|Lawyer makes claim about FBI agent’s retirement and Hunter Biden case; how Biden lockdowns impacted kids’ education, MORE!|
|By Katrina Lusteck
Today is September 1. Below are some of the stories grabbing headlines this morning. I hope you share this briefing as doing so will make you the smartest person in the room. And don’t forget to download the free DML App from the Google Play or Apple App Store to remain connected to me throughout the day.
1. Lawyer says FBI agent’s retirement had nothing to do with Hunter Biden investigation
Assistant Special Agent in Charge Timothy R. Thibault “voluntarily” retired from the FBI on Aug. 26 after 30 years of service, his pro bono attorney said, and that he “was not fired, not forced to retire, and not asked to retire.”
“In the last couple of months, and particularly the last 24 hours,” said the unnamed attorney from the firm of Morrison & Foerster LLP, “there have been a number of inaccurate media stories and allegations on social media about our client.”
The attorney’s statement said that Thibault was not involved in the search of Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago, “either in its planning or its execution,” and did not supervise the investigation of Hunter Biden, “which, as confirmed by the FBI Director on Aug. 4, 2022, is being handled by the Baltimore Field Office.” Thibault worked in the Washington, D.C., field office. “In particular,” the statement said, “Mr. Thibault was not involved in any decisions related to any laptop that may be at issue in that investigation, and he did not seek to close the investigation.”
MY TAKE: Oh. Well, that explains things. I buy that 100%. NOT!
2. Students’ math, reading scores during COVID-19 pandemic saw steepest decline in decades: Education Department
FOX NEWS— American students’ reading and math skills were severely damaged during the coronavirus pandemic across almost all demographics.
A report on the nation’s plummeting test scores was published by the Department of Education on Thursday, showing dramatic losses across the board for students in the U.S.
“In 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) conducted a special administration of the NAEP long-term trend (LTT) reading and mathematics assessments for age 9 students to examine student achievement during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Education Department reported.
MY TAKE: Wait. Shutting down schools and forcing kids to mask up can damage their education? Now I’m shocked.
3. Trump’s filing opposing Mar-a-Lago raid forced DOJ’s hand, experts say
ABC News— After three weeks of accusations from former President Donald Trump and his allies that the Justice Department and FBI overreached in their unprecedented August 8 search of Mar-a-Lago, the DOJ responded Tuesday with a late-night filing that laid bare the fruitless negotiations that preceded the raid — and provided ample evidence that in their own legal filing, Trump’s attorneys had left out key details and made multiple unfounded or false claims about the circumstances surrounding the DOJ’s efforts to retrieve classified documents.
Tuesday’s DOJ filing was not just a line-by-line rebuttal of the claims made by Trump and his lawyers that they were fully cooperative all along with department’s efforts to retrieve the records, but it put on full display the extent of the evidence collected so far by investigators in their probe of whether concealment of the documents amounts to obstruction of justice.
“One of the greatest self-inflicted wounds is the Trump legal team’s decision, presumably with strong input from their client, deciding to lace their motion for a special master with several falsehoods,” said Ryan Goodman, a professor of law at New York University and former special counsel to the Department of Defense. “Their approach gave the Justice Department a strong reason to publicly set the record straight and issue statements about facts that would otherwise have remained secret due to an ongoing criminal investigation.”
MY TAKE: All to be laid bare at some critical moment, no doubt.
4. Taxpayers have paid over $50M in student loan relief to Hill staff in last three years
Washington Examiner— Taxpayers have footed the bill for more than $50 million in student loan payments for Capitol Hill staffers over the last few years thanks to a little-known scheme.
While many lawmakers were busy slamming President Joe Biden’s controversial student loan forgiveness plan, almost all were simultaneously offering up to $80,000 in taxpayer-funded student debt relief to people who worked for them.
Under the largely unknown plan, taxpayers are footing the bill for Capitol Hill staffers’ college bills. Those in the Senate can receive up to $40,000 directly from the Treasury to pay down their federal student loans. The House is even more generous, with up to $80,000 on offer through a nearly identical benefit created in 2023.
MY TAKE: Not shocked. SMH.
5. As Republicans Turn to Fall Races, Their Sites Downplay Trump and Abortion
New York Times— For months, the campaign website for Adam Laxalt, the Republican Senate nominee in Nevada, greeted visitors with a huge banner exalting his endorsement from former President Donald J. Trump in all capital letters. Now, that information is nowhere on his home page.
Representative Ted Budd, the Republican Senate nominee in North Carolina, also made Mr. Trump’s endorsement far less prominent on his website last month. And Blake Masters, the party’s Senate nominee in Arizona, took down a false claim that the 2020 election had been stolen from Mr. Trump and softened his calls for tough abortion restrictions.
Republican leaders are increasingly worried that both Mr. Trump and the issue of abortion could be liabilities in November, threatening the advantages the party expected from President Biden’s unpopularity and voters’ distress over inflation. At least 10 Republican candidates in competitive races have updated their websites to downplay their ties to Mr. Trump or to adjust uncompromising stances on abortion. Some have removed material from their websites altogether.
MY TAKE: Yet they’d probably fall over themselves to have him stump for them.
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