President breaks silence on FBI’s Trump raid

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The August 8 raid resulted in the FBI confiscating hundreds of documents allegedly classified that Trump allegedly took when he left office in January 2021…reports Ashe O

President Joe Biden claimed on Wednesday that he had no advance notice on the FBI raid on his predecessor Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago (Florida) residence that led to the seizure of 11 boxes of classified documents which the Department of Justice considers evidence to book the former President under the espionage act.

Some documents related to the CIA, FBI and intelligence reports of third countries’ nuclear threats.

“I didn’t have any advance notice. None, zero. Not one single bit. Thank you,” replied Biden when asked by a journalist about it after he concluded his speech announcing student forgiveness. Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy asked the President if he knew about the raid ahead of time. “Mr President, how much advance notice did you have of the FBI’s plan to search Mar-a-Lago,” he asked.

The August 8 raid resulted in the FBI confiscating hundreds of documents allegedly classified that Trump allegedly took when he left office in January 2021. Attorney General Merrick Garland has said that he personally approved seeking the search warrant. The White House has denied being given a heads-up prior to the raid.

“The President was not briefed, was not aware of it,” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre had said on August 9 a day after the raid. She had said “no one at the White House was given a heads-up”.

Biden announced he is forgiving up to $20,000 in debt of Pell Grant recipients for individuals making less than $125,000 annually and couples making under $250,000 annually. Other student debt up to $10,000 will be forgiven for those under those same qualifications.

The President also extended the moratorium on student loan payments for the last time. The moratorium, which was implemented due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will end on December 31.

He also capped repayment of undergraduate loans at 5 percent of monthly income. An estimated 43 million borrowers can receive some form of relief under Biden’s new plan, with nearly half of them seeing their debt completely wiped off.

Progressive Democrats criticised Biden’s plan because it fell short of wider cancellation.

Meanwhile, Biden recalled his college days and his education during the speech on debt forgiveness, when he said in his opening remarks that his father’s own struggle to pay his (Biden’s) higher education bills informed his decision to grant the relief.

“My dad was like millions of parents all across the country,” Biden said. “He believed, as I do, that an education was a ticket to a better life… but over time, that ticket has become too expensive.”

Biden, 79, received an undergraduate degree in political science and history from the University of Delaware in 1965, according to the university’s website. He received a Juris Doctor degree from the Law school at Syracuse University in New York in 1968, according to the law school’s magazine.

He has championed the fact that he attended a state school, in consonance with his long-embraced nickname “Middle-Class Joe”. He is also the first President to not have attended an Ivy League school since Ronald Reagan, according to Newsweek.

“I remember my senior year, I got into one of the little ‘Ivy’s’ and I got into a number of other schools,” Biden said on Wednesday, as he recounted his family’s struggle to get the money to pay for an expensive education.

Judge orders release of redacted Mar-a-Lago affidavit

A judge has ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to release a redacted version of the affidavit used to seek the search warrant on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

“I find that the government has met its burden of showing a compelling reason/good cause to seal portions of the affidavit,” Magistrate Judge for the Southern District of Florida Bruce Reinhart wrote in the latest court order on Thursday.

Reinhart gave the DOJ until Friday noon to file in the public docket a version of the affidavit.

It was unclear whether the Department would appeal.

Reinhart issued the order hours after the DOJ said it had filed its proposed redactions to the affidavit.

Multiple US media organizations asked Reinhart to unseal the affidavit, following the release of the warrant that Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents executed to search the estate located in Palm Beach earlier this month.

The DOJ has opposed the unsealing of the affidavit, claiming that the move would undermine “an ongoing law enforcement investigation that implicates national security”.

The media outlets had argued that the significant public interest in the affidavit justifies disclosing at least part of it.

Trump and many Republicans have denounced what they called a “raid” on Mar-a-Lago and repeatedly lashed out at the FBI and the DOJ.

Speaking on the matter for the first time, President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that he had “zero” advance notice before the search.

The FBI operation on Mar-a-Lago was part of the DOJ’s investigation into whether Trump had mishandled classified documents.

The unsealed warrant listed three potential criminal violations — concealment or removal of federal records, destruction or alteration of records in a federal investigation, and transmitting defense information.

A “receipt for property” included 33 seized items, including 11 sets of documents described either as “classified/TS/SCI”, “top secret”, “secret” or “confidential”.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and claimed all documents taken by FBI agents were declassified.

The former leader said on Monday that his attorneys have demanded the DOJ be instructed to immediately stop the review of documents seized from Mar-a-Lago.

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