ST. LOUIS — Beneath the surface of rivers lurks a hazard that isn't well understood — but could wreak havoc on people and communities near the water. Changes in weather patterns may be unsettling river channels that have been historically sturdy, driving them toward two extremes: accelerated erosion or supercharged flooding. Now a scientist at St. Louis' Washington University is starting a new experiment that could anticipate — and perhaps even prevent — damage wrought by intense rainfall, an issue that has taken on increased urgency after a record-breaking downpour flooded St. Louis last week...
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Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert C.I. McBurney issued an order over security procedures dealing with the special grand jury examining former President Donald Trump's possible election fraud in Georgia.
According to court documents, McBurney issued the security, but then redacted all of it, ensuring that no one could see what they said and what the security procedures would be.
The moves come after a number of Trump supporters have gone after law enforcement in the wake of the execution of a search warrant at Trump's Mar-a-Lago golf club.
On Thursday, a gunman tried to break into FBI headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio. At least three people have been arrested after making threats against law enforcement that have been reported thus far. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security also sent out a bulletin saying that they have observed a dramatic increase in threats against federal law enforcement since the search warrant at Mar-a-Lago.
Trump supporters have also posted messages sharing the addresses of the judge who signed the search warrant for Mar-a-Lago and any FBI agents named as well as their families.
It's unclear whether the judge in the Fulton County case was concerned about the safety of the grand jury members in wake of these attacks, but it would be consistent with what is being done for those affiliated in these cases.
HMMM: The judge presiding over the Fulton County grand jury probe of Donald Trump and his allie has instituted a se… https://t.co/dqm8n93vDs— Kyle Cheney (@Kyle Cheney) 1660598431
Marsha Blackburn blocks bills that would ensure foreign countries can't interfere with American elections
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) is behind an effort to block bills that could ensure US elections are more secure, Axios reported Monday.
The bills were Sen. Mark Warner's (D-VA) plan to ensure that after the Russian interference in the 2016 election, a foreign country could never do it again. According to Blackburn, however, they're a "federal power grab."
One of the bills would make campaigns call the FBI if they were ever approached by a foreign power and offered election assistance. During the 2016 election, Trump's campaign was offered "dirt" on opponent Hillary Clinton, and operatives met with the person offering the information in Trump Tower.
A different bill would fund the Election Assistance Commission, which would ensure that voting machines weren't connected to the internet. Republicans claimed after the 2020 election that the machines were being hacked and that was how foreign countries were able to decide U.S. elections.
The Senate Intelligence Committee released the third section of their report on the security of the election in 2016 and noted that it was "not well-postured" to counter it again. At the same time, the intelligence community has been warning that there aren't the necessary protections in place to ensure American elections are as secure as they could be. FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before Congress that Russia continues its "informational warfare" campaign as the midterm elections approach.
"[Democrats] are attempting to bypass this body’s Rules Committee on behalf of various bills that will seize control over elections from the states and take it from the states and where do they want to put it?" Blackburn complained. "They want it to rest in the hands of Washington, D.C., bureaucrats."
Most state and local election offices don't have the staff or resources available to protect against international hackers or foreign spies.
On Monday, The New York Times reported that longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg is nearing a plea agreement with prosecutors in Manhattan — but that he is still unwilling to cooperate with investigators against his former boss.
"His plea deal, if finalized, would bring prosecutors no closer to indicting the former president but would nonetheless brand one of his most trusted lieutenants a felon," reported Ben Protess, William K. Rashbaum, and Jonah E. Bromwich. "On Monday, Mr. Weisselberg’s lawyers and prosecutors met with the judge overseeing the case, according to a court database. The judge scheduled a hearing for Thursday in Mr. Weisselberg’s case, a possible indication that a deal has been reached and a plea could be entered then."
"While Mr. Weisselberg, 75, is facing financial penalties as well as years in prison if convicted at trial, a plea deal would scrap a high-profile trial and most likely would spare him from a lengthy sentence," said the report. "One person with knowledge of the matter said that Mr. Weisselberg was expected to receive a five-month prison sentence, an unexpectedly favorable outcome for him."
"The other terms of Mr. Weisselberg’s deal were not clear, and his lawyer, Nicholas A. Gravante Jr., confirmed that he was in discussions with prosecutors, but declined to discuss the specifics," the report continued. "Another lawyer for Mr. Weisselberg, Mary E. Mulligan, declined to comment, as did a spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg."
The prosecution of Weisselberg came out of an investigation into the finances of the Trump Organization, which allegedly kept two sets of books, giving a higher valuation of their assets to banks when seeking a loan, and a lower valuation to the IRS to avoid paying taxes.
"The plea negotiations with Mr. Weisselberg came to light after a New York State judge, Juan Merchan, last week declined to toss out the criminal case against the Trump Organization and Mr. Weisselberg," the report added. "The attorney general, Letitia James, a Democrat, is conducting a civil inquiry into some of the same conduct that the district attorney is investigating."