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FirstFT: Donald Trump backs release of documents on FBI search of Mar-a-Lago

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Good morning. Donald Trump said he backed the “immediate release” of documents related to this week’s FBI search on his Mar-a-Lago estate, just hours after attorney-general Merrick Garland moved to unseal the warrant and the list of items retrieved by federal agents.

The former US president called for the papers to be made public in a statement issued just before midnight on Thursday, after huddling with his legal team to discuss the next steps in the legal stand-off pitting him against US law enforcement agencies.

“Not only will I not oppose the release of documents related to the unAmerican, unwarranted and unnecessary raid and break-in of my home in Palm Beach, Florida, Mar-a-Lago, I am going a step further by ENCOURAGING the immediate release of those documents,” he wrote.

“This unprecedented political weaponisation of law enforcement is inappropriate and highly unethical,” he added.

Thanks for reading FirstFT Americas. Have a great weekend — Wai Kwen

1. Asset managers bet big on crypto despite market rout Big-name money managers are stampeding into digital assets, finding new ways to monetise investor interest even as trading volumes and prices for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have slumped.

How well did you keep up with the news this week? Take our quiz.

2. Colombia’s new president Gustavo Petro pushes tax reform to fund ambitious social agenda The country’s first leftist government in modern history has targeted Colombia’s wealthiest residents and its commodities exports in a tax proposal that represents a significant shift for the traditionally conservative nation.

3. Miami becomes the new boom town for corporate lawyers Kirkland & Ellis is one of many law firms relocating to capitalise on a migration accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic. In the year to July 2021, more Americans moved to Florida than any other state — 220,890 of them, according to census data.

Line chart of Number of attorneys  showing Miami’s population of lawyers has swelled in recent years

4. GSK reassures shareholders over Zantac lawsuits The pharmaceutical company said the litigation it faced over withdrawn heartburn drug Zantac was inconsistent with the scientific consensus, as it attempted to reassure investors after a slide in its share price. GSK has been named as a defendant in about 3,000 filed personal injury cases in the US alleging that taking the drug led to cancer developing.

5. TikTok employees complain of ‘kill list’ aimed at forcing out staff The viral video app company, owned by China’s ByteDance, created what staff have called a “kill list” of colleagues that it wanted to force out of its London office, in a move that some said created a working culture of fear.

The days ahead

Inflation Reduction Act The bill is set to be passed in the US House of Representatives before being signed into law by President Joe Biden.

Economic data Monthly industrial production figures for the EU are due, as are France’s final consumer price index data for July, which will give an insight into the extent of rising prices and energy costs.

CPI graphic

Corporate results The New York-listed Italian luxury retailer Ermenegildo Zegna will report first-half earnings. Several luxury goods brands recently reported sustained consumer demand despite high inflation. Honest Company, the consumer goods business founded by US actress Jessica Alba, will report second-quarter earnings before the bell.

What else we’re reading and listening to

Afghanistan’s women speak Since the fall of Kabul to the Taliban in August last year, women across the country have had to find ways to cope with their lives being turned upside down. They have used an app to share their thoughts, fears and dreams. Read their messages here.

“Although it is daylight, darkness has spread. For girls and women it is like 20 years ago” — Nargis, August 16, 2021, 02:09.

A girl in Kabul reads a book beside a window
The Taliban said they would defend women’s rights ‘within the framework of Islamic law’, but analysts and diplomats remain deeply sceptical

Arctic melting four times faster than rest of the planet, study says Scientists have for a long time known that the Arctic is heating faster than the rest of the planet, but have not agreed on a rate. The warming effect, along with long-term declines in sea ice levels, are considered two major indicators of climate change.

Rhine’s low water levels cause problems for German industry Following an unusually dry winter, a parched spring and a sweltering summer, water levels on the Rhine river have fallen to a record low — well below the 80cm required for fully loaded barges to pass through safely. As a result, container ships are carrying a fraction of their usual cargo, leading to higher transportation costs and severe delays.

Russia’s diplomats are reduced to propagandists Once regarded as a sophisticated elite, foreign ministry officials are now using extreme language to prove their loyalty to the Kremlin. Their statements are increasingly targeted not at external audiences but at the domestic one, writes Alexander Baunov, a former Russian diplomat.

My handwriting is terrible. Should I be worried? Years of typing and texting have taken their toll on Pilita Clark. “My words jerked across the page like the trails of a snail dunked in crystal meth,” she says. This could be important — studies show we learn more when we write by hand.

Travel adventures

Find out where to get really away from it all, in Morocco, Chile, Lapland and New Zealand.

An angling trip in the Martin Pescador wilderness
An angling trip in the Martin Pescador wilderness © Eleven

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