Trump says he is target of federal Jan. 6 criminal probe.
Wages outpace prices for first time in 2 years.
Priceless Israeli antiquities somehow found their way to Mar-a-Lago.
Trump says he is target of federal Jan. 6 criminal probe
Former President Donald Trump confirmed today that he’d received a letter from the Justice Department notifying him that he is the target of an ongoing criminal probe into the events surrounding Jan. 6, 2021. Since last year, this investigation has been overseen by special counsel Jack Smith. The probe has examined several aspects of a campaign by Trump and his allies to overturn his 2020 election loss. This includes pressure campaigns in various battleground states to appoint slates of fake electors to present a false election certification before Congress.
Jack Smith is also overseeing a separate federal case against Trump regarding his mishandling of classified documents after he left the White House. An indictment was announced in that case last month shortly after Trump announced receiving the target later. This means an indictment in the Jan. 6 case may be coming in the next several days.
Trump attorneys want to delay classified docs trial until after 2024 election
Trump’s attorneys are also in a Florida federal court today for a pre-trial hearing in the classified documents case. A trial date hasn’t yet been set in the case and Trump’s defense is hoping the judge will agree to delay the trial until after the Nov. 2024 Presidential election. Trump’s team argued that his campaign schedule will keep him too busy to participate in his own criminal trial.
The case is being presided over by Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee who previously gave rulings that were favorable to Trump during the investigation phase of this same case. The conservative 11th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down those rulings. Those judges offered scathing criticism about Cannon’s misuse of the law in the case, although they stopped short of accusing her of political favoritism. Six of the eleven of the active judges at the 11th Circuit are also Trump appointees.
Wages rise faster than prices for first time in 2 years
The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced some encouraging economic news after finding that wages are now rising faster than prices for the first time in two years. For the last three months, average hourly pay has risen by 4.4%. Last week, the Consumer Price Index showed that inflation had slowed in June to 3%, down from 4% in May.
This is the first time in 2 years that the year-on-year rise in prices was lower than 4%. While this is great news for consumers, it still exceeds the Federal Reserve’s year-on-year inflation target of 2%. Forecasters say that extra 1% may prove stubborn and it may be 5 years before it gets back down to 2%.
These new numbers, along with falling unemployment, have made analysts more optimistic that the US will avert a recession.
Priceless Israeli antiquities somehow found their way to Mar-a-Lago
Israeli officials have just learned that several of their ancient cultural artefacts somehow wound up at Donald Trump’s private residence at Mar-a-Lago. The artefacts, which include several ancient oil lamps, were on temporary loan for a White House Chanukah event in 2019. The lamps were not used in the ceremony because of concerns they had been taken from the occupied Palestinian territories. The lamps were supposed to make their way back to Israel but their transfer was delayed by the onset of the pandemic in 2020.
For the last few years, Israeli antiquities authorities were unaware of the lamps’ whereabouts and have tried, unsuccessfully, to recover them through official channels. No one is sure when or how the lamps got to Trump’s estate, nor is it clear whether he knew they were there. In their August 2022 raid at Mar-a-Lago, the FBI found boxes of highly classified material stacked unceremoniously in a ballroom and a shower stall. An anonymous official source told Haaretz newspaper that he would not be surprised if “the items Israel seeks are also eventually found in some bathroom there”.