This morning’s top headlines: Wednesday, Sept. 21
(9) updates to this series since
Venezuelan migrants flown from San Antonio to the upscale Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard have sued Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his transportation secretary for engaging in a “fraudulent and discriminatory scheme” to relocate them. The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in federal court in Boston. It alleges that migrants were falsely told they were going to Boston or Washington and were induced with $10 McDonald’s gift certificates. DeSantis’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. On Monday, the sheriff of Bexar County, Texas, which includes San Antonio, opened an investigation into the flights but didn’t say what laws may have been broken.
The House is preparing to vote on an overhaul of a centuries-old election law in an effort to prevent future presidential candidates from trying to subvert the popular will. The legislation under consideration Wednesday is a direct response to the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and former President Donald Trump’s efforts to find a way around the Electoral Count Act. That arcane 19th century law governs, along with the U.S. Constitution, how states and Congress certify electors and declare presidential election winners. Trump and a group of his aides and lawyers tried to exploit loopholes in the law to overturn his defeat.
President Joe Biden is ready to make the case at the U.N. General Assembly that Russia’s “naked aggression” in Ukraine is an affront to the heart of what the international body stands. In his address Wednesday morning, the American president is looking to rally allies to continue to back the Ukrainian resistance. Biden also plans to meet on the sidelines of the General Assembly with new British Prime Minister Liz Truss and announce a global food security initiative. But White House officials say the crux of Biden’s visit to the U.N. this year will be a full-throated condemnation of Russia as its brutal war nears the seven-month mark.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a partial mobilization of reservists in Russia. It’s the first mobilization in Russia since World War II. The measure appeared to be an admission that Moscow’s war against Ukraine is not going according to plan after nearly seven months of fighting and amid recent battlefield losses for the Kremlin’s forces. The Russian leader also warned the West that he is not bluffing over using all the means at his disposal to protect Russia’s territory, in what apparently was a veiled reference to Russia’s nuclear capability. Officials said the number of reservists to be called up is around 300,000.
The independent arbiter tasked with inspecting documents seized in an FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home says he intends to push briskly through the review process. Raymond Dearie, the veteran Brooklyn-based judge, also appeared skeptical of the Trump team’s reluctance to say whether it believed the records had been declassified. The purpose of Tuesday’s meeting was to sort out next steps in a review process expected to slow by weeks, if not months, the criminal investigation into the retention of top-secret information at Mar-a-Lago after Trump left the White House.
The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to raise its key short-term rate by a substantial three-quarters of a point for the third consecutive time. Many Fed watchers will be paying particular attention to Chairman Jerome Powell’s remarks at a news conference afterward. When Powell spoke at an economic conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, last month he issued a blunt warning. He said the Fed’s drive to curb inflation by aggressively raising interest rates, he said, would “bring some pain” for Americans. Americans will likely get a better idea of how much pain could be in store.
A former Minneapolis police officer who pleaded guilty to a state charge of aiding and abetting manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday. Thomas Lane is already serving a 2 1/2-year federal sentence for violating Floyd’s civil rights. When it comes to the state’s case, prosecutors and Lane’s attorneys agreed to a recommended sentence of three years, and prosecutors agreed to allow him to serve that penalty at the same time as his federal sentence, and in a federal prison. Lane is expected to appear at his sentencing remotely from a federal prison in Colorado.
Travis d’Arnaud broke a scoreless tie with a two-run homer in the fourth inning, Dansby Swanson went deep in the eighth, and the Atlanta Braves beat the Washington Nationals 3-2 and clinched a playoff berth. The defending World Series champion Braves secured their trip to the postseason when Milwaukee lost to the New York Mets 7-5 less than 30 minutes later. Atlanta (93-55) is also vying for its fifth consecutive division title, but remained in second place, one game behind the Mets in the NL East. Swanson added his 21st homer in the eighth off Kyle Finnegan. The Braves have won 10 straight games at home, outscoring opponents 47-15 over this stretch.
Aaron Judge hit his 60th home run and Giancarlo Stanton followed minutes later with a game-ending grand slam, completing the New York Yankees’ stunning five-run, ninth-inning rally to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-8. Judge moved within one of Roger Maris’ American League record when he turned on a sinker from right-hander Wil Crowe and drove it 430 feet into the left-field bleachers, pulling New York within 8-5. Judge matched the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit for the 1927 Yankees to set a big league record that stood for 34 years.