Trump news – live: Ex-president shrugs off potential 2024 challenge from Mike Pence

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Donald Trump has laughed off the news that Mike Pence might run for president in 2024, shrugging that he “wouldn’t be concerned with that” even as his former deputy stumps for a rival candidate in Georgia.

Mr Pence has kept his public appearances mostly low-key since the end of the Trump administration, but has lately increased his presence on the campaign trail while insisting he was right not to try and overthrow Joe Biden’s victory on 6 January 2021.

Meanwhile, Kellyanne Conway, one of Donald Trump’s longest-standing political confidants and White House aides, has revealed that the ex-president offered her a blanket pardon after the 2020 election.

In her new memoir Here’s the Deal, Ms Conway writes that she asked the president why he thought she needed a pardon at all.

“Because they go after everyone, honey. It doesn’t matter,” Mr Trump allegedly said. Ms Conway claims she “politely declined” the offer.

Key Points

  • GOP candidates prepare for primaries

  • Giuliani meets with Jan 6 committee

  • Michigan official claims Trump called for her execution

ICYMI: Trump headed for major defeat in Georgia

18:24 , John Bowden

Donald Trump is headed for a serious reckoning of his ability to pick and choose GOP primary winners in Georgia, where voters today appear ready to deliver a defeat to his chosen candidate in the gubernatorial primary.

Mr Trump backed David Perdue, the state’s former senator, after his once-ally Brian Kemp refused to pressure the Georgia state legislature into working to overturn the 2020 election results in the state, where Joe Biden won a surprise victory over the 45th president.

Gov Kemp held a strong lead over Mr Perdue in polls of the race heading into Tuesday, so anything short of a blowout victory for him would be surprising.

Report gives more details on Giuliani Jan 6 testimony

17:15 , Andrew Naughtie

The Guardian has obtained new details about Rudy Giuliani’s testimony last week to the 6 January select committee, and reports that the former Trump lawyer refused to offer up any information about the involvement of congressional Republicans in efforts to overturn the 2020 election result.

Read more:

Cohen: Trump wanted anyone who threw pie at him to “end up in the hospital”

16:48 , Andrew Naughtie

Donald Trump was paranoid about getting pied in the face during his presidency, according to his former personal lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen.

Mr Cohen made the claim in a four-hour deposition obtained by The Daily Beast on Monday, saying Mr Trump was so worried about flying pastry that he repeatedly instructed his security detail to “savagely beat” any person who tried.

Speaking under oath, Mr Cohen explained how his former boss became fixated on an event where billionaire Bill Gates was attacked with a pie to the face.

“For some reason that upset Mr Trump terribly,” Mr Cohen testified. “We were all instructed that if somebody was to ever throw anything at him, that if that person didn’t end up in the hospital, we’d all be fired.”

Johanna Chisholm has more.

Trump was paranoid about getting pied in the face, ex-lawyer Michael Cohen says

A glimpse at the scale of the 6 January inquiry

16:17 , Andrew Naughtie

As the 6 January select committee prepares for the first of six scheduled public hearings meant to spell out the core details of its findings, NBC has a glimpse of just how much work the panel and its staff have done behind closed doors...

Trump shrugs off possibility of a Pence challenge

15:47 , Andrew Naughtie

Mike Pence’s increased activity on the campaign trail was already stirring up rumours he might run for president in 2024 before a New York Times interview published this week confirmed he is thinking about it. What the implications are for Mr Pence’s ex-boss remain unclear, but for now, Mr Trump seems untroubled.

“That's okay if he ran,” he said in an interview with a right-wing outlet yesterday. “I mean, I wouldn't be concerned with that, that’s fine”.

Read more from Andrew Feinberg:

Trump laughs at prospect of Pence face-off in 2024 run: ‘That wouldn’t be a problem’

NY AG subpoenas Trump’s assistant

15:10 , Andrew Naughtie

As New York Attorney General Letitia James continues her long and winding probe into Donald Trump’s business affairs, her office has subpoenaed Donald Trump’s longtime executive assistant and apparently plans to question her under oath next week.

The subpoena for Rhona Graff was disclosedin court papers opposing Trump's latest bid to rid himself of a contempt of court order for being slow to respond to a subpoena for documents and other evidence.

Mr Trump has long railed against the New York probe as a “witch hunt” and sought to smear Ms James as a “racist”.

Read more:

Trump's longtime assistant subpoenaed by NY attorney general

ICYMI: Madison Cawthorn faces double-headed ethics investigation

14:41 , Andrew Naughtie

Having recently been defeated in a Republican primary, freshman far-right Congressman Madison Cawthorn is facing an investigation by the House Ethics Committee, which is looking into allegations that he “improperly promoted a cryptocurrency in which he may have had an undisclosed financial interest, and engaged in an improper relationship with an individual employed on his congressional staff”.

Mr Cawthorn helped promote a cryptocurrency called “LGBCoin” just before it was announced as a sponsor of Nascar driver Brandon Brown, which watchdog groups say indicates he had foreknowledge of its likely rise in value.

Meanwhile, the sexual impropriety allegation focuses on staffer Stephen Smith, whom Mr Cawthorn says is his third cousin.

Read more from Andrew Feinberg:

Madison Cawthorn facing investigation by House Ethics Committee

Catch up: Trump’s bills to the Secret Service

14:10 , Andrew Naughtie

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, one of the capital’s most established anti-corruption watchdogs, yesterday unveiled what it called a “gold mine” of documents about Donald Trump’s practice of billing the Secret Service for its agents’ accommodation at his own properties, effectively funnelling public money to his own personal business interests.

Here’s a thread where CREW spells out what it’s found.

Texas Republicans plan action against companies that help women access abortions

13:40 , Andrew Naughtie

A group of Republican lawmakers in Texas have pledged to introduce legislation that would bar private companies from doing business in the state if they offer benefits or travel funds for employees seeking abortions in other states where the procedure is legal.

With abortions set to become automatically banned in Texas if Roe v Wade is overturned by the US Supreme Court next month, this recent escalation reflects how intent the state’s GOP lawmakers are to not only ban the procedure within their own borders, but severely hinder an individual’s ability to access it outside state lines.

Johanna Chisholm has more.

Texas Republicans look to bar companies that support out-of-state abortions

Tucker Carlson calls on Democrats to “de-escalate” rhetoric

12:44 , Andrew Naughtie

Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who routinely uses his show to promote bizarre, apocalyptic cultural takes and racist right-wing conspiracy theories, has warned Democrats that they are dangerously escalating the acrimonious tone of public discourse, and that the consequences if they keep going could be dire.

On the same edition of his show last night, he complained that those who are warning of the spread of violent white nationalist ideas are in fact trying to tarnish “normal” conservatives as dangerous racists.

Kellyanne Conway describes Trump’s pardon offer

12:10 , Andrew Naughtie

In her new book Here’s the Deal, which like other Trump administration memoirs has spawned multiple stories before it’s even been released, Kellyanne Conway has a very strange anecdote about Mr Trump offering her a pardon for unspecified offences she did not expect to be charged with.

“Do you want one?” Mr Trump reportedly asked her.

“Do you know something, I don’t,” Ms Conway says she replied. “Why would I need a pardon?”

“Because they go after everyone, honey. It doesn’t matter,” Mr Trump said, according to the book.

Ms Conway says the conversation ended with her “politely declin[ing]”.

Sravasti Dasgupta has the story.

Kellyanne Conway says Trump offered her a blanket pardon after election

Opinion: How not to react to Trump’s “civil war” rhetoric

11:40 , Andrew Naughtie

Writing for The Independent, Noah Berlatsky takes a look at the “civil war” rhetoric emanating from some of Donald Trump’s supporters – rhetoric that has recently been shared by the president himself on his bespoke Twitter alternative, Truth Social.

Many Democrats and other Trump critics have jumped at the chance to ridicule this sort of talk, dismissing it as the empty ramblings of people safely hidden behind their keyboards. But Noah argues that in their haste to pounce on this performative belligerence, the president’s opponents are missing a crucial point.

Yes, Trump is not, personally, going to take up arms. But that’s not the main problem with his call for “Civil War”. The main problem is that he has followers who may, like the case of the Buffalo shooter, decide to kill those they perceive as political enemies. When Trump frames opponents as traitors worthy of brutality and extermination, he’s encouraging political divison and political violence. He does that in part by equating leadership and manly brutality. Democrats like Swalwell shouldn’t help him do that.

Read his full argument below.

Donald Trump’s ‘Civil War’ bombast is bad enough. Democrats shouldn’t make it worse

ICYMI: Watchdog says Secret Service spent $1.75m at Trump-owned properties

10:26 , Andrew Naughtie

Donald Trump’s choice to frequently stay at his own properties while president resulted in a windfall for his company, according to Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington.

The group, through Freedom of Information Act requests, learned that the Secret Service spent more than $1.75 million at Trump properties to protect the president over the course of four years.

It’s not unheard of for the Secret Service to spend large sums to protect presidential candidates, presidents, former presidents, or their family members, particularly when it comes to securing the use of facilities near a protectee’s residence.

Yet the scale and scope of protective operations, combined with the tendency of Mr Trump and his family members to travel to properties in their company’s portfolio and their insistence on charging the agents responsible for protecting for the privilege of doing so has no modern precedent.

Andrew Feinberg has the story.

Secret Service spent $1.75m at Trump-owned properties, watchdog says

Capitol rioter asks for looser release conditions to keep teenage kids out of mischief

09:15 , Andrew Naughtie

Many of the scores of accused Capitol rioters are seeking to change the conditions of their release from custody, citing myriad reasons. Now, a new pretext has been given by Rachel Powell, who faces a curfew and is forced to wear an ankle braclet: she is worried that without her full supervision, her teenage sons will get up to too much trouble.

Could a Mo Brooks surge deal a second blow to Donald Trump on Tuesday?

07:36 , John Bowden

Donald Trump is already likely bracing for the defeat of his chosen candiate in the Georgia gubernatorial primary on Tuesday. But in neighbouring Alabama, a surging Mo Brooks could be poised to deal him a double-tap defeat.

The congressman is surging in the race, according to a poll released late last week, and now sits only a few percentage points behind Katie Britt, the frontrunner. Ms Britt or Mr Brooks would need 50 per cent to avoid a June runoff, and if Mr Brooks comes out ahead of Ms Britt tomorrow it could be a serious sign that Donald Trump’s endorsement is not the powerful force it used to be.

Read more about the race in the Associated Press:

GOP primary race for Alabama Senate seat turns bitter

Meet Brian Kemp: The man who could deal a blow to Donald Trump in Georgia

06:00 , John Bowden

Georgia’s Brian Kemp may become known, at least after Tuesday, as the man who did the impossible: Defeat a candidate backed by Donald Trump in a Republican primary in the deep south.

That certainly looks to be the case as the incumbent governor charges into Tuesday’s primary with a double-digit polling lead over David Perdue, the Trump acolyte who looks to be set to deliver the former president his first defeat of the 2022 primary season.

Read more in The Independent:

Meet Brian Kemp: The man who could deal a blow to Donald Trump in Georgia

ICYMI: Kellyanne Conway eviscerates Jared Kushner

04:30 , John Bowden

Kellyanne Conway is holding nothing back in her new memoir, due out Tuesday, which examines her work for the 2016 Trump campaign and later Trump presidency.

And one of her top targets for criticism is Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, whom she faulted for not hesitating to work on numerous projects despite having little to no experience in the matters at hand. Mr Kushner worked on a number of projects for his father from 2017-2021, including Middle East peace efforts.

“There was no subject he considered beyond his expertise. Criminal justice reform. Middle East peace. The southern and northern borders. Veterans and opioids. Big Tech and small business,” Ms Conway wrote.

“If Martian attacks had come across the radar, he would have happily added them to his ever-bulging portfolio,” she added.

Read more in The Independent from Maroosha Muzaffar:

Kellyanne Conway skewers ‘shrewd and calculating’ Jared Kushner in new book

ICYMI: Mike Pence could challenge Trump in 2024

03:00 , John Bowden

Former Vice President Mike Pence is making his presence felt in Georgia, on the eve of the state’s primary, on behalf of Gov Brian Kemp. Mr Kemp is likely to prevail on Tuesday against a Trump-backed primary challenger.

The move is a sign that Mr Pence is getting bolder with his public break from Donald Trump and his efforts to make a name for himself in the party. Now, in an interview with The New York Times, Mr Pence is refusing to rule out a primary bid against his old boss.

Read more from The Independent’s Andrew Feinberg:

Pence wont rule out running against Trump in 2024

ICYMI: Madison Cawthorn faces ethics probe

01:00 , John Bowden

Less than a week after losing his Republican primary in North Carolina’s 11th district, Madison Cawthorn is now facing a new scandal.

The House Ethics Committee says it is investigating the freshman, lame-duck congressman for allegedly promoting a cryptocurrency in which he had a business interest as well as for an alleged relationship with a male staffer - whom he has described as his third cousin.

Read more from The Independent’s Andrew Feinberg:

Madison Cawthorn facing investigation by House Ethics Committee

Secret Service spent $1.75m at Trump-owned properties, watchdog says

Tuesday 24 May 2022 00:00 , John Bowden

Donald Trump’s choice to frequently stay at his own properties while president resulted in a windfall for his company, according to Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington.

The group, through Freedom of Information Act requests, learned that the Secret Service spent more than $1.75 million at Trump properties to protect the president over the course of four years.

Read more from The Independent’s Andrew Feinberg:

Secret Service spent $1.75m at Trump-owned properties, watchdog says

Ted Cruz complains about Pete Davidson getting ‘all these hot women’

Monday 23 May 2022 23:00 , John Bowden

Ted Cruz has a truly nauseating complaint about departing Saturday Night Live comedian Pete Davidson: The latter is too successful at dating.

Mr Davidson is currently dating Kim Kardashian, ex-wife of Kanye West.

Read more in The Independent from Bevan Hurley:

Ted Cruz complains about Pete Davidson getting ‘all these hot women’

Washington DC sues Facebook over tactic used by 2016 Trump campaign’s data firm

Monday 23 May 2022 22:00 , John Bowden

Washington DC’s attorney general is suing Facebook over the mass-gathering of data by Cambridge Analytica, the data firm which was contracted by the Trump campaign in 2016 for its digital efforts.

The lawsuit was announced on Monday.

“This lawsuit is not only warranted, but necessary, and sends a message that corporate leaders, including CEOs, will be held accountable for their actions,” DC attorney general Karl Racine said in a statement.

Read more from The Independent’s Nathan Place:

DC attorney general personally sues Mark Zuckerberg

Kellyanne Conway flames Trump critic husband as ‘sinister’ and ‘cheating by tweeting’ in new memoir

Monday 23 May 2022 21:00 , John Bowden

Former White House counselor and Trump campaign 2016 manager Kellyanne Conway tore into her husband, Washington DC attorney and commentator George Conway, in her upcoming memoir. Here’s The Deal is set to release tomorrow.

In it, she blames Mr Conway for his frequent sniping at Mr Trump from Twitter and other venues, which she said often came while they were in close proximity to one another.

"I had two men in my life,” she writes in one section. “One was my husband. One was my boss, who happened to be president of the United States. One of those men was defending me. And it wasn’t George Conway. It was Donald Trump."

Read more from The Independent’s Josh Marcus:

Kellyanne Conway flames Trump critic husband George Conway as ‘sinister’ in new book

House Ethics Committee investigating cryptocurrency and sex allegations against Madison Cawthorn

Monday 23 May 2022 19:13 , David Taintor

Andrew Feinberg reports on the latest headache for Rep Madison Cawthorn, who lost his primary election last week:

House Ethics Committee probing cryptocurrency and sex claims against Madison Cawthorn

Pence breaks with Trump in Georgia primary

Monday 23 May 2022 18:30 , John Bowden

Mike Pence is joining the effort aimed at halting Donald Trump’s attempts to oust Georgia’s governor and install David Perdue, the state’s former US senator who has maintained that victory was “stolen” from Mr Trump in the state in 2020.

The former vice president is on the ground in the state on the eve of Georgia’s primary elections stumping for incumbent Brian Kemp, who earned Mr Trump’s ire in 2020 by refusing to call on the state legislature to launch an investigation into the 2020 election or overturn the state’s results.

Mr Perdue’s campaign appears to be trailing the incumbent by a significant margin and as a result Tuesday could represent the first major defeat of the former president in the 2022 election season.

Mo Brooks claims ‘honest mistake’ for mailers touting Trump endorsement

Monday 23 May 2022 17:36 , John Bowden

Mo Brooks’s campaign in Alabama is claiming an “honest mistake” after a state news site obtained two mailers from the candidate that were received by voters in recent days touting an endorsement from former President Donald Trump, who pulled his support for Brooks after the candidate called on voters to move on from complaints about the 2020 election.

Mr Trump’s Save America PAC issued a statement about the issue on Monday, writing: “Can’t do that, Mo!”, in a press release.

Mr Brooks’s campaign responded to the Alabama Political Reporter: “No mail would be or has been approved to go out with old or inaccurate information. The only letters using the endorsement were approved way before anything changed. Either the mail-house messed up sending an old mailer or USPS messed up delivering something that was supposed to be delivered months ago. Either way, it’s an honest mistake that wasn’t supposed to happen.”

From North Carolina: How a swing state Democrat is campaigning

Monday 23 May 2022 17:10 , Andrew Naughtie

Cheri Beasley is the Democratic nominee to take a run at North Carolina’s open Senate seat, and having made it through last week’s primary, she is now on the air with an ad funded by Senate Democrats’ campaign operation.

The ad is a glimpse at the kind of messaging Democrats are using in states and districts Donald Trump won or nearly won in the last election. Many in the party are worried that slogans like “defund the police” have hurt them among voters who rank crime high on their list of concerns, and Ms Beasley’s ad takes the opposite approach to say the least...

Kinzinger lays into Trump fans alluding to “civil war"

Monday 23 May 2022 16:41 , Andrew Naughtie

Adam Kinzinger, who aside from being one of Donald Trump’s staunchest Republican critics is also a military pilot, has called out fans of the former president who are defending him after he shared a Truth Social post about “civil war”...

Fashion police: Trump rants at Birx about credibility and scarves

Monday 23 May 2022 16:10 , Andrew Naughtie

Dr Deborah Birx has long been slated by Trump critics for not only standing by his side during the first phase of the Covid-19 pandemic but for celebrating his supposed acumen in various interviews even as the crisis raged out of control and the then-president suggested the virus could be cured by ingesting disinfectant or “bringing light inside the body”.

Mr Trump himself, however, is no fan either, especially not since Dr Birx published a book about her experiences in the administration.

Pence gives strongest indication yet of 2024 plans

Monday 23 May 2022 15:38 , Andrew Naughtie

Mike Pence has essentially been on low-key speaking tour of the US ever since the end of his vice presidency, and while he has shied away from explicitly and directly condemning Donald Trump in public, he has stuck to his guns about his actions on 6 January 2021, when he eventually oversaw the certification of the electoral college votes in Joe Biden’s favour.

That has left the door open to speculation about Mr Pence’s possible intentions to make a presidential run of his own. And now, the New York Times’s Jonathan Martin reports that the ex-vice president has given his clearest indication yet that a campaign may be on the table.

Mr Pence is today campaigning in Georgia for Brian Kemp, the incumbent governor who refused to endorse the lie that the election was stolen. Mr Kemp looks set to cruise to victory over a Trump-backed challenger, David Perdue.

Trump still complaining about slow Pennsylvania count

Monday 23 May 2022 15:10 , Andrew Naughtie

The Pennsylvania senate matchup between Dr Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick has still not yielded a result, and Donald Trump is growing steadily more frustrated. He has called on Dr Oz, whom he endorsed over the objections of many conservatives, to declare victory prematurely in an attempt to delegitimize the mail-in ballots that have contributed to the slow count.

Here’s one of the recent Truth Social posts giving a flavour of the ex-president’s disdain:

Trump posts about Oz-McCormick near-tie on Truth Social (Truth Social)
Trump posts about Oz-McCormick near-tie on Truth Social (Truth Social)

ICYMI: Conway says Trump considered dropping out after 2016 Access Hollywood tape

Monday 23 May 2022 14:40 , Andrew Naughtie

Back in late 2016 when the notorious Access Hollywood tape hit the media, it briefly looked as if leading Republicans might try and force Donald Trump off their presidential ticket, replacing him with Mike Pence and drafting in another vice presidential candidate to take on Hillary Clinton without Mr Trump’s baggage.

Of course, the effort ultimately came to nothing. But according to former Trump aide Kellyanne Conway, who was helping lead the campaign at the time, the ex-president himself considered backing out of the race. In her telling, Ms Conway responded: “You actually can’t unless you want to forfeit and throw the whole damn thing to Hillary... I know you don’t like to lose, but I also know you don’t like to quit.”

Read more from Graeme Massie.

Trump considered quitting 2016 race over Access Hollywood tape, Kellyanne Conway says

Trump rants about Twitter as Musk sale stumbles on

Monday 23 May 2022 14:10 , Andrew Naughtie

Donald Trump has said he will not be returning to Twitter even if Elon Musk reinstates his account there, instead insisting that Truth Social is the place for conservatives to be if they want to hear from him directly (though he only started posting on the platform after Mr Musk’s buyout became news).

In a new “truth” posted to the platform but also shared via email with supporters who don’t use it, Mr Trump has delivered another rant about Twitter that manages to fold in criticism of one of his most hated enemies: New York Attorney General Letitia James, who has successfully had the president fined for refusing to turn over documents in accordance with a subpoena.

Donald Trump drops a “truth” about Twitter (Truth Social)
Donald Trump drops a “truth” about Twitter (Truth Social)

Jan 6 hearings slowly coming into view

Monday 23 May 2022 13:35 , Andrew Naughtie

The first of the 6 January committee’s long-awaited series of public hearings will come on 9 June, but details of what the sessions will entail have so far been scant. But now the Guardian reports that the committee plans to hold a total of six sessions, the first and last of which will be broadcast at 8pm ET for the benefit of prime-time TV viewers:

According to the draft schedule, the June public hearings will explore Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, starting and ending with prime time hearings at 8pm on the 9th and the 23rd. In between, the panel will hold 10am hearings on the 13th, 15th, 16th and 21st.

The select committee appears to be planning for the hearings to be extensive affairs. The prime time hearings are currently scheduled to last between 1.5 and 2 hours and the morning hearings between 2 and 2.5 hours.

A select committee member will lead each of the hearings, the sources said, but top investigative lawyers who are intimately familiar with the material will primarily conduct the questioning of witnesses to keep testimony tightly on track.

Read the report below.

Conway on Kushner: “No subject he considered beyond his expertise"

Monday 23 May 2022 12:56 , Andrew Naughtie

Jared Kushner’s role at the centre of the Trump administration saw him getting involved in all sorts of policy areas, from Middle East diplomacy (where some major breakthroughs were made) to the Covid-19 emergency response (where his efforts to procure PPE for the government proved disastrous).

Now, Mr Kushner has been slated by Kellyanne Conway, who describes him in her new book “as someone who, as the president’s son-in-law, knew that no matter how disastrous a personnel change or legislative attempt may be, he was unlikely to be held accountable for it”.

Mr Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump were often mocked for their sometimes imperious behaviour on foreign visits, where they appeared alongside or even on behalf of Donald Trump at important events that usually do not host family members.

Kellyanne Conway skewers ‘shrewd and calculating’ Jared Kushner in new book

Ted Cruz spurns other right-wingers on Ukraine

Monday 23 May 2022 12:22 , Andrew Naughtie

There is an open rift in the Republican Party over how invested the US should be in the fate of Ukraine. Some are specifically sceptical of sending huge quantities of financial aid, as 86 senators voted to do last week, but others have more intense objections, with figures like Tucker Carlson questioning why the US should care about Ukraine at all.

The correlation between intensity of conservatism and bearishness is, however, not perfect: among those at the more orthodox anti-Russian end of the scale is none other than Ted Cruz, who has put out a muscular statement explaining why he views Ukraine as worth standing up for.

Georgia gubernatorial candidate suggests firing squads for traitors

Monday 23 May 2022 11:50 , Andrew Naughtie

Georgia’s gubernatorial primary tomorrow looks to have been locked up by incumbent Brian Kemp, who has been largely untroubled by a primary challenge from Donald Trump’s preferred candidate, former senator David Perdue. But the two men aren’t the only Republicans in the field.

Running alongside them (and far behind in the polls) is Kandiss Taylor, a far-right candidate who this weekend suggested executing sheriffs by firing squad if they failed to do the people’s will. As extremism expert Mark Pitcavage notes, that idea (which revolves around a false claim about the constitution) has deep roots in hardcore far-right anti-government movements.

Ms Taylor, who has the endorsement of unhinged Trump backer Mike Lindell, also insisted that separation of church and state – a core founding principle of the American republic – was an aberrant idea, declaring to her supporters that “the church runs the state of Georgia”.

Is Mo Brooks bouncing back from Trump’s un-endorsement?

Monday 23 May 2022 11:15 , Andrew Naughtie

Alabama congressman and Senate candidate Mo Brooks was sinking in the GOP primary polls even before Donald Trump dropped him, a choice the president chalked up to Mr Brooks’ call for supporters to “move on” from talking constantly about the 2020 election and focus on winning in the future. However, Mr Brooks has benefited from ample outside ad spending, as well as high name recognition, to stay in the race, and he now appears to be rising again in the polls.

Alongside the big-spending Club for Growth, which has poured millions of dollars into supporting him, Mr Brooks has attracted support from other right-wing heavy hitters like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Ted Cruz, who will be campaigning for him in Alabama today.

If Mr Brooks wins, it will prove again that Mr Trump’s favour does not perfectly track candidates’ performance – though the fact that Mr Brooks has still campaigned with pictures of himself speaking at the White House on 6 January 2021 indicates that catering to the Trump base is still very much his method.

The primary vote is tomorrow. Read more about the race below.

GOP primary race for Alabama Senate seat turns bitter

Trump pays $110,000 fine after being held in contempt

Monday 23 May 2022 10:30 , Andrew Naughtie

Former president Donald Trump has paid the $110,000 fine he was hit with after being held in contempt by a New York judge for failing to turn over documents to investigators.

The former president was held in contempt on 25 April after failing to comply with a subpoena that he hand over papers to investigators carrying out a civil financial investigation for the office of New York’s attorney general Letitia James.

The documents are related to Mr Trump’s personal finances and the financing of several of his namesake company’s properties.

Judge Arthur Engoron fined Mr Trump $10,000 a day until 6 May, and agreed several days later to lift the contempt order if the fine was paid and additional affidavits in the case were filed by Friday.

Is Trump to blame for the baby formula shortage?

Monday 23 May 2022 09:45 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

As Joe Biden and the Democratic Party’s majorities in the House and Senate continue to face heat over rising consumer prices and a sudden shortage of baby formula triggered by plant shutdown and recall centred in Michigan, some liberals are focusing their fire on another target: Donald Trump.

Infant formula in the US is dominated by domestic manufacturers; foreign manufacturers make up only a few percentage points of the total US market share for baby formula, largely due to strict Food and Drug Administration standards for both content and labelling that restricts many European companies from the market.

The former president is facing criticism from some left-leaning figures on Twitter due to a trade agreement, the 2020 United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), which established new trading rules for business and trade across North America and placed heavy restrictions on Canada’s dairy sector, long a target of criticism on the US conservative right due to its government-imposed price and import controls.

John Bowden reports.

Is Trump to blame for the baby formula shortage?

Rudy Giuliani meets with 6 January committee for over nine hours

Monday 23 May 2022 09:00 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Rudy Giuliani, who took the lead in Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election in his capacity as the former president’s onetime personal attorney, has met with the congressional committee investigating the Capitol riot.

On Friday, Mr Giuliani appeared for a lengthy nine-hour-long interview with the House select committee investigating the 6 January 2021 attack on Congress as lawmakers met to certify election results.

The interview was confirmed by two sources and comes after Mr Giuliani backed out of a previously scheduled appearance, CNN reported.

Oliver O’Connell has more.

Rudy Giuliani meets with Jan 6 committee for over nine hours

Trump responds to claim Clinton approved leak of Russia allegations

Monday 23 May 2022 06:44 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Former president Donald Trump was furious after Hillary Clinton’s former campaign manager admitted in federal court on Friday that the Clinton campaign, authorised by the candidate herself, was responsible for leaking a story to journalists about the possibility of connections between him and a Russian bank.

Ms Clinton’s ex-top deputy, Robby Mook, was testifying in the trial of Michael Sussman, a former lawyer for the Clinton campaign now indicted for lying to the FBI as part of special counsel John Durham’s probe into the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation.

Mr Mook’s testimony on Friday concerned the publication of an article in Slate on 31 October 2016, just days before voters headed to the polls and elected Donald Trump.

“This is one of the greatest political scandals in history,” said the former president in an interview with Fox News. “For three years, I had to fight her off, and fight those crooked people off, and you’ll never get your reputation fully back.”

“Where do I get my reputation back?” he questioned, complaining: “[I]f we had real leadership, instead of people like Mitch McConnell, they would do something about it. And guys like Bill Barr. They would have done something about it.”

Ellison plotted with Trump aides on call about overturning election

Monday 23 May 2022 06:30 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Larry Ellison, the billionaire chairman of tech giant Oracle, was reportedly involved in a phone call that focused on the Trump campaign’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election’s legitimate results.

The call took place on 14 November 2020, less than a week after Election Day resulted in Mr Trump’s stunning defeat in previous GOP strongholds like Arizona and Georgia, The Washington Post reported.

Others on the call included Jay Sekulow, an attorney for the White House, as well as Fox News’s Sean Hannity and Sen Lindsey Graham.

Mr Ellison has never commented publicly about the 2020 election’s legitimacy, but is known to be a supporter of Donald Trump and has previously fundraised for the one-term Republican president.

John Bowden reports.

Billionaire Larry Ellison plotted with Trump aides on call about overturning election

Michigan election official claims Trump called for her execution

Monday 23 May 2022 06:09 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Michigan’s top election official has claimed Donald Trump called for to be arrested for treason and “executed” after she refused to overturn his 2020 loss to Joe Biden.

Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat who is Michigan’s state secretary, said she was told about the one-term president’s remarks from a source familiar with the White House meeting she alleges it was said in.

“It was surreal and I felt sad,” Ms Benson told NBC News.

“It certainly amplified the heightened sense of anxiety, stress and uncertainty of that time — which I still feel in many ways, because it showed there was no bottom to how far he [Trump] and his supporters were willing to stoop to overturn or discredit a legitimate election.”

Graeme Massie has more.

Top Michigan election official claims Trump called for her execution

Filing says Trump handwrote notes about overturning 2020 election

Monday 23 May 2022 05:57 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Ahead of the 6 January select committee’s hearings about the Capitol riot, a new court filing from lawyer John Eastman has revealed that Donald Trump handwrote notes about strategies to overturn the 2020 election.

Mr Eastman is trying to shield hundreds of documents from the panel’s investigation, claiming they fall under attorney-client privilege. Among those he is withholding are emailed copies of handwritten notes from the then-president “about information that he thought might be useful for the anticipated litigation” over the result.

In a 50-page brief filed last Thursday, Mr Eastman claims to have communicated with Mr Trump through “six conduits to or agents of the former president,” and argued that his communications with those individuals should also be shielded because their involvement was “necessary” to facilitate his contact with the then-chief executive.

Trump considered dropping out of 2016 race after locker room tape emerged, says Kellyanne Conway

Monday 23 May 2022 05:33 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Donald Trump considered dropping out of the 2016 presidential race after the leak of the notorious Access Hollywood tape, according to former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway’s new memoir.

On the tape, which was released just days before Americans went to the polls, the one-term president was heard boasting about his behaviour towards women.

In a 2005 conversation his TV host Billy Bush, Mr Trump was caught on tape bragging about grabbing women “by the p****, kissing women before they could stop him, and “moving on” a married woman “like a b****.”

Ms Conway writes in Here’s The Deal that Mr Trump was concerned that the Republican Party “could force him off the ticket or hold a vote to expel him”, according to an excerpt obtained by Daily Beast.

Graeme Massie reports.

Trump considered quitting 2016 race over Access Hollywood tape, Kellyanne Conway says