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Trump refuses to answer Jan 6 question in contentious ‘Meet the Press’ interview - latest news

Donald Trump gave his first network TV interview since leaving office to Kristen Welker, the new moderator of Meet the Press at the weekend.

Pre-recorded at his Bedminster home on Thursday, there was sharp criticism of NBC for giving the four-times indicted former president a platform.

Welker and Mr Trump clashed several times as he spoke over her and repeated lies about the 2020 election and the January 6 Capitol riot, and known falsehoods about his own indictments and President Joe Biden.

In live studio portions of Sunday’s broadcast, Welker fact-checked the former president’s statements and led a panel discussion about what was said allowing for more corrections.

Meanwhile, on Friday night, Mr Trump made a series of gaffes during remarks at two events, saying President Biden would lead the US into the Second World War, confusing whom he was running against in 2024, and reiterating a bizarre claim that you need ID to buy bread.

Earlier, the former president attacked “deranged” Jack Smith on Truth Social just hours after the office of the special counsel requested that a narrow gag order be handed down in the January 6 election subversion case.

Key Points

ICYMI: Trump rants at ‘deranged’ Jack Smith hours after request for partial gag order

21:30 , Alex Woodward

Federal prosecutors are asking the judge overseeing a case targeting Donald Trump’s alleged efforts to subvert the outcome of the 2020 presidential election to help stop his wave of “inflammatory” attacks.

Following a grand jury’s indictment in the case, the former president has “repeatedly and widely disseminated public statements” attacking Washington DC residents as well as members of the court, prosecutors and prospective witnesses, according to a filing in US District Court on 15 September.

His statements threaten “to undermine the integrity of these proceedings and prejudice the jury pool,” prosecutors warned. Shortly after a request from US Department of Justice special counsel Jack Smith for the partial gag order, the former president lashed out on his Truth Social platform and called him “deranged”.

Read more...

Trump rants at ‘deranged’ Jack Smith hours after he requests partial gag order

‘I didn’t respect them’: Trump says he ignored lawyers who told him he lost the election

21:15 , John Bowden

Donald Trump said this week that he was within his rights to continue attempting to thwart Joe Biden from becoming president after his own advisers told him that his claims of election fraud were false, explaining that he did not respect his own attorneys’ legal opinions.

The ex-president was speaking with Kristin Welker, new host of NBC’s flagship Sunday programme Meet the Press, when he was questioned about why he went through with efforts to interfere in the certification of the 2020 election after his court challenges failed and his White House attorneys advised him against doing so.

“I didn’t respect them as lawyers,” Mr Trump explained.

“You’d hired them,” Welker pointed out.

Continued...

Trump clashes with Welker over what he was doing on Jan 6

21:00 , Oliver O'Connell

There was a tense moment during Donald Trump’s interview with new Meet the Press moderator Kirsten Welker over his movements on 6 January 2021 as the Capitol riot was underway.

The interview — which ahead of broadcast received much criticism for giving the former president a platform from which he could repeat known falsehoods — was pre-recorded on Thursday and aired on Sunday morning on Welker’s first show as the new moderator.

The wide-ranging questioning turned to Mr Trump’s movements and actions on January 6, with Welker asking why he did not do more to stop the violence as his supporters battled with police and stormed Congress.

Here’s what happened next...

Trump clashes with interviewer over what he was doing on Jan 6: ‘Why would I tell?’

Watch: McCarthy tells Bartiromo Trump will be nominee in swipe at DeSantis

20:45 , Oliver O'Connell

DeSantis under fire for ‘abortion tourism’ remark

20:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Democrats fumed at Ron DeSantis on Twitter after the Florida governor chose to wade in to the ongoing fight in the Senate over Senator Tommy Tuberville’s holdup of military promotions over an abortion-related policy.

The upper chamber of Congress has lost some of its bipartisan amity in recent days over a hold placed by the Alabama senator on officer promotions until the Department of Defense ceases a policy that allows service members to have their travel reimbursed if they choose to abort a pregnancy. The far right has taken aim at this policy in the wake of the end of federal abortion protections undone by the Supreme Court last year.

Mr Tuberville’s actions have been condemned by Democrats and even some in his own party, like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, as well as top leaders of America’s military branches.

Continued...

Ron DeSantis under fire for ‘abortion tourism’ remark

Secret Service: Protester ‘no impact’ on protectees’ movements

19:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Armed protester reported outside Biden’s Delaware home

19:10 , Oliver O'Connell

A man who appeared to have a holstered firearm was spotted near the Wilmington home of President Joe Biden in Delaware on Sunday.

In a pool report, a reporter on the scene described the man “wearing a neon yellow and orange safety vest, khaki cargo shorts, tan boots and socks” walking “down the road toward the Biden home”. According to the reporter, the unidentified person appeared to have a gun holstered to their beltline.

A sign he was holding bore messages related to the GOP ongoing investigation into supposed criminal activity by the Biden family — an investigation that has drawn criticisms from numerous members of the Republican Party for jumping to conclusions based on thin evidence.

More details...

Read Kristen Welker’s fact-checks about Trump’s indictments and Biden impeachment inquiry

19:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Kristen Welker, moderator, Meet the Press:

Now, as you just heard former president Trump referred to the federal indictments against him as Biden indictments, the indictments have been charged by a special counsel. And according to the White House, President Biden has not spoken to the Attorney General about them, and the White House found out about them from news reports.

As for the impeachment inquiry, so far, congressional investigators have not presented any evidence that President Biden has profited off of Hunter Biden’s business dealings.

Why are American white nationalists are fleeing US social media sites for Russian platforms?

18:30 , Gustaf Kilander

American extremists are popping up on Russian social media platforms for two reasons: One – they’re there. Two – they’re much less moderated.

That’s the simple outline physics professor Neil Johnson at Georgetown University gave to The Independent over a video call.

On Facebook, far-right communities are “like a PG 13 version of what they can do on other sites just because of moderation,” the Harvard-educated Brit says. “Certain kinds of symbols, hate speech, and activities can get them shut down. And since they rely on followers and support, they don’t want to be shut down.”

The extremists instead post links on Facebook directing users to Russian platforms.

Continued...

American white nationalists are fleeing US sites for Russian platforms. Here’s why

New poll: Biden and Trump rematch tightens

18:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Watch: Kristen Welker fact-checks Trump

17:41 , Oliver O'Connell

Boebert attacked by her own party for ‘lewd sex acts’ at Beetlejuice show

17:30 , Kelly Rissman

Republican firebrand Lauren Boebert has come under fire from her own party after she and her date were caught on video fondling each other in a crowded theatre last weekend before being kicked out.

Footage captured the Colorado congresswoman’s heavy petting with her rumoured boyfriend as they attended a showing of “Beetlejuice” in Denver on 10 September. The pair were ejected for “causing a disturbance”.

Several within her own party criticised the lawmaker’s behaviour as hypocritical, given her opposition to LGBTQ+ rights, like furthering claims that drag performances will expose children to lewd sexual acts. She wrote last June, “Take your children to CHURCH, not drag bars.”

More...

Lauren Boebert attacked by her own party over ‘lewd sex acts’ at Beetlejuice show

What is the news value of interviewing Trump?

16:31 , Oliver O'Connell

Meet the Press moderator Kristen Welker closed out Sunday’s show by asking Peter Baker, New York Times White House correspondent, to explain the reasoning for interviewing Donald Trump and why it has news value.

“This is a huge challenge for American journalists, of course, right? It cannot be that a person can run for president of the United States, be a front-runner in his party, and possibly win without ever being challenged by a tough, independent interviewer. And that’s, I think, an important part of our system,” said Baker.

“Now, obviously the challenge for us because he is just going to spout out one thing after another, and fact check in real-time, is a real hard thing. But what you’ve done here is edit it and make sure people understand what he’s what’s real.”

Pence asked about Trump’s mental accuity

16:09 , Oliver O'Connell

Trump still considering Jan 6 pardons

16:00 , Oliver O'Connell

‘Meet the Press’ under fire for Trump interview

15:53 , Oliver O'Connell

While Donald Trump was happily promoting Sunday morning’s interview on Meet The Press with a 1.39am post on Truth Social, there are calls for a boycott of NBC News’s flagship political Sunday morning show.

The anger comes from giving a platform to the former president’s lies, with accusations that the interview is “normalising a maniac”.

In promoting the interview, the show’s newly-appointed moderator Kristen Welker has also been accused of “whitewashing Trump’s depravity” with social media users asking “Is it 2015?” and “What is wrong with you, NBC?”

Read more...

New ‘Meet the Press’ host Kristen Welker under fire for Trump interview

Trump refuses to say on ‘Meet the Press’ how he watched the Jan 6 attack unfold

15:37 , AP

Former President Donald Trump repeatedly declined in an interview aired Sunday to answer questions about whether he watched the Capitol riot unfold on television, saying he would “tell people later at an appropriate time.”

Trump, the current front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, refused to say on NBC‘s “Meet the Press” how he spent Jan. 6, 2021, once the insurrection began and whether he made phone calls as his supporters stormed the seat of American democracy.

“I’m not going to tell you. I’ll tell people later at an appropriate time,” Trump told moderator Kristen Welker after she asked if he spent that afternoon watching the attack on television in a dining room at the White House.

Trump’s former aides have said he sequestered himself in the room off the Oval Office to watch, at times even rewinding and rewatching some parts.

Continued...

Trump denies pushing for Biden impeachment inquiry

15:28 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump has denied playing a role in the GOP’s effort to impeach President Joe Biden after reports that he secretly met with MAGA Republicans to discuss the topic.

The alleged meeting between Mr Trump and House Republican leadership was said to have taken place before House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced a formal impeachment inquiry into the president.

However, speaking to NBC’s Kristen Welker “Meet the Press” in an interview aired Sunday, Mr Trump said he didn’t “have to talk” to anyone about supporting the inquiry because “they’re more proactive than I am”.

Read more...

Trump denies pushing for Biden impeachment inquiry in secret meetings

Trump marks Ken Paxton impeachment acquittal — with a meme

15:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Former president Donald Trump has congratulated Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on surviving his impeachment.

Mr Trump wrote on Truth Social: “I want to thank the great Lt. Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, who served as Judge in the Ken Paxton Trial, and the Republican State Senators, for showing great Professionalism and Fairness.”

“Attorney General Paxton was fully acquitted on all 16 Impeachment Articles brought by the Texas Republican House. It is time that Speaker Dade Phelan resign after pushing this Disgraceful Sham!” he added.

“Congratulations to Attorney General Ken Paxton on a great and historic Texas sized VICTORY. I also want to congratulate his wonderful wife and family for having had to go through this ordeal, and WINNING!”

The former president also reposted a meme from a follower...

Trump celebrates Ken Paxton impeachment acquittal — with a meme

Trump touts ‘Meet The Press’ interview amid anger and calls for boycott of show

14:16 , Oliver O'Connell

While Donald Trump was happily promoting this morning’s upcoming interview on Meet The Press with a 1.39am post on Truth Social, there are calls for a boycott of NBC News’s banner political Sunday morning show.

The anger comes from an apparent lack of pushback on the former president’s lies from newly-appointed host Kristen Welker, with accusations that the interview is “normalizing a maniac”.

In promoting the interview, Welker has also been accused of “whitewashing Trump’s depravity” with X users asking “Is it 2015?” and “What is wrong with you, NBC?”

Trump serves up chaotic ‘word salad’ of a speech at DC event

14:00 , Oliver O'Connell

In his latest gaffe-laden speech, Donald Trump appeared to suggest former President Barack Obama was running in 2024 as he warned that “cognitively impaired” President Joe Biden could lead the country into “World War Two” if he wins re-election.

During his remarks at the Washington DC Pray Vote Stand Summit on Friday, the former president said: “We have a man who is totally corrupt and the worst president in the history of our country, who is cognitively impaired, in no condition to lead, and is now in charge of dealing with Russia and possible nuclear war.”

“Just think of it. We would be in World War Two very quickly if we’re going to be relying on this man, and far more devastating than any war,” he continued as dramatic music swelled in the background.

“There will never be a war if that happens— there will never be a war like this. It will obliterate everything there is, everybody, it will obliterate every country.”

In the past, Mr Trump has frequently said that Mr Biden would lead the country into the Third World War and the gaffe may have gone unnoticed had he not continued to stumble over his words confusing his political opponents with each other.

Read more...

Trump serves up chaotic ‘word salad’ about ‘World War Two’ and running against Obama

Trump rants at ‘deranged’ Jack Smith hours after special counsel requests partial gag order

13:00 , Alex Woodward

Federal prosecutors are asking the judge overseeing a case targeting Donald Trump’s alleged efforts to subvert the outcome of the 2020 presidential election to help stop his wave of “inflammatory” attacks.

Following a grand jury’s indictment in the case, the former president has “repeatedly and widely disseminated public statements” attacking Washington DC residents as well as members of the court, prosecutors and prospective witnesses, according to a filing in US District Court on 15 September.

His statements threaten “to undermine the integrity of these proceedings and prejudice the jury pool,” prosecutors warned. Shortly after a request from US Department of Justice special counsel Jack Smith for the partial gag order, the former president lashed out on his Truth Social platform and called him “deranged”.

Continued...

Trump rants at ‘deranged’ Jack Smith hours after he requests partial gag order

Ken Paxton was acquitted at his impeachment trial. He still faces legal troubles

12:00 , AP

For years, the powers and protections that come with being Texas’ top lawyer have helped Ken Paxton fend off ethics complains, criminal charges and an FBI investigation.

With the Texas Senate’s Saturday vote to acquit Paxton of corruption charges at his impeachment trial the Republican has once again demonstrated his rare political resilience. And he retains the shield of the attorney general’s office in legal battles still to come.

After being cleared, Paxton, 60, thanked his lawyers for “exposing the absurdity” of the “false allegations” against him, and he promised to resume doing legal battle with the administration of President Joe Biden.

Read more...

Trump mocked for claiming Americans need ID to buy bread

10:00 , Oliver O'Connell

He has said it before and he has said it again.

Does the former, and potentially next, president of the United States really believe you need ID to buy a loaf of bread?

Donald Trump joked on Friday evening about having his mugshot taken in Fulton County, Georgia when he spoke about the need for voter identification in elections.

Speaking at the Concerned Women for America’s National Summit in Washington DC, Mr Trump repeated his lies that he won the 2020 presidential election and called for the passage of a voter ID law.

“You have ID to buy a loaf of bread,” he said. “You have ID to buy a loaf of bread. You have everything.”

Read more about the former president’s bizarre claim...

Trump mocked for claiming Americans need ID to buy a loaf of bread

Timeline from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment to his acquittal

08:00 , AP

A timeline of events that led to acquittal of three-term Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton during his impeachment trial in the state Senate. The trial started Sept. 5 and ended Sept. 16. The overwhelming impeachment vote in May by the GOP-controlled Texas House of Representatives suspended the 60-year-old Paxton from office.

The acquittal allows him to resume his duties as attorney general.

Continued...

Timeline leading to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's acquittal in his impeachment trial

Trump won’t say how he watched Jan 6 unfold at the US Capitol

19:27 , AP

Former President Donald Trump repeatedly declined in an interview aired Sunday to answer questions about whether he watched the Capitol riot unfold on television, saying he would “tell people later at an appropriate time.”

Trump, the current front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, refused to say on NBC‘s “Meet the Press” how he spent Jan. 6, 2021, once the insurrection began and whether he made phone calls as his supporters stormed the seat of American democracy.

“I’m not going to tell you. I’ll tell people later at an appropriate time,” Trump told moderator Kristen Welker after she asked if he spent that afternoon watching the attack on television in a dining room at the White House.

Trump’s former aides have said he sequestered himself in the room off the Oval Office to watch, at times even rewinding and rewatching some parts.

Read more...

Boebert changes tune on Beetlejuice behaviour as new video reveals heavy petting with date

06:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Colorado Republican Lauren Boebert has issued an apology for not telling the truth about an incident that saw her thrown out of a production of Beetlejuice.

The apology comes as new footage from security cameras at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts shows that Rep Boebert was not just vaping, singing, and taking flash photos during the performance, but also appeared to engage in heavy petting with her male companion.

Her latest statement reads: “The past few days have been difficult and humbling, and I’m truly sorry for the unwanted attention my Sunday evening in Denver has brought to the community. While none of my actions or words as a private citizen that night were intended to be malicious or meant to cause harm, the reality is they did and I regret that.”

Read more...

Lauren Boebert issues apology as new video reveals heavy petting at Beetlejuice

GOP presidential hopefuls generally overlook New Hampshire in effort to blunt Trump in Iowa

04:00 , AP

Once upon a time, the moderates, the mavericks and the underdogs in presidential politics had a chance to break through in New Hampshire.

Former Senator John McCain, an independent-minded Republican, resurrected his anaemic campaign with a victory in the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary in 2008. Bill Clinton, a centrist Democrat from Arkansas, became the “comeback kid” by exceeding expectations here in 1992. And little-known Georgia peanut farmer, Jimmy Carter, would go on to claim the presidency after winning the state’s 1976 Democratic primary.

But this year, New Hampshire’s primary tradition may be little more than a fairy tale as the presidential field largely overlooks the Granite State.

Continued...

Trump says Melania will join him on the campaign trail... soon

02:00 , Oliver O'Connell

As former President Donald Trump is basking in the attention from the media, supporters, his legal team and courtrooms across the country, there’s one person who seems to have not been giving him attention recently: his wife, Melania Trump.

The question of “Where’s Melania?” has become so pervasive that a banner asking exactly that flew across Iowa last week while Mr Trump was watching a football game. Mocked-up “missing” posters of the former first lady were also posted.

After “Meet the Press” host Kristen Welker asked the 2024 hopeful if “we’ll see (Melania) on the trail soon,” Mr Trump gave a less than firm date.

Kelly Rissman reports.

Trump says Melania will join him on the campaign trail ‘pretty soon’

Trump marks Ken Paxton impeachment acquittal — with a meme

01:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Former president Donald Trump has congratulated Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on surviving his impeachment.

Mr Trump wrote on Truth Social: “I want to thank the great Lt. Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, who served as Judge in the Ken Paxton Trial, and the Republican State Senators, for showing great Professionalism and Fairness.”

“Attorney General Paxton was fully acquitted on all 16 Impeachment Articles brought by the Texas Republican House. It is time that Speaker Dade Phelan resign after pushing this Disgraceful Sham!” he added.

“Congratulations to Attorney General Ken Paxton on a great and historic Texas sized VICTORY. I also want to congratulate his wonderful wife and family for having had to go through this ordeal, and WINNING!”

The former president also reposted a meme from a follower...

Trump celebrates Ken Paxton impeachment acquittal — with a meme

Senate’s bipartisan approach to government funding puts pressure on a divided House

Sunday 17 September 2023 00:00 , AP

On one side of the Capitol, two senators have steered the debate over government funding mostly clear of partisan fights, creating a path for bills to pass with bipartisan momentum.

Steps away, on the House side of the building, things couldn’t be more different.

House Republicans, trying to win support from the far-right wing of the party, have loaded up their government funding packages with spending cuts and conservative policy priorities. Democrats have responded with ire, branding their GOP counterparts as extreme and bigoted, and are withdrawing support for the legislation.

The contrary approaches are not unusual for such fights in Congress. But the differences are especially stark this time, creating a gulf between the chambers that could prove difficult to bridge. The dynamic threatens to plunge the United States into yet another damaging government shutdown, potentially as soon as the end of September when last year’s funding expires.

Continued...

Texas AG Ken Paxton escapes impeachment over corruption charges

Saturday 16 September 2023 23:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been acquitted on 16 impeachment articles brought before the state Senate.

A jury of 30 state senators, comprised of 19 Republicans and 12 Democrats, voted to acquit Mr Paxton on the articles accusing him of on abuse of power, bribery and other charges on Saturday morning.

Mr Paxton, who was elected to attorney general in 2015, will now go back to his office after none of the articles received the necessary two-thirds majority vote for conviction.

The Texas House impeached Mr Paxton in May on 20 articles - four of which were not voted on by the Senate on Saturday but were then dismissed in a follow-up vote.

Full story...

Heavily-armed, Trump-supporting imposter arrested at RFK Jr campaign event

Saturday 16 September 2023 22:30 , Kelly Rissman

Robert F Kennedy Jr grumbled that the White House hasn’t granted him Secret Service protection after a heavily-armed man was arrested while posing as a member of his security detail.

Mr Kennedy recalled the incident on X, writing on Saturday: “I’m very grateful that alert and fast-acting protectors from Gavin de Becker and Associates (GDBA) spotted and detained an armed man who attempted to approach me at my Hispanic Heritage speech at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles tonight.”

He claimed the man was wearing “two shoulder holsters with loaded pistols and spare ammunition magazines” and was carrying a US Marshal badge on a lanyard and belt clip federal ID.

“He identified himself as a member of my security detail,” Mr Kennedy wrote, adding that his team isolated and detained the man until the Los Angeles Police Department arrived.

Read more...

Heavily-armed, Trump-supporting imposter arrested at RFK Jr campaign event

Trump rivals hope to gain ground as he skips Iowa gathering of evangelical Christians

Saturday 16 September 2023 22:00 , AP

Some of Donald Trump ‘s top rivals for the Republican presidential nomination will address a gathering of influential Iowa evangelical Christians on Saturday night, hoping to woo them away from the former president at an event he is skipping.

Former Vice President Mike Pence planned to attend the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual banquet and town hall in Des Moines along with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. Also on the schedule of speakers were Nikki Haley, a former South Carolina governor who served as Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, as well as Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and former Texas Rep. Will Hurd.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican who has not endorsed a candidate, was expected.

Continued...

Trump congratulates Texas AG Paxton on surviving ‘disgraceful sham' impeachment

Saturday 16 September 2023 21:35 , Oliver O'Connell

Former president Donald Trump has congratulated Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on surviving his impeachment.

Mr Trump wrote on Truth Social: “I want to thank the great Lt. Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, who served as Judge in the Ken Paxton Trial, and the Republican State Senators, for showing great Professionalism and Fairness.”

“Attorney General Paxton was fully acquitted on all 16 Impeachment Articles brought by the Texas Republican House. It is time that Speaker Dade Phelan resign after pushing this Disgraceful Sham!” he added.

“Congratulations to Attorney General Ken Paxton on a great and historic Texas sized VICTORY. I also want to congratulate his wonderful wife and family for having had to go through this ordeal, and WINNING!”

The former president also reposted a meme from a follower on Truth Social depicting the moment then-President George Bush was informed in a whisper by White House chief of staff Andrew Card of the attack on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11 2001.

The text reads: “They just acquitted Ken Paxton.”

NY AG plans to call Trump and his three eldest children as witnesses in fraud case

Saturday 16 September 2023 21:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Donald Trump and his three oldest children are set to be called as witnesses in the New York state trial into allegations of business fraud brought by state Attorney General Letitia James.

Ms James is set to call the former president and the children he appointed to be executives in the Trump Organization. Others included on the witness list are several of Mr Trump’s bankers, The Daily Beast reported.

Ms James is looking to take down Mr Trump’s corporation and to take control of profits she argues have been gained through years of “persistent and repeated business fraud”.

If the New York attorney general manages to get Mr Trump and his children onto the stand, it will be the first time they are forced to testify.

Read more...

Prosecutors to call Trump and his three eldest children as witnesses in fraud case

Trump serves up chaotic ‘word salad’ of a speech

Saturday 16 September 2023 20:57 , Oliver O'Connell

In his latest gaffe-laden speech, Donald Trump appeared to suggest former President Barack Obama was running in 2024 as he warned that “cognitively impaired” President Joe Biden could lead the country into “World War Two” if he wins re-election.

During his remarks at the Washington DC Pray Vote Stand Summit on Friday, the former president said: “We have a man who is totally corrupt and the worst president in the history of our country, who is cognitively impaired, in no condition to lead, and is now in charge of dealing with Russia and possible nuclear war.”

“Just think of it. We would be in World War Two very quickly if we’re going to be relying on this man, and far more devastating than any war,” he continued as dramatic music swelled in the background.

“There will never be a war if that happens— there will never be a war like this. It will obliterate everything there is, everybody, it will obliterate every country.”

In the past, Mr Trump has frequently said that Mr Biden would lead the country into the Third World War and the gaffe may have gone unnoticed had he not continued to stumble over his words confusing his political opponents with each other.

Continued...

Louisiana island town to let driver fly vulgar anti-Biden flag

Saturday 16 September 2023 20:00 , AP

A resort island town on the Louisiana coast will repeal an anti-obscenity ordinance and let a contractor fly a flag from his truck that carries an obscenity aimed at President Joe Biden, under the terms of a lawsuit settlement filed Friday in federal court.

The settlement came in a lawsuit the Tulane First Amendment Law Clinic filed in January against the town of Grand Isle on behalf of Ross Brunet of Cut Off, Louisiana, who works on the island regularly. The suit said he repeatedly flew three flags from his truck. One promoted breast cancer awareness. Two bore vulgarities aimed at Biden and people who voted for him.

Brunet was ticketed seven times, according to the lawsuit. He successfully defended himself against four tickets. Despite winning those cases, he was later ticketed three more times. The last three cases were dropped after the town adopted an ordinance stating that signs on vehicles “shall not contain language deemed offensive and vulgar nor obscene in nature and cannot contain language that describes a sex act.”

Continued...

Watch: Lincoln Project releases supercut of ‘Trump’s mental decline'

Saturday 16 September 2023 19:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Twitter handed over 32 direct messages from Trump’s account to Jack Smith probe

Saturday 16 September 2023 19:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Twitter handed over 32 direct messages from Donald Trump’s account with the social media platform to special counsel Jack Smith as part of his election subversion probe, according to a new court filing.

The former president was a voracious user of his @realDonaldTrump as he tried to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory, but was suspended by the platform in the wake of the January 6 attack “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”

But that has not stopped federal prosecutors from getting access to a string of Mr Trump’s private messages from the high-profile account.

Graeme Massie reports.

Twitter gives special counsel Jack Smith 32 of Trump’s private messages

Trump confuses election opponents during ‘word salad’ DC remarks

Saturday 16 September 2023 18:13 , Oliver O'Connell

In a gaffe-laden speech on Friday evening, Donald Trump warned that “cognitively impaired” President Joe Biden could lead the country into “World War 2” if he wins re-election next year.

During his remarks at the Washington, DC Pray Vote Stand Summit, the former president said: “We have a man who is totally corrupt and the worst president in the history of our country, who is cognitively impaired, in no condition to lead, and is now in charge of dealing with Russia and possible nuclear war.”

He continued as dramatic music swelled in the background: “Just think of it. We would be in World War Two very quickly if we’re going to be relying on this man, and far more devastating than any war. There will never be a war if that happens— there will never be a war like this. It will obliterate everything there is, everybody, it will obliterate every country.”

In the past, Mr Trump has frequently said that Mr Biden would lead the country into the Third World War and the gaffe may have gone unnoticed had he then not continued to stumble over his words confusing his political opponents with each other.

The former president said he was beating former President Barack Obama in the 2024 election polls and then appeared to suggest he had beaten him in 2016 before correcting himself that his opponent then was Hillary Clinton.

Watch below:

Trump’s ‘malignant, narcissistic tendency’ is why Jenna Ellis can no longer support him

Saturday 16 September 2023 18:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Former Trump attorney Jenna Ellis says she can’t support her ex-boss in the 2024 presidential elections due to his “malignant, narcissistic tendency” to never admit that he’s wrong.

Ms Ellis, who is one of 18 co-defendants charged alongside Donald Trump for trying to overturn the 2020 Georgia election results, called for conservative voters to desert the GOP frontrunner on her radio show Jenna Ellis in the Morning on Thursday.

“I know him well as a friend and a former boss, I have great love and respect for him personally,” she said during a conversation with conservative commentator Steve Deace, first reported by Media Matters.

“I simply can’t support him for elected office again. Why I have chosen to distance is because of that frankly malignant, narcissistic tendency to simply say that he’s never done anything wrong.”

Read more from Bevan Hurley.

Ex-Trump attorney won’t support him in 2024 due to ‘malignant, narcissistic tendency’

Trump says Melania will join him on the campaign trail

Saturday 16 September 2023 17:30 , Kelly Rissman

As former President Donald Trump is basking in the attention from the media, supporters, his legal team and courtrooms across the country, there’s one person who seems to have not been giving him attention recently: his wife, Melania Trump.

The question of “Where’s Melania?” has become so pervasive that a banner asking exactly that flew across Iowa last week while Mr Trump was watching a football game. Mocked-up “missing” posters of the former first lady were also posted.

Trump says Melania will join him on the campaign trail ‘pretty soon’

Watch: Biden has a new nickname for Trump

Saturday 16 September 2023 17:09 , Oliver O'Connell

Trump jokes about mugshot while promoting voter ID

Saturday 16 September 2023 17:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Former president Donald Trump joked on Friday about having his mugshot taken in Fulton County, Georgia when he spoke about the need for voter identification in elections.

The former president spoke at the Concerned Women for America’s National Summit in Washington, DC. During that time, he repeated his lies that he won the 2020 presidential election and called for the passage of a voter ID law.

“You have ID to buy a loaf of bread,” he said. “You have ID to buy a loaf of bread. You have everything.”

[^ this is not true]

Eric Garcia reports from Washington, DC on the former president’s remarks.

Trump jokes about his mugshot as he promotes voter ID in speech

Trump marks Ken Paxton impeachment acquittal — with a meme

Saturday 16 September 2023 21:54 , Oliver O'Connell

Former president Donald Trump has congratulated Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on surviving his impeachment.

Mr Trump wrote on Truth Social: “I want to thank the great Lt. Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, who served as Judge in the Ken Paxton Trial, and the Republican State Senators, for showing great Professionalism and Fairness.”

“Attorney General Paxton was fully acquitted on all 16 Impeachment Articles brought by the Texas Republican House. It is time that Speaker Dade Phelan resign after pushing this Disgraceful Sham!” he added.

“Congratulations to Attorney General Ken Paxton on a great and historic Texas sized VICTORY. I also want to congratulate his wonderful wife and family for having had to go through this ordeal, and WINNING!”

The former president also reposted a meme from a follower...

Trump celebrates Ken Paxton impeachment acquittal — with a meme

VIDEO: Trump says it’s ‘very unlikely’ he would pardon himself if convicted and then elected

Saturday 16 September 2023 13:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Wisconsin impeachment review panel includes former GOP speaker, conservative justice

Friday 15 September 2023 23:30 , Scott Bauer, AP

One of the former Wisconsin Supreme Court justices tapped to investigate impeaching newly elected Justice Janet Protasiewicz for taking Democratic Party money accepted donations from the state Republican Party when he was on the court.

The former justice, Republican David Prosser, gave $500 to the conservative candidate who lost to Protasiewicz, did not recuse from cases involving a law he helped pass as a lawmaker and was investigated after a physical altercation with a liberal justice.

Prosser is one of three former justices tapped by the Republican Assembly speaker to investigate the criteria for taking the unprecedented step of impeaching a current justice. Speaker Robin Vos has floated impeachment because Protasiewicz accepted nearly $10 million from the Wisconsin Democratic Party and said during the campaign that heavily gerrymandered GOP-drawn legislative electoral maps were “unfair” and “rigged.”

The impeachment threat comes after Protasiewicz’s win this spring handed liberals a majority on the court for the first time in 15 years, which bolstered Democratic hopes it would throw out the Republican maps, legalize abortion and chip away at Republican laws enacted over the past decade-plus.

Read more:

Wisconsin impeachment review panel includes former GOP speaker, conservative justice

VIDEO: Trump's Georgia trial won't start in October

Friday 15 September 2023 22:45 , Gustaf Kilander

Prosecutors ask judge to restrict Trump’s ‘inflammatory’ attacks surrounding election subversion case

Friday 15 September 2023 22:24 , Alex Woodward

Federal prosecutors are asking the judge overseeing a case targeting Donald Trump’s alleged efforts to subvert the outcome of the 2020 presidential election to help stop his wave of “inflammatory” attacks.

Following a grand jury’s indictment in the case, the former president has “repeatedly and widely disseminated public statements” attacking Washington DC residents as well as members of the court, prosecutors and prospective witnesses, according to a filing in US District Court on 15 September.

His statement threatens “to undermine the integrity of these proceedings and prejudice the jury pool,” prosecutors warned.

Prosecutors with US Department of Justice special counsel Jack Smith have asked US District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan to take “immediate” steps to ensure a fair trial and an impartial jury, including drafting a “narrowly tailored order” that restricts “certain prejudicial extrajudicial statements” from Mr Trump.

Read more:

Prosecutors ask judge to restrict Trump’s ‘inflammatory’ attacks in Jan 6 case

Indicted ex-Trump attorney says she won’t support him in 2024 because of ‘malignant, narcissistic tendency’

Friday 15 September 2023 22:20 , Bevan Hurley

Former Trump attorney Jenna Ellis says she can’t support her ex-boss in the 2024 presidential elections due to his “malignant, narcissistic tendency” to never admit that he’s wrong.

Ms Ellis, who is one of 18 co-defendants charged alongside Donald Trump for trying to overturn the 2020 Georgia election results, called for conservative voters to desert the GOP frontrunner on her radio show Jenna Ellis in the Morning on Thursday.

“I know him well as a friend and a former boss, I have great love and respect for him personally,” she said during a conversation with conservative commentator Steve Deace, first reported by Media Matters.

“I simply can’t support him for elected office again. Why I have chosen to distance is because of that frankly malignant, narcissistic tendency to simply say that he’s never done anything wrong.”

Ms Ellis has previously signalled she would support Ron DeSantis in 2024, and said Mr Trump’s grip on Republican voters was concerning.

Read more:

Ex-Trump attorney won’t support him in 2024 due to ‘malignant, narcissistic tendency’

Joe Biden says record auto profits should mean ‘record benefits’ as UAW launches historic Big 3 strike

Friday 15 September 2023 22:00 , Alex Woodward

Hours after the start of an historic strike among workers at the “Big Three” US automakers, President Joe Biden has urged company leadership to continue negotiating with union leaders, stressing that workers deserve a “fair share” of record profits.

In brief remarks from the White House on 15 September, Mr Biden – who has previously pledged himself as the most “pro-union” president in American history – said that American auto companies have seen those record profits “because of the extraordinary skill and sacrifices” of United Auto Workers union members.

“Those record profits have not been shared fairly, in my view, with those workers,” he said. “Auto workers … deserve a contract that sustains them and the middle class.”

Mr Biden also announced his administration will deploy two top aides to Detroit as both parties continue negotiations.

Read more:

Biden says striking auto workers deserve ‘fair share’ of record profits

Who is Jack Smith: The special prosecutor who could take down Trump

Friday 15 September 2023 21:30 , Andrew Feinberg

Jack Smith, the experienced war crimes prosecutor who unveiled two unprecedented federal indictments against former US president Donald Trump, is no stranger to high-profile probes of public figures.

The US Department of Justice veteran oversaw anti-corruption prosecutions against multiple US politicians in his role as the head of the Department of Justice public integrity section from 2010 to 2015.

One of those cases was against former Virginia governor Robert McDonnell, a Republican against whom he secured a conviction on bribery charges, though the case was later thrown out by the US Supreme Court.

He also won a conviction of former GOP Representative Rick Renzi of Arizona, who received a sentence of three years in prison before being pardoned by Mr Trump.

A Harvard Law School graduate, Mr Smith also served in prosecutorial roles in US Attorney offices in the Middle District of Tennessee and the Eastern District of New York.

Read more:

Who is Jack Smith? The special prosecutor who could take down Trump

Video contradicts Lauren Boebert’s story after she was kicked out of ‘Beetlejuice’ performance

Friday 15 September 2023 21:00 , Martha McHardy

Surveillance footage captured during a Beetlejuice show in Denver appears to contradict Lauren Boebert‘s version of events and shows her vaping during the performance.

A spokesperson for the congresswoman previously denied she had vaped in the theatre, from which she was ejected on Sunday night after “causing a disturbance,” reported The Denver Post.

Ms Boebert’s team previously claimed heavy fog machines and electronic cigarettes were used during the play, which lead to a “misunderstanding” that the controversial politician was using an electronic cigarette.

But new footage, obtained by NBC, shows Ms Boebert sitting in the theater and raising her hand to her face before a puff of smoke comes out of her mouth.

Read more:

Video contradicts Lauren Boebert’s story after being ejected from ‘Beetlejuice’ show

VIDEO: Biden says record auto profits should mean 'record benefits' for striking workers

Friday 15 September 2023 20:30 , The Independent

Senators press Pentagon on whether Musk used Starlink programme to thwart Ukrainian attack

Friday 15 September 2023 20:00 , Ariana Baio

Three senators who serve on the Committee on Armed Forces have reportedly sent a letter to the Department of Defence (DoD) expressing concern over allegations that Elon Musk controlled Ukrainian soldiers’ ability to access satellite communications via Starlink.

Democratic senators Jeanne Shaheen, Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Duckworth have asked Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to provide clarification over an incident from last year in a letter sent on Friday according to NBC News.

The incident, laid out in Walter Isaacson’s biography of Mr Musk, claims that the billionaire tech entrepreneur stopped the Ukrainian armed forces from accessing satellite communications via Starlink near the Crimean Peninsula thus thwarting a potential assault on Russian ships.

Mr Musk clarified on X that he did not discontinue Starlink connectivity but refused a request by Ukraine to provide it there out of fear of escalating war.

The three senators said the “confusion over what actually happened” demands answers and expressed great concern about Mr Musk’s role in the incident.

Read more:

Senators press Pentagon on whether Musk used Starlink to thwart Ukrainian attack

Marjorie Taylor Greene admits aim of Biden impeachment is to ensure Democrats ‘lose big’ at next election

Friday 15 September 2023 19:30 , Bevan Hurley

Marjorie Taylor Greene has admitted the the Joe Biden impeachment inquiry is a nakedly political scheme to ensure Democrats “lose big” at the next presidential election.

The Georgia firebrand, who first filed articles of impeachment against the president the day after his inauguration, boasted that Republicans were planning to draw out the inquiry to smear their opponents.

“We are going to drag Biden and everyone who covered up his crimes through the headlines day after day, month after month, and prove to the country the entire Democrat party is corrupt and can’t be trusted,” Ms Greene declared in a social media post on Thursday night.

Read more:

Marjorie Taylor Greene admits Biden impeachment is to ensure Democrats ‘lose big’

VIDEO: Trump Suggests Biden Impeachment Inquiry Is Retaliation for Being Impeached Twice

Friday 15 September 2023 19:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Twitter gives special counsel Jack Smith 32 of Trump’s private messages

Friday 15 September 2023 18:33 , Graeme Massie

Twitter handed over 32 direct messages from Donald Trump’s account with the social media platform to special counsel Jack Smith as part of his election subversion probe, according to a new court filing.

The former president was a voracious user of his @realDonaldTrump as he tried to overturn Joe Biden’s 20202 election victory until he was suspended by the platform in the wake of the January 6 attack on Congress.

But that has not stopped federal prosecutors from getting access to a string of Mr Trump’s private messages from the high-profile account.

Read more:

Twitter gives special counsel Jack Smith 32 of Trump’s private messages

Jury clears three men of plot to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer

Friday 15 September 2023 18:30 , Bevan Hurley

A jury has found three men not guilty of a 2020 plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Twin brothers William and Michael Null, and a third man Eric Molitor were found not guilty of providing support for a terrorist act and a weapons charge on Friday, according to the Associated Press.

They were the last of 14 men charged over the militia kidnapping plot on the eve of the 2020 presidential election. Nine others have been convicted.

Prosecutors had alleged that the Null brothers and Mr Molitor had participated in the scheme by taking part in military drills and travelling to governor’s lakeside vacation home in Elk Rapids, in northern Michigan.

Read more:

Jury clears three men of plot to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer

Former Trump DoJ official argues ex-president had ‘unqualified and illimitable’ to change his role after 2020 election

Friday 15 September 2023 18:00 , Gustaf Kilander

A former Trump Department of Justice official argued in a court filing on Friday that former President Donald Trump had the “unqualified and illimitable” right to change his role as part of the effort to overturn the 2020 election.

Jeffrey Clark was leading the civil division at DoJ following the 2020 election and he would usually take care of environmental matters, The Messenger notes.

Mr Clark was charged in the Georgia election interference case alongside Mr Trump and 17 others.

The former Trump official is trying to have his case moved to federal court arguing that the executive power of the president is broad and that his efforts after the 2020 election became part of his work as a federal official as soon as Mr Trump said so.

In an 18-page brief, Mr Clark’s lawyer Harry MacDougald wrote that “Under the U.S. Constitution, the President of the United States, not the Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer under the Take Care Clause because he alone is head of the entire Executive Branch”.

“The Constitution vests all Federal law enforcement power and prosecutorial discretion in the President,” he added. “The President’s discretion in these areas has long been considered ‘absolute,’ and his decisions exercising this discretion are presumed regular and are generally deemed non-reviewable.”

Calendar of chaos: How Trump’s trial dates and the Republican primaries will intertwine

Friday 15 September 2023 17:30 , Ariana Baio

In a typical presidential election year, candidates will spend the 11 months leading up to Election Day shaking hands and kissing babies at rallies as the primaries unfold.

But nothing is typical when it comes to Donald Trump.

Instead, the ex-president will be forced to juggle his campaign for the White House while also defending himself in federal and state courts in four different trials that are currently set to occur between January and May.

Kicking off with E Jean Carroll’s damages trial on the same day as the Iowa Caucus to his federal classified documents trial one month before the GOP convention, Mr Trump’s jam-packed schedule seemingly leaves little time for him to socialise outside of a courtroom.

How Mr Trump will manage his campaign while convincing voters he’s innocent of it all – including alleged efforts to overturn previous elections in his favour – remains to be seen.

Read more:

How Trump’s trial dates and the Republican primaries will intertwine

Can Donald Trump pardon himself?

Friday 15 September 2023 17:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Donald Trump has already been indicted four times this year, twice at the federal level and twice at state level.

In April, he was arraigned in New York and pleaded not guilty to state charges after receiving an indictment from Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg accusing him of manipulating his business records to conceal hush money payments allegedly made to porn actress Stormy Daniels in 2016 to stop her discussing an extramarital affair they are said to have had in 2006 in time to derail his presidential run.

Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith then handed him a federal indictment in May over his alleged mishandling of classified government documents following the conclusion of his one-term presidency and then another in August over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election result, accusing him of conspiracy to defraud the United States, tampering with a witness and conspiracy against the rights of citizens.

In both cases, Mr Trump again pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Read more:

Can Donald Trump pardon himself?

VIDEO: Trump says it’s ‘very unlikely’ he would pardon himself if convicted and then elected

Friday 15 September 2023 16:30 , Gustaf Kilander

Trump says it’s ‘very unlikely’ he would pardon himself if he is convicted and then elected

Friday 15 September 2023 16:00 , Martha McHardy

Former president Donald Trump has said it is “very unlikely” he will pardon himself if he is convicted and ultimately elected in 2024.

In an interview with NBC News, Mr Trump, who has been indicted four times, claimed he “didn’t do anything wrong”.

“I think it’s very unlikely. What, what did I do wrong? I didn’t do anything wrong,” he said. “You mean because I challenge an election, they want to put me in jail?”

In the rare network TV interview, Mr Trump also admitted he considered pardoning himself towards the end of his first term in 2021.

“People said, ‘Would you like to pardon yourself?’ I had a couple of attorneys that said, ‘You can do it if you want,’” Mr Trump said. “I had some people that said, ‘It would look bad if you do it, because I think it would look terrible.’”

Read more:

Trump says it’s ‘very unlikely’ he will pardon himself if he is convicted and elected

Special counsel says there’s ‘no valid basis’ for DC judge in Trump’s Jan 6 case to recuse herself

Friday 15 September 2023 15:30 , Gustaf Kilander

The office of Special Counsel Jack Smith has argued in a motion that there’s “no valid basis” for Judge Tanya Chutkan to recuse herself after Donald Trump’s legal team claimed that she should leave the case because of statements she made when sentencing January 6 rioters.

“There is no valid basis, under the relevant law and facts, for the Honorable Tanya S. Chutkan, United States District Judge for the District of Columbia, to disqualify herself in this proceeding,” the special counsel’s office wrote in a 20-page filing on Thursday. “In service of his motion (ECF No. 50) seeking the Court’s recusal, the defendant both takes out of context the Court’s words from prior judicial proceedings and misstates the proper legal standards governing judicial recusals.”

The special counsel added that Mr Trump “has failed to identify anything approaching the clear and convincing evidence necessary to overcome the presumption of impartiality”.

The office argued that Mr Trump was using “suggestion and innuendo to insinuate something sinister in the Court simply doing its job by addressing sentencing arguments”.

The former president’s legal team argued that Judge Chutkan should leave the case because of statements she had made when sentencing defendants for taking part in the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021.

Read more:

Special counsel: ‘No valid basis’ for judge in Trump’s Jan 6 case to recuse herself

Donald Trump isn’t backing a national abortion ban. That's not hurting him in the GOP primary

Friday 15 September 2023 15:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Donald Trump is dominating the early stages of the Republican presidential primary even as he’s refused to endorse a federal ban on abortion, allowing some top rivals to get to the right of him on an issue that animates many conservative activists.

Aiming to return to the White House, the former president often notes how his presidency advanced the cause of abortion opponents. He appointed three conservative Supreme Court justices who helped overturn Roe v Wade, abolishing the federally guaranteed right to the procedure and fulfilling the decades-long aspirations of anti-abortion activists.

But Trump has so far declined to go along with some of his rivals, most notably his onetime vice president, Mike Pence, who is pushing for national bans that would take effect relatively early into a pregnancy.

He’s also warned Republicans against locking themselves into positions that are unpopular with a majority of the public, and has argued that the Supreme Court’s decision gives abortion opponents the right to “negotiate” restrictions where they live rather than rely on federal curbs.

Donald Trump isn't backing a national abortion ban. That's not hurting him in the GOP primary

Friday 15 September 2023 14:30 , Joe Sommerlad

Donald Trump insisted that there’s no “ritual” to declassifying secret information as he argued that he was allowed to have the boxes of files found at Mar-a-Lago that led to one of the indictments against the former president.

Mr Trump was speaking to Megyn Kelly on SiriusXM when he returned to one of his familiar talking points, calling Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith “deranged”.

“We have a deranged guy named Jack Smith who has been overturned at the Supreme Court a number of times, and he gets overturned... because he goes too far,” Mr Trump told Ms Kelly.

“They don’t even mention the Presidential Records Act. This is all about the Presidential Records Act.

“I’m allowed to have these documents, I’m allowed to take these documents – classified or not classified. And frankly, when I have them, they become unclassified. People think you have to go through a ritual – you don’t, at least in my opinion, you don’t.”

Gustaf Kilander has more.

Trump says there is no ‘ritual’ to declassifying US secrets ‘at least in my opinion’

DeSantis says Trump’s chance of being elected if convicted ‘is as close to zero as you can get’

Friday 15 September 2023 14:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis said Donald Trump is unlikely to be elected president again if convicted in any of the four criminal cases he faces.

Mr DeSantis made the comments in an interview with CBS News that aired on Wednesday night. The Florida governor has sharpened his critiques of Mr Trump, seeking to paint him as unelectable as he strains to catch up to the former president in the GOP presidential race.

“I didn’t think even before all this that the president, the former president, should have run again,” Mr DeSantis said in the interview. “There’s too many voters, who, he’s a dealbreaker for them.”

Mr DeSantis, who is in a distant second in the race, has gradually hardened his criticisms of the former president as he runs against him. He joined almost all of the GOP candidates on the debate stage last month in saying they would support Mr Trump, the frontrunner, as the party’s nominee, if he’s convicted.

DeSantis says Trump’s chance of being elected if convicted ‘is close to zero’

Justice Department says there’s no valid basis for the judge to step aside from Trump’s DC case

Friday 15 September 2023 13:30 , Joe Sommerlad

The Justice Department is challenging efforts by former President Donald Trump to disqualify the Washington judge presiding over the case charging him with plotting to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Prosecutors with special counsel Jack Smith’s team wrote in a court filing late Thursday that there was “no valid basis” for US district judge Tanya Chutkan to recuse herself.

Trump’s lawyers filed a long-shot motion earlier this week urging Judge Chutkan to step aside, citing comments she made in separate sentencing hearings related to the Capitol riot of 6 January 2021 that they say taint the Trump proceedings and call into question whether she has already prejudged the Republican former president’s guilt.

But the Justice Department said the Trump team had taken Chutkan’s comments out of context and failed to show that she harboured any bias against the former president, who lost the 2020 election to Democrat Joe Biden and falsely claimed the election was stolen from him.

The Justice Department says there's no valid basis for the judge to step aside from Trump's DC case

When is the next Republican presidential primary debate?

Friday 15 September 2023 13:00 , Joe Sommerlad

The second Republican presidential primary debate is set to take place in Simi Valley, California, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute on 27 September.

After the rumble in Milwaukee on 23 August, the Republican Party is set to face off on the debate stage once more, under the direction of moderators Stuart Varney and Dana Perino of Fox News and Univision’s Ilia Calderon.

There were plenty of fireworks going off on centre stage last time out, as eight GOP candidates exchanged harsh words as they battled it out for the nomination for president.

The likes of Vivek Ramaswamy, Mike Pence, Chris Christie and Nikki Haley drew attention to themselves, with Ron DeSantis, Tim Scott, Asa Hutchinson and Doug Burgum delivering rather more cautious performances.

Here’s everything you need to know about the second debate, including where to watch and how qualifications have changed.

Faiza Saqib has more.

When is Second Republican presidential primary debate?

The Republicans most at risk in next year's election are falling in line behind impeachment inquiry

Friday 15 September 2023 12:30 , Joe Sommerlad

The Republicans whose elections in swing districts next year will determine which party gains control of the House are overwhelmingly voicing their support for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.

It’s a stance, Democrats say, that could come back to haunt them.

The Republicans most at risk in next year's election are falling in line behind impeachment inquiry

Nancy Pelosi says Biden’s age is an ‘advantage’ as Mitt Romney calls for elder leaders to ‘step aside’

Friday 15 September 2023 12:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi said she does not consider Joe Biden‘s age a “disadvantage” when she was asked about concerns raised by Mitt Romney and political commentators that the age of US leadership is growing increasingly older.

Ms Pelosi appeared on MSNBC, where host Mika Brzezinski asked her to have a “serious conversation” about the age of America’s leaders in the wake of Senator Mitt Romney’s announcement that he would not seek re-election.

He urged both party front-runners to step aside and make room for the “next generation.”

“I think it would be a great thing if President Biden and former President Trump were to stand aside and let their respective parties pick someone in the next generation,” he said.

“President Biden, when he was running, said he was a transitional figure to the next generation. Well, time to transition.”

Ms Brzezinski specifically pointed to Joe Biden, who is already America’s oldest president, and who will be 81 years old — nearly 82 — by the 2024 presidential election.

Graig Graziosi has more.

Nancy Pelosi says Biden’s age is an ‘advantage’

Trump declares he is ‘very unlikely’ to pardon himself should he regain White House

Friday 15 September 2023 11:30 , Joe Sommerlad

Donald Trump has told NBC’s Meet the Press in a new interview that he is “very unlikely” to pardon himself should he regain the White House next year, saying doing so “would look terrible” and that he had declined the chance to absolve himself at the close of his first term.

“I could have pardoned myself when I left,” the Republican front-runner told Kristen Welker.

“People said, ‘Would you like to pardon yourself?’ I had a couple of attorneys that said, ‘You can do it if you want’.

“I had some people that said, ‘It would look bad if you do it’, because I think it would look terrible.

Of the prospect taking place in future, he said: “I think it’s very unlikely. What did I do wrong? I didn’t do anything wrong. You mean because I challenge an election, they want to put me in jail?”

Not surprisingly, media pundits were not entirely convinced by the claim last night.

A finding that Trump raped E Jean Carroll

Friday 15 September 2023 11:00 , Josh Marcus

The hush money payments case wasn’t the only New York-centric legal battle Mr Trump faced this year.

On 9 May, a New York jury found him liable for the sexual abuse of E Jean Carroll.

In 2019, the longtime Elle magazine columnist accused Mr Trump of raping her in the dressing room of the Bergdorf Goodman department store in New York City in 1996, which the then-president denied.

The writer sued Mr Trump for defamation that year, and the Justice Department temporarily defended him, claiming his comments were part of his duties as president, though the DoJ ceased this defence in 2023. Ms Carroll later added a sexual battery charge against Mr Trump under a new New York law allowing survivors of sexual abuse to sue their abusers despite the statute of limitations.

The May verdict, which awarded Ms Carroll $5m, wasn’t the end of the matter, however. Though the jury found that Mr Trump was liable for sexually abusing Ms Carroll, it hadn’t technically found he had raped her.

In June, Mr Trump sued Ms Carroll for saying the New York businessman had in fact raped her. In an order made public on 7 August, federal judge Lewis Kaplan dismissed the former president’s counterclaim, finding that the original verdict “establishes against him the substantial truth of Ms Carroll’s ‘rape’ accusations.”

The former president is appealing the $5m verdict, while Ms Carroll is suing Mr Trump in a separate defamation action, after he criticised the original decision, denied ever meeting Carroll, and accused her once again of fabricating her rape allegation.

Ron DeSantis warns Florida residents under 65 not to get Covid booster shot – against CDC guidance

Friday 15 September 2023 10:00 , Maggie O'Neill

The administration of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is not recommending Covid boosters for people under the age of 65.

The recommendation goes against guidance from federal health authorities. Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are recommending updated shots for everyone six months and older.

In a statement from DeSantis’s office released 13 September, the governor said, “I will not stand by and let the FDA and CDC use healthy Floridians as guinea pigs for new booster shots that have not been proven to be safe and effective…Florida is the first state in the nation to stand up and provide guidance based on truth, not Washington edicts.”

State Surgeon General Dr Joseph Ladapo, appointed by the governor, echoed DaSantis’s opinions in the statement.

Read more:

DeSantis warns Floridians under 65 not to get Covid booster – against CDC guidance

Hunter Biden indicted on federal gun charges following special counsel probe

Friday 15 September 2023 09:00 , Alex Woodward

Federal prosecutors have indicted President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, on three charges stemming from allegedly false statements he made when buying a firearm.

The indictment – the first ever against a sitting president’s son – came after a plea agreement on tax and gun charges collapsed in July under scrutiny from a federal judge.

Charges announced on Thursday follow a multi-year investigation by David Weiss, who was appointed as US attorney for Delaware by Donald Trump in 2018 and has remained under the current administration in an effort to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Mr Weiss was appointed as special counsel in August.

Read more:

Hunter Biden indicted on federal gun charges following special counsel probe

Meet the Bidens: Who’s who in the first family

Friday 15 September 2023 08:00 , Joe Sommerlad, Abe Asher

Democrat Joe Biden won the presidency after a bitterly fought campaign in 2020 marred by the Capitol riot that followed its conclusion and is now officially gunning for a second term.

Mr Biden, 80, is no stranger to public office. He was first elected to the US Senate in 1972 and has been in Washington almost ever since, leaving public office only for a brief period between the expiration of Barack Obama’s second term as president and the beginning of his own first term.

Mr Biden’s 2020 campaign focused heavily on his character, drawing on his working-class Irish Catholic roots in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and the tragedies he has suffered. Shortly after being elected at the age of 30, Mr Biden lost his first wife Neilia Hunter and their one-year-old daughter Naomi in a car accident.

Mr Biden’s young sons Beau and Hunter were both in the car that day but escaped with minor injuries. Beau Biden, an Iraq war veteran, passed away from a brain tumour in 2015, aged just 46.

Mr Biden is known for his empathy for ordinary people in times of trial and is thought of as a family man throughout Washington. After Mr Biden announced his bid for reelection on 25 April, here is a look at a selection of the family members closest to him.

Read more:

Meet the Bidens: Who’s who in the first family

A New York ‘catch and kill’ scheme involving hush money, porn stars, and tabloids

Friday 15 September 2023 07:00 , Josh Marcus

Mr Trump is also under scrutiny from local officials in New York.

On 30 March, a Manhattan grand jury voted to indict the former president for allegedly falsifying business records relating to hush money payments he made to porn actress Stormy Daniels to prevent her from revealing an alleged affair during the 2016 election.

Mr Trump faces 34 first-degree felony charges for allegedly working through his former attorney Michael Cohen and former National Enquirer David Pecker to “catch and kill” embarrassing stories, passing out hundreds of thousands of dollars to silence allegations of affairs and a child born out of wedlock, then allegedly falsifying records to conceal the payments.

“We cannot allow New York businesses to manipulate their records to cover up criminal conduct,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is leading the prosecution, said in a statement.

Mr Trump has pleaded not guilty to the indictment. The trial will begin 25 March 2024.

A classified documents case in Florida

Friday 15 September 2023 06:00 , Josh Marcus

The charges in Washington followed another special counsel prosecution against Mr Trump in Florida.

On 8 June, a federal grand jury indicted Mr Trump on 37 charges for allegedly retaining classified national defence information after leaving the White House, then conspiring to obstruct justice and making false statements when federal officials sought to take back the official documents.

Nearly two months later, on 28 July, federal prosecutors added three additional charges in the case, accusing Mr Trump and employees of his Mar-a-Lago estate of attempting to delete security footage pertaining to the documents so it couldn’t be used in a future investigation as evidence.

The indictments allege Mr Trump recklessly handled sensitive materials he had access to as president, storing classified files in the bathroom and shower at his Florida club. Mr Trump was also recorded at one of his New Jersey properties in 2021 appearing to brag about possessing a “highly confidential” Pentagon document regarding hypothetical battle plans against Iran.

The former president pleaded not guilty in early August. He will go on trial 20 May 2024.

(Another) election conspiracy case in Washington, DC

Friday 15 September 2023 05:00 , Josh Marcus

Just two weeks before the Georgia charges dropped, Mr Trump was indicted on federal charges in Washington, DC, for allegedly trying to overthrow the 2020 election. The historic moment was the culmination of an investigation that began in November 2022 with the appointment of special counsel Jack Smith.

On 1 August, a grand jury approved an indictment accusing Mr Trump of conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction of an official proceeding, and deprivation of civil rights under colour of law, the latter charge using a post-Civil War law designed to prosecute the Klu Klux Klan.

The four-count indictment alleges Mr Trump and his allies knew they lost the 2020 election, but sought to hold onto power anyway. They did so, according to federal prosecutors, by pressuring officials to ignore the popular vote, organising slates of illegitimate electors, conducting sham Justice Department investigations into state election counts, coercing Vice President Mike Pence to reject certifying the legitimate election results, then fueling the mob of supporters who sacked the Capitol on January 6.

Mr Trump pleaded not guilty to the charges and claimed he was the victim of a political prosecution.

“This was never supposed to happen in America. This is the persecution of the person that’s leading by very, very substantial numbers in the Republican primary and leading Biden by a lot so if you can’t beat them you persecute them or prosecute ‘em,” he said on 3 August.

Judge Tanya Chutkan set his trial date to begin on 4 March 2024 in Washington DC despite Mr Trump’s team arguing they need until 2026 before going to trial.

Court orders Trump fraud trial be temporarily halted after he sues the judge

Friday 15 September 2023 04:48 , Maroosha Muzaffar

A judge from a New York state appeals court has issued a temporary halt to the upcoming 2 October trial in the fraud lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James against Donald Trump and his family business.

The judge’s directive was issued during a surprise virtual hearing that was closed to the public.

The order was issued in response to the former US president’s lawsuit against Justice Arthur Engoron, the trial judge responsible for the case.

In his lawsuit, Mr Trump accused Justice Engoron and Ms James of disregarding a court order that could limit the scope of the lawsuit, the Daily Beast reported.

A court spokesperson said that Justice David Friedman from the appeals court has granted a temporary suspension of the trial and has referred the issue to a five-judge panel – which is expected to rule during the last week of September. That means that the trial could in theory still go ahead on 2 October, depending on the panel’s ruling.

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signs law restricting release of her travel, security records

Friday 15 September 2023 04:00 , Andrew Demillo, AP

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed a law Thursday restricting release of her travel and security records after the Legislature wrapped up a special session marked by a fight to more broadly scale back the state Freedom of Information Act.

The law, which took effect immediately, allows the state to wall off details about the security provided the GOP governor and other constitutional officers, including who travels on the State Police airplane and the cost of individual trips. Proposed changes to the 1967 law protecting the public’s access to government records were among several items Sanders had placed on the agenda for a session that met this week.

Sanders has argued the restrictions are needed to protect her and her family, citing threats she’s faced since taking office and going back to her time as White House press secretary for former President Donald Trump.

“We protected the police officers who protect our constitutional officers and my family in keeping their security information and tactics exempt from Freedom of Information Act disclosure,” Sanders said before signing the measure, about two hours after lawmakers gave it final it approval.

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Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signs law restricting release of her travel, security records

An election conspiracy case in Georgia

Friday 15 September 2023 03:15 , Josh Marcus

On 14 August, Mr Trump and 18 allies were charged in Georgia’s Fulton County for conspiring to subvert the state’s 2020 presidential election results.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Wallis began investigating the former president shortly after he left office in 2021. At the time, an infamous recording had just gone public of Mr Trump pressuring election officials to “find” him just enough votes to win him the state.

A grand jury empaneled by Ms Willis found that there was persuasive evidence that Mr Trump and 18 co-defendants, including high-profile lieutenants like Rudy Giuliani and former White House chief of staff, sought to tamper with the state’s election results through various schemes like coercing local officials and attempting to send a slate of false electors to Washington for the final Electoral College certification process.

Mr Trump personally faces 13 charges, including for violating the state’s RICO organised crime statute, and could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. He has denied wrongdoing.

The ex-president surrendered to authorities in Fulton County on the evening of 24 August where he was booked, processed and for the first time, received a mug shot.

He and his co-defendants were set to face arraignment on 6 September.

But on 31 August, Mr Trump entered a not guilty plea and waived his arraignment – in a move to avoid appearing in court where the judge had already granted cameras.

Georgia officials have proposed a 23 October 2023 trial date.

Tracking Trump’s criminal charges and lawsuits - and where they stand

Friday 15 September 2023 02:30 , Josh Marcus

Donald Trump has never been more vulnerable.

Without the privileges and prestige of the presidency to protect him, Mr Trump is facing serious lawsuits and criminal indictments across New York, Florida, Georgia and Washington.

Federal officials, local prosecutors, and individuals are going after him for everything from his private conduct to his political maneuvering during the 2020 election. If even just one of these efforts are successful, the US could see its first-ever former president in prison.

Here, The Independent explains each major case:

Tracking Trump’s criminal charges and lawsuits - and where they stand

Trump claims that he’s ‘allowed’ to have classified documents

Friday 15 September 2023 01:45 , Gustaf Kilander

Mark Milley denies Trump claim that he planned to attack Iran

Friday 15 September 2023 01:00 , Graeme Massie

The highest-ranking officer in the US military has denied Donald Trump’s claims that he recommended a US strike on Iran.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, pushed back on the claims made by the former president in an audio recording made in July 2021.

“I can assure you that not one time have I ever recommended to attack Iran,” Gen Milley told CNN.

Mr Trump made the claim during a conversation at his Bedminster golf club with biographers of his White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, which emerged during the Mar-a-Lago documents probe.

A transcript of the recording is now part of the investigation into the former president’s alleged mishandling of classified documents after he left the White House.

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Mark Milley denies Trump claim that he planned to attack Iran

Nancy Pelosi makes graphic hand gesture while describing McCarthy’s predicament

Friday 15 September 2023 00:15 , Gustaf Kilander

Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi used a graphic hand gesture to symbolise something being slowly crushed when speaking about Kevin McCarthy’s “incredibly shrinking speakership”.

The San Francisco Democrat appeared on CNN on Wednesday night, speaking to Anderson Cooper, slamming her successor for opening an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.

She said the probe was launched as part of a deal with the far-right flank of the House Republicans pushing Mr McCarthy to give in to their demands or risk losing the speakership.

“You have to impeach the president or else we’re going to vacate the chair of speaker. You have to shut down government or else we’re going to vacate the chair of speaker,” she said. “This is not responsible governance, but it’s the chaos on the Republican side.”

Cooper asked if Mr McCarthy had put himself in an “impossible situation”.

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Nancy Pelosi makes graphic hand gesture while describing McCarthy’s predicament