Daily Briefing: Classified documents on Mar-a-Lago's floor

Prosecutors found classified documents on Mar-a-Lago's floor — despite claims from Trump's lawyers they didn't exist. Serena Williams is serving up her second match in the U.S. Open tonight. And we remember Princess Diana 25 years after her shocking death.

🙋🏼‍♀️ I'm Nicole Fallert, writer of Daily Briefing, a morning news roundup from USA TODAY. What is Daily Briefing? It's USA TODAY's flagship morning newsletter that gives you the front page of the day with more stories to dig into if you're curious to dive deeper. A lot of you have told us you like receiving Daily Briefing instead of 5 Things to Know. Please keep submitting your thoughts via this form here! If you have shared feedback — thank you. Now, let's get started with Wednesday's news.

Trump's request for special master would impede investigation, Justice Department says

Justice Department officials told a federal judge late Tuesday that the appointment of a special master to oversee a review of documents seized from former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate earlier this month would impede the government's investigation. The probe has already uncovered evidence of obstruction. Read more 

One thing to know: Justice officials asserted a potentially damning counterpoint to claims by Trump's lawyers they cooperated with authorities leading up to the FBI's search of Mar-a-Lago.

  • What was found, exactly? FBI agents discovered 11 sets of classified documents in the Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago — although Trump’s lawyers had certified in June that they had turned over the last of all documents sought by the government. 
  • It gets messier: Included in the new Justice filing was a photograph, showing how investigators found top secret records, some of them designated at the highest classifications in government, strewn about a carpeted room, next to a box of magazines.
  • Trump wants an independent screener: Trump's lawyers had called for a halt to the document review until a special master was appointed, but U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon did not grant that request. A hearing on the matter is set for 1 p.m. Thursday.
Pages from a Department of Justice court filing on Aug. 30, 2022, in response to a request from the legal team of former President Donald Trump for a special master to review the documents seized during the Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago, are photographed early Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022.

Serena serves up a difficult task in second-round US Open match

Serena Williams will lead off the night session at Arthur Ashe Stadium again Wednesday, this time against the No. 2-ranked player in women's tennis. The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion faces second-seeded Anett Kontaveit of Estonia, trying to prolong what could be the last tournament of her career. Another win will only increase the attention, and ardor, of tennis fans and turn up the volume on talk about whether this could be another turn-back-the-clock U.S. Open story. Read more

  • PerspectiveSerena Williams was honored after her US Open first-round win. It's all about tennis from now on.
  • Taylor Jenkins Reid's ''Carrie Soto Is Back'' is a perfectly timed ode to Serena Williams.
  • Stunning U.S. Open losses: Defending US Open women's champion Emma Raducanu, Naomi Osaka ousted in first round.
Serena Williams, of the United States, talks with her daughter Olympia and husband Alexis Ohanian after defeating Danka Kovinic, of Montenegro, during the first round of the US Open tennis championships, Monday, Aug. 29, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

More news to know now:

Much of Southern California under excessive-heat warning

An excessive, prolonged heat wave will further parch large swaths of California in the longest and hottest heat wave of the year, according to forecasters at the National Weather Service. Warnings went into effect in San Diego and Orange counties as well as in Southern California’s inland counties, and will spread north through the Los Angeles region and San Joaquin Valley on Wednesday. As the heat wave expands into Northern California throughout the weekend, temperatures could hit trip-digits, heightening the risk of heat-related illness. Read more

A hiker walks past the setting sun in Los Angeles, California on August 30, 2022. Forecasters said the mercury could reach as high as 112 Fahrenheit (44 Celsius) in the densely populated Los Angeles suburbs as a heat dome settles in over parts of California, Nevada and Arizona.

Diana's death stunned the world — and changed the royals forever

Above all, there was shock. That’s the word people use when they remember Princess Diana’s death in a Paris car crash 25 years ago this week. The woman the world watched grow from a shy teenage nursery school teacher into a glamorous celebrity who comforted AIDS patients and campaigned for land mine removal couldn’t be dead at the age of 36. Could she? But it was that shock that cemented Diana’s legacy as the woman who brought lasting change to Britain’s royal family, helping it bridge the gap between centuries of tradition and a new, multi-cultural nation in the internet age. Read more

South African President Nelson Mandela shows the way to Princess Diana in Cape Town, South Africa, where they discussed the threat of AIDS in the country, on March 17, 1997 five months before she was killed in a Paris car wreck.

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Mikhail Gorbachev, former Soviet leader who paved way for end of Cold War, dies at 91

Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union and for many the man who restored democracy to then-communist-ruled European nations, was mourned Wednesday. His legacy was remembered a rare leader who changed the world and for a time gave hope for peace among the superpowers. Gorbachev, who died in Moscow on Tuesday at the age of 91, was also blamed by many in his country for the 1991 implosion of the Soviet Union. The loss of pride and power also led to the eventual rise of Vladimir Putin, who has spent the past quarter-century trying to restore Russia to its former glory and beyond. Read more

  • Latest Ukraine coverage: Fighting in the nation's southern region intensified yesterday, with both sides claiming success in what is expected to be a weekslong push.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin, right, talks with former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev at the Castle of Gottorf in Schleswig, northern Germany, Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2004. Russian news agencies are reported that former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev died at 91 on Tuesday.

📷 Photo of the day: Violent clashes erupt in Baghdad Green Zone after Iraqi Shiite cleric resigns 📷

Armed supporters of a powerful Iraqi cleric who clashed with security forces in the capital began to withdraw from the streets Tuesday, restoring a measure of calm after a serious escalation of the nation's political crisis. Read more

Click here to see more photos of political demonstrations in Iraq. 

Relatives attend a funeral of a man killed during clashes with security in Baghdad during his funeral in Najaf, Iraq, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022.

A little less heavy

Duane Hansen paddled for 11 hours to set a world record floating inside of a pumpkin.

Nicole Fallert is a newsletter writer at USA TODAY, sign up for the email here. Want to send Nicole a note, shoot her an email at NFallert@usatoday.com or follow along with her musings on Twitter. Support journalism like this – subscribe to USA TODAY here.

Associated Press contributed reporting.