Trump says Pence trying to ‘curry favour’ with DoJ over Jan 6 revelations: Live

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

In a court filing late on Monday, Donald Trump’s legal team in his federal election interference case suggested that Mike Pence was cooperating with federal prosecutors in order to avoid criminal charges for retaining classified documents.

The filing links the investigation into the former vice president over that matter with testimony he gave to Special Counsel Jack Smith at the Department of Justice regarding the events leading up to the January 6 Capitol riot.

Mr Pence had an incentive to “[provide] information that is consistent with the Biden Administration’s preferred, and false, narrative” in the DOJ’s investigation into the aftermath of the 2020 election, attorneys for Mr Trump allege.

However, ABC News reports that investigators have the former vice president’s personal notes from the time which show his friendship with Mr Trump unravelled over the “crank” lawyers and Mr Pence’s warnings not to try and overturn the election. He even thought about skipping the vote certification in Congress until reminded of his oath to the Constitution by his son, a marine.

The filing suggests the former president intends to re-litigate the results of the 2020 election when the case comes to trial in March 2024.

Key Points

  • Trump attorneys claim Pence cooperated with DOJ to avoid classified docs criminal charges

  • Trump can’t control fraud trial death threats, lawyers argue

  • Trump’s fraud trial court flooded with credible death threats and antisemitic abuse

  • Trump lawyers dismiss death threats as ‘irrelevant’ to federal gag order

  • Fani Willis makes courtroom debut in Trump election interference case

  • Donald Trump and Eric Trump to return to witness stand in New York fraud trial

NY fraud trial: Trump lawyers ask for third directed verdict

Tuesday 28 November 2023 22:05 , Alex Woodward

For a third time since the beginning of the trial, lawyers for Donald Trump have asked Judge Arthur Engoron for a directed verdict by pointing to testimony that they claim proves their case and undermines the attorney general. This was the exchange that prompted it, as Trump attorney Jesus Suarez questioned Deutsche Bank’s Dave Williams, per ABC News:

“Was an event of default ever declared by Deutsche Bank on the loans to the Trump Organization?”

“No,.”

“This witness has again testified the bank conducted its own due diligence,” Chris Kise said, arguing that Trump didn’t defraud anyone with his statements of financial condition.

“This is a subjective exercise. There isn’t a right answer. There isn’t an ’Ah-ha, you picked the wrong number,’” he said. “The bank is in a relationship whose job it is to make these determinations. It’s not the attorney general’s job to insert herself into a private transaction ten years later.”

The judge notes that it doesn’t matter if the banks were paid and there was no default if the process was fraudulent.

“The witness did not say none of this matters,” AG lawyer Kevin Wallace said. “The witness said he expects clients to tell the truth.”

Watch: Liz Cheney’s book reveals McCarthy went to see ‘depressed’ Trump who was ‘not eating’ after Jan 6

Tuesday 28 November 2023 21:54 , Oliver O'Connell

Elon Musk mocked for trying to resurrect Pizzagate conspiracy

Tuesday 28 November 2023 21:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Elon Musk has been criticised for seemingly attempting to resurrect the widely debunked QAnon conspiracy theory, “Pizzagate”.

Pizzagate was an anti-Hillary Clinton conspiracy theory promoted on 4chan, Reddit, Twitter and other platforms in the final days before the 2016 US presidential election, and is seen as a precursor to the QAnon movement.

Believers accused then-presidential hopeful Ms Clinton and other senior Democrats of running a child sex trafficking ring out of the basement of a Washington DC pizza restaurant. The conspiracy theory led to a shooting at the restaurant – which turned out not to have a basement.

Mike Bedigan has the story.

Elon Musk mocked for trying to resurrect QAnon Pizzagate conspiracy

Tuesday 28 November 2023 21:30 , AP

Deutsche Bank guidelines told lending officers to “independently verify all material facts,” and Williams said the bankers followed those and other instructions when dealing with Trump.

“Are you aware of any time Deutsche Bank didn’t adhere to its own guidelines in making loans to President Trump?” defense attorney Jesus M. Suarez asked.

“No,” Williams replied.

James’ lawyers haven’t yet had their chance to question him.

James wants the judge to impose over $300 million in penalties and to ban Trump from doing business in New York — and that’s on top of Engoron’s pretrial order that a receiver take control of some of Trump’s properties. An appeals court has frozen that order for now.

Tuesday 28 November 2023 21:25 , AP

The attorney general’s office, however, has maintained that such adjustments were never intended to account for the alleged fraud. A now-retired Deutsche Bank executive, Nicholas Haigh, testified earlier in the trial that he assumed the figures “were broadly accurate,” though the bank subjected them to ”sanity checks” and sometimes made sizeable “haircuts.”

Judge Arthur Engoron already has ruled that Trump and other defendants engaged in fraud. The trial is to decide remaining claims of conspiracy, insurance fraud and falsifying business records. There’s no jury, so Engoron will decide the verdict.

Trump, the current Republican 2024 presidential front-runner, casts the entire case as a political low blow from James, a Democrat.

Trump maintains that his financial statements actually lowballed his wealth and that any overstatements — such as listing his Trump Tower penthouse for years at nearly three times its actual size — were mistakes.

He asserted in his own testimony this month that his lenders cared more about property locations and the parameters of the deals than they did about the financial statements. And he argued that lenders were essentially told to do their own homework, pointing to disclaimers that said the statements weren’t audited, among other caveats.

Continued...

NY fraud trial: Today in court — Banker involved in big loans to Trump’s company testifies for his defence

Tuesday 28 November 2023 21:20 , Jennifer Peltz (AP)

When Deutsche Bank loaned Donald Trump’s company hundreds of millions of dollars, the bank always followed its own guidelines that include checking out information that would-be borrowers provide, an executive testified Tuesday at the former president’s civil fraud trial.

The loans — for projects in Florida, Chicago and Washington, DC — are a focus of New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit contending that Trump and his company deceived lenders and insurers by giving them financial statements that baldly overstated his asset values and overall net worth. The defendants deny the allegations.

Deutsche Bank reviewed the financial statements before making the loans through its department that works with rich individuals — a pathway that allowed for more favourable interest rates than likely available from the commercial real estate division, according to the lawsuit. The deals came with conditions about Trump’s net worth and, sometimes, liquidity, and they often required annual submissions of his financial statements.

But, testifying for the defence, managing director David Williams said the bankers viewed clients’ reports of their net worth as “subjective or subject to estimates” and took its own view of such financial statements.

“I think we expect clients-provided information to be accurate. At the same time, it’s not an industry standard that these statements be audited. They’re largely reliant on the use of estimates,” Williams said, so bankers routinely “make some adjustments.”

At times, the bank pegged Trump’s net worth at $1bn or more lower than he did, according to documents and testimony. But that wasn’t necessarily unusual or alarming, Williams testified.

“It’s a conservative measure to make these adjustments. You might even say it’s a stress test” of financial strength, he said.

Continued...

Trump attorneys claim Pence cooperated with DOJ to avoid classified docs criminal charges

Tuesday 28 November 2023 21:05 , Oliver O'Connell

In a court filing late on Monday, Donald Trump’s legal team in his federal election interference case suggested that Mike Pence was cooperating with federal prosecutors in order to avoid criminal charges for retaining classified documents.

The filing links the investigation into the former vice president over that matter with testimony he gave to Special Counsel Jack Smith at the Department of Justice regarding the events leading up to the January 6 Capitol riot.

US President Donald Trump (L) speaks as Vice President Mike Pence (R) looks on in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on 24 November 2020 (Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) speaks as Vice President Mike Pence (R) looks on in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on 24 November 2020 (Getty Images)

Here’s what Mr Trump’s attorneys allege about Mr Pence’s possible motivation for cooperating with the DOJ investigation into the aftermath of the 2020 election:

In January 2023, Vice President Pence reportedly turned over at least a “dozen” documents bearing classification markings. In February 2023, the FBI found at least one additional classified document at Vice President Pence’s home in Indiana in connection with a search that was “described as consensual after negotiations between Pence’s representatives and the Justice Department.”

DOJ’s National Security Division, which also participated in the investigation of President Trump, reviewed the documents in question. In June 2023, the National Security Division “informed Pence’s attorney that it had closed its investigation and that based on the ‘results’ of that probe, no charges will be filed against the former vice president.”

The potential criminal charges faced by Vice President Pence gave him an incentive to curry favor with authorities by providing information that is consistent with the Biden Administration’s preferred, and false, narrative regarding this case

ABC News reports that investigators have the former vice president’s personal notes from the time which show his friendship with Mr Trump unravelled over the “crank” lawyers the former president had brought in and Mr Pence’s warnings not to try and overturn the election. He even thought about skipping the vote certification in Congress until reminded of his oath to the Constitution by his son, a marine.

The filing suggests the former president intends to re-litigate the results of the 2020 election when the case comes to trial in March 2024.

McCarthy schooled for false claim about American history

Tuesday 28 November 2023 20:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Today in self-owns...

Kevin McCarthy was given a savage fact-checking for his seemingly poor grasp of American history.

The former Speaker of the House, a Republican from California, claimed at a recent event that “in every single war that America has fought, we have never asked for land afterwards.”

And he added: “Except enough to bury the Americans who gave the ultimate sacrifice for that freedom we went in for.”

Graeme Massie explains why that is completely incorrect.

Kevin McCarthy schooled for false claim about American history

It’s the most wonderful time of the year...

Tuesday 28 November 2023 20:22 , Oliver O'Connell

So, here’s something to ruin it for you... Former President Donald Trump is cashing in on his legal troubles any way he can.

According to Mr Trump’s campaign website, his office is now selling “never surrender” Christmas items emblazoned with his mugshot, including wrapping paper and a stocking.

Mr Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” baseball caps are also being offered in the traditional red and green with a Christmas lights embellishment.

The hats are currently on sale for $50 each, while the wrapping paper is being sold for $35. The stocking is priced at $25.

Michelle Del Rey has the story.

Trump campaign unveils new $35 festive mugshot-themed wrapping paper

Top Iowa evangelical leader says Trump’s 2024 problem is ‘no one wants their child to grow up like him'

Tuesday 28 November 2023 20:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump’s often abrasive demeanour may have finally caught up with him.

A top political activist in Iowa active in the evangelical Christian movement — Bob Vander Plaats — recently announced his support for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as Mr Trump’s rivals continue to push for an upset victory in the first-in-the-nation caucus. Now, he is explaining his decision, which he says is linked to a perceived aura of moral decay that he asserts surrounds the former president.

Speaking with Steve Deace of The Blaze, Mr Vander Plaats pointed to the Trump camp’s aggression against Iowa’s GOP governor, Kim Reynolds, who had also rejected an endorsement of Mr Trump in favour of his leading opponent.

John Bowden has the full story:

Iowa evangelical leader explains Trump’s big 2024 problem

Melania Trump joins other former first ladies at Rosalynn Carter’s funeral

Tuesday 28 November 2023 19:41 , Oliver O'Connell

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former US First Lady Laura Bush, former US First Lady Michelle Obama, and former US First Lady Melania Trump (AFP via Getty Images)
Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former US First Lady Laura Bush, former US First Lady Michelle Obama, and former US First Lady Melania Trump (AFP via Getty Images)

Trump furiously denies he’s ‘cognitively impaired’ claiming he deliberately muddles Biden and Obama

Tuesday 28 November 2023 19:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump claimed that he deliberately mixes up Joe Biden and Barack Obama’s names as he angrily denied that he is “cognitively impaired.”

Mr Trump took to Truth Social to defend himself and claimed he had deliberately mistaken Mr Biden for Mr Obama to show that “others” may have a “very big influence” in running the country.

“Whenever I sarcastically insert the name Obama for Biden as an indication that others may actually be having a very big influence in running our Country,” Mr Trump wrote in the post on Monday.

The former president seems especially annoyed that the 2024 campaign of his arch-rival, the governor of Florida, has pounced on the accusation, as Graeme Massie reports.

Trump claims he deliberately muddles Biden and Obama in furious denial

Watch: Dem Rep brings resolution to force Santos expulsion vote

Tuesday 28 November 2023 19:21 , Oliver O'Connell

Democratic Rep Robert Garcia of California gave notice in the House of his intent to offer a privileged resolution to expel Republican Rep George Santos of New York and force a floor vote.

His co-lead on the resolution, fellow Democrat Rep Dan Goldman of New York was seated next to him.

The House now has two days to take action.

Here’s the story of the incredible rise and fall of Mr Santos as told by The Independent’s Bevan Hurley:

The incredible rise and dramatic fall of George Santos

Trump will testify again at his New York fraud trial on December 11

Tuesday 28 November 2023 18:55 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump will return to the witness stand next month in his civil fraud trial in New York as the final witness for the defence in a case that threatens his brand-building real estate empire.

His son Eric Trump will also testify a second time as their attorneys begin to close their case.

Donald Trump Jr testified as the first witness for the defence earlier this month.

Eric Trump is scheduled to testify on 6 December, and his father is scheduled to appear on the witness stand on 11 December, according to lead attorney Christopher Kise.

Alex Woodward has the details.

Donald Trump will testify again at his New York fraud trial

Hunter Biden will testify to House panel in ‘public proceeding'

Tuesday 28 November 2023 18:35 , Oliver O'Connell

An attorney for Hunter Biden says the president’s youngest and only surviving son is willing to give evidence before the Republican-led House Oversight Committee, but only in a public hearing that would prevent GOP partisans from selectively leaking or distorting his words.

In a letter to Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, veteran Washington DC attorney Abbe Lowell said Mr Biden was accepting the Kentucky Republican’s offer to appear before the panel on 13 December, the date by which the Yale-educated attorney and ex-lobbyist was required to comply with a subpoena compelling him to testify and turn over a range of documents to the committee.

“Mr Chairman, we take you up on your offer,” said Mr Lowell, a partner at Winston and Strawn who has previously represented numerous high-profile figures during congressional investigations.

Andrew Feinberg reports from Washington, DC.

Hunter Biden will testify to House panel in ‘public proceeding,’ lawyer says

Lawyers argue Trump can’t control fraud trial death threats

Tuesday 28 November 2023 18:22 , Oliver O'Connell

Attorneys for Donald Trump claim “there is no indication” he can “exercise any control” over the flood of threatening messages from his supporters to his fraud trial judge and his chief clerk, subjected to near-daily attacks and insults from the former president.

Mr Trump’s lawyers are urging a New York appeals court to permanently reject a gag order against their client during a civil fraud trial with his brand-building real estate empire at stake.

But a filing from lawyers for Judge Arthur Engoron and New York Attorney General Letitia James last week argued that a gag order is necessary to protect the safety of the court’s staff, with a sworn statement from the court system’s top security official revealing that “hundreds of threats, disparaging and harassing comments and antisemitic messages” followed Mr Trump’s attacks.

In response on Monday, Mr Trump’s attorneys appeared to downplay such threats, claiming that the “sole cognizable justification” to gag the former president “is that an unknown third party may react in a hostile or offensive manner” to his speech.

Alex Woodward reports.

Trump can’t control fraud trial death threats, lawyers argue

Trump wants to put 2020 presidential election results back in play in federal trial

Tuesday 28 November 2023 18:05 , Oliver O'Connell

Attorneys for Donald Trump made the clearest signal yet that they intend to question the outcome of the 2020 presidential election in a federal criminal trial over his attempts to subvert the results.

Lawyers for the former president want to investigate several government agencies about their handling of investigations into an election Mr Trump still falsely claims was stolen from and rigged against him.

A 37-page filing in US District Court in Washington DC on Monday asks prosecutors to produce mountains of documents surrounding “the impact of foreign influence” and “actual and attempted compromises of election infrastructure” as well evidence of alleged “political bias”.

Courtrooms, election officials, and Mr Trump’s own attorney general and White House counsel, among others, have repeatedly rejected the idea that widespread fraud affected the outcome of an election he lost.

Alex Woodward reports on the latest developments out of Washington DC:

Trump wants to re-litigate 2020 results in election subversion trial

Christie blames Trump for rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia

Tuesday 28 November 2023 17:55 , Oliver O'Connell

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie accused Donald Trump of contributing to a rising trend of antisemitism and Islamophobia in the United States on Sunday.

The ex-governor appeared on CNN as reports emerged about the shooting of three college students in Burlington, Vermont, as they walked to a Thanksgiving dinner; reports indicated that the three were of Palestinian descent and were wearing traditional keffiyehs signaling their identities at the time of the shooting.

His rival for the 2024 GOP nomination, current frontrunner and former president Donald Trump, has long faced accusations of embracing the farthest-right wings of his party including white nationalists such as Nick Fuentes, who dined at Mar-a-Lago with the former president alongside Kanye West in 2022. Those critics who say he has not sought to distance himself from such figures first emerged in force after the Charlottesville riot in 2017, when white nationalists clashed with counterprotesters and a woman was killed when a neo-Nazi sympathiser hit her with a vehicle.

On Sunday, Mr Christie blamed his former ally for giving “permission” to racists and other forms of hatred in America by using intolerant language in public.

Read the full article...

Report: Pence told special counsel he initially decided to skip Jan 6 proceedings

Tuesday 28 November 2023 17:46 , Oliver O'Connell

Former Vice President Mike Pence initially decided that he would skip the January 6 proceedings to certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory before changing his mind.

Much of what Mr Pence recently told the office of Special Counsel Jack Smith are statements he has previously made publically, according to ABC News.

Investigators got ahold of personal notes that Mr Pence jotted down after meetings, including with former President Donald Trump, from the National Archives.

One such note reveals that Mr Pence had decided that he would skip the certification because there were “too many questions” and that it would be “too hurtful to my friend” before he concluded that it was his duty to appear.

Gustaf Kilander has the details.

Mike Pence told special counsel he initially decided to skip Jan 6 proceedings

Trump hints at using military to quell violence in Democratic cities

Tuesday 28 November 2023 17:35 , AP

Campaigning in Iowa this year, Donald Trump said he was prevented during his presidency from using the military to quell violence in primarily Democratic cities and states.

Calling New York City and Chicago “crime dens,” the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination told his audience, “The next time, I’m not waiting. One of the things I did was let them run it and we’re going to show how bad a job they do,” he said. “Well, we did that. We don’t have to wait any longer.”

Trump has not spelled out precisely how he might use the military during a second term, although he and his advisers have suggested they would have wide latitude to call up units. While deploying the military regularly within the country’s borders would be a departure from tradition, the former president already has signaled an aggressive agenda if he wins, from mass deportations to travel bans imposed on certain Muslim-majority countries.

A law first crafted in the nation’s infancy would give Trump as commander in chief almost unfettered power to do so, military and legal experts said in a series of interviews.

Read more...

Trump hints at using military to quell violence in Democratic cities

Remember them?

Tuesday 28 November 2023 17:26 , Oliver O'Connell

The Republican nomination field may have narrowed, and Nikki Haley may have just scored the support of a major anti-Trump donor, but let’s not forget that Doug Burgum and Asa Hutchinson are still running for president...

Trump will renew efforts to overturn ‘Obamacare’ if he wins in 2024

Tuesday 28 November 2023 16:56 , Oliver O'Connell

Former President Donald Trump threatened over the weekend to reopen the contentious fight over the Affordable Care Act after failing to repeal it while in the White House, saying he is “seriously looking at alternatives” if he wins a second term.

Trump’s comments drew a rebuke from Democratic President Joe Biden’s campaign, which cast them as another “extremist” proposal from the GOP front-runner. And they rapidly moved to mobilize a response, including new advertising in battleground states contrasting Biden’s efforts to lower drug costs with Trump’s comments.

“Donald Trump is campaigning on a threat to rip away health care from millions of Americans, so we’re going to use every tool in our arsenal to make sure the American people know that lives are literally on the line next November,” said Biden campaign communications director Michael Tyler.

Read the full article

Haley says Trump followed by ‘chaos’

Tuesday 28 November 2023 16:36 , Oliver O'Connell

GOP presidential hopeful Nikki Haley speaks during a campaign event on 27 November 2023, in Bluffton, South Carolina (AP)
GOP presidential hopeful Nikki Haley speaks during a campaign event on 27 November 2023, in Bluffton, South Carolina (AP)

Nikki Haley argued on Monday that former President Donald Trump causes too much chaos to be successful in a second White House term, reiterating her argument about the GOP front-runner at a large town hall in her home state of South Carolina.

The former governor and United Nations ambassador drew the largest crowd of her primary campaign so far as she tries to close the gap with Trump just weeks before the Iowa caucuses kick off the Republican nominating calendar.

Haley invoked her former boss saying as she has before that she believes Trump was “the right president at the right time” but that the time is now right for a new generation in US leadership.

“I agree with a lot of his policies, but the truth is, rightly or wrongly, chaos follows him,” Haley said. “We have too much division in this country, and too many threats around the world to be sitting in chaos once again.”

About 2,500 people attended the event at a satellite campus of the University of South Carolina along the state’s southern coast. Half that number watched her event from video screens outside the venue after it reached capacity. Hours ahead of Monday’s start time, the line for attendees wrapped around the venue, which the campaign said had to be changed from its original location due to demand.

Her staff has cast her campaign as being on a rising trajectory and pointed to growing crowds in recent weeks as she gets new attention from voters and donors looking for a Trump alternative.

Fulton County: Judge to consider motions to extend pretrial deadlines

Tuesday 28 November 2023 16:16 , Oliver O'Connell

At the next hearing in the sprawling Fulton County election subversion hearing, Judge Scott McAfee will also hear motions to extend the deadlines for discovery and pretrial motions.

The hearing is scheduled for 1.30pm on Friday 1 December.

Full story: In bid to beat Trump Republican megadonor Koch network backs Haley over DeSantis

Tuesday 28 November 2023 16:04 , Oliver O'Connell

The Republican donor network controlled by billionaire Charles Koch is getting off the sidelines and backing Nikki Haley for the 2024 Republican nomination, a major boon for her campaign as she battles with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for the runner-up spot.

Americans for Prosperity Action announced on Monday that it was throwing its support behind Ms Haley’s campaign in what is sure to have been a major disappointment for Mr DeSantis, who had long been considered Donald Trump’s main rival for the GOP nomination but has seen his bid for the White House falter in the wake of Ms Haley’s rise.

John Bowden has the latest from Washington, DC:

Republican megadonor Koch network backs Haley over DeSantis in bid to beat Trump

Georgia election workers ask court to reject Giuliani request for bench trial

Tuesday 28 November 2023 15:53 , Oliver O'Connell

Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, the mother-daughter election workers who sued Rudy Giuliani for defamation and won, have asked the court to reject a request by the former New York mayor for a bench trial rather than a jury trial to determine damages.

The trial is scheduled to commence on 11 December and is expected to last four days.

Read the full filing here...

However, on Tuesday morning in a new filing, Mr Giuliani admitted that both of the plaintiffs are entitled to damages but does not want to give them a blank check.

The filing reads: “Defendant does not contest that Plaintiffs—based on the Court’s prior Orders with which Defendant disagrees—are entitled to at least nominal damages. Defendant also believes that the default orders establish that the acts complained of in the Complaint caused injuries. However, Plaintiffs are limited only to the specific acts that they pleaded and injuries they pleaded that resulted therefore and must prove the extent that Giuliani’s conduct proximately caused them.”

Here’s Alex Woodward’s previous reporting on the case:

Election workers who sued Giuliani awarded default judgment in defamation case

Fulton County: Judge allows Chesebro to travel to other election subversion probes

Tuesday 28 November 2023 15:33 , Oliver O'Connell

Fulton County’s Judge Scott McAfee has modified the probation conditions of former Donald Trump co-defendant Kenneth Chesebro allowing him to travel to “meet with counsel” in other jurisdictions conducting 2020 election subversion investigations beyond Georgia’s.

A new court filing states that he can visit Nevada, Arizona, and Washington, DC.

Mr Chesebro is one of four out of 19 original Trump co-defendants in the sprawling racketeering case in Georgia who pleaded guilty and struck a cooperation deal with prosecutors from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s office.

The one-time lawyer to the former president pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy to file false documents. He is known as the architect of the “fake electors” scheme to keep Mr Trump in the White House after the 2020 election.

Here’s Alex Woodward’s report on Mr Chesebro’s guilty plea:

Kenneth Chesebro pleads guilty in Georgia election subversion case

Haley earns backing of Koch-supported anti-Trump group

Tuesday 28 November 2023 15:15 , Oliver O'Connell

The anti-Trump Republican group backed by billionaire Charles Koch has thrown its support behind former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley in the 2024 primaries — in a blow to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis whom the group once supported.

“When we announced our decision to engage in our first ever Republican presidential primary, we made it clear that we’d be looking for a candidate who can turn the page on our political dysfunction — and win. It’s clear that candidate is Nikki Haley,” Emily Seidel, senior advisor to AFP Action, said in a statement. “Nikki Haley represents a new generation of leadership and offers a bold, positive vision for our future. AFP Action is proud to be endorsing her and we will be doing everything we can to help make her the next President of the United States.”

“I’m honoured to have the support of Americans for Prosperity Action, including its millions of grassroots members all across the country,” Ms Haley said in a statement after the announcement. “AFP Action’s members know that there is too much at stake in this election to sit on the sidelines. This is a choice between freedom and socialism, individual liberty and big government, fiscal responsibility and spiralling debt. We have a country to save, and I’m grateful to have AFP Action by our side.”

There was a bitter response from the DeSantis camp from communications director Andrew Romeo: “Congratulations to Donald Trump on securing the Koch endorsement. Like clockwork, the pro-open borders, pro-jail break bill establishment is lining up behind a moderate who has no mathematical pathway of defeating the former president. Every dollar spent on Nikki Haley's candidacy should be reported as an in-kind to the Trump campaign. No one has a stronger record of beating the establishment than Ron DeSantis, and this time will be no different.”

Hunter Biden will testify to House panel in public

Tuesday 28 November 2023 14:55 , Oliver O'Connell

An attorney for Hunter Biden says the president’s youngest and only surviving son is willing to give evidence before the Republican-led House Oversight Committee, but only in a public hearing that would prevent GOP partisans from selectively leaking or distorting his words.

In a letter to Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, veteran Washington, DC attorney Abbe Lowell said Mr Biden was accepting the Kentucky Republican’s offer to appear before the panel on 13 December, the date by which the Yale-educated attorney and ex-lobbyist was required to comply with a subpoena compelling him to testify and turn over a range of documents to the committee.

“Mr. Chairman, we take you up on your offer,” said Mr Lowell, a partner at Winston and Strawn who has previously represented numerous high-profile figures during congressional investigations.

Andrew Feinberg has the latest from Washington, DC:

Hunter Biden will testify to House panel in ‘public proceeding,’ lawyer says

Robert De Niro left raging after anti-Trump speech censored at awards ceremony

Tuesday 28 November 2023 14:48 , Oliver O'Connell

An angry Robert De Niro didn’t hold back at the Gotham Awards after claiming his speech was censored to remove anti-Donald Trump remarks.

The Killers of the Flower Moon actor, who regularly criticises the former president, graced the stage at the New York City ceremony on Monday (27 November) to present a tribute award to Celine Song’s drama Past Lives.

De Niro, 80, was reading from the teleprompter when he realised a section had been omitted, so he proceeded to read the edited comments from his phone.

“The beginning of my speech was edited, cut out,” he said, adding: “I didn’t know about it.”

Jacob Stolworthy reports on what he said...

Robert De Niro left raging after anti-Trump speech censored

Univision anchor joins condemnation of channel’s friendly Trump interview

Tuesday 28 November 2023 14:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Univision anchor and reporter Jorge Ramos has joined the growing list of voices criticising his network’s recent airing of an interview with Donald Trump which was widely regarded as a PR spectacle and avoided serious questions.

The former president and current candidate for the Republican presidential nomination sat down with Enrique Acevedo earlier in November; their conversation marked the former president’s first formal interview with the Spanish-language broadcaster, as well as Univision’s first with any current or former Republican president. The questions posed to the former president stayed far away from interrogating his continued insistence of victory in the 2020 election and other sensitive topics.

What’s more, it was apparently attended in person by Univision corporate executives, a highly irregular move for any journalist sitting down with a political candidate.

John Bowden has the details.

Univision anchor joins condemnation of channel’s friendly Trump interview

Trump hints at using military to quell violence in Democratic cities

Tuesday 28 November 2023 14:10 , AP

Campaigning in Iowa this year, Donald Trump said he was prevented during his presidency from using the military to quell violence in primarily Democratic cities and states.

Calling New York City and Chicago “crime dens,” the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination told his audience, “The next time, I’m not waiting. One of the things I did was let them run it and we’re going to show how bad a job they do,” he said. “Well, we did that. We don’t have to wait any longer.”

Trump has not spelled out precisely how he might use the military during a second term, although he and his advisers have suggested they would have wide latitude to call up units. While deploying the military regularly within the country’s borders would be a departure from tradition, the former president already has signalled an aggressive agenda if he wins, from mass deportations to travel bans imposed on certain Muslim-majority countries.

A law first crafted in the nation’s infancy would give Trump as commander in chief almost unfettered power to do so, military and legal experts said in a series of interviews.

Read more...

Trump will testify again at his New York fraud trial

Tuesday 28 November 2023 13:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump will return to the witness stand next month in his civil fraud trial in New York as the final witness for the defence in a case that threatens his brand-building real estate empire.

His son Eric Trump will also testify a second time as their attorneys begin to close their case.

Donald Trump Jr testified as the first witness for the defence earlier this month.

Eric Trump is scheduled to testify on 6 December, and his father is scheduled to appear on the witness stand on 11 December, according to lead attorney Christopher Kise.

Alex Woodward reports.

Donald Trump will testify again at his New York fraud trial

Christie blames Trump for rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia in US

Tuesday 28 November 2023 13:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie accused Donald Trump of contributing to a rising trend of antisemitism and Islamophobia in the United States on Sunday.

The ex-governor appeared on CNN as reports emerged about the shooting of three college students in Burlington, Vermont, as they walked to a Thanksgiving dinner; reports indicated that the three were of Palestinian descent and were wearing traditional keffiyehs signaling their identities at the time of the shooting.

His rival for the 2024 GOP nomination, current frontrunner and former president Donald Trump, has long faced accusations of embracing the farthest-right wings of his party including white nationalists such as Nick Fuentes, who dined at Mar-a-Lago with the former president alongside Kanye West in 2022. Those critics who say he has not sought to distance himself from such figures first emerged in force after the Charlottesville riot in 2017, when white nationalists clashed with counterprotesters and a woman was killed when a neo-Nazi sympathiser hit her with a vehicle.

On Sunday, Mr Christie blamed his former ally for giving “permission” to racists and other forms of hatred in America by using intolerant language in public.

Read John Bowden’s full report.

Lawyers argue Trump can’t control fraud trial death threats

Tuesday 28 November 2023 12:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Attorneys for Donald Trump claim “there is no indication” he can “exercise any control” over the flood of threatening messages from his supporters to his fraud trial judge and his chief clerk, subjected to near-daily attacks and insults from the former president.

Mr Trump’s lawyers are urging a New York appeals court to permanently reject a gag order against their client during a civil fraud trial with his brand-building real estate empire at stake.

But a filing from lawyers for Judge Arthur Engoron and New York Attorney General Letitia James last week argued that a gag order is necessary to protect the safety of the court’s staff, with a sworn statement from the court system’s top security official revealing that “hundreds of threats, disparaging and harassing comments and antisemitic messages” followed Mr Trump’s attacks.

Alex Woodward reports.

Trump can’t control fraud trial death threats, lawyers argue

Are donors shunning the RNC over Trump?

Tuesday 28 November 2023 11:30 , Oliver O'Connell

The Republican National Committee’s war chest has plunged to its lowest levels in more than eight years amid reports that some donors are shunning the party over Donald Trump.

The RNC reported having $9.1m cash on hand in its latest filings to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), its lowest figure since early 2015.

By comparison, the party had $61m on hand one year out from the 2020 presidential election, and $20m at the same period in the 2016 cycle.

Donations from both wealthy and small-dollar donors are down significantly in recent years, GOP sources told The Washington Post.

Bevan Hurley reports.

RNC’s bank account hits lowest level in eight years

Trump exec says financial reports at heart of case are not done anymore

Tuesday 28 November 2023 10:30 , AP

Donald Trump’s company no longer prepares the sweeping financial statements that New York state contends were full of deceptive numbers for years, an executive testified Monday at the former president’s civil fraud trial.

Trump’s 2014 to 2021 “statements of financial condition” are at the heart of state Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit against him, his company and some of its key figures. The defendants deny wrongdoing, but James says they misled lenders and insurers by giving them financial statements that greatly inflated Trump’s asset values and overall net worth.

Nowadays, the Trump Organization continues to prepare various audits and other financial reports specific to some of its components, but “there is no roll-up financial statement of the company,” said Mark Hawthorn, the chief operating officer of the Trump Organization’s hotel arm.

He wasn’t asked why the comprehensive reports had ceased but said they are “not required by any lender, currently, or any constituency.”

Messages seeking comment on the matter were sent to spokespeople for the Trump Organization.

Hawthorn was testifying for the defense, which argues that various companies under the Trump Organization’s umbrella have produced reams of financial documents “that no one had a problem with,” as lawyer Clifford Robert put it.

A lawyer for James’ office, Andrew Amer, stressed that the suit is about Trump’s statements of financial condition, calling the other documents “irrelevant.”

Now finishing its second month, the trial is putting a spotlight on the real estate empire that vaulted Trump into public life and eventually politics. The former president and current Republican 2024 front-runner maintains that James, a Democrat, is trying to damage his campaign.

Trump asserts that his wealth was understated, not overblown, on his financial statements. He also has stressed that the numbers came with disclaimers saying that they weren’t audited and that others might reach different conclusions about his financial position.

During cross-examination, Hawthorn acknowledged that Trump’s financial statements could have been audited by the company, rather than just compiled, though he noted that auditing wasn’t required.

Judge Arthur Engoron, who will decide the verdict in the non-jury trial, has already ruled that Trump and other defendants engaged in fraud. The current proceeding is to decide the remaining claims of conspiracy, insurance fraud and falsifying business records.

James wants the judge to impose over $300 million in penalties and to ban Trump from doing business in New York — and that’s on top of Engoron’s pretrial order that a receiver take control of some of Trump’s properties. An appeals court has frozen that order for now.

AP

Fulton County: Judge allows Chesebro to travel to other election subversion probes

Tuesday 28 November 2023 09:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Fulton County’s Judge Scott McAfee has modified the probation conditions of former Donald Trump co-defendant Kenneth Chesebro allowing him to travel to “meet with counsel” in other jurisdictions conducting 2020 election subversion investigations beyond Georgia’s.

A new court filing states that he can visit Nevada, Arizona, and Washington, DC.

Mr Chesebro is one of four out of 19 original Trump co-defendants in the sprawling racketeering case in Georgia who pleaded guilty and struck a cooperation deal with prosecutors from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s office.

The one-time lawyer to the former president pleased guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy to file false documents. He is known as the architect of the “fake electors” scheme to keep Mr Trump in the White House after the 2020 election.

Here’s our earlier reporting on Mr Chesebro:

Kenneth Chesebro pleads guilty in Georgia election subversion case

Report: Trump’s pardon of drug dealer sabotaged major criminal investigation

Tuesday 28 November 2023 08:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump’s pardon of loan shark Jonathan Braun on his last day in office in 2021 “destroyed” a Department of Justice investigation, according to a report.

Braun was convicted of running an illegal marijuana cartel. He was one of the 142, including rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black, who were issued surprise pardons by Mr Trump in the waning hours of his presidency.

At the time of his pardon, Braun had served a quarter of his ten-year sentence.

The commutation of his sentence reportedly dealt a “substantial blow” to the Justice Department’s criminal investigation that was aimed at members of the predatory lending industry who harmed small businesses.

The New York Times report added that the commutation “destroyed” any leverage the government had in the investigation.

Maroosha Muzaffar reports:

Trump’s pardon of drug dealer sabotaged major criminal investigation, report says

Report: Trump could face more criminal charges over ‘fake electors’ scam

Tuesday 28 November 2023 06:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Four swing-states are reportedly still investigating the slates of so-called “fake electors” which Donald Trump allegedly hoped to use to falsely certify that he had won the 2020 election.

The results of those investigations could bring more charges down onto the already embattled former president, according to The Hill, which contacted numerous state attorneys general offices to determine if investigations were ongoing.

The investigations are being carried out while Mr Trump faces four criminal cases, including one in Georgia focused on his alleged efforts to steal the 2020 election.

Graig Graziosi filed this report over the weekend.

Trump hints at using military to quell crime in US cities

Tuesday 28 November 2023 04:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Campaigning in Iowa this year, Donald Trump said he was prevented during his presidency from using the military to quell violence in primarily Democratic cities and states.

Calling New York City and Chicago “crime dens,” the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination told his audience, “The next time, I’m not waiting. One of the things I did was let them run it and we’re going to show how bad a job they do,” he said. “Well, we did that. We don’t have to wait any longer.”

Trump has not spelled out precisely how he might use the military during a second term, although he and his advisers have suggested they would have wide latitude to call up units. While deploying the military regularly within the country’s borders would be a departure from tradition, the former president already has signaled an aggressive agenda if he wins, from mass deportations to travel bans imposed on certain Muslim-majority countries.

A law first crafted in the nation’s infancy would give Trump as commander in chief almost unfettered power to do so, military and legal experts said in a series of interviews.

Trump hints at using military to quell violence in Democratic cities

Trump tries to rewrite story of South Carolina football game

Tuesday 28 November 2023 03:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Former President Donald Trump and his loyal friend, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, seem to be promoting a different version of events after Mr Trump was booed at the South Carolina football game.

While videos captured Mr Trump being met with a cacophony of boos as he walked onto the field during halftime, he quickly tried to revise the incident.

On Truth Social, he reposted articles that said the crowds showed support. He posted one article alongside a quote, which read: “Trump cheered at football stadium, picks up slew of new endorsements in South Carolina.”

The former president posted in another post: “A Hero’s Welcome – President Trump Upstages Nikki Haley in South Carolina at Palmetto Bowl.”

Ms Greene also tried to rewrite the news of his poor reception.

Trump and Marjorie Taylor Greene try to rewrite story of South Carolina football game

Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity Action group plans won’t back Trump in 2024, report says

Tuesday 28 November 2023 02:30 , Oliver O'Connell

ABC News reported that Charles Koch’s Americans for Prosperity Action donor organisation will reportedly not throw its substantial wealth behind Donald Trump in 2024.

The organisation is reportedly planning to back another Republican candidate in the upcoming Iowa caucus on 15 January, though it is not clear who will receive the group’s support.

Americans for Prosperity reportedly has research that suggests “as many as 75% of Republicans just might be open to a Trump alternative if they think that that person can win,” according to ABC News Political Director Rick Klein.

‘He’s not busy’: Bob Woodward undermines Trump excuse for not giving back secret papers

Tuesday 28 November 2023 01:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Woodward, who has written four books focused on Mr Trump and serves as an associate editor of The Washington Post, sat down for an interview on MSNBC during which he recalled the former president frequently insisting he was “too busy” to talk for long, but ultimately would spend more time than Woodward had allotted chatting with him.

Bob Woodward undermines Trump excuse for not returning secret papers: ‘He’s not busy’

Univision anchor joins condemnation of channel’s friendly Trump interview

Tuesday 28 November 2023 01:01 , Graeme Massie

Prominent Latino Americans respond after Trump given airtime for fact-free campaigning.

Univision anchor joins condemnation of channel’s friendly Trump interview

Fulton County: Judge allows Chesebro to travel to other election subversion probes

Tuesday 28 November 2023 00:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Fulton County’s Judge Scott McAfee has modified the probation conditions of former Donald Trump co-defendant Kenneth Chesebro allowing him to travel to “meet with counsel” in other jurisdictions conducting 2020 election subversion investigations beyond Georgia’s.

A new court filing states that he can visit Nevada, Arizona, and Washington, DC.

Mr Chesebro is one of four out of 19 original Trump co-defendants in the sprawling racketeering case in Georgia who pleaded guilty and struck a cooperation deal with prosecutors from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s office.

The one-time lawyer to the former president pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy to file false documents. He is known as the architect of the “fake electors” scheme to keep Mr Trump in the White House after the 2020 election.

Here’s our earlier reporting on Mr Chesebro:

Kenneth Chesebro pleads guilty in Georgia election subversion case

Trump’s Jan 6 committee ‘fishing expedition’ denied by DC judge

Tuesday 28 November 2023 00:16 , Graeme Massie

Federal judge Tanya Chutkan denies former president’s attempt to subpoena ‘missing’ records.

Trump’s Jan 6 committee ‘fishing expedition’ denied by DC judge

Fulton County: Eastman tries to sever case from Trump

Tuesday 28 November 2023 00:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Former Trump lawyer John Eastman has asked Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee to split the remaining 15 defendants in the sprawling Georgia 2020 election interference case into two groups so that those not named Donald Trump and who are not the presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee can get their cases resolved earlier in 2024.

Currently, prosecutors led by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis want to try the remaining 15 defendants (down from 19 following four plea deals) together at a trial beginning on 5 August 2024.

Judge McAfee has previously said he would be open to splitting up the defendants to make things easier to handle administratively.

Monday 27 November 2023 23:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Trump boasts he has glowing health report thanks to ‘improved diet’

Full story: Donald Trump will testify again at his New York fraud trial

Monday 27 November 2023 23:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump will return to the witness stand next month in his civil fraud trial in New York as the final witness for the defence in a case that threatens his brand-building real estate empire.

His son Eric Trump will also testify a second time as their attorneys begin to close their case.

Donald Trump Jr testified as the first witness for the defence earlier this month.

Eric Trump is scheduled to testify on 6 December, and his father is scheduled to appear on the witness stand on 11 December, according to lead attorney Christopher Kise.

Alex Woodward filed this report.

ICYMI: Trump’s fraud trial court flooded with credible death threats and antisemitic abuse

Monday 27 November 2023 22:30 , Oliver O'Connell

A flood of credible death threats and antisemitic messages have inundated the judge and court staff overseeing Donald Trump’s fraud trial in New York, according to the court’s top public safety officer.

Judge Arthur Engoron and his clerk received “hundreds of threats, disparaging and harassing comments and antisemitic messages” that followed the former president’s harassment, according to a court filing to support a gag order that blocks Mr Trump from attacking the court’s staff.

Transcriptions of threatening voicemails after Mr Trump first targeted Judge Engoron’s chief clerk fill more than 275 single-spaced pages, according to Wednesday’s filing.

The threats against them are “serious and credible and not hypothetical or speculative,” according to the filing from Charles Hollon, an officer-captain with the court’s Department of Public Safety assigned to a judicial threats unit.

“You should be executed,” one message reads.

Trump’s fraud trial court flooded with credible death threats and antisemitic abuse

Georgia election workers ask court to reject Giuliani request for bench trial

Monday 27 November 2023 22:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, the mother-daughter election workers who sued Rudy Giuliani for defamation and won, have asked the court to reject a request by the former New York mayor for a bench trial rather than a jury trial to determine damages.

The trial is scheduled to commence on 11 December and is expected to last four days.

Read the full filing here...

Here’s Alex Woodward’s previous reporting on the case:

Election workers who sued Giuliani awarded default judgment in defamation case

Christie blames Trump for rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia in US

Monday 27 November 2023 22:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie accused Donald Trump of contributing to a rising trend of antisemitism and Islamophobia in the United States on Sunday.

The ex-governor appeared on CNN as reports emerged about the shooting of three college students in Burlington, Vermont, as they walked to a Thanksgiving dinner; reports indicated that the three were of Palestinian descent and were wearing traditional keffiyehs signaling their identities at the time of the shooting.

Read John Bowden’s full report.

DOJ files new documents relating to search warrant of Trump’s Twitter account

Monday 27 November 2023 21:43 , Oliver O'Connell

The Department of Justice has filed seven new redacted documents related to a search warrant on former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account.

The filings lay out some of what investigators were looking for, including searches conducted by the account.

Prosecutors also opposed Twitter notifying Mr Trump about the warrants arguing that it could “result in the destruction or tampering with evidence” and “intimidation of potential witnesses”.

Read the full filing here.

DC election subversion trial judge denies Trump attempt to subpoena more Jan 6 committee records

Monday 27 November 2023 21:36 , Oliver O'Connell

In the federal election interference case against Donald Trump, US District Judge Tanya Chutkan has denied an attempt by the former president’s defence team to subpoena additional records from the House select committee that investigated January 6.

In her ruling, Judge Chutkan says that partly because of the broad scope of the records they are asking for, the request from Mr Trump's attorneys looks less like a “good faith effort” and more like a “fishing expedition”.

Read the full ruling here.

George Santos set to be only third member of Congress expelled since 1861 — but when?

Monday 27 November 2023 21:30 , Gustaf Kilander

Scandal-plagued New York Rep George Santos looks set to join an exclusive group of people as he has acknowledged that he’s likely to be expelled from Congress.

“I know I’m going to get expelled when this expulsion resolution goes to the floor,” Mr Santos, 35, said last week in a broadcast on the X social media platform, formerly known as Twitter.

In the X Space event hosted by Monica Matthews, a rightwing personality, Mr Santos said, “I have done the math over and over and it doesn’t look really good”. But he claimed that he would wear his expulsion “like a badge of honour”.

The latest blow of many to Mr Santos’s short yet tumultuous political career came in the form of a 56-page report from the House Ethics Committee released earlier this month which outlined “substantial evidence” that Mr Santos violated federal law.

The report included allegations that Mr Santos used campaign money to pay for his personal expenses, such as Botox, and luxury purchases at Hermes and Ferragamo, as well as smaller sums spent on OnlyFans, food, parking, travel and rent.

The House can consider the motion to expel Mr Santos put forward by ethics panel chair GOP Rep Michael Guest as soon as Tuesday when lawmakers return from Thanksgiving break but when the vote may be taken up on the floor remains unclear.

Mr Santos would be the first member of the House to be removed in modern times without first having been convicted of a crime.

Only five representatives have ever been expelled from the House in the course of US history:

Bribes, treason and hay bales: The scattered history of expulsions from Congress

For 24 minutes a DeSantis aide lay ‘dead or dying’ outside governor’s office

Monday 27 November 2023 21:00 , Oliver O'Connell

A Ron DeSantis aide lay “dead or dying” in a governor’s office hallway for 24 minutes before anyone came to his aide, according to a report.

Peter Antonacci, 74, died on 23 September 2022 after “abruptly” leaving a meeting of the Office of Election Crimes and Safety, which the governor had appointed him to lead two months earlier.

Mr DeSantis created the office after one-term president Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud in his 2020 defeat to Joe Biden.

At the time of his death, officials said that Antonacci died “while at work in the Capitol building, of which the governor’s office is a part.”

Now the exact location has been revealed following a public records request by the Florida Bulldog, a non-profit news organisation in the state.

Graeme Massie reports.

DeSantis aide lay ‘dead or dying’ outside governor’s office for 24 minutes

NY fraud trial: Donald Trump to return to witness stand

Monday 27 November 2023 20:49 , Oliver O'Connell

As we near the end of the Trump Organization’s New York civil fraud trial, the defence team has announced that Eric Trump will return to the witness stand on 6 December, and Donald Trump will testify for the defence on 11 December.

Both have already testified as part of the plaintiff’s case. The defence says it will then rest.

Allowing time for closing arguments, the case is on track for a bench verdict before Christmas as expected.

Report: Trump’s pardon of drug dealer sabotaged major criminal investigation

Monday 27 November 2023 20:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump’s pardon of loan shark Jonathan Braun on his last day in office in 2021 “destroyed” a Department of Justice investigation, according to a report.

Braun was convicted of running an illegal marijuana cartel. He was one of the 142, including rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black, who were issued surprise pardons by Mr Trump in the waning hours of his presidency.

At the time of his pardon, Braun had served a quarter of his ten-year sentence.

The commutation of his sentence reportedly dealt a “substantial blow” to the Justice Department’s criminal investigation that was aimed at members of the predatory lending industry who harmed small businesses.

The New York Times report added that the commutation “destroyed” any leverage the government had in the investigation.

Maroosha Muzaffar reports.

Trump’s pardon of drug dealer sabotaged major criminal investigation, report says

Fulton County: Judge allows Chesebro to travel to other election subversion probes

Monday 27 November 2023 20:14 , Oliver O'Connell

Fulton County’s Judge Scott McAfee has modified the probation conditions of former Donald Trump co-defendant Kenneth Chesebro allowing him to travel to “meet with counsel” in other jurisdictions conducting 2020 election subversion investigations beyond Georgia’s.

A new court filing states that he can visit Nevada, Arizona, and Washington, DC.

Mr Chesebro is one of four out of 19 original Trump co-defendants in the sprawling racketeering case in Georgia who pleaded guilty and struck a cooperation deal with prosecutors from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s office.

The one-time lawyer to the former president pleased guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy to file false documents. He is known as the architect of the “fake electors” scheme to keep Mr Trump in the White House after the 2020 election.

Here’s our earlier reporting on Mr Chesebro:

Kenneth Chesebro pleads guilty in Georgia election subversion case

Are donors shunning the RNC over Trump?

Monday 27 November 2023 20:00 , Oliver O'Connell

The Republican National Committee’s war chest has plunged to its lowest levels in more than eight years amid reports that some donors are shunning the party over Donald Trump.

The RNC reported having $9.1m cash on hand in its latest filings to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), its lowest figure since early 2015.

By comparison, the party had $61m on hand one year out from the 2020 presidential election, and $20m at the same period in the 2016 cycle.

Donations from both wealthy and small-dollar donors are down significantly in recent years, GOP sources told The Washington Post.

Bevan Hurley reports.

RNC’s bank account hits lowest level in eight years

NY fraud trial: Judge rejects adding independent monitor as defence witness

Monday 27 November 2023 19:48 , Oliver O'Connell

Justice Arthur Engoron has rejected adding Retired US Judge Barbara Jones as a last-minute defence witness.

He says that an independent monitor is an arm of the court and cannot be questioned. He raises the possibility of conflict issues.

“I hereby preclude their testimony,” he rules.

Monday 27 November 2023 19:40 , AP

Hawthorn was testifying for the defense, which argues that various companies under the Trump Organization’s umbrella have produced reams of financial documents “that no one had a problem with,” as lawyer Clifford Robert put it.

A lawyer for James’ office, Andrew Amer, stressed that the suit is about Trump’s statements of financial condition, calling the other documents “irrelevant.”

Now finishing its second month, the trial is putting a spotlight on the real estate empire that vaulted Trump into public life and eventually politics. The former president and current Republican 2024 front-runner maintains that James, a Democrat, is trying to damage his campaign.

Trump asserts that his wealth was understated, not overblown, on his financial statements. He also has stressed that the numbers came with disclaimers saying that they weren’t audited and that others might reach different conclusions about his financial position.

During cross-examination, Hawthorn acknowledged that Trump’s financial statements could have been audited by the company, rather than just compiled, though he noted that auditing wasn’t required.

Judge Arthur Engoron, who will decide the verdict in the non-jury trial, has already ruled that Trump and other defendants engaged in fraud. The current proceeding is to decide the remaining claims of conspiracy, insurance fraud and falsifying business records.

James wants the judge to impose over $300 million in penalties and to ban Trump from doing business in New York — and that’s on top of Engoron’s pretrial order that a receiver take control of some of Trump’s properties. An appeals court has frozen that order for now.

AP

Trump exec says financial reports at heart of case are not done anymore

Monday 27 November 2023 19:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump’s company no longer prepares the sweeping financial statements that New York state contends were full of deceptive numbers for years, an executive testified Monday at the former president’s civil fraud trial.

Trump’s 2014 to 2021 “statements of financial condition” are at the heart of state Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit against him, his company and some of its key figures. The defendants deny wrongdoing, but James says they misled lenders and insurers by giving them financial statements that greatly inflated Trump’s asset values and overall net worth.

Nowadays, the Trump Organization continues to prepare various audits and other financial reports specific to some of its components, but “there is no roll-up financial statement of the company,” said Mark Hawthorn, the chief operating officer of the Trump Organization’s hotel arm.

He wasn’t asked why the comprehensive reports had ceased but said they are “not required by any lender, currently, or any constituency.”

Messages seeking comment on the matter were sent to spokespeople for the Trump Organization.

Continued...

Updated: Trump can’t control fraud trial death threats, lawyers argue

Monday 27 November 2023 19:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Attorneys for Donald Trump claim “there is no indication” he can “exercise any control” over the flood of threatening messages from his supporters to his fraud trial judge and his chief clerk, subjected to near-daily attacks and insults from the former president.

Mr Trump’s lawyers are urging a New York appeals court to permanently reject a gag order against their client during a civil fraud trial with his brand-building real estate empire at stake.

But a filing from lawyers for Judge Arthur Engoron and New York Attorney General Letitia James last week argued that a gag order is necessary to protect the safety of the court’s staff, with a sworn statement from the court system’s top security official revealing that “hundreds of threats, disparaging and harassing comments and antisemitic messages” followed Mr Trump’s attacks.

In response on Monday, Mr Trump’s attorneys appeared to downplay such threats, claiming that the “sole cognizable justification” to gag the former president “is that an unknown third party may react in a hostile or offensive manner” to his speech.

Alex Woodward reports from New York.

Trump can’t control fraud trial death threats, lawyers argue

Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity Action group plans won’t back Trump in 2024, report says

Monday 27 November 2023 19:00 , Graig Graziosi

ABC News reported that Charles Koch’s Americans for Prosperity Action donor organisation will reportedly not throw its substantial wealth behind Donald Trump in 2024.

The organisation is reportedly planning to back another Republican candidate in the upcoming Iowa caucus on 15 January, though it is not clear who will receive the group’s support.

Americans for Prosperity reportedly has research that suggests “as many as 75% of Republicans just might be open to a Trump alternative if they think that that person can win,” according to ABC News Political Director Rick Klein.

Monday 27 November 2023 18:34 , Oliver O'Connell

...but when will he go?That still seems unclear:

Analysis: The incredible rise and dramatic fall of George Santos

Monday 27 November 2023 18:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Bevan Hurley writes:

Congressman George Santos’ tenure has been anything but dull — his rise to power and fall from grace have been equally mired in controversy.

After less than two years in Congress, his list of lies and scandals appears to have finally grown too long for him to defend anymore, as he announced he wouldn’t seek re-election in 2024 after the release of a damning House Ethics Committee report.

The committee said it found “substantial evidence” that Mr Santos had broken federal laws after finding “additional uncharged and unlawful conduct,” which included using campaign funds to make purchases at Hermes, Sephora and OnlyFans.

In 2022, Mr Santos was elected as the Republican Party’s first openly gay, non-incumbent member of Congress, and touted himself as a living embodiment of the American dream.

But he has since been exposed as a serial fabricator, and now an accused criminal.

Here’s what we know about the rise and demise of George Anthony Devolder Santos.

Continued...

The incredible rise and dramatic fall of George Santos

NY fraud trial: Trump to call former judge and independent monitor to testify

Monday 27 November 2023 18:10 , Oliver O'Connell

The Trump defence team in his New York civil fraud trial plans to call former US Judge Barbara Jones, who is serving as an independent monitor of the Trump Organization, to testify as a witness.

However, back in August, Ms Jones called out the company for not having “consistently provided all required annual and quarterly certifications attesting to the accuracy of certain financial statements”.

Trump hints at role for the military quelling violence in US if re-elected

Monday 27 November 2023 18:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Campaigning in Iowa this year, Donald Trump said he was prevented during his presidency from using the military to quell violence in primarily Democratic cities and states.

Calling New York City and Chicago “crime dens,” the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination told his audience, “The next time, I’m not waiting. One of the things I did was let them run it and we’re going to show how bad a job they do,” he said. “Well, we did that. We don’t have to wait any longer.”

Trump has not spelled out precisely how he might use the military during a second term, although he and his advisers have suggested they would have wide latitude to call up units. While deploying the military regularly within the country’s borders would be a departure from tradition, the former president already has signaled an aggressive agenda if he wins, from mass deportations to travel bans imposed on certain Muslim-majority countries.

A law first crafted in the nation’s infancy would give Trump as commander in chief almost unfettered power to do so, military and legal experts said in a series of interviews.

Read on...

Trump hints at using military to quell violence in Democratic cities

Meanwhile in Fulton County...

Monday 27 November 2023 17:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Former Trump lawyer John Eastman has asked Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee to split the remaining 15 defendants in the sprawling Georgia 2020 election interference case into two groups so that those not named Donald Trump and who are not the presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee can get their cases resolved earlier in 2024.

Currently, prosecutors led by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis want to try the remaining 15 defendants (down from 19 following four plea deals) together at a trial beginning on 5 August 2024.

Judge McAfee has previously said he would be open to splitting up the defendants to make things easier to handle administratively.

Trump and Marjorie Taylor Greene try to rewrite story of South Carolina football game

Monday 27 November 2023 17:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Former President Donald Trump and his loyal friend, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, seem to be promoting a different version of events after Mr Trump was booed at the South Carolina football game.

While videos captured Mr Trump being met with a cacophony of boos as he walked onto the field during halftime, he quickly tried to revise the incident.

On Truth Social, he reposted articles that said the crowds showed support. He posted one article alongside a quote, which read: “Trump cheered at football stadium, picks up slew of new endorsements in South Carolina.”

Kelly Rissman has the story.

Trump and Marjorie Taylor Greene try to rewrite story of South Carolina football game

Report: Trump could face more criminal charges over ‘fake electors’ scam

Monday 27 November 2023 17:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Four swing-states are reportedly still investigating the slates of so-called “fake electors” which Donald Trump allegedly hoped to use to falsely certify that he had won the 2020 election.

The results of those investigations could bring more charges down onto the already embattled former president, according to The Hill, which contacted numerous state attorneys general offices to determine if investigations were ongoing.

The investigations are being carried out while Mr Trump faces four criminal cases, including one in Georgia focused on his alleged efforts to steal the 2020 election.

The “fake elector” scheme was reportedly concocted by Mr Trump’s attorney, John Eastman, and boosted by other attorneys loyal to the former president. It hinged on then-Vice President Mike Pence choosing to certify the slates of Trump-loyalist “fake” electors in swing-states. The plotters theorised that it would allow Mr Pence to effectively force the election in Mr Trump’s favour, and in doing so disenfranchise all of the voters who selected Mr Biden.

Mr Pence has insisted that the plan was illegal and could not work, and instead chose to certify the true results of the election.

Graig Graziosi reports.

Trump could face more criminal charges over ‘fake electors’ scam, report says

NY fraud trial: Trump fraud trial lawyers file repsonse to ‘death threats’ affidavit

Monday 27 November 2023 16:58 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump’s lawyers in his New York fraud trial have responded to last week’s affidavit from court security regarding death threats and antisemitic abuse levelled at Justice Arthur Engoron and his staff, specifically his chief court.

In an exceptionally long filing, attorneys for the former president argue that the appeals court should continue to stay or reject the gag order imposed by the judge because Mr Trump has no ‘connection’ and doesn’t ‘exercise any control’ over threats that have overwhelmed the court.

More follows...

Trump’s fraud trial court inundated with credible death threats and antisemitic abuse

Monday 27 November 2023 16:30 , Oliver O'Connell

A flood of credible death threats and antisemitic messages have inundated the judge and court staff overseeing Donald Trump’s fraud trial in New York, according to the court’s top public safety officer.

Judge Arthur Engoron and his clerk received “hundreds of threats, disparaging and harassing comments and antisemitic messages” that followed the former president’s harassment, according to a court filing to support a gag order that blocks Mr Trump from attacking the court’s staff.

Transcriptions of threatening voicemails after Mr Trump first targeted Judge Engoron’s chief clerk fill more than 275 single-spaced pages, according to Wednesday’s filing.

The threats against them are “serious and credible and not hypothetical or speculative,” according to the filing from Charles Hollon, an officer-captain with the court’s Department of Public Safety assigned to a judicial threats unit.

“You should be executed,” one message reads.

Alex Woodward filed this report last week:

Trump’s fraud trial court flooded with credible death threats and antisemitic abuse

NY fraud trial: Week nine gets underway

Monday 27 November 2023 16:10 , Oliver O'Connell

Week nine of Donald Trump’s New York civil fraud trial is underway at the state’s Supreme Court in Lower Manhattan.

This is the third week of the defence case and on the witness stand today is Mark Hawthorn, the COO of Trump's hotels division.

Mr Hawthorn, a CPA who formerly worked at Ernst & Young, previously testified in New York Attorney General Letitia James’s case for the state, saying he was never directly involved in the creation of Mr Trump's financial statements.

As with other witnesses, the former president’s defence team turned questioning toward the argument that accountant Donald Bender of outside firm Mazars was fully aware of how things were valued by the company and did not raise any red flags.

Mr Hawthorn said if he had any accounting questions he would direct them to Mazars and he provided the firm with information about the hotels division for use in Mr Trump’s financial statements.

Alex Woodward, who is closely following the trial for The Independent, notes that coming up on the witness stand this week is former Trump Organization executive Patrick Birney.

Mr Birney previously testified that his boss Allen Weisselberg, former COO of the company, told him that Trump wanted to juice the numbers on his financial statements – one of the few moments from the trial that includes a direct link to the conspiracy.

Monday 27 November 2023 16:00 , Oliver O'Connell

The wife of a Republican politician in Iowa has been convicted of dozens of criminal charges related to a 2020 voter fraud scheme aimed at getting her husband into office.

Kim Phuong Taylor submitted absentee ballots on behalf of voters who had not given her permission to do so.

She was convicted of 52 counts in total, including 26 counts of providing false information in registering and voting, 23 counts of voter fraud, and three counts of fraudulently registering to vote. She could face up to five years in prison for each charge.

The Independent’s John Bowden has more:

Wife of Iowa GOP official found guilty on 52 counts of election fraud from 2020

Biden campaign hits back at Trump threat to Obamacare

Monday 27 November 2023 15:35 , Oliver O'Connell

Over Thanksgiving weekend, Donald Trump revived the Republican goal of rolling back the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare after the 44th president.

“The cost of Obamacare is out of control, plus, it’s not good Healthcare. I’m seriously looking at alternatives,” Mr Trump wrote on Truth Social on Saturday.

"We had a couple of Republican Senators who campaigned for six years against it, and then raised their hands not to terminate it,” the former president also wrote. “It was a low point for the Republican Party, but we should never give up!”

By 2022’s midterm elections, Republicans had largely dropped eliminating Obamacare it as a policy goal, having realised that pushing to take healthcare away from millions of Americans was not a vote winner.

President Joe Biden’s 2024 re-election campaign seized on the potential revival of the policy.

Biden campaign spokesman Ammar Moussa said in a statement: “40 million people — more than 1 in 10 Americans — have health insurance today because of the Affordable Care Act and Donald Trump just said he would try to rip it away if he returns to power. He was one vote away from getting it done when he was president — and we should take him at his word that he’ll try to do it again.”

Mr Trump would have to be elected president in 2024 with a Republican-controlled Congress in place in order to pursue eliminating the Affordable Care Act.

The law was signed by then-president Barack Obama in 2010 with his vice president, Mr Biden, by his side.

In 2017, an effort by then-president Trump and a Republican-led Congress fell short of repealing the law. The 2018 midterms saw a subsequent backlash against the party by voters and the loss of the House majority.

Trump lawyers dismiss death threats as ‘irrelevant’ to federal gag order

Monday 27 November 2023 15:25 , Oliver O'Connell

A wave of death threats and antisemitic and homophobic messages were sent to the judge overseeing Donald Trump’s fraud trial, as well as his chief clerk, according to a state court filing this week.

A filing to support New York Justice Arthur Engoron’s opposition to a freeze on a gag order in the case includes a statement from the court’s top security official, who has collected “hundreds of threats, disparaging and harassing comments and antisemitic messages” that followed the former president’s harassment.

Federal prosecutors – who are seeking a separate gag order – shared those threats with the federal appeals court judges who will decide whether Mr Trump should be gagged in his election interference case.

But on Friday, the former president’s attorneys dismissed those threats as “irrelevant”.

Read more from The Independent.

Trump’s attorneys in his New York fraud trial are targeting the accountants

Monday 27 November 2023 14:55 , Oliver O'Connell

Judge Arthur Engoron already found Donald Trump and his co-defendants liable for fraud outlined in New York Attorney General’s blockbuster lawsuit.

In the eighth week of a trial stemming from her bombshell complaint, attorneys for the former president have narrowed their defence: blame the accountants.

READ MORE:

Ex-Trump Organization executive breaks down during fraud trial testimony

Trump tries to explain why he keeps mixing up Obama and Biden

Monday 27 November 2023 14:38 , Oliver O'Connell

It’s Monday, the holiday weekend is officially over, and as millions of American shoppers take to the internet for Cyber Monday shopping deals, Donald Trump is back on Truth Social trying to explain away an apparent gaffe he keeps on making.

Here’s what the former president had to say this morning just after 8am:

Whenever I sarcastically insert the name Obama for Biden as an indication that others may actually be having a very big influence in running our Country, Ron DeSanctimonious and his failing campaign apparatus, together with the Democrat’s Radical Left “Disinformation Machine,” go wild saying that “Trump doesn’t know the name of our President, (CROOKED!) Joe Biden. He must be cognitively impaired.” No, I know both names very well, never mix them up, and know that they are destroying our Country. Also, and as reported, I just took a cognitive test as part of my Physical Exam, and ACED it. Also ACED (a perfect score!) one taken while in the White House. Biden should take one so we can determine why he wants Open Borders, No Energy Independence, A Woke Military, High Inflation, No Voter I.D., Men playing In Women’s Sports, Only Electric Cars & Trucks, A Weaponized DOJ/FBI, and so many other CRAZY things!!!

Here’s one of the latest incidents of him apparently confusing President Joe Biden with former President Barack Obama:

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

More context via media analyst and author, Brian Stelter:

Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity Action group plans won’t back Trump in 2024, report says

Monday 27 November 2023 14:00 , Graig Graziosi

ABC News reported that Charles Koch’s Americans for Prosperity Action donor organisation will reportedly not throw its substantial wealth behind Donald Trump in 2024.

The organisation is reportedly planning to back another Republican candidate in the upcoming Iowa caucus on 15 January, though it is not clear who will receive the group’s support.

Americans for Prosperity reportedly has research that suggests “as many as 75% of Republicans just might be open to a Trump alternative if they think that that person can win,” according to ABC News Political Director Rick Klein.

Trump could face more criminal charges over ‘fake electors’ scam, report says

Monday 27 November 2023 13:00 , Graig Graziosi

Four swing-states are reportedly still investigating the slates of so-called “fake electors” which Donald Trump allegedly hoped to use to falsely certify that he had won the 2020 election.

The results of those investigations could bring more charges down onto the already embattled former president, according to The Hill, which contacted numerous state attorneys general offices to determine if investigations were ongoing.

The investigations are being carried out while Mr Trump faces four criminal cases, including one in Georgia focused on his alleged efforts to steal the 2020 election.

READ MORE:

Trump could face more criminal charges over ‘fake electors’ scam, report says

Heckler shouts ‘armchair murderer’ at Biden as he shops in Nantucket

Monday 27 November 2023 12:00 , Graig Graziosi

As he spent Thanksgiving with his family, Joe Biden was heckled by a member of the public who called him an “armchair murderer”.

The president was pictured shopping with his granddaughter Maisy in Nantucket, Massachusetts, on Saturday, though did not respond when shouted questions at by bystanders.

According to the White House pool, Mr Biden visited several local shops on Nantucket, including a bookstore and Ralph Lauren outlet. He also appeared to stop for a milkshake at a local pharmacy.

READ MORE:

Heckler shouts ‘armchair murderer’ at Biden as he shops in Nantucket

Trump met by persistent booing at South Carolina college football game

Monday 27 November 2023 10:00 , Graig Graziosi

Donald Trump attended a beloved college football bowl game over the weekend at the alma mater of one of his chief rivals, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. Rather than showing up Ms Haley in her own home, he was greeted with a chorus of boos by the assembled football fans.

The scene played out during the Palmetto Bowl, a much-anticipated annual showdown between rivals Clemson University and the University of South Carolina.

Ms Haley is a graduate of Clemson University.

READ MORE:

Trump met by persistent booing at South Carolina college football game

Monday 27 November 2023 08:00 , Graig Graziosi

Bob Woodward undermines Trump excuse for not giving back secret papers: ‘He’s not busy’

Famed journalist Bob Woodward rejected the idea that Donald Trump was “too busy” to return boxes of classified documents that had been stored at Mar-a-Lago, recalling long conversations he had with the former president at the time while he was researching a book.

Woodward, who has written four books focused on Mr Trump and serves as an associate editor of The Washington Post, sat down for an interview on MSNBC during which he recalled the former president frequently insisting he was “too busy” to talk for long, but ultimately would spend more time than Woodward had allotted chatting with him.

READ MORE:

Bob Woodward undermines Trump excuse for not returning secret papers: ‘He’s not busy’

ICYMI: Trump’s Truth Social sues 20 media outlets over financial loss reports

Monday 27 November 2023 07:00 , Graig Graziosi

Donald Trump’s Truth Social platform has filed a lawsuit against 20 media organisations for making what it claims to be defamatory statements about the company’s financial losses.

In the lawsuit, filed in the 12th Judicial Court of Sarasota County, Florida, on Monday, Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) accuses the “reckless and malicious” outlets of falsely reporting that the company had lost $73m since its launch.

Trump’s Truth Social sues 20 media outlets over financial loss reports

Trump lawyers dismiss death threats as ‘irrelevant’ to federal gag order

Monday 27 November 2023 06:00 , Graig Graziosi

A wave of death threats and antisemitic and homophobic messages were sent to the judge overseeing Donald Trump’s fraud trial, as well as his chief clerk, according to a state court filing this week.

A filing to support New York Justice Arthur Engoron’s opposition to a freeze on a gag order in the case includes a statement from the court’s top security official, who has collected “hundreds of threats, disparaging and harassing comments and antisemitic messages” that followed the former president’s harassment.

Federal prosecutors – who are seeking a separate gag order – shared those threats with the federal appeals court judges who will decide whether Mr Trump should be gagged in his election interference case.

But on Friday, the former president’s attorneys dismissed those threats as “irrelevant”.

Read more from The Independent:

Trump lawyers dismiss death threats as ‘irrelevant’ to federal gag order

ICYMI: Rudy Giuliani sued for allegedly skipping out on $10k payment to accounting firm

Monday 27 November 2023 04:59 , Graig Graziosi

Rudy Giuliani is facing yet another lawsuit.

A former associate is suing him for $10,000, adding to the mountain of debt the former New York City mayor and Trump attorney is facing.

BST & Co. CPAs, LLP, an accounting firm based in Latham, New York, claims he had the company conduct an appraisal of his business interests while he separated from his wife, Judith Nathan, without paying them.

Including interest, the firm now seeks to recover about $25,000.

Michelle Del Rey reports: