On today's episode of the 5 Things podcast: Trump huddles with House Republicans after FBI search
Hear the latest on the aftermath. Plus, politics reporter Ella Lee talks about Christian nationalism, a Mississippi grand jury will not indict the woman whose accusation led to the lynching of Emmett Till, reporters Jessica Guynn and Jayme Fraser have Part Two of their piece on few Latina CEOs and President Joe Biden will sign the PACT bill.
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Good morning. I'm Taylor Wilson and this is 5 Things you need to know Wednesday, the 10th of August, 2022. Today, the aftermath of the Mar-a-Lago search. Plus, Christian nationalism in American politics and more.
Here are some of the top headlines:
China, yesterday, reaffirmed its threat to use military force to bring self-governing Taiwan under its control. The statement mentioned peaceful reunification.
A grandfather, two grandchildren, and a niece are dead after a golf cart crash in Texas. The crash happened when a driver accused of being intoxicated ran a stop sign and crashed into a pickup, which then hit the golf cart.
Police in Albuquerque have arrested the primary suspect in the killings of four Muslim men there. Muhammad Syed was charged in two of the killings and called a suspect in two others.
The political sector and the country as a whole continue to react to the FBI's search of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home this week. Trump allies are claiming the Justice Department overreached, while other lawmakers have supported the unprecedented move. The search was connected to Trump's alleged removal of documents from the White House to his Florida property when his term as president ended. The National Archives, in February, said it contacted the Justice Department about Trump removing classified material from the White House.
Meanwhile, an Atlanta-area grand jury is hearing testimony in an investigation of whether Trump tried to meddle in the 2020 election, and the House Committee investigating the January 6th Capitol riot wrapped up its first round of hearings last month. The APs Eric Tucker has more context on the FBI search.
Last night, former President Donald Trump issued a statement saying that the FBI was currently at his property in Mar-a-Lago, which is his residence in Palm Beach, Florida. He said that they were conducting what he described as an unauthorized raid.
Donald Trump was in New York when this happened. He was not in Mar-a-Lago. I think it's important to note that his reaction is complicated because, from the perspective of Donald Trump and from the perspective of his supporters, there is a recognition that an FBI search warrant, in some ways, carries a degree of political benefit. It has the potential to portray him as a victim of overzealous law enforcement. And so in a certain sense, the president was very eager to announce it and disclose it. He decried it as something that you would expect from a third-world country.
As far as we know, this is an unprecedented step taken by law enforcement against a former president. We're not aware of any actions in modern American history that involve the FBI conducting a search warrant at a property belonging to a former president.
One thing that's really important to know about a search warrant is that what that suggests is that the FBI and the Justice Department believe that there is probable cause that a crime was committed and that a search of the particular residence or object will turn up fruits of that potential crime. We learned that there were 15 boxes that were located at Mar-a-Lago that the National Archive said should have been turned over to the archives. Within those 15 boxes, there were classified documents.
I think it's clear that among the factors the Justice Department will be looking to evaluate is what sort of information was located. How classified was it? What did Donald Trump know about what was there, and did the information carry the potential to harm the national security of the United States if exposed?
Trump, yesterday, held a dinner meeting with a dozen House Republicans. Representative, Jim Banks, tweeted out a photo and said lawmakers encouraged him to, again, seek the presidency. The meeting was planned long before the FBI search. But the topic of investigations came up. Around the country, many Republicans, including Congressman Michael Turner, say they're worried the Justice Department has been politicized.
I think the concern here obviously is the politicalization of the Department of Justice and the intelligence community. What we see here is really a line that's being crossed, where the Department of Justice has raided a former president's home. Reportedly, this is over the President's Records Act and the archivists' job to take those records from the president. If that's true, this obviously is something that doesn't rise to the level where we'd have the FBI raiding a person's home. A clerical transaction is not something where you would have FBI agents outside.
But depending on the level of classified records, potentially at Mar-a-Lago, Turner's description of just a clerical transaction may not be accurate.
Elsewhere, Congressman Scott Perry told Fox News that the FBI confiscated his cell phone yesterday. It's not clear if the incidents are related.
As for Democratic lawmakers, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, defended the search saying, "Presidents have a solemn duty to protect America's national security. And allegations that former president Trump put our security at risk by mishandling classified information warrant the utmost scrutiny." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told NBC that no one is above the law.
We're also now hearing that President Joe Biden was not informed of the FBI search, according to his White House. Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
The president was not briefed, was not aware of it. No one at the White House was given a heads up. No, that did not happen. The president and the White House learned about this FBI search from public reports. We learned just like the American public did yesterday. We did not have advanced notice of this activity. President Biden has been very clear from before he was elected president and throughout his time in office that the Justice Department conducts its investigations independently. He believes in the rule of law, in the independence of the Justice Department investigations: that those investigations should be free from political influence.
For all the latest on the search and its aftermath, stay with USATODAY.com.
Politicians are increasingly promoting Christian nationalism. Politics reporter Ella Lee tells producer PJ Elliott what that is exactly and some of the history of ideology in American politics.
Christian nationalism is essentially this idea that America was founded by Christians as a Christian nation and that all of its institutions and all of its laws are based on Christianity. That's playing into American politics because a lot of, or several rather, conservative politicians have been using the term lately and convoluting it almost with the idea of just being a Christian, in general, and saying that anyone who is a Christian should be okay with being called a Christian nationalist. But those two ideas aren't really the same.
Is there a history of this in American politics?
Some would say that the origins of the country go back to... or Christian nationalism can be traced back to there. But more recently, in 1948, there was a Christian Nationalist Party. The nominee for that party for president was a pastor who publicly preached anti-Black, anti-Semitic views and openly sympathized with Nazi ideology. Then, coming up to more present time, evangelical - particularly white evangelical voters - particularly swung for Trump. He really heavily used religious rhetoric in trying to earn those voters. Other politicians have followed suit.
Let's talk about the separation of church and state. How do these self-proclaimed Christian nationalists feel about it, and how does the rest of the country feel about it?
Self-proclaimed Christian nationalists have said that separation of church and state is something that we should back away from. In particular, Lauren Boebert from Colorado, she said she's tired of this separation of church and state junk that's not in the constitution. She was referring specifically to the fact that the church and state phrase that we so commonly hear about came from a letter. It's not explicitly written in the constitution, even though there is another constitutional clause that does say that as well. But Americans, according to Pew Research Center, are largely in favor of keeping church and state separate. Almost three-quarters, about 73% of Americans, say that religion and government policies should be kept separate. That is a little bit different among the different political parties. Fewer Republicans, about 61%, think that religion and government should be kept separate from policies compared to Democrats, who are about 84% against it.
For Ella's full story, click a link in today's episode description.
A Mississippi grand jury has declined to indict the white woman whose accusation led to the kidnapping and death of Emmett Till in 1955. That means 87-year-old Carolyn Bryant Donham is unlikely to ever be prosecuted for kidnapping and manslaughter. She accused Till, a Black 14-year-old, of making offensive remarks and grabbing her while she worked at a family store in Money, Mississippi. Till was from Chicago and visiting relatives in the state. He was abducted at gunpoint by Donham's then-husband, Roy Bryant, and brother-in-law, J.W Milam, and then murdered. They were arrested but acquitted of murder charges by an all-white male jury. Donham was never taken into custody. The FBI investigated the case in the mid-2000s, presenting evidence to another Mississippi grand jury, which returned a no bill against Donham for manslaughter. In 2017, the justice department reopened the investigation after reports that Donham recounted her statements about Till. But it found insufficient evidence that she lied to the FBI.
As you heard yesterday, only two Latinas have been CEO of a Fortune 500 company. In the second of a two-part series from reporters Jessica Guynn and Jayme Fraser, producer PJ Elliott asked them to explain why so few Hispanic women make it to these positions.
We talked a lot with associations that focus on Hispanic and Latino issues. We spoke with Latina executives and DEI experts, and they gave a lot of reasons why Latinas have had these experiences. Obviously, bias is a big one; negative stereotypes and assumptions based on those stereotypes, whether it's seeing Latinas as more domestic, less ambitious, or if they speak English with an accent that they are not articulate enough, or that they are too passionate and don't present well because they use their hands when they talk, all kinds of different factors. Another very major one was that they had very few mentors, people to help guide them, and also very few sponsors, the ones who go to bat for you to get you visibility, to get you those jobs, to help advance your career. All of them spoke about the need for that. The ones that I interviewed all spoke about how they had those sponsors. That was a key way that they were able to advance their careers.
I'd also just like to add that National Education Statistics show this is not a matter of qualifications. Latinas and Hispanic women get degrees at a rate equal to their share of the population, if not more than that. There are people that are qualified to hold these top leadership jobs. But they're not getting there.
Is there anything that any of these fortune 500 companies are doing to address this issue?
I think that companies in recent years, since the national unrest over the murder of George Floyd, have stepped up their efforts to increase inclusion and to focus on, in particular, Black, and Hispanic, and Latino people inside their organizations. There are definitely efforts underway. But it's going to take a lot more than what we are seeing now and a real concerted effort to identify where these disparities exist and create programs that help people rise within these organizations. One of the companies that I spoke with, Cisco, their chief operating officer is Maria Martinez. She has started a program there that is a sponsorship program. All of the vice presidents at the company, through this program, have agreed to sponsor someone who is from a different background than they are. She said that that program has resulted in a lot of upward mobility for folks inside the organization.
President Joe Biden, today, will sign a bill improving healthcare and disability benefits for millions of veterans exposed to toxic burn pits while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The PACT Act won final approval in the Senate last week on an 86 to 11 vote. That came after a brief stalemate mate that angered advocates and led to protests in Washington.
Biden described the legislation as the biggest expansion of benefits for service-connected health issues in 30 years and the largest single bill ever to address exposure to burn pits. Hundreds of thousands of Vietnam war-era veterans and survivors also will benefit from the legislation. The bill adds high blood pressure as a presumptive disease associated with Agent Orange exposure.
Thanks for listening to 5 Things. You can find us seven days a week on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, your smart speaker device, or wherever you get your audio. Thanks to PJ Elliott for his great work on the show, and I'm back tomorrow with more of 5 Things from USA TODAY.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump huddles with House GOP, rise in Christian nationalism: 5 Things podcast