff Diehl beat businessman Chris Doughty in the Massachusetts Republican gubernatorial primary on Tuesday. The vote made Massachusetts the latest blue state in which Republicans chose a Trump loyalist over a more moderate rival in a high-profile midterm primary. Diehl, who campaigned on his backing from former President Donald Trump, is considered the underdog against state Attorney General Maura Healey, the Democratic nominee. Healey, if she wins, will be the first woman and first openly gay person elected governor in Massachusetts. The state has a history of electing fiscally conservative and socially moderate Republicans, like former Govs. William Weld and Mitt Romney, and outgoing Gov. Charlie Baker (R), who decided not to seek a third term.

8

Body identified as Memphis woman who disappeared while jogging

Memphis police confirmed Tuesday that a body found a day earlier near the home of a kidnapping suspect was that of Eliza Fletcher, known as Liza, who had been missing since she was violently abducted while jogging early Friday near the University of Memphis. The suspect, 38-year-old Cleotha Abston, was arrested Sunday and now faces numerous charges, including first-degree murder and kidnapping. Police took Abston into custody about 12 hours after investigators announced they had found the GMC Terrain believed to have been used during the abduction. Fletcher, 34, was a teacher and mother of two. "Now it's time to remember and celebrate how special she was and to support those who cared so much for her," her family said.

9

Juul agrees to pay $438.5 million to settle youth vaping investigation

Juul Labs agreed Tuesday to pay $438.5 million to settle an investigation by 34 states over the company's marketing of its high-nicotine e-cigarettes, which have been blamed for fueling a surge in teen vaping. In addition to the monetary penalty, the settlement calls for the company to severely limit its marketing and sales practices. The agreement, announced by Connecticut Attorney General William Tong on behalf of the states and Puerto Rico, resolves one of the biggest legal threats Juul has faced, although it's still targeted in nine separate lawsuits brought by other states, as well as hundreds of personal suits filed on behalf of teenagers who say they became addicted using Juul's products.

10

Death toll rises in massive Pakistan floods

Pakistan on Wednesday reported another 18 people confirmed dead in flooding that has covered as much as a third of the country, bringing the death toll from days of torrential rain to 1,343. "You wouldn't believe the scale of destruction there," Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said Wednesday after inspecting the southern province of Sindh. "It is water everywhere as far as you could see. It is just like a sea." Sharif said the government would buy 200,000 tents for displaced families. As many as 33 million of the South Asian nation's 220 million inhabitants have been affected by the disaster, which scientists blame on climate change. Officials say the flooding has caused losses of at least $10 billion.

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