In This Episode
- A redacted version of the affidavit that justified the FBI’s search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate is expected to be released to the public today. We recap how we got here, and what could come from the unsealed document.
- It’s been two months since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and at least a dozen states have enacted near-total abortion bans, with “trigger laws” taking effect in three states just this week.
- And in headlines: the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant was briefly cut off from Ukraine’s power grid, a federal court ruled that gender dysphoria is protected by disability law, and some L.A. residents are protesting the new Fast & Furious movie.
- Vote Save America: Fuck Bans Action Plan – https://votesaveamerica.com/roe/
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For a transcript of this episode, please visit crooked.com/whataday
Erin Ryan: It’s Friday, August 26th. I’m Erin Ryan.
Priyanka Aribindi: And I’m Priyanka Aribindi. And this is What A Day where we are hoping that this is the first time in three days when a swat team isn’t called to Marjorie Taylor Greene’s house.
Erin Ryan: We don’t say this because we support her. We just oppose unnecessary spending on policing.
Priyanka Aribindi: Listen, I don’t know what SWAT teams do day to day, but I imagine they probably have better stuff to be doing with their time.
Erin Ryan: Don’t make them hang out with Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Priyanka Aribindi: That’s awful. [music break]
Erin Ryan: On today’s show, a pair of legal victories for trans people. Plus unvaxxed tennis star Novak Djokovic will miss another grand slam tournament.
Priyanka Aribindi: But first, a judge order that the redacted version of the affidavit that justified the FBI search at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate should be released to the public by noon Eastern today. So as of our recording time at 9:30 p.m. Eastern on Thursday night, this hasn’t happened yet, but it very well could have by the time you’re listening to this, assuming that the Justice Department doesn’t file a last minute appeal. In the meantime, we wanted to fill you in on what is happening and what to expect from all of this.
Erin Ryan: Can you remind us what’s supposed to be in this affidavit?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yes. So this whole investigation, you know, there is a ton of Trump stories in the news right now. But this specific story is about Trump keeping classified documents at Mar-a-Lago after he left office, which is incredibly, incredibly illegal. So the affidavit likely contains information about why the FBI believed that he had those documents at Mar-a-Lago and you know what evidence they had leading up to their search. So, as I said, this isn’t out as of our recording time. So we haven’t seen this document. So it’s very tough to say how much information we’ll actually be getting versus what was redacted. We could learn a lot, but there is also a chance that we get not so much new information from this.
Erin Ryan: Exactly. We could have it turn out to be a long document that looks as though it’s just a referee outfit of redaction lines.
Priyanka Aribindi: Sharpied everywhere.
Erin Ryan: Made in Sharpie. Exactly.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yes.
Erin Ryan: Releasing the affidavit wasn’t always part of the plan. So how did we get here?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. The Justice Department and Attorney General Merrick Garland have been weighing two things here since Mar-A-Lago was searched at the beginning of the month. So first, of course, is protecting this process. This is an investigation. It’s ongoing, making sure that it’s fair and done correctly. And they don’t want sharing any information from this affidavit to hinder the investigation that’s going on. But on the other hand, we are dealing with a former president here. This is an investigation into someone who is a very big part of public life. So media organizations have made the case that releasing the affidavit is in the public interest because of who’s involved. And not to mention all of these threats against the FBI in the time since they carried out this search. The far right and GOP leaders have been up in arms, sometimes literally asking, you know, why this is happening to Trump, painting this as a witch hunt, which it is not. So the DOJ is trying to walk the line between these concerns by redacting any information that could potentially put witnesses in harm’s way, but releasing the rest of the document to the public so they know, you know, why this happened.
Erin Ryan: Okay. So they want to have their cake, but also eat tiny parts of it, too.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yes, just the frosting in my case, but apparently not yours. [laughing]
Erin Ryan: What else do we know about this investigation? As of now?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. So a couple weeks back, the FBI released a written inventory of what they took from Mar-a-Lago. So that document revealed that they got 20 boxes of items and in them were four sets of top secret documents, three sets of secret documents and three sets of confidential ones. That is in order of most classified to least. Seems like it is pretty bad to have any and all of the above.
Erin Ryan: Yeah. Don’t have those.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, Please don’t. Uh, We also learned that the National Archives discovered more than 700 pages of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago back in January. And that figure doesn’t include any of what was recovered in the FBI search. So just really a shit ton of classified documents.
Erin Ryan: That’s a George R.R. Martin length.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah.
Erin Ryan: Amount.
Priyanka Aribindi: A full novel, which Trump has certainly not read. So I don’t know why they’re there, but they are. Anyways, Trump’s team has repeatedly tried to say that these documents could be covered by executive privilege. That is something the president can use to protect some records. But as most people know or have come to terms with by this point, it is 2022. Donald Trump is not the president, so he can’t use those privileges. So the TL;DR here is that Donald Trump is a hoarder. He’s um probably going to get in a bit of trouble for it. We’ll definitely have more to share once the affidavit is unsealed and we know what’s in it. But that is the latest we have for now.
Erin Ryan: Going to be another wild weekend.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yes.
Erin Ryan: Can’t wait. This week marks two months since the Supreme Court handed down its decision on Dobbs versus Jackson women’s health, the case that overturned Roe v Wade. And since June 24th, states across the country have either restricted or banned abortion outright. As we know, abortion bans endanger the health of millions of women and people assigned female at birth and put state elected officials between people and their private medical decisions. In addition to the direct harm inflicted on patients, Dobbs continues to wreak legal havoc. On Thursday alone, trigger laws took effect in three states Texas, Idaho and Tennessee. Talk about a couple of those in a moment. And as of today, 12 states have enacted near-total abortion bans.
Priyanka Aribindi: Okay. So why are we seeing these bans take effect now versus two months ago when this decision was made?
Erin Ryan: Right. You would think it would just be boom.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Like snap you finger.
Erin Ryan: Ruling. These laws are coming into effect. But no, basically, once the Supreme Court hands down a ruling, it sends that ruling along to lower courts, and that usually takes a few weeks. Apparently, our Supreme Court is taking away our rights via the Pony Express.
Priyanka Aribindi: Great.
Erin Ryan: Yes. And so once it gets to lower courts, states that had abortion bans at the ready, had waiting periods built in before their laws took effect. So the Supreme Court sent Dobbs to lower courts at the end of July. And after all that legal peristalsis, here we are now.
Priyanka Aribindi: Here we are in the bad place, as uh several people warned that we would be, but they weren’t taken seriously. So that is great.
Erin Ryan: Right. And at the end of this legal peristalsis is where the shit hits the fan. The procedure was already effectively banned in Texas since last year when the state passed its notorious law banning abortions as early as six weeks. Now, all abortions are illegal, quote, “from the moment of conception”, unquote. FYI the moment of conception occurs like ten days before pregnancy actually starts.
Priyanka Aribindi: A convenient fact that maybe they are uh choosing to ignore.
Erin Ryan: Science is whatever you want it to be. I guess.
Priyanka Aribindi: Really.
Erin Ryan: Medical professionals who perform abortions even under emergency circumstances could face at least $100,000 in fines and up to life in prison in Texas.
Priyanka Aribindi: And and, both of those.
Erin Ryan: That’s an and.
Priyanka Aribindi: Wild.
Erin Ryan: Yeah. However, prosecutors in several large counties in the Lone Star State have declared that they won’t prosecute those who defy the ban, which has led to the state attorney general to threaten to allow prosecutors to pursue cases outside their jurisdiction.
Priyanka Aribindi: Okay. Excuse me. What? We’re just not going to follow the rules here.
Erin Ryan: It’s yeehaw laws in Texas now.
Priyanka Aribindi: Wild.
Erin Ryan: And in Idaho a judge has ruled that while the state’s ban may go into effect, it doesn’t supersede federal law that mandates doctors perform emergency care on women facing life threatening pregnancy complications that necessitate abortions. This is in contrast to a recent ruling in Texas, where a judge there ruled that federal law does not supersede the state ban.
Priyanka Aribindi: Okay, my head is spinning a little bit. This is a mess.
Erin Ryan: Absolutely a mess. And in North Dakota, a judge there temporarily blocked a similar abortion ban outright on the grounds that it would cause, quote, “significant harm if it were allowed to go into effect”. But as it stands, the state’s only abortion provider had already moved its operations across the border into Minnesota.
Priyanka Aribindi: Right. We talked about that. I feel like maybe last week when you were on the show.
Erin Ryan: Mm hmm.
Priyanka Aribindi: Most of this news is incredibly bad. Are there any silver linings? Is there anything positive to look for here?
Erin Ryan: Yeah, well, not for patients that are falling through the cracks here and that are facing horrible decisions under horrible circumstances. But.
Priyanka Aribindi: Definitely no.
Erin Ryan: There have been signs that abortion bans are bad politics. People don’t like them, it turns out. And people think abortion bans go too far.
Priyanka Aribindi: Right.
Erin Ryan: We know this because when abortion is on the ballot, Republicans are flagging in polls and in some cases losing elections. In states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, young women and Democrats are registering to vote in significantly larger numbers than men and Republicans. We also saw that in Kansas.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah.
Erin Ryan: When the constitutional amendment–
Priyanka Aribindi: Right.
Erin Ryan: –Was strucked out. So that does not bode well for Republicans. And here’s an example. Blake Masters, the Trump endorsed GOP nominee for Senate in Arizona, had a section on his website detailing his hardline stance on abortion that mysteriously vanished this week.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, I’m guessing that’s not because he has changed his opinion in any way.
Erin Ryan: Oh, no, no, no, no.
Priyanka Aribindi: Definitely not.
Erin Ryan: He’s just getting smarter about what he should lie about. Everybody listening should remember that a vote for any Republican in any race in 2022 is a vote for government interference in reproductive decisions.
Priyanka Aribindi: Fact.
Erin Ryan: No matter what they scrub from their websites, no matter who they have on Fox News and no matter what they say, that is a fact.
Priyanka Aribindi: They made their stance clear, and that is not the stance overwhelmingly of the people in this country. We already know that, and I’m glad to see that people are responding. People are registering to vote. People are showing up because they know that this is not okay.
Erin Ryan: Absolutely. More on all this very soon, but that’s the latest for now. [music break] Let’s get to some headlines.
Erin Ryan: Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant was cut off from Ukraine’s power grid yesterday, triggering a huge power outage in the surrounding area. This is the first time the plant has ever been disconnected from the grid. And Russia and Ukraine blamed each other for the outage, which they say resulted from shelling nearby. Thankfully, the plant had an emergency backup system in place to keep its operations intact. The incident has heightened fears of what could happen if the situation escalates. As a reminder, Russian forces still occupy the facility, and it is the largest atomic energy plant in Europe. What could go wrong?
Priyanka Aribindi: Every time we talk about this, it is a just a latent fear that’s just always there.
Erin Ryan: Mm hmm.
Priyanka Aribindi: It’s dormant for a little while, but kicks up every now and then. Some good news on trans health care. Last week, a federal court ruled in a first of its kind decision that gender dysphoria is a condition that is protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. This means that trans people who feel a disconnect between their gender identity and assigned sex cannot be discriminated against in the handful of states that fall under the court’s jurisdiction. And this is a huge deal because the ruling could be used to challenge Republican backed efforts to restrict access to gender affirming health care in other states. And speaking of other states, a different federal court made a similar ruling on Thursday when it temporarily blocked Arkansas’s ban on gender affirming care for trans kids. The panel of judges in that case said that the state cannot enforce the 2021 law because it discriminates on the basis of sex. Arkansas was the first state in the U.S. to enact this kind of law that would have made it illegal for doctors to provide such care to trans youth. Here is hoping that Arkansas becomes the first to be defeated on the issue come October, when a federal judge will decide whether the law should be permanently blocked.
Erin Ryan: An agency that Howard Schultz would have had control over if he’d only been elected president.
Priyanka Aribindi: Ugh.
Erin Ryan: I forgot that he ran.
Priyanka Aribindi: What a time that was.
Erin Ryan: What a time. That was 100 years ago or perhaps yesterday. The National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint against Starbucks on Wednesday. It said that Starbucks illegally withheld certain benefits from its baristas who voted to unionize, including pay raises and sick leave. According to the board’s complaint, the coffee chain has been doing this since May of last year as a tactic to discourage workers from unionizing. Starbucks has denied these allegations and maintained it has not broken any of the board’s rules regarding worker benefits. If Starbucks doesn’t settle the case, a hearing will be held on the matter in late October.
Priyanka Aribindi: Listen, Starbucks is a bad company, and I promise you can find a much better tasting latte. Several other places, depending on where you live. But most of you, I think can. Some conservatives still know the value of books. Okay, interesting. I’m intrigued. I’m talking about the conservatives who bought President Biden’s adult daughter’s stolen diary for $40,000 in late 2020. I feel like I am reading a mad libs here. And yesterday the two people who sold that stolen diary pleaded guilty to conspiracy in Florida. At some point in 2020, Aimee Harris took Ashley Biden’s diary from a house where the two of them briefly stayed in Florida. Ashley had left the diary behind when she left, and then, with the help of Robert Kurlander, Harris took the diary to a Trump fundraiser and tried to sell it to the Trump campaign, which, surprisingly enough, didn’t bite. You can’t go to a fundraiser and then be like, actually, no, you give me money. That’s not how it works. [laugh] Anyways, later on, the diary did get some attention from the ethically open minded conservative group Project Veritas, which bought it along with other stolen items with the intent to use them against Joe Biden’s campaign. The conspiracy charge against Harris and Kurlander carries a sentence of up to five years in prison.
Erin Ryan: Two lessons from this, one consider if you’re an adult not having a handwritten diary.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, keep it on your iPad like everybody else. We’re adults here.
Erin Ryan: Or B.), if you do have a handwritten diary, a journal, don’t take it on vacation.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, please. You’re taking a vacation from your thoughts and your worries and all of that stuff. That is not a good way to relax.
Erin Ryan: Some Los Angeles residents are protesting the filming of the new Fast and Furious movie today. And it’s not just because they’re anti family. People who live in LA’s Angelino Heights neighborhood say their area’s prominence in the series has turned it into a, quote, “tourist destination for street racing, which is loud, toxic and dangerous to other drivers and pedestrians”. Sure, it can create bonds between guys from different sides of the tracks, but there are other ways to do that without filling the air with tire smoke. Production of Fast X was set to kick off in Angelino Heights this morning and go long into the night. Meanwhile, residents worked with several advocacy groups that support safe driving to demonstrate against the film. And they’re holding a press conference today at 11 a.m.. They want the film studio NBCUniversal to, quote, stop doing things to glorify street racing and taking no responsibility. I’m going to say it doesn’t really take much to glorify street racing to people who are really itching for street racing to be glorified.
Priyanka Aribindi: No. The man who fears all foreign chemicals except the ones that make tennis balls smell, Novak Djokovic is missing another grand slam tournament due to his widely documented unvaccinated status. Djokovic announced yesterday that he would not be traveling to New York for tennis’s U.S. Open next Monday. And the obvious explanation is that the U.S. still prohibits noncitizens who aren’t vaccinated against COVID from entering the country, even if they are extremely good at racket sports. No exemptions for him. This isn’t the first time that Djokovic missed a tournament because the number of vaccine doses he’s willing to receive is love zero in tennis terms. In January, Djokovic missed the Australian Open for the very same reason. And let me tell you, it’s getting old.
Erin Ryan: Mm hmm. I got to say, I have a suggestion for him. If he goes to a pediatrician’s office. They’re really good at calming people down.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah.
Erin Ryan: It barely even seems to hurt. They get to pick out a treat afterwards, and maybe he would get a special Band-Aid. Maybe that would make it better.
Priyanka Aribindi: He’ll get, like, a little distracting, like a touch on his thigh and then a touch on his shoulder and then a boop, maybe worth looking into.
Erin Ryan: It’s so fast. And he doesn’t need to be scared.
Priyanka Aribindi: He can get a sucker. You can get a theme Band-Aid, we love it. Just give it a try.
Erin Ryan: My baby did it. I think he can do it. And those are the headlines. We’ll be back after some ads.
Erin Ryan: It’s Friday WAD squad and we wanted to wrap up the week by hearing from you and keeping the conversation going about President Biden’s plan to cancel some student loan debt.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, so we asked you all to tell us how you feel about this week’s announcement and how it will impact your life. And we heard from a lot of you.
Erin Ryan: We had many listeners write in to say it would be life changing. But for others saddled with huge amounts of debt, the cancellation won’t make much of a difference to them. Jamie from Seattle, who owes about $54,000 in federal loans alone, told us about her situation:
[clip of Jamie from Seattle] While I am glad because I mean, every little bit will help me to pay it down in the long run. I have so much that 10, 20 it’s not really making a dent for me in that way. So yay, but honestly, I don’t see a light at the end of this tunnel for me.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Libby Vera Bland emailed us with this. I’m a Black woman who has $180,000 in federal debt between undergrad and grad school that I took on so I could study architecture and city planning. It’s clear that all of us 18 year olds who signed our financial futures away had no idea what we were agreeing to. And this is severe malpractice on behalf of the government.
Erin Ryan: Mackenzie Jo told us on Instagram, quote, “I can feel more financially secure because the additional dollars will go to my son’s daycare costs, I will be completely debt free”. But she goes on to say that it won’t be the case for her mother who has been out of college for over 20 years and has had to file for bankruptcy several times because of her student loan debt.
Priyanka Aribindi: And Denise Array DM’d us to say that even though she paid her $114,000 balance during the pandemic, quote, “even if I don’t directly benefit, it doesn’t hurt me at all to see others get that relief. A rising tide lifts all ships”.
Erin Ryan: And it’s really good to see for once that beneficiaries of governments forgiving debt are people who actually need it.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah.
Erin Ryan: Instead of rich people.
Priyanka Aribindi: Finally.
Erin Ryan: Absolutely. So for more on this, be sure to check out this week’s episode of Pod Save America, where White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre answers pressing questions about the administration’s plan for student loan debt relief.
Priyanka Aribindi: Before we go, with Election Day less than 100 days away and early voting starting earlier in many states, election officials will be deciding in the next few weeks how many early voting and Election Day polling locations they can open. Which means we need people signing up right now, we are working with Power 2 The Polls to recruit as many poll workers as possible, sign up to be a poll worker, and invite your friends in battleground states to do the same at Power2The Polls.org/CrookedMedia [link doesn’t work] [music break] One last thing today is our executive producer Leo Duran’s last day working on WAD. Many of you listening to this show may have only heard Leo’s name in our credits. But you hear his work every single day. Leo has been the tireless captain of this ship for the past year and a half. He is a huge part of why you all get to listen to a completed, beautiful podcast every single morning. And I’ll speak for everyone on our team when I say that he championed all of our wildest ideas, from deep dives on drag to academic close readings of Beyoncé lyrics. He has cheered us on to make them all happen. Luckily for everyone here, he’s not going far. He’s still working with Crooked on creating new shows. But we’re really going to miss him around here. So we wanted to send him off by saying, Thank you for everything. Leo, we appreciate you so much.
Erin Ryan: Oh, even though I’m just a guest host, [laugh] that is a common feeling as I’m seeing Leo’s name in my inbox and I’m like, all right, joining WAD this week hanging out with my WAD squad. Leo, we’re going to miss you for sure.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, he makes sure it’s fun around here. [music break]
Erin Ryan: That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Do male bonding without doing street racing. [laugh] How would that even work? And tell your friends to listen.
Priyanka Aribindi: And if you’re into reading and not just your own diary like me, how do they know? What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.
Erin Ryan: I’m Erin Ryan.
[spoken together] And thanks for everything Leo.
Erin Ryan: Ohhh, remember when he called into the meeting from a hill in Hawaii and the wind was like, wooooo.
Priyanka Aribindi: What! I was not present for that day.
Erin Ryan: Oh yeah.
Priyanka Aribindi: That sounds like an incredible meeting.
Erin Ryan: It was a great news meeting. The headline was Leo’s somewhere better than the rest of us. [laugh]
Priyanka Aribindi: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Jazzi Marine and Raven Yamamoto are our associate producers. Our head writer is Jon Millstein and our executive producers are Lita Martínez and Leo Duran. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.