Daily briefing

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

DOJ makes an appeal, Newsom challenges DeSantis, and more

1

DOJ appeals portion of decision to appoint special master in Trump case

The Department of Justice on Friday asked an appeals court to allow the FBI to regain access to roughly 100 documents taken from former President Donald Trump's Florida mansion, but did not seek to block the appointment of a so-called "special master," or third-party individual, to review other materials. In its filing, the Justice Department requested that the appeals court refrain from submitting the 100-some classified documents to the outside arbiter, but still agreed to hand over thousands of others materials. The department's ask arrives after Judge Aileen Cannon last week granted Trump's request for a special master, and forbade law enforcement agencies from accessing the thousands of seized documents under investigative circumstances until the special master review has finished. The department initially asked Cannon to stay the section of her order blocking it from investigating the specific 100 or so files in question, but she denied the request on Thursday.

2

Gavin Newsom challenges Ron DeSantis to a debate

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Friday challenged Ron DeSantis (R) to a televised debate, after having decried the Florida governor and his conservative counterpart —Texas' Greg Abbott — for relocating vulnerable migrants in protest of President Biden's border policies. "Hey [DeSantis], clearly you're struggling, distracted, and busy playing politics with people's lives," Newsom tweeted Friday. "Since you have only one overriding need — attention — let's take this up & debate. I'll bring my hair gel. You bring your hairspray. Name the time before Election Day." On Thursday, the California governor called on the Department of Justice directly to investigate whether Abbott, who that same day bused some 100 migrants to Vice President Kamala Harris' residence in Washington, D.C., and DeSantis, who on Wednesday flew roughly 50 migrants to Martha's Vineyard, were in violation of federal law.

3

Bodies found in Ukraine’s Izium show signs of torture: Reports

Some of the over 440 bodies uncovered at a mass burial site in the recently-reclaimed Ukrainian city of Izium show "signs of torture," including broken limbs and rope ties around the neck, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday. Though more than 400 graves have been uncovered thus far, the exact number of victims at the site is currently unknown. "The harsh reality indicates that the number of dead in Izium may be many times higher than the Bucha tragedy," Ukrainian official Oleg Kotenko wrote on Telegram. Some victims were killed by gunfire, while others died of "so-called mine explosion traumas," Serhii Bolvinov, Kharkiv's chief police investigator, told Britain's Sky News, per CNN.  "Some died because of airstrikes," he continued. The buried corpses were also "mostly civilians," according to Ukraine's Center for Strategic Communications.

4

West Virginia governor signs abortion ban

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) on Friday signed into law a bill banning almost all abortions save for instances of rape, incest, or medical necessity. The ban, approved by the West Virginia Legislature earlier in the week, took effect immediately, with criminal penalties to begin in 90 days. "I've done exactly what I said I would do — I've signed it," Justice said of the legislation at a news conference Friday morning. He noted that he is "proud that I signed it and I believe wholeheartedly that it does one thing that is absolutely so important — it does protect life." West Virginia is now the second state to enact a law prohibiting abortion since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade (1973) in June.

5

Western Alaska expecting massive storm

A massive storm is expected to move through western Alaska this weekend, bringing with it threats of coastal flooding, heavy rain, and high winds. The incoming weather system is thanks to Typhoon Merbok, remnants of which are "forecast to move north through the Bering Sea region from Friday through Sunday," the The New York Times writes, per the National Weather Service. Flood and wind warnings have been issued for Nome, Stebbins, and Point Hope, among other areas. Widespread power outages are also possible. "It looks like it could be one of the worst storms we've seen in at least 50 years, out on the west coast," Scott Berg, a meteorologist with the weather service's Fairbanks, Alaska office, told the Times. A majority of the locales bracing for impact are most concerned about potential infrastructure damage. "We're looking at inundation of the communities," Berg added.

6

The king, Prince William visit those queueing for queen

The United Kingdom's King Charles III and Prince William on Saturday made a surprise visit to those waiting in long lines to pay their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II, who died earlier this month at the age of 96. Walking along the Albert Embankment, the pair thanked those who had queued overnight, and even offered notes of encouragement to anyone still roughing it: "You're over halfway," the prince told one young girl.  "I hope you didn't get too frozen," Charles said elsewhere, in reference to last night's drop in temperature. As of roughly 8:30 a.m. ET Saturday, the queue time was around 14 hours, "with the line stretching five miles along the Thames to Southwark Park," per BBC News. Thousands of mourners (including soccer star David Beckham) have endured painfully long lines over the last few days in hopes of visiting the queen's coffin, which will lie in state in Westminster Hall until her funeral on Monday.

7

India’s Modi criticizes Putin’s war

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday directly criticized Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, telling the Russian president during a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization that "today's era is not an era of war." "I have spoken to you on the phone about this," the Indian leader continued. Putin afterwards "glanced at Modi and then looked down before touching the hair on the back of his head," Reuters reports. "I know your position on the conflict in Ukraine, the concerns that you constantly express," Putin responded. "We will do everything to stop this as soon as possible." India has notably become the No. 2 purchaser of Russian oil now that other nations, including China, have cut back in response to the war.

8

Sarah Sanders undergoes thyroid surgery

GOP nominee for Arkansas governor and former Trump administration press secretary Sarah Sanders recently underwent surgery for thyroid cancer, the candidate revealed Friday. "During a checkup earlier this month, my doctor ordered a biopsy on an area of concern in my neck and the test revealed that I had thyroid cancer," Sanders, 40, said. "Today, I underwent a successful surgery to remove my thyroid and surrounding lymph nodes and by the grace of God I am now cancer-free." Sanders was suffering from the most common type of thyroid cancer, per her physician, John Sims. She will require continued treatment, but should be "back on her feet within the next 24 hours," Sims said.

9

FedEx warns of global recession

Transport company FedEx this week warned of an impending global recession, as predicted by the declining global demand for packages. The company's shares dropped 21 percent on Friday, notably after it estimated a $500 million revenue shortfall thanks to a slowing economy. "These numbers, they don't portend very well," FedEx CEO Raj Subramaniam replied, when asked if the decline in company profits suggested a recession was imminent. To address its financial woes, the company is reducing flights, temporarily grounding aircraft, cutting staff hours, delaying certain hiring, and closing 90 FedEx Office locations in addition to five corporate offices. It will also cut $500 million from its capital expenditure budget for its fiscal year, which lasts through May 2023.

10

Broadway's ‘Phantom of the Opera’ to close

After 35 years, The Phantom of the Opera — Broadway's longest-running production — is set to close on Feb. 18, 2023. Cast, crew, and orchestra members were informed of the decision on Friday. Despite its renown, Phantom's grosses have been unfortunately declining ever since it returned post-COVID, and the profits just aren't enough to offset the show's high costs. This won't be the end of the beloved musical entirely, however; productions of Phantom will still continue to run elsewhere, including in London, Australia, and China (beginning next year.)

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