Mar-a-Lago raid, primary elections: all the news you missed this week in Washington




  • In Politics
  • 2022-08-13 09:00:57Z
  • By USA TODAY

"This week has been monumental."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's statement - given to reporters ahead of voting to pass the Inflation Reduction Act - feels like an understatement.

Between the FBI search of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, passage and signature of landmark legislation to solidify Biden's domestic agenda, and primary elections in four states, this week was jam-packed for Washington.

Here's a rundown of what you may have missed:

FBI raids Mar-a-Lago

FBI agents on Monday searched former President Donald Trump's Florida home, Mar-a-Lago, in connection with an investigation into whether Trump removed documents from the White House after leaving office.

It's an unprecedented move for the Justice Department to search a former president's home.

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 11: U.
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 11: U.  

The former president is also facing ongoing investigations in Georgia over his efforts to overturn 2020 election results there and in New York, where the attorney general is conducting a civil investigation into his and his family's business practices.

Trump had been served a subpoena seeking sensitive government documents two months before the FBI search. Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Thursday that he "personally approved" of the decision to seek the warrant and that the Justice Department had petitioned a judge to unseal the warrant.

Many Republicans reacted with outrage against the FBI following the search. House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy vowed that a Republican-majority House would investigate the Department of Justice over the search. Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell said the country deserves "a thorough and immediate explanation of what led to the events of Monday."

Former President Donald Trump walks into Trump Tower in New York late Tuesday.
Former President Donald Trump walks into Trump Tower in New York late Tuesday.  

Trump pleads the Fifth

During a deposition under oath in the New York attorney general's civil investigation into the Trump Organization on Wednesday, the former president invoked the Fifth Amendment nearly 450 times.

"I once asked, 'If you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?' Now I know the answer to that question," Trump wrote in a statement.

The attorney general's office confirmed that Trump invoked his right against self-incrimination, saying the investigation "continues."

"Attorney General James will pursue the facts and the law wherever they may lead," a spokesperson said.

House passed Inflation Reduction Act, victory for Biden's domestic agenda

The House on Friday passed the Inflation Reduction Act along party lines, putting the sweeping health care, tax and climate plan on Biden's desk, which he plans to sign next week.

The plan has been a priority from the start of Biden's presidency. First introduced as the Build Back Better plan, many of the social spending programs like the extended child tax credit and paid family leave were cut over months of negotiations between moderate and progressive Democrats.

The 10-year, $739 billion package will raise taxes on certain corporations while reducing the deficit by about $100 billion over the next decade. The $370 billion in the bill marked for climate change is the largest one-time investment in climate change in U.S. history.

More: Here's how the Inflation Reduction Act could save consumers money and protect the planet

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif.  

Primary elections in Minnesota, Wisconsin

August primaries continued this week, as races in Wisconsin tested again Trump's influence ahead of 2024.

Trump-backed businessman Tim Michels defeated former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who had the backing of former Vice President Mike Pence.

In Minnesota, left-leaning Rep. Ilhan Omar barely scraped by in a tighter than expected primary. Her Democrat opponent Don Samuels trailed her by 2,500 votes. Omar won her 2020 reelection bid by more than 35,000.

Look out for primaries next week in Alaska and in Wyoming, where Wyoming GOP Rep. Liz Cheney is in a fierce bid to defend her seat - and defend the positions of the House Jan. 6 committee in a heavily pro-Trump state. In Alaska, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski is up for re-election while former Republican Gov. Sarah Palin is a leading candidate to replace the late Rep. Don Young in Congress.

More: Primary takeaways: Dems eye Wis. Sen. Johnson; Vt. looks to break ceiling; Omar survives Minn. squeaker

Gas prices start to ease

This week, national gas price averages fell below $4 per gallon for the first time in five months. Prices peaked at $5.01 in mid-June.

It's a sign that sky-high costs on basic goods, sparked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and ongoing pandemic supply chain issues, may be on a more level trajectory.

Biden signs PACT Act

President Joe Biden signed the PACT Act (Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics) into law on Wednesday, designed to provide health care benefits for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits during deployment.

The act was championed by veterans and comedian Jon Stewart. It's an issue close to Biden, as his son Beau - a major in the Army National Guard - died from glioblastoma, and Biden said he doesn't know for sure whether or not a toxic burn pit was the cause of his cancer.

Biden sees flash flood damage in Kentucky

In the wake of devastating flash floods that have killed at least 37 people in southern Kentucky, Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visited Kentucky and called the scene "incredibly heartbreaking."

Hundreds were displaced from their homes by flooding and mudslides, and others remained stranded without water, electricity or other critical supplies. Biden has declared 13 counties federal disaster areas.

National Guard members aid in flood relief efforts July 30 in response to a state of emergency in eastern Kentucky.
National Guard members aid in flood relief efforts July 30 in response to a state of emergency in eastern Kentucky.  

Sweden and Finland in NATO

Biden formally welcomed Finland and Sweden to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on Tuesday following Senate approval last week, a direct response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The two nations aren't yet a part of NATO, however. Their bids need to win approval from all other NATO countries, a process that could take months.

Iranian national targets John Bolton

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton was the target of an assassination attempt, Justice Department officials said Wednesday.

A member of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was charged in a murder-for-hire plot, allegedly seeking to arrange Bolton's assassination in retaliation for the U.S. drone strike that killed Iran commander Qasem Soleimani in 2020 in Baghdad.

More: Iranian national charged in assassination plot targeting Trump national security adviser John Bolton

In this file photo taken on May 01, 2019, former National Security Advisor John Bolton speaks to Fox News outside the White House May 1, 2019, in Washington, DC.
In this file photo taken on May 01, 2019, former National Security Advisor John Bolton speaks to Fox News outside the White House May 1, 2019, in Washington, DC.  

Congress honors late Rep. Jackie Walorski

When the House convened to vote on Friday for the Inflation Reduction Act, one seat was adorned with black cloth and a vase of white flowers. It was one of many reminders throughout the day of Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., who passed away last week in a car accident along with staffers Zachary Potts, 28, and Emma Thomson, 27.

House members also held a moment of silence on Friday to honor Walorski, Potts and Thomson.

House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., spoke at Walorski's funeral in Granger, Indiana on Thursday, along with Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., and Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio. All three spoke of Walorski's dedication to her work in serving the people of Indiana and her Christian faith as a driving force in her life.

Pallbearers carry the coffin of late Congresswoman Jackie Walorski during her burial service at Southlawn Cemetery, Thursday, Aug.
Pallbearers carry the coffin of late Congresswoman Jackie Walorski during her burial service at Southlawn Cemetery, Thursday, Aug.  

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump, Mar-a-Lago, Inflation Reduction Act: politics news this week

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