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Trump plans to sue to keep Capitol attack records secret | First Thing

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Trump plans to sue to keep Capitol attack records secret | First Thing

Good morning.

Donald Trump is preparing to sue to block the release of White House records from his administration to the House select committee scrutinizing the 6 January attack on the Capitol by claiming executive privilege.

Early Newspaper

Trump’s moves to try to resist the committee, informed by a source familiar with his planning, are likely to lead to constitutional clashes in court that would test the power of Congress’s oversight authority over the executive branch.

The former president said in recent days that he would cite executive privilege to thwart House select committee investigators seeking to compel his top aides to testify about 6 January and what he knew of plans to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election win.

But the sharpening contours of Trump’s intention to stonewall the select committee mark a new turning point as he seeks to keep a grip on the rapidly escalating investigation into the events of 6 January that left five dead and about 140 others injured.

  • The former president also expects top aides Mark Meadows, Dan Scavino, Steve Bannon and Kash Patel to defy select committee subpoenas for records and testimony.

  • Trump is not guaranteed to win in cases over executive privilege given he is no longer president, but the plan could delay – and therefore hamper – House select committee investigators.

US Afghanistan withdrawal a ‘logistical success but strategic failure’, Milley says

Gen Mark Milley at the hearing that became a postmortem on the 20-year war that preceded the US departure from Afghanistan.
Gen Mark Milley at the hearing that became a postmortem on the 20-year war that preceded the US departure from Afghanistan. Photograph: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/Rex/Shutterstock

The withdrawal from Afghanistan and the evacuation of Kabul was “a logistical success but a strategic failure,” the chair of the joint chiefs of staff has told the Senate.

Gen Mark Milley gave the stark assessment at an extraordinary hearing of the Senate armed services committee that was held to examine the US departure, which also became a postmortem on the 20-year war that preceded it.

Milley appeared alongside the defense secretary, Lloyd Austin, and the head of US Central Command, Gen Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, in the most intense, heated cross-examination of the country’s military leadership in more than a decade.

“It is obvious the war in Afghanistan did not end on the terms we wanted,” Milley said, noting “the Taliban is now in power in Kabul.”

  • Will Milley resign? He adamantly rejected a suggestion by the Republican senator Tom Cotton that he should resign.

  • Why were the Republicans so hostile? A new book, Peril, claims Milley deliberately sought to undermine Trump’s authority out of fear he would launch a foreign war to distract attention from his election loss.

  • What did he say about it? He defended himself and said: “My loyalty to this nation, its people and the constitution hasn’t changed and will never change.”

Judge to consider requests to terminate Britney Spears’ conservatorship today

Fans of Britney Spears gather during a rally to protest against the conservatorship on 14 July.
Fans of Britney Spears gather during a rally to protest against the conservatorship on 14 July. Photograph: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Britney Spears’s conservatorship is heading back to court for a high-stakes hearing today, in which a judge will consider requests to remove her father as the authority over her estate and to terminate the legal arrangement altogether.

The highly anticipated hearing comes days after a new documentary alleged that Britney Spears’s father, Jamie Spears, and a security team he hired monitored the singer’s private communications and secretly recorded in her bedroom.

Judge Brenda Penny will consider whether to terminate Jamie’s role as conservator of the singer’s estate at the hearing in Los Angeles, which is expected to draw a large crowd of fans.

The pop star, whose personal life and finances have been controlled by the controversial legal arrangement for 13 years, has pleaded for the court to remove her father from the arrangement.

  • Spears has been strongly objecting to the conservatorship for years, records have revealed, but she spoke out publicly for the first time in court in June.

  • Court records suggested that Spears has also been denied access to her own money, and was limited to a weekly allowance.

  • Her medical care is controlled by a licensed conservator, who has also supported the singer’s request to remove her father.

In other news …

Elizabeth Warren
Warren said Powell had been ‘lucky’ that banks thus far had been able to avoid significant problems. Photograph: Stefani Reynolds/AP
  • Senator Elizabeth Warren called the chair of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, “a dangerous man” on Tuesday and vowed to oppose his renomination. Warren said that under Powell, the Fed had watered down post-financial-crisis bank regulations and weakened the US banking system.

  • Canada granted asylum to four people who hid the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in their tiny Hong Kong apartments when he was on the run after stealing a trove of classified documents. The non-profit For the Refugees is urging Ottawa to expedite asylum of one remaining ‘Guardian Angel’.

  • Democrats are on the verge of a make-or-break moment – one that will determine the fate of Biden’s ambitious economic agenda – as they rush to bridge the internal divisions threatening to derail passage of the sweeping social policy package and a smaller infrastructure bill.

  • Fumio Kishida, a former foreign minister with a reputation as a consensus builder, is to become Japan’s prime minister after winning the ruling Liberal Democratic party’s presidential election in a runoff against the vaccination minister, Taro Kono.

Stat of the day: 200,000 people to be shed from Fort Bend county as Republicans seek to redraw electoral districts

Fort Bend Democratic chair Cynthia Ginyard on the canvassing trail.
Fort Bend Democratic chair Cynthia Ginyard on the canvassing trail. Photograph: Reggie Mathalone/The Guardian

After winning key state legislative races last year, Republicans have perhaps the most powerful weapon in American politics – the ability to redraw electoral districts. It’s an all-powerful scalpel that will allow Republicans to shore up their advantage simply by regrouping voters into certain districts, entrenching the voting power of white voters amid a quickly diversifying electorate. The technique of distorting district lines for partisan advantage is called gerrymandering. In Fort Bend county, it could be particularly brutal and Republicans who redraw it will have to shed about 200,000 people from its boundaries.

Don’t miss this: Dita Von Teese on boundaries and how #MeToo changed her

Von Teese: ‘I’m not wearing any short skirts. I’m not an exhibitionist!’
Von Teese: ‘I’m not wearing any short skirts. I’m not an exhibitionist!’ Photograph: CBS Photo Archive/CBS/Getty Images

Only knowing Dita Von Teese from her femme fatale image, her teasingly aloof burlesque performances and her time in the tabloids as the former wife of the goth-rocker Marilyn Manson, you might expect an icy demeanour, an impermeable mystique. So it was surprising for Guardian writer Lyndsey Winship to discover quite how normal she is: chatty, self-deprecating, not very vampish. It’s easy to see traces of Heather Sweet, the “super shy” girl from small-town Michigan who transformed into Von Teese when she moved to California in her late teens.

Climate check: record $5bn donation to protect nature could herald new green era of giving

Pumalin Park in southern Chile was given to the Chilean state by the late Douglas Tompkins, a philanthropist and co-founder of The North Face who bought up huge areas of Patagonia.
Pumalin Park in southern Chile was given to the Chilean state by the late Douglas Tompkins, a philanthropist and co-founder of The North Face who bought up huge areas of Patagonia. Photograph: Carlos Quezada/AP

Last week, a group of nine philanthropic foundations made the largest ever donation to nature conservation, pledging $5bn to finance the protection of 30% of the planet’s land and sea by the end of the decade. The Swiss businessman Hansjörg Wyss, also a major donor to the US Democratic party, and the Amazon founder Jeff Bezos were among the billionaires behind the Protecting our Planet challenge. In effect, the money covers the estimated cost of the 30% goal for this decade, one of the 21 targets included in the draft Paris-style UN agreement for nature currently being negotiated.

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Last thing: Danish artist delivers empty frames for $84,000 as low-pay protest

An empty frame from Take the Money and Run by the Danish artist Jens Haaning. ‘The work is that I have taken their money,’ Haaning says.
An empty frame from Take the Money and Run by the Danish artist Jens Haaning. ‘The work is that I have taken their money,’ Haaning says. Photograph: Henning Bagger/EPA

In an unexpected reinterpretation of an earlier work, a Danish artist has left a museum with empty frames, a depleted bank account and red faces all round. The Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in northern Denmark provided Jens Haaning, who uses banknotes in his art, with 534,000 krone from its reserves for the artworks as well as an artist’s fee of 25,000 krone (about $3,900). But when staff unpacked the works last week, they found two empty frames with the title Take the Money and Run. “The work is that I have taken their money,” he told Danish radio. “It’s not theft. It is breach of contract, and breach of contract is part of the work.”

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Trump plans to sue to keep Capitol attack records secret | First Thing