Biden slams 'semi-fascism' in GOP at rally; Trump search affidavit coming today; big speech by Fed's Powell

Today is Friday, Aug. 26, 2022. Let’s get caught up.

Here are today’s top stories, celebrity birthdays and a look back at this date in history.


Flooding continues to be a concern for some Gulf Coast states and we are tracking the chance of severe storms this afternoon across New England. CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam has the latest forecast.


Top headlines this morning: Friday, Aug. 26

President Joe Biden is calling on Democrats “to vote to literally save democracy once again” in the midterm elections — and comparing Republican ideology to “semi-fascism” — as he leads a kickoff rally and a fundraiser in Maryland. Biden addressed an overflow crowd of thousands at a high school in Rockville Thursday. He told supporters: “You have to choose. Will we be a country that moves forward or a country that moves backward?” Democrats have seen their political hopes rebound in recent months amid a legacy-defining burst of action by Congress and the president. The Republican National Committee called Biden’s comments “despicable.”

The Justice Department is set to release a heavily blacked-out document explaining the justification for an FBI search of Donald Trump’s Florida estate earlier this month, when agents removed top secret government records and other classified documents. The document, expected by noon, is likely to offer at least some new details about an ongoing criminal investigation that has brought fresh legal peril for Trump just as he lays the groundwork for another presidential run. Justice Department officials are expected to have removed sensitive details about witnesses, and the scope and direction of the probe, but even a redacted affidavit may contain some fresh revelations.

When Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell delivers what will be his most closely scrutinized speech of the year Friday, investors and economists will be turning over his remarks for any clues about how fast the Fed may continue to raise its short-term interest rate — and for how long. With inflation hovering near a four-decade high — almost 9% — Powell will likely stress that the Fed is determined to bring it down to its 2% target, no matter what it takes. The Fed’s rate hikes may well defeat inflation in time. But fear is growing that they may cause a recession in the process. Powell’s remarks will kick off the Fed’s annual economic symposium at Jackson Hole.

The prosecutor investigating whether Donald Trump  and others illegally tried to influence the 2020 election in Georgia is seeking to compel testimony from more allies of the former president, including former chief of staff Mark Meadows and lawyer Sidney Powell. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis filed petitions Thursday seeking to have Meadows and Powell, as well as Meadows contact James “Phil” Waldron and former Trump campaign adviser Boris Epshteyn, testify before a special grand jury in Atlanta next month. Meadows and Powell are among the highest-profile members of Trump’s circle to be summoned to testify in the probe, joining other top figures including Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.

The U.S. government is suspending 26 flights by Chinese airlines from the United States to China in a dispute over anti-virus controls after Beijing suspended flights by American carriers. The Department of Transportation accused Beijing of violating an air travel agreement while enforcing anti-virus controls that are among the world’s most extreme. The agency complained airlines were treated unfairly by China’s “circuit breaker” system that requires them to suspend flights if passengers test positive. The suspensions apply to flights in September by Air China from New York City and Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines from Los Angeles.

Tetsuya Yamagami, the alleged assassin of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, was born into an affluent but troubled family. Yamagami is accused of killing Abe during a campaign speech in western Japan. A glimpse of his painful childhood has led to a surprising amount of sympathy in Japan, where three decades of economic malaise and social disparity have left many feeling isolation and unease. His alleged crime has also shed light on the lack of protection for children who suffer because of their families’ links to a controversial church where the suspect’s mother was a member.

Elton John and Britney Spears have collaborated for the first time, creating the slinky, club-ready single “Hold Me Closer” that sees the pop icons take old sounds and fashion something new. The funky, piano-driven single uses John’s 1971 hit “Tiny Dancer” as the skeleton and adds elements from his songs “The One” and “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” all with Spears voice soaring and fluttering. While John has been releasing new music in the past few years — including the 16-track 2021 album “The Lockdown Sessions” — the song represents Spear’s first new music since her 2016 album “Glory” and her first offering since the ending of her contentious conservatorship.

Rafael Nadal will be returning to the U.S. Open for the first time since winning the title in 2019, while Serena Williams has indicated this will be her last time competing at Flushing Meadows. Play begins on the hard courts of Flushing Meadows on Monday. The two-week tournament concludes with the women’s singles final on Sept. 10, and the men’s singles final on Sept. 11. The U.S. Tennis Association is offering a tournament-record $60 million in total player compensation, but the two singles champions will each earn $2.6 million, a third less than in 2019, the last pre-pandemic edition of the event.

Oklahoma City forward Chet Holmgren, the No. 2 pick in the NBA draft, will miss the 2022-23 season because of a right foot injury. Holmgren was hurt while playing in a pro-am game last weekend in Seattle, near where he played last season for Gonzaga. The Thunder announced Thursday that he sustained a Lisfranc injury. Video appeared to show Holmgren was hurt on a play while defending LeBron James. The 7-foot Holmgren averaged 14.1 points and was fourth in the nation last season with 3.7 blocked shots per game.


On this week’s episode we preview “Mike,” the new Mike Tyson biopic series on Hulu, and the new animated series “Little Demon” on FXX.

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We take a moment at the top to critique “Beast,” opting to recommend a much more harrowing film in its place, and discuss expectations for “House of the Dragon,” the “Game of Thrones” prequel series that premiered this past Sunday.

Lastly (but far from leastly), we gather up the best biopics.

Streamed & Screened is a podcast about movies and TV hosted by Bruce Miller, an entertainment reporter for multiple decades who is now the editor of the Sioux City JournalJared McNett, a reporter for the Sioux City Journal, and Chris Lay, the podcast operations manager for Lee Enterprises.


A child wearing a mask runs through an art installation at a mall in Beijing, Friday, Aug. 26, 2022. China is easing its tight restrictions on visas after it largely suspended issuing them to foreign students and others more than two years ago at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 


In 2017, Hurricane Harvey spun into Texas, unloading extraordinary amounts of rain, and more events that happened on this day in history.

2017 — Floyd Mayweather Jr. stops UFC champion Conor McGregor on his feet in the 10th round in Las Vegas. The much-hyped 154-pound fight is mo…