Special Counsel Taking Over Trump Investigations

Happy Tuesday! Yesterday was the pardoning of the national turkey, also known as the White House’s annual open mic night. 

“The votes are in. They’ve been counted and verified. There’s no ballot stuffing. There’s no fowl play,” President Biden told the assembled crowd, promising not to “gobble up” too much of their time. “The only red wave this season is going to be a German Shepherd, Commander, knock[ing] over the cranberry sauce on our table.”

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • One day after the Turkish Defense Ministry launched a series of airstrikes targeting Kurdish militants in northern Syria and Iraq, those same Kurdish militants on Monday reportedly fired rockets back across the border, killing two people in the Turkish border town of Karkamis and wounding 10 others. Turkish officials blame those Kurdish militants for a bombing in Istanbul last week that killed six people and wounded dozens others, but the Kurdish groups have denied responsibility for the attack. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) also fired drones and missiles at Kurdish military bases in northern Iraq on Monday, the second such attack after Iran accused the groups of encouraging and fomenting the domestic protests plaguing Tehran.
  • Long-standing ethnic tensions in the Democratic Republic of Congo have reportedly erupted in recent weeks, resulting in the heaviest fighting in nearly a decade as warring militias and rebel groups vie for control of the region and its natural resources. The conflict has led to food and fuel shortages for millions of people in the area.
  • A 5.6-magnitude earthquake on the Indonesian main island of Java killed at least 162 people Monday afternoon, West Java Gov. Ridden Kamil said in a briefing. The quake also injured at least 326 people and damaged more than 2,000 homes—displacing about 13,000 people—but officials with Indonesia’s meteorological agency said it wouldn’t create a tsunami.
  • Network decision desks on Monday projected GOP Rep. David Valadao—one of 10 Republicans to vote in favor of former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment—will defeat Rudy Salas, his Democratic challenger in California’s 22nd congressional district. Salas did not publicly concede last night, but Republicans have now won—or are leading in—222 congressional districts, compared to Democrats’ 213.
  • Penguin Random House’s deal to acquire Simon & Schuster for $2 billion officially collapsed on Monday, weeks after a federal judge blocked the proposed merger on antitrust grounds. Penguin Random House intended to appeal the ruling, but couldn’t after Simon & Schuster’s parent company opted not to extend the purchase agreement and terminated the pact instead.

Special Counsel Taking Over Trump Investigations

Former President Donald Trump. (Photo by Joe Raedle / Getty Images.)

Aside from a desire to stave off potential Republican challengers and a general need for people to be talking and/or thinking about him at all times, one of the main reasons Donald Trump announced his 2024 presidential bid last week was to throw a series of wrenches into the myriad criminal investigations he is facing. But a person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.

Citing Trump’s Mar-a-Lago announcement speech—though not by name—Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Friday he had appointed a special counsel to oversee two federal criminal investigations implicating Trump, regarding potential interference in the transfer of power and the potential mishandling of classified documents and other presidential records. “I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a Special Counsel,” Garland said. “Such an appointment underscores the Department’s commitment to both independence and accountability in particularly sensitive matters. It also allows prosecutors and agents to continue their work expeditiously, and to make decisions indisputably guided only by the facts and the law.”

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