Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: September 16, 2022

Trump warns of "problems" if he's indicted over classified documents, Ukraine finds mass grave site in northeast after Russian retreat, and more


Trump warns of 'problems' if he's indicted over classified documents

Former President Donald Trump warned on a conservative radio show Thursday that there will be "problems in this country the likes of which perhaps we've never seen before" if he is criminally charged over his handling of classified documents after he left the White House. When conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt said critics might say Trump was inciting violence, the former president said: "That's not inciting — I'm just saying what my opinion is. I don't think the people of this country would stand for it." FBI agents searched Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida on Aug. 8 and seized numerous classified and top-secret documents among other papers that should have been returned to the National Archives.


Ukraine finds mass grave in northeast after Russian retreat

Ukrainian authorities said Thursday they found a mass burial site with 440 bodies near Izium, a city in northeast Kharkiv province that Russian forces occupied for months before fleeing in the face of a Ukrainian counteroffensive. "Russia is leaving death behind it everywhere and must be held responsible," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address. The mass grave, believed to hold the bodies of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians, was the largest found in Europe since the 1990s, after the Balkan wars. A marker over one grave said it contained the bodies of 17 Ukrainian soldiers, although investigators said it could contain up to 30.


Judge names special master to review documents seized from Trump

U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon on Thursday appointed Raymond Dearie as the special master to review more than 11,000 documents, some highly classified, that FBI agents seized from former President Donald Trump's Florida residence last month. Dearie, 78, is a former chief federal judge in New York. The Justice Department indicated last week it would accept Dearie, one of Trump's picks for special master, but disagreed with Cannon on including about 100 documents marked classified in his review. Cannon, a Trump appointee, ruled Dearie would examine the classified documents, and denied DOJ's request to let prosecutors use the material before the review is finished. The Justice Department said delaying the investigation could risk national security, and is likely to appeal.


Putin concedes that China's Xi has 'concerns' about Ukraine invasion

Russian President Vladimir Putin met Thursday with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and conceded that Beijing had "questions and concerns" about Russia's invasion or Ukraine. It was their first in-person talk since Russian forces invaded Ukraine in late February. China has refused to condemn the unprovoked invasion, and increased its trade with Russia to record levels as the Kremlin scrambles to offset the impact of Western sanctions. Putin promised in an opening speech ahead of the meeting that he would "explain in detail our position on this issue." Xi promised to "work with Russia to extend strong mutual support," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, and thanked Putin for "Russia's adherence to the one-China principle and stressed that Taiwan is a part of China."


Indiana implements near-total abortion ban

Indiana's ban on nearly all abortions took effect Thursday. The legislation, SB 1, includes narrow exceptions for cases of rape and incest through 10 weeks of pregnancy and medical emergencies up to 20 weeks, and requires the procedure to be performed in hospitals. Democratic lawmakers in Indiana called the law a "death sentence." "I'm old enough to remember before Roe v. Wade," Rep. Sue Errington (D) said. "And I know that laws like this only ban safe legal abortion. Women are going to suffer, and some will die from this." The ACLU and abortion providers are challenging the law in court. Indiana lawmakers passed the law in early August, allowing six weeks before it was implemented. West Virginia lawmakers passed a similar ban this week.


Texas governor sends busload of migrants to VP Harris' residence

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) tweeted Thursday that he sent two buses of migrants from the U.S.-Mexico border to be dropped off near Vice President Kamala Harris home in Washington, D.C. Abbott has ordered previous busloads of migrants to be driven to Washington, New York, and Chicago in a fight with the Biden administration and so-called sanctuary cities over immigration policy. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, both Republicans, have followed Abbott's example. Critics say the governors are using the migrants as pawns for political stunts. New York City is "reassessing" a law requiring it to shelter homeless people after 11,000 asylum seekers bused from Texas push the city's system near "its breaking point," one official said.


Last-minute rail strike deal faces ratification challenges

A tentative labor deal brokered by the Biden administration averted a disruptive strike by freight-rail workers, but it still could be difficult to get union members to ratify the agreement. Engineers and conductors are especially upset about difficult working conditions, including unpredictable schedules and long periods away from home. President Biden said as he announced the deal that it was a "big win for America" that could lead to more agreements between workers and their employers. "I'm optimistic that we can do this in other fields as well," Biden said. "Unions and management can work together for the benefit of everyone." The deal includes double-digit pay increases for workers whose wages had been frozen.


New Hampshire GOP Senate nominee drops election denial after primary win

New Hampshire Republican Senate nominee Don Bolduc, who campaigned claiming that voter fraud cost former President Donald Trump the 2020 election, abruptly reversed himself on Thursday. Speaking a day after being declared winner of Tuesday's primary, Bolduc said he had "done a lot of research" and concluded "the election was not stolen." "Unfortunately, President Biden is the legitimate president of this country," he said. Bolduc beat a more moderate candidate, New Hampshire Senate President Chuck Morse, by running on a right-wing platform. He now faces incumbent Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan in what is expected to be a tight race, although Morse fared better than Bolduc in general-election polls. "Don Bolduc is desperately trying to run from years of spreading the Big Lie," Hassan's campaign said.


Biden executive order seeks to block China investment in some U.S. technology

President Biden signed an executive order Thursday stepping up efforts to block Chinese investment in U.S. technology and to keep Americans' private data from Beijing. In a move likely to intensify tensions with China, Biden ordered the secretive Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States to focus on preventing a foreign power from getting access to technologies Biden has singled out for their importance to U.S. economic growth. The committee will review cases related to "microelectronics, artificial intelligence, biotechnology and biomanufacturing, quantum computing, advanced clean energy, and climate adaptation technologies," the White House said. The order doesn't mention China by name, but focuses on technologies prioritized in President Xi Jinping's "Made in China 2025" drive.


Federer announces retirement from pro tennis

Swiss tennis star Roger Federer announced Thursday that he is retiring from competition. "I am 41 years old; I have played more than 1,500 matches over 24 years," Federer said in an audio recording posted on social media. "Tennis has treated me more generously than I ever would have dreamed, and now I must recognize when it is time to end my competitive career." Federer won 20 Grand Slam titles and spent 310 weeks as the No. 1 men's tennis player in the world. Federer said he will compete in his last ATP event next week in London at the Laver Cup, an annual team event he helped start. His departure followed Serena Williams' announcement that she was "evolving" away from tennis.


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