Have you noticed how a quiet week is always followed by a completely bananas week, news-wise? This week is no exception–there’s a lot going on (again), and many things are definitely still developing as I type this. But if you’re trying to follow, the NNR has your back. (Or at least, it has your news.)
Standard standing reminders still apply: I guess after six years I’m conceding that I’m a journalist, but I summarize news within my areas of expertise. NNR summaries often contain some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise–I’m a lawyer, not a special master!–but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. And, of course, for the things that are within my lane, I’m offering context that shouldn’t be considered legal advice. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!
Cleanup in Aisle 45:
For yet another week, Election Rejection was an entire flying circus. Here’s what I have for you:
- Insurrection Update: Mar-A-Lago Motions. There are still a few different ongoing stories to track here, but most of them tie back to the FBI Tour of Mar-a-Lago front in some way. First, on Monday, Trump requested that everything stop until an independent special master could be appointed to review the documents for executive privilege. But only a few days after the judge signaled openness to the idea, the DOJ announced that they had already finished reviewing them through an independent filter team, so now it’s anybody’s guess what that judge will do with this at the next court date on Thursday. Meanwhile, we ended up hearing more from the National Archives directly about their ongoing saga with Trump, when Trump’s team more-or-less forced them to publish a May letter they sent to Trump’s liaison. That said, I have no idea why this was the press strategy, as the letter shows that over 700 pages of sensitive documents had already been recovered from Mar-A-Lago before a bunch more turned up in the August search. Then, as foretold by prophecy, the redacted affidavit in support of the search warrant was released on Friday. Though many sections are indeed heavily redacted, there’s enough there to clearly identify the possibility of obstruction charges against Trump, so naturally now the right is threatening to riot if charges happen. We almost certainly will have even more updates on all of this by the end of the week.
This was also something of a frenetic week on the Biden Rebuilding front. Here’s what has happened:
- Recent Biden Resilience. The big Biden news this week is definitely his announcement that $10,000 of federal student loans would be forgiven for all qualifying borrowers under a certain income bracket, and an additional $10,000 would be forgiven for recipients of Pell grants. Needless to say, everybody has an opinion on this, with some opinions being more hypocritical than others. The applications won’t be ready until October at the earliest, so everybody’s stuck kind of guessing about how they are likely to work–but this is likely to be a first step at best for addressing a major national concern. As one last federal student loan note, he also extended the payment pause again, so now federal loans won’t become due again until December 31.
Your New Normal:
- Contagion Corner. This was a weird week for Contagion Corner. The Biden administration says we’ll have a new booster campaign shortly after Labor Day, but officials are cautioning that we don’t have the funding to distribute them effectively. The administration also announced this week that they’re suspending their free testing campaign for lack of funds, so this appears to be a common theme. Meanwhile, the new monkeypox vaccine plan is already struggling, but cases appear to be falling anyway. And Moderna is now suing Pfizer over the mRNA patent for their vaccine, arguing that Pfizer stole Moderna’s technology. Murrica, y’all.
- Reproductive Justice Struggles. This was another bad week for reproductive justice news, as another three states implemented trigger bans and Texas just made abortion services a life sentence. That brings the new total up to twelve states with full bans and another two with six-week bans. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that one of those states, Mississippi, also has been fielding a water crisis in its capital city for the last month, which increases risk of pregnancy complications considerably. This is a legitimate public health crisis; I’ll be looking into the best way to support the city and will report back on that. That said, I do have one spot of good news from Idaho, where a preliminary injunction was granted for part of their trigger law because it doesn’t allow abortion to prevent health risk. (This is particularly exciting because it signals that this judge may agree that EMTALA preempts abortion laws, which has many additional implications.)
- Recent Climate Resilience. This has proven to be a rough week for climate change consequence news, with another heatwave and risk of an extended fire season on the west coast. Against that backdrop, I’m glad to share that the west coast also saw really significant move in combatting climate change this week, when California issued a new rule that will phase out the sale of gasoline powered cars by 2035. It’s the first rule of its kind I’m aware of, but it’s likely to be joined by others in the near future. It’s also a promising start to a longer conversation about dependence on fossil fuels.
So that’s what I have for this week, and I’m sorry, there are no news refunds. Nonetheless, for making it through, you deserve this sleeping otter and a more functional government. I’ll be back next week with more restructured and improved news, and I hope you will be back as well–but in the meantime, feel free to ping the National News Roundup ask box, which is there for your constructive comments. Send me questions! Send me feedback! Send me interesting types of black tea!