10 things you need to know today: August 23, 2023

Grand jury ends in Trump classified documents investigation, Trump co-defendants surrender to face Georgia election interference charges, and more

Fulton County Jail
(Image credit: Chandan Khanna / AFP via Getty Images)

1. Washington grand jury ends Trump classified documents investigation

Special counsel Jack Smith said in a court filing Tuesday that the Washington, D.C., federal grand jury that investigated former President Donald Trump's alleged mishandling of classified documents had finished its work. A second grand jury in Florida actually indicted Trump. The D.C. grand jury examined the alleged efforts to cover up Trump's handling of secret documents at Mar-a-Lago, and kept working to investigate false grand jury testimony by two Trump employees, prosecutors said. One, Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira, has been charged with lying to FBI agents and pleaded not guilty. The second employee, technology worker Yuscil Taveras, flipped and revised his testimony, telling investigators Trump and two aides tried to have incriminating security video erased.

The Washington Post

2. Trump co-defendants surrender in Georgia election case

Several of former President Donald Trump's co-defendants accused of conspiring to overturn Georgia's 2020 election result turned themselves in at the Fulton County Jail on Tuesday. Attorney John Eastman was booked and released on bail. He told reporters he would "vigorously contest every count of the indictment," and "absolutely" still believes the election was stolen from Trump through fraud. Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform that he planned to surrender to face the charges on Thursday. "Can you believe it? I'll be going to Atlanta, Georgia, on Thursday to be ARRESTED," Trump wrote late Monday. A judge set Trump's bond at $200,000 after a meeting between Trump's lawyers and prosecutors.

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ABC News The Associated Press

3. RNC: 8 candidates will participate in 1st GOP primary debate

The Republican National Committee announced Tuesday that eight candidates had qualified and would participate in the party's first 2024 presidential primary debate, which Fox News will host Wednesday in Wisconsin. Former President Donald Trump, the dominant front-runner, has confirmed he will sit out the forum. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former Vice President Mike Pence, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott will take the stage and jostle over who's the best alternative to Trump. To qualify, candidates had to have at least 40,000 individual donors and 1% support in three national polls.


4. Western officials say Ukraine must shift troops to boost counteroffensive

Ukraine's counteroffensive to reclaim territory seized by Russia has failed to break through partly because Kyiv has put some of its best troops in the wrong places, The New York Times reported Tuesday, citing U.S. and other Western officials. The counteroffensive's primary goal is to sever the so-called land bridge Russia needs to resupply the occupied Crimean Peninsula, but Ukraine has split its resources roughly equally between the east and the far more strategically important south, the officials told the Times. U.S. military strategists have urged Ukraine to focus more troops and firepower on the push toward Melitopol in the south. American officials said Ukraine appeared to be taking the advice and shifting more seasoned troops to the southern front.

The New York Times

5. 18 charred bodies found in Greek village devastated by wildfires

Greek authorities said Tuesday that search crews found 18 charred bodies in a remote northeastern village engulfed by wildfires for days as a heatwave ravages southern Europe. The bodies were found near a shack in an area with routes traveled by people from the Middle East and Asia who have crossed Turkey trying to make their way to Western Europe. Firefighters were investigating whether the victims were migrants. Firefighters are also fighting blazes in Spain, Italy and Portugal as the region struggles with hot, dry, windy conditions scientists say have been worsened by climate change. The heatwave has continued since July, which was the hottest month on record.


6. Conservative activist sues 2 law firms over diversity fellowships

Edward Blum, the conservative advocate whose lawsuit resulted in the Supreme Court ending affirmative action in college admissions, is suing two law firms that offer diversity fellowships, arguing they result in illegal racial discrimination against white candidates. Blum and his American Alliance for Equal Rights anti–affirmative action organization asked the courts to bar the firms, which have offices in Texas and Florida, from considering race. In June, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Chair Charlotte Burrows said the Supreme Court decision banning racial preferences in college admission didn't apply to employer diversity programs. The firms — Perkins Coie, being sued in Texas, and Morrison & Foerster, in Florida — were not immediately available for comment, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The Wall Street Journal

7. 8 rescued from disabled cable car in Pakistan

Pakistan's military on Tuesday rescued seven children and one man who were stuck for hours in a cable car hanging at least 900 feet in the air. The cable car was stranded after a cable snapped in the country's mountainous north. Army Special Service Group members used a helicopter to save two children, plucking them from the car with a sling lowered as the aircraft hovered. It took four attempts for the helicopter to get the first children. The rest were rescued using a chairlift eased along the cable after more helicopter rescues were deemed too risky. Locals used a zip line to ferry food to the people trapped in the cable car. "It was a unique operation that required lots of skill," the military said in a statement.

The Washington Post Reuters

8. Teamsters ratify UPS contract, averting strike

UPS workers represented by the Teamsters union have ratified a tentative contract negotiated last month, ending a labor dispute that had threatened to disrupt package deliveries and business supply chains, the union announced Tuesday. The union said 86% of workers casting votes favored ratifying the agreement, the most overwhelming support for a contract in the Teamsters' history at UPS. The agreement calls for UPS to pay new part-time workers $21 an hour, up from $16.20 an hour. Existing workers will get a $2.75 hourly pay increase this year, and a $7.50 bump over the life of the five-year contract. Union leaders called it their "most lucrative" contract ever at UPS. The Teamsters represent 340,000 UPS delivery drivers and package sorters.

The Associated Press The Wall Street Journal

9. US punishes Chinese officials over forced assimilation of Tibetan children

The State Department on Tuesday said it was imposing visa restrictions on some Chinese officials to punish them over China's alleged forcible assimilation of more than one million Tibetan children in government-run boarding schools. "These coercive policies seek to eliminate Tibet's distinct linguistic, cultural and religious traditions among younger generations of Tibetans," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. The move is the latest in a series of actions the U.S. has taken against China over its treatment of ethnic minorities. Washington also accuses Beijing of mistreating mostly Muslim ethnic Uyghurs. China accused the U.S. of interfering in its internal affairs, and called the allegations "smears," saying the boarding schools are necessary for the education of children in scattered communities.

The Wall Street Journal

10. US launches push to develop next-generation Covid vaccines

The Biden administration on Tuesday announced the first awards in a $5 billion effort to develop updated Covid-19 vaccines and treatments. The project aims to support a new generation of vaccines that last longer and provide better protection against new coronavirus variants. The effort also is intended to produce more effective monoclonal antibodies, according to Axios. The first $1.4 billion in awards includes $1 billion for advanced-vaccine clinical trials. Some of the remaining money will be spent on developing better manufacturing technology, including a nasal spray that would offer better protection. A Health and Human Services Department official said it wasn't clear when next-generation vaccines would be ready, because release dates would be "entirely driven by the data."


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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.