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F.B.I. searches Trump’s home in Florida

The F.B.I. searched Donald Trump’s Palm Beach, Fla., home, including a safe that agents broke open, the former U.S. president said yesterday — an account signaling a dramatic escalation in the various investigations into the final stages of his presidency. The search appeared to be focused on files that Trump had brought to Florida when he left the White House.

For many months, Trump delayed in returning 15 boxes of material requested by officials with the National Archives, doing so only when there became a threat of action to retrieve them. He was known throughout his term to rip up official documents that were intended to be held for presidential archives.

To get a search warrant, the F.B.I. would have needed to convince a judge that it had probable cause that a crime had been committed, while the search almost certainly also required approval from the Justice Department as well as top F.B.I. officials. The F.B.I. declined to comment, and Justice Department officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Response: “After working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate,” Trump said. “Such an assault could only take place in broken, Third-World Countries.”

Related: The raid on Mar-a-Lago came as Trump weighs an increasingly likely third White House bid. Polling last month showed that while Trump maintained his primacy in the party, a significant number of Republicans said they would not support him in a rematch with President Biden.

U.S. will increase aid to Ukraine

The U.S. will send up to $1 billion worth of weapons and supplies from the Pentagon’s own stockpiles to Ukraine, the 18th such package of military aid since August 2021. Most of the munitions, including 75,000 shells for 155-millimeter howitzers and additional air-defense missiles, represent resupplying of weapons that have already been shipped to Kyiv.

One weapon not known to have been sent previously is the 120-millimeter mortar. The weapons will come with 20,000 rounds and will be included in this new series of shipments. Mortars of that size are infantry weapons that can generally fire a projectile containing about seven pounds of high explosive over a range of about four and a half miles.

The U.S. outlines its goals in Africa

Speaking in Pretoria, South Africa, Antony Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, unveiled the Biden administration’s main approach to addressing the growing influence of China, Russia and Middle Eastern nations across Africa: promoting democratic governance across the continent.

“History shows that strong democracies tend to be more stable and less prone to conflict,” he said. “The poor governance, exclusion and corruption inherent in weak democracies makes them more vulnerable to extremist movements and foreign interference.” His message comes as some African countries turn away from democracy and settle into authoritarian rule.

The U.S. aims at countering diplomacy efforts by China and the Kremlin: Russia has a decades-long history of partnership with African nations and organizations and has told African leaders that American-led sanctions on Moscow exacerbate a global food shortage. China has established an enormous presence in Africa, though there has been a backlash among some Africans against labor and loan practices by Chinese companies.

Priorities: Blinken said that the U.S. strategy “reflects the region’s complexity, its diversity, its agency” and “focuses on what we will do with African nations and peoples, not for African nations and peoples.” Pandemic recovery, health security, climate adaptation and environmental conservation were pillars of the Africa strategy, he added.

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A woman to watch in Kenya

Kenya’s national elections take place today, but the campaign may already have changed the country’s politics. Voters will decide whether to pick Martha Karua as their first female deputy president, and her candidacy has shifted the focus to women.

Analysts say Karua could convince the undecided that the presidential candidate on her ticket — Raila Odinga, a familiar face in Kenyan politics — could offer something new. Karua is also part of the Kenyan political establishment, but her strong anticorruption track record counts in her favor.

“These polls have seen much greater awareness and mainstreaming of women’s participation, in higher numbers and at many more levels,” said Njoki Ngumi, a social commentator who’s part of the Nest Collective, an art collective in Nairobi.

With a third of Kenyan households headed by women, Ngumi says she hopes the conversation around the election will begin to create an “honest or caring awareness of women’s lived experiences” among Kenyans. — Lynsey Chutel, a Briefings writer based in Johannesburg.

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