Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.  

WASHINGTON

FBI's search of Trump's Florida estate: Why now?

The FBI's unprecedented search of former President Donald Trump's Florida residence ricocheted around government, politics and a polarized country Tuesday along with questions as to why the Justice Department — notably cautious under Attorney General Merrick Garland — decided to take such a drastic step.

Answers weren't quickly forthcoming.

Agents on Monday searched Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, which is also a private club, as part of a federal investigation into whether the former president took classified records from the White House to his Florida residence, people familiar with the matter said. It marked a dramatic escalation of law enforcement scrutiny of Trump, who faces an array of inquiries tied to his conduct in the waning days of his administration.

From echoes of Watergate to the more immediate House probe of the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, Washington, a city used to sleepy Augusts, reeled from one speculative or accusatory headline to the next. Was the Justice Department politicized? What prompted it to seek authorization to search the estate for classified documents now, months after it was revealed that Trump had taken boxes of materials with him when he left the White House after losing the 2020 election?

Garland has not tipped his hand despite an outcry from some Democrats impatient over whether the department was even pursuing evidence that has surfaced in the Jan. 6 probe and other investigations— and from Republicans who were swift to echo Trump's claims that he was the victim of political prosecution.

Police: Albuquerque man charged in killings of 2 Muslim men

Authorities have charged a 51-year-old man in the killings of two Muslim men in New Mexico's largest city, and he is suspected of slaying two others.

Officials announced the man's arrest Tuesday after he was taken into custody the day before.

The killings sparked fear in Muslim communities nationwide.

The victims are Naeem Hussain, Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, Aftab Hussein and Mohammad Ahmadi. The killings began in November with Ahmadi's death. The slayings drew the attention of President Joe Biden.

Serena Williams says 'countdown has begun' to retirement

Saying "the countdown has begun," 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams announced Tuesday she is ready to step away from tennis so she can turn her focus to having another child and her business interests, presaging the end of a career that transcended sports.

In an essay released Tuesday by Vogue magazine, and a post on Instagram — the sorts of direct-to-fans communication favored these days by celebrities, a category she most definitely fits — Williams was not completely clear on the timeline for her last match, but she made it sound as if that could be at the U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 29 in New York.

"There comes a time in life when we have to decide to move in a different direction. That time is always hard when you love something so much. My goodness do I enjoy tennis. But now, the countdown has begun," Williams, who turns 41 next month, wrote on Instagram. "I have to focus on being a mom, my spiritual goals and finally discovering a different, but just (as) exciting Serena. I'm gonna relish these next few weeks."

Williams, one of the greatest and most accomplished athletes in the history of her — or any other — sport, wrote in the essay that she does not like the word "retirement" and prefers to think of this stage of her life as "evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me."

"I feel a great deal of pain. It's the hardest thing that I could ever imagine. I hate it. I hate that I have to be at this crossroads," she wrote. "I keep saying to myself, I wish it could be easy for me, but it's not. I'm torn: I don't want it to be over, but at the same time I'm ready for what's next."

JACKSON, Miss.

Grand jury declines to indict woman in Emmett Till killing

A Mississippi grand jury has declined to indict the white woman whose accusation set off the lynching of Black teenager Emmett Till nearly 70 years ago, most likely closing the case that shocked a nation and galvanized the modern civil rights movement.

After hearing more than seven hours of testimony from investigators and witnesses, a Leflore County grand jury last week determined there was insufficient evidence to indict Carolyn Bryant Donham on charges of kidnapping and manslaughter, Leflore County District Attorney Dewayne Richardson said in a news release Tuesday.

The decision comes despite recent revelations about an unserved arrest warrant and the 87-year-old Donham's unpublished memoir.

The Rev. Wheeler Parker, Jr., Emmett Till's cousin and the last living witness to Till's Aug. 28, 1955, abduction, said Tuesday's announcement is "unfortunate, but predictable."

Support our journalism. Subscribe today. →

"The prosecutor tried his best, and we appreciate his efforts, but he alone cannot undo hundreds of years of anti-Black systems that guaranteed those who killed Emmett Till would go unpunished, to this day," Parker said in a statement.

KYIV, Ukraine

Large explosions rock Russian military air base in Crimea

Powerful explosions rocked a Russian air base in Crimea and sent towering clouds of smoke over the landscape Tuesday in what may mark an escalation of the war in Ukraine. At least one person was killed and several others were wounded, authorities said.

Russia's Defense Ministry denied the Saki base on the Black Sea had been shelled and said instead that munitions had blown up there. But Ukrainian social networks were abuzz with speculation that it was hit by Ukrainian-fired long-range missiles.

Videos posted on social networks showed sunbathers on nearby beaches fleeing as huge flames and pillars of smoke rose over the horizon from multiple points, accompanied by loud booms. Crimea Today News said on Telegram that witnesses reported fire on a runway and damage to nearby homes as a result of what it said were dozens of blasts.

Russia's state news agency Tass quoted an unidentified ministry source as saying the explosions' primary cause appeared to be a "violation of fire safety requirements." The ministry said no warplanes were damaged.

Ukraine's Defense Ministry said sarcastically on Facebook: "The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine cannot establish the cause of the fire, but once again recalls the rules of fire safety and the prohibition of smoking in unspecified places."

WASHINGTON

US will stretch monkeypox vaccine supply with smaller doses

U.S. health officials on Tuesday authorized a plan to stretch the nation's limited supply of monkeypox vaccine by giving people just one-fifth the usual dose, citing research suggesting that the reduced amount is about as effective.

The so-called dose-sparing approach also calls for administering the Jynneos vaccine with an injection just under the skin rather than into deeper tissue — a practice that may rev up the immune system better. Recipients would still get two shots spaced four weeks apart.

The highly unusual step is a stark acknowledgment that the U.S. currently lacks the supplies needed to vaccinate everyone seeking protection from the rapidly spreading virus.

That includes 1.6 million to 1.7 million Americans considered by federal officials to be at highest risk from the disease, primarily men with HIV or men who have a higher risk of contracting it. Vaccinating that group would require more than 3.2 million shots.

White House officials said the new policy would immediately multiply the 440,000 currently available as full doses into more than 2 million smaller doses.

BRUNSWICK, Ga.

Town honors Ahmaud Arbery day after end of hate crimes case

A crowd of dozens chanted on a sweltering street corner Tuesday as Ahmaud Arbery's hometown unveiled new street signs honoring the young Black man who was fatally shot after being chased by three white men in a nearby neighborhood — a crime local officials vowed to never forget.

Arbery's parents joined the celebration the day after the men responsible for their son's death received harsh prison sentences in U.S. District Court for committing federal hate crimes.

Officials in coastal Brunswick, where Arbery grew up, have ordered that intersections along all 2.7 miles of Albany Street that runs through the heart of the city's Black community will have additional signs designating it as Honorary Ahmaud Arbery Street.

The first two signs were unveiled Tuesday at an intersection near the Brunswick African-American Cultural Center, where one wall is adorned with a giant mural of Arbery's smiling face.

"That's an honor, is all I can say," said Brenda Davis, a dock worker at Brunswick's busy seaport who lives on Albany Street along a stretch of modest brick and cinder block homes. "He means something to everybody, though a lot of people didn't know him."

— The Associated Press