Richard Roat, actor who appeared in ‘Friends’ and ‘Seinfeld,’ dead at 89



Roat was well known for his regular role on the daytime soap opera “The Doctors,” playing Dr. Jerry Chandler. After that project, he went on to consistent work as a character actor, with a body of credits that spanned five decades of television, from “Hawaii Five-O” and “Columbo” in the 70s to “Cold Case” and “24” in the mid-aughts.

He also appeared in episodes of beloved sitcoms like “Friends” (as Ross’s colleague in “The One Where Ross Dates a Student”) and “Seinfeld” (as a doctor in “The Package”).

According to his obituary, Roat had “over 135 acting roles on television, film, and on Broadway.” He also had “a successful practice as an entertainment tax preparer for over 50 years,” the memorial said.

Roat is survived by his wife of more than 40 years, Kathy.



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Mar-a-Lago search: Justice Department says documents were likely ‘concealed and removed’ from storage room





CNN
 — 

US government documents were “likely concealed and removed” from a storage room at Mar-a-Lago as part of an effort to “obstruct” the FBI’s investigation into former President Donald Trump’s potential mishandling of classified materials, the Justice Department said in a blockbuster court filing Tuesday night.

More than 320 classified documents have now been recovered from Mar-a-Lago, the Justice Department said, including more than 100 in the FBI search earlier this month.

Tuesday’s filing represents the Justice Department’s strongest case to date that Trump concealed classified material he was keeping at Mar-a-Lago in an attempt to obstruct the FBI’s investigation into the potential mishandling of classified material.

The Justice Department revealed the startling new details as part of its move to oppose Trump’s effort to intervene in the federal investigation that led to the search of his Florida resort and his desire for a “special master” to be appointed to the case.

Trump has pushed an “incomplete and inaccurate narrative” in his recent court filings about the Mar-a-Lago search, the Justice Department said.

“The government provides below a detailed recitation of the relevant facts, many of which are provided to correct the incomplete and inaccurate narrative set forth in Plaintiff’s filings,” prosecutors wrote.

It presents a strong rebuttal of the criticisms of the FBI’s unprecedented search of a former President’s residence, laying out clearly how Trump had failed to return dozens of classified documents even after his lawyer attested that he had provided all classified material in his possession.

Honig says DOJ filing shows FBI had no choice but to search Mar-a-Lago

A picture on the final page of the filing showing classified documents arrayed on the floor of Trump’s office – full of highly classified markings like “HCS,” meaning human intelligence sources – hammered home how sensitive the material Trump had taken was.

At issue is Trump’s compliance with a grand jury subpoena, issued in May, demanding that he turn over classified documents from Mar-a-Lago. Prosecutors said Tuesday that some documents were likely removed from a storage room before Trump’s lawyers examined the area, while they were trying to comply with the subpoena. The timeline is essential, because Trump’s lawyers later told investigators that they searched the storage area and that all classified documents were accounted for.

“The government also developed evidence that government records were likely concealed and removed from the Storage Room and that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation,” prosecutors wrote. “This included evidence indicating that boxes formerly in the Storage Room were not returned prior to counsel’s review.”

The allegations came after the DOJ’s filing went into specific detail about actions from Trump’s team that the department implies were obstructive to its probe.

In the filing opposing Trump’s request, DOJ argues that the former president lacks standing over presidential records “because those records do not belong to him,” as presidential records are considered property of the government.

The Presidential Records Act makes clear that “[t]he United States” has “complete ownership, possession, and control of them,” the DOJ filing states.

Trump has argued that his constitutional rights have been violated and that some of the documents seized earlier this month contain material covered by privilege – particularly executive privilege.

The Justice Department was ordered to submit the filing by Judge Aileen Cannon, who has already indicated she is inclined to grant Trump’s request for third party oversight of documents the FBI seized Mar-a-Lago.

The role of a special master is to filter out any materials seized in a search that don’t belong in the hands of investigators because of a privilege. Special masters have been used in high-profile cases before, but usually in cases where the FBI has searched an attorney’s office or home and there is a need to filter out materials concerning attorney-client privilege. Trump’s request has centered on the need to protect documents concerning executive privilege from his conduct as president.

Signals from Cannon, a Trump appointee, that she is leaning toward appointing a special master in the Mar-a-Lago search have raised eyebrows among legal observers. For one, Trump filed his request for the appointment two weeks after the search of his Florida home, risking the potential that the Justice Department is already done with the bulk of its review. Secondly, Trump and the judge alike have pointed to civil rules concerning special master appointments, when the search warrant is arising in a criminal context.

Since the August 8 search, a number of previously secret court filings the DOJ submitted to obtain the warrant have been made partially public in part because of a bid for transparency filed in court by several media organizations, including CNN.

Those redacted documents have revealed that the search was connected to a DOJ investigation into alleged violations of the Espionage Act, criminal mishandling of government documents and obstruction of justice. According to an FBI affidavit that was released last week, an FBI review of 15 boxes retrieved by the National Archives from Mar-a-Lago in January found 184 documents bearing classification markings – some of them identified as particularly sensitive government documents.

Trump, in seeking the special master, has stressed in court filings the lack of criminal enforcement in the Presidential Records Act, a Watergate-era law laying out the process for preserving presidential records. He did not mention the three criminal statutes the DOJ cited in its warrant documents. Trump’s lawyers have also emphasized his supposedly unfettered ability when he was president to declassify documents, though the statutes in question don’t require that the materials be classified.

Wednesday morning, Trump posted on his social media platform on Truth Social for the first time since the Justice Department filing and once again claimed to have declassified documents that were found at his Mar-a-Lago residence.

In one of his most recent posts, Trump appeared to comment on the photo of top-secret documents laid out on the floor, saying, “Terrible the way the FBI… threw documents haphazardly all over the floor,” and, “Lucky I Declassified!”

In other posts, he attacked the FBI and DOJ generally and said, “This is the time, after many years of lawbreaking & unfairness, to clean things up. All things for a reason. DRAIN THE SWAMP!!!” He repeated his false claims of a stolen election and said, “Our Country is going to hell!” He also claimed crowds are “already forming” for his rally on Saturday.

A top Justice Department official contends that federal investigators were limited in what they could look through when visiting the resort in June – contrary to the Trump team’s narrative of total cooperation.

Trump’s lawyer requested that the FBI come to the resort to pick up the documents after the Trump team had received a grand jury subpoena in May seeking any materials marked classified, according to the Justice Department.

DOJ’s account also undermined claims by Trump and his allies that the former President had declassified the materials in question.

“When producing the documents, neither counsel nor the custodian asserted that the former President had declassified the documents or asserted any claim of executive privilege,” the filing said. “Instead, counsel handled them in a manner that suggested counsel believed that the documents were classified: the production included a single Redweld envelope, double-wrapped in tape, containing the document.”

In the DOJ’s account, Trump’s lawyer said that all the remaining documents from Trump’s White House were being kept in the storage at Mar-a-Lago. “Counsel further represented that there were no other records stored in any private office space or other location at the Premises and that all available boxes were searched,” the filing said.

Prosecutors confirmed Trump’s assertion that the visiting DOJ and FBI officials were then allowed to visit the storage area.

“Critically, however, the former President’s counsel explicitly prohibited government personnel from opening or looking inside any of the boxes that remained in the storage room, giving no opportunity for the government to confirm that no documents with classification markings remained,” the DOJ said.

The Justice Department confirmed that grand jury subpoenas had been issued in its probe, and that the grand jury that issued them had been empaneled in DC. The department included a copy of a May 11 subpoena for government records at Mar-a-Lago marked as classified that indicated the existence of the DC federal grand jury. Before making the subpoena public, the department on Monday got permission to do so from Chief Judge Beryl Howell in the DC District Court, according to a footnote in its brief.

The reference to Howell suggests that in addition to Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart and Cannon in Florida, a third judge is now involved in the DOJ’s probe.

This story has been updated with additional details.



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Funding challenges force tough choices as Biden administration prepares to roll out new Covid-19 booster shots



It almost didn’t happen.

“This is such an extraordinarily important thing for protecting the American people this fall and winter that we absolutely needed to make sure we were going to have the resources,” Dr. Ashish Jha told CNN in an interview Wednesday.

“It’s been painful,” he added. “We have gotten resources from other things that we also think are really high priorities. We will not have a testing stockpile that we need as we go into the fall and winter. We will not have personal protective equipment — PPE stockpiles will be depleted, will be inadequate as we head into the fall and winter.”

A second senior administration official described the trade-off as “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

“There were no easy choices,” the official said.

White House officials are now confident that millions of doses of Pfizer and Moderna’s new booster shots will be widely available as soon as next week, but they openly acknowledge — and lament — that it came at the expense of funding for tests and personal protective equipment that will also likely be needed later this year. A public education campaign to encourage Americans to get the new and improved booster shots will also be scaled back, two administration officials told CNN.

The Biden administration purchased 171 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna’s updated vaccines this summer, but only after reallocating about $5 billion in funds intended for other pandemic resources. Amid resistance from Republicans, Congress failed to reach a deal on supplemental funding and so in June, the Biden administration’s top health officials decided they needed to find another way.

Shots won’t go into arms until the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issues its official recommendations for the newly authorized shots, which is expected to be done by the end of the week, but ​the government has already made over 20 million doses available for pre-order for states, primary care providers, pharmacies and clinics.

The administration is still planning to launch that public education campaign in the first weeks of September to educate Americans about the benefits of the new shots and encourage them to get boosted, based in part on results of the Department of Health and Human Services survey of at least 1,500 people per week that was done to test different messages.

But with that campaign too, the administration is facing more hard choices.

Paid advertising will be scaled back and “particularly targeted” to key communities, the senior administration official said, and the administration will increasingly rely on earned media and partnerships with local officials, experts and organizations to get the word out.

“Our funding challenges are real and we’re doing everything we can to mount as robust and comprehensive campaign as possible, but we’re doing that with substantial constraints,” said the senior official, who described educating the public on the new shots as a “big, big hill to climb.”

While more than two-thirds the US population is fully vaccinated, less than a third of the country has gotten a booster shot, according to data from the CDC. Getting those people a booster shot will be critical to mitigating the potential for tens of thousands of Covid deaths this winter as Americans head indoors and transmission increases.

The funding trade-off also means that it will might be harder for the US to detect and slow transmission in the fall and winter months as testing will likely become more scarce once again.

“We are absolutely concerned about our ability to detect and respond to any future wave,” the senior administration official said, adding that the White House is continuing to urge Congress to provide billions of dollars in supplemental funding.

Experts say the White House ultimately did the right calculus by prioritizing funding for vaccines over testing and PPE.

“I think it is a crying shame that they had to make that choice,” said Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency physician and the academic dean at Brown University’s School of Public Health. “Given the fiscal constraints that the federal government is under, it was the right choice. The vaccines are going to have a greater bang for their buck than maintaining a stockpile of PPE or testing. It would be unconscionable for us to not fund a vaccine.”

Still, Ranney said she worries shortages of PPE and testing could come back to bite the US should a new, more dangerous variant emerge and send cases soaring.

“We’re choosing not to prepare for the eventual in order to be able to treat the current,” she said.



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Trump’s attorneys face scrutiny over level of cooperation with Justice Department on classified docs


The FBI’s search on August 8 uncovering scores of classified material “cast serious doubt” on the sworn statement one of Trump’s lawyers made in June attesting that all classified material had been returned and a “diligent search” had been conducted, the Justice Department wrote.

Trump’s attorney Christina Bobb was the individual who signed the June 3 letter attesting that all materials requested by the subpoena issued to Trump had been turned over to the Justice Department, two sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.

After receiving the subpoena, Trump’s team said it conducted a “diligent search” of boxes moved from the White House to Florida after Trump left office, according to the letter included in a DOJ court filing late Tuesday. Notably, the letter Bobb signed says she swears or affirms that “the above statements are true and correct to the best of my knowledge.”

Though her name was redacted in Tuesday night’s filing, sources tell CNN it was Bobb who signed the letter and was designated the custodian of records. Bobb and Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran attended the meeting with federal investigators at Mar-a-Lago in June, when the agents were shown a storage room where materials were kept.

The New York Times, which first reported that Bobb had signed the document, reported that Corcoran drafted the June statement that Bobb signed.

Bobb and Corcoran did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment. They have not been charged with any crimes.

Justice Department says classified documents at Mar-a-Lago were likely 'concealed and removed' to block investigation

In its court filing Tuesday, the Justice Department said that the FBI “uncovered multiple sources of evidence indicating that the response to the May 11 grand jury subpoena was incomplete and that classified documents remained at the premises, notwithstanding the sworn certification made to the government on June 3.”

“That the FBI, in a matter of hours, recovered twice as many documents with classification markings as the ‘diligent search’ that the former President’s counsel and other representatives had weeks to perform calls into serious question the representations made in the June 3 certification and casts doubt on the extent of cooperation in this matter,” DOJ wrote.

CNN legal analyst Elie Honig said that the statements made in the June certification are demonstrably false, and the question is whether prosecutors can establish that Trump’s attorney “made that statement, knowing that it was false.”

“If so — and that’s a big if — then we could see false statements and obstruction charges in play,” Honig said.

The new scrutiny over the statement Bobb signed is only the latest instance where questions have swirled over the conduct of Trump’s legal team since the FBI’s search of his Florida home and resort.

Sources close to Trump have questioned the role of Bobb, a former One America News Network TV host who previously assisted Rudy Giuliani’s behind-the-scenes efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, CNN has reported.

Bobb has gone on television to defend Trump, though she has not been included on the legal filings Trump has made in Florida seeking to appoint a special master to review the materials taken in the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago.

Corcoran is a former assistant US attorney based in Baltimore who has also represented Trump associate Steve Bannon.

On Monday, Trump added former Florida solicitor general Chris Kise to his legal team to represent him in the Mar-a-Lago search case. Kise will appear in court in Florida on Thursday with the rest of Trump’s legal team in the former president’s effort to have a special master assigned to review the materials taken from Mar-a-Lago.

Access to storage room

Tuesday’s DOJ filing included a narrative of the government’s attempts to retrieve classified material from Mar-a-Lago leading up to the August search — including several examples where members of Trump’s team are said to be part of an effort to impede the government’s efforts.

In addition to the DOJ showing that Trump’s team did not comply with the subpoena to return all classified documents, the government filing focuses on the June 3 meeting between Trump’s legal team and federal investigators.

In its account, the Justice Department describes the conduct of a Trump attorney, who is not named in the brief but according to a letter included with the filings was Corcoran, who “represented that all the records that had come from the White House” to Mar-a-Lago were being kept in the resort’s storage room, according to the filing.

“Counsel further represented that there were no other records stored in any private office space or other location at the Premises and that all available boxes were searched,” the DOJ said.

READ: The Justice Department's response to Trump's request for a special master

Through the DOJ and FBI officials visiting that day were allowed to enter the storage room, “the former President’s counsel explicitly prohibited government personnel from opening or looking inside any of the boxes that remained in the storage room, giving no opportunity for the government to confirm that no documents with classification markings remained.”

With its further investigation, the “government developed evidence that a search limited to the Storage Room would not have uncovered all the classified documents at the Premises.”

“The government also developed evidence that government records were likely concealed and removed from the Storage Room and that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation,” DOJ wrote.

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins contributed to this report.



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Serena Williams’ US Open singles tennis match vs. Anett Kontaveit


Serena Williams has never faced Anett Kontaveit, right.
Serena Williams has never faced Anett Kontaveit, right.

Serena Williams enters her second-round US Open match against Anett Kontaveit in an unfamiliar position: as an underdog.

Williams, the most dominant player in tennis for almost two decades, has long been favored to win every tournament she enters.

But this time is different:

  • She hasn’t won a Grand Slam event since 2017.
  • She’s been plagued in recent years by nagging injuries, including to her ankle, back, left knee and right shoulder.
  • She’s struggled since returning to the tour in June, losing in the first round of several major tournaments – including Wimbledon – and is now ranked 605th in the world.
  • And, oh yes, she’ll be 41 next month.

Oddsmakers favor Kontaveit, the hard-hitting Estonian ranked No. 2 in the world, to win tonight’s match. The two women have never played each other, but Kontaveit, 26, is a step up in competition from Danka Kovinic, who Williams beat Monday night in straight sets.

Then again … this is Serena we’re talking about.

She feels comfortable in Arthur Ashe Stadium, where she has won six US Open titles. She can still pummel the ball harder than most of the women on tour. Her competitive drive is legendary.

And the New York crowd — so electric Monday night — will be squarely behind her.

If Williams gets rolling and Kontaveit gets rattled by a rowdy and hostile stadium, anything can happen. And if Williams beats Kontaveit tonight, she can beat anyone at this tournament.



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Judge Aileen Cannon: Trump’s request for ‘special master’ puts one of his judicial appointees in the spotlight




CNN
 — 

Former President Donald Trump’s request for a “special master” to oversee the review of evidence gathered in the FBI’s search of his Mar-a-Lago estate has thrust one of his own judicial appointees into the middle of his latest legal and political drama.

District Court Judge Aileen Cannon in the Southern District of Florida, who was nominated by Trump to the bench in 2020, is handling the former President’s request for the special master, a third-party attorney who would filter out privileged material seized in the search.

Cannon has put both Trump’s team and the Justice Department on notice that she had a “preliminary intent” to appoint a special master, though she cautioned that it should not be construed as her final decision on the matter. A hearing is set for Thursday at 1 p.m. ET.

She was nominated to her post by Trump in May 2020 and the Senate confirmed her by a vote of 56-21 just days after the presidential election.

Aileen Cannon appears virtually before the Senate Judiciary Committee in July 2020.

Prior to taking office, Cannon served as an assistant US attorney in Florida, where she worked in the Major Crimes Division and as an appellate attorney, according to written answers she gave to the Senate during her confirmation process.

Following graduation from University of Michigan Law School, Cannon clerked for a federal judge and later practiced law at a firm in Washington, DC, where she handled a range of cases, including some related to “government investigations,” according to her statements given to the Senate in 2020.

Before fielding questions at a confirmation hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee, Cannon, whose mother fled communist Cuba, thanked members of her family and shared the impact of their experience on her on life.

“To my loving mother … who, at the age of 7, had to flee the repressive Castro regime in search of freedom and security, thank you for teaching me about the blessing that is this country and the importance of securing the rule of law for generations to come,” she said.

Already, Cannon is facing some criticism for how she’s handled the Trump case. Last week, she identified several shortcomings in Trump’s initial request for more oversight for the FBI’s review of the evidence seized and asked him to elaborate on the ask. Though his new response filed on Friday appeared to fall short of the elaboration she was seeking, observers have argued that she was being overly generous when she essentially gave his team a second chance to ask for the special master.

Cannon has three distinct choices in the case, Harvard constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe told CNN in a statement. “She could either redeem herself by starting to act like a real federal judge unaffected by the identity of the president who appointed her, or earn the condemnation of national security experts and legal mavens by botching the biggest case most judges ever touch in a lifetime and endangering the lives of our spies abroad,” he said.

The judge could also “leave matters in the state of confusion created by her strange interim order,” Tribe said, referring to her Saturday order in which she said she was poised to grant Trump’s request.



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7 key pieces: Dissecting the Trump documents in the FBI photo



Taken by the FBI, the photograph shows several documents labeled with so-called “classification markings.” These government codes are designed to indicate the sensitivity of the information they refer to — and the rules for how it is meant to be handled.

Although the contents of the more than 100 classified documents that were recovered from Mar-a-Lago remain unknown, the government markings on this handful of pages offer intriguing clues about the sensitivity and provenance of the information they contain.

CNN breaks down what we can learn from the markings in the photograph.



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How Alaska’s ranked choice voting system works



But because neither topped 50% of the first-place votes, it will be the ballots of those who backed a third candidate in the race — Republican businessman Nick Begich III — that determine the outcome.

Alaska voters in 2020 approved an overhaul of the state’s elections system, moving to a ranked-choice voting system. The special election for Alaska’s lone House seat is the first time the new system is in use.

Elections in Alaska now start with an “open” primary, in which candidates of all parties compete and all voters are allowed to participate, casting their ballots for the one contender they prefer. The top four vote-getters, regardless of party, advance to the general election.

Then, in the general election, instead of just voting for one of the top four candidates, voters rank their preferences in order. They are allowed to rank candidates one through four, but are not required to do so — voters could instead choose only to rank their preferred candidate, or only rank their top two.

If no candidate receives more than 50% of the first-place votes, then the ranked-choice system is used to determine the winner.

The method and the math

First, the Alaska Division of Elections eliminates the candidate with the least amount of first-place votes. The votes that had gone to that candidate are then assigned to the second choice listed on those voters’ ballots.

If no candidate has topped 50% of the vote at that point, then the Division of Elections would go through a second round of tabulation. The fourth-place candidate would have already been eliminated, and in the second round, the third-place finisher would also be eliminated.

Those who ranked the third- or fourth-place candidate first would have their votes assigned to the highest-ranked remaining candidate on their ballots. For example: A voter who ranked the third-place finisher first, the fourth-place candidate second, the first-place candidate third and the second-place candidate fourth would, in this round, have their vote assigned to the first-place candidate.

The tabulation is a computer process that will be completed almost immediately. The Alaska Division of Elections plans to livestream the process on Facebook at 8 p.m. Eastern time — that’s 4 p.m. in Juneau — on Wednesday. The Division of Elections said results will be available on Wednesday first via its livestream, and later on its website once it exports and uploads a report with the final results.

Simplifying matters in the House special election is the fact that there were only three candidates on the ballot. A fourth, independent Al Gross, had finished in the top four in the June special primary but dropped out afterward — and did so quickly enough that state elections officials removed him from the ballot.

Instead, a small number of write-in votes could have second-place contenders that will add to their vote counts. But the second-place votes of those who backed Begich will be determinative.

What’s next in Alaska

Wednesday’s ranked-choice tabulation comes months ahead of a November election in which the same process could decide the outcome of several key races.

Palin, Peltola and Begich are all on the ballot again in the race to win the House seat for a full term.

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who has been targeted by former President Donald Trump after she voted to convict in his impeachment trial following the insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, is facing off against Trump-backed Republican Kelly Tshibaka and two other candidates for her Senate seat.

And Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy will face independent former Gov. Bill Walker and two other contenders in the gubernatorial election.



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3 injured after small plane makes ‘emergency landing’ at Mayfield Middle School


CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) – Mayfield City School officials said a small plane made an emergency landing at the middle school on Tuesday morning.

A statement from the district said the plane made the “emergency landing” in the lower football field behind Mayfield Middle School along SOM Center Road at around 11:10 a.m.

According to lead investigators, the pilot and the passengers on board were attempting a training exercise that simulates when an engine goes out. The plane then shut off completely, prompting the Instructor to take over and do an emergency landing

Three passengers were on the single-engine plane and were injured and taken to Hillcrest Hospital for treatment to minor injuries, Mayfield Heights police and the Ohio State Highway Patrol said.

Their names were released hours after the crash.

Laurence E. Rohl, 79, (lead pilot – flight trainer)

Catherine H. Terez, 27, (pilot in training)

Ted R. Rieple III, 52, (passenger)

Our team learned that the plane was flown almost everyday for the past two weeks.

Making stops in Kentucky and Pennsylvania.

Students and staff at Mayfield Middle School were not affected, according to the district.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is handling the investigation.

This is a developing story.



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