Trump targets ‘young people’ in dark op-ed: Live

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Newsweek has published an op-ed by Donald Trump framed as an appeal for the votes of young people playing on their financial concerns and the cost of living causing Gen Z and Millennial couples to put their lives on hold in terms of marriage and further education.

He lays all the blame on President Joe Biden and his “war on young people” before taking a darker turn toward traditional Maga territory with boilerplate warnings about “the Radical Left”, violent crime, World War III, Critical Race Theory, transgenderism, drugs, and the southern border.

A recent poll suggested that more young voters are leaning toward the former president in the 2024 election.

In a court filing late on Monday, Mr Trump’s federal election interference case lawyers suggested that Mike Pence cooperated with federal prosecutors to avoid criminal charges for retaining classified documents. They refer to testimony he gave Special Counsel Jack Smith 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 investigation into the aftermath of the 2020 election, they allege.

Key Points

  • ‘I will make America great again for young people’ says Trump in dark Newsweek op-ed

  • 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

Voices: Trump’s Obamacare ‘repeal and replace’ revival is just a distraction from his revenge plans

Wednesday 29 November 2023 22:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Andrew Feinberg writes...

Remember “repeal and replace?”

For almost a decade, that was the mantra of the various Republicans in Washington who’d tasked themselves with the mission of eradicating Obamacare, the signature accomplishment of the nation’s first Black president.

And when Donald Trump moved into the White House along with Republican majorities in both the House and Senate in 2017, it looked as if this goal was within reach, even though it was never quite clear what the GOP would do to fulfill the “replace” part of their plan.

Similarly, it was never 100 per cent clear what the Republican objection to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was, particularly since the concept behind the legislation — mandating the purchase of private health insurance coverage in lieu of a government-run health care system like the NHS — was birthed in a GOP-aligned think tank and first implemented by then-Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney years before he and Mr Obama squared off in the 2012 general election.

To make a long story short, neither the “repeal” nor “replace” ever came together after the “repeal” part of the plan died at the hands (or more accurately, the downturned thumb) of the late Arizona Senator John McCain during one late July vote in 2017.

Read on to see how Mr Trump has revived the “long-dead, now quite unpopular GOP pipe dream”...

Trump’s ‘repeal and replace’ revival is just a distraction from his revenge plans

Democrats mock Biden impeachment inquiry as GOP trying to make Trump happy

Wednesday 29 November 2023 22:05 , Oliver O'Connell

The latest round of opposing claims to reality regarding the Biden impeachment inquiry played out in front of the cameras on Capitol Hill on Wednesday morning (29 November) as both Republicans and Democrats reacted to Hunter Biden’s acceptance of an offer to testify before the House Oversight Committee.

The president’s son called the bluff of House Republicans by agreeing to appear before the panel on 13 December at the invitation of committee Chair James Comer.

Earlier this month, Mr Comer issued subpoenas compelling testimony from Hunter Biden and his uncle, James Biden, as part of a long-running probe into President Joe Biden’s family — an investigation which has thus far produced no evidence that the 46th president violated any laws or was improperly influenced by any family member’s business interests. Mr Biden’s team has issued their own subpoenas.

The younger Mr Biden’s response, delivered via his lawyer this week, forced Republicans to quickly backtrack and insist that it was important to first have a closed-door deposition from the younger Mr Biden.

Each side took to morning cable news shows to argue their case before each party held their weekly congressional press conference to further push their point.

Read on...

Democrats mock Biden impeachment inquiry as GOP making Trump happy

Cheney: Trump knew he’d lost election but needed to go through ‘stages of grief’

Wednesday 29 November 2023 21:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy believed that Donald Trump had accepted his defeat in the 2020 election and was going through the “five stages of grief” in the days immediately following the contest, according to a new book by Liz Cheney.

The former House Republican conference chair is out with a new book, publishing on 5 December, revealing new insights from her time in the GOP caucus in the days leading up to and following the January 6 attack on Congress. In Oath and Honor, Ms Cheney writes that Mr McCarthy summed up then-president Trump’s mood to her after a meeting at Mar-a-Lago between the two men.

“He knows it’s over,” said the former speaker, according to excerpts published on Wednesday by CNN. “He needs to go through all the stages of grief.”

Despite that remark, Ms Cheney continues, Mr McCarthy went on national television and lied to the American people about the 2020 election results.

“McCarthy knew that what he was saying was not true,” she explained.

John Bowden reports.

Trump knew he’d lost election but needed to go through ‘stages of grief’, Cheney says

Wednesday 29 November 2023 21:28 , AP

Over the years, she and colleagues spoke enthusiastically among themselves about the potential for building on Deutsche Bank’s Trump ties. The bankers envisioned offering him estate planning services, presenting him investment options and netting more clients through word-of-mouth — “given the circles this family travels in, we expect to be introduced to the wealthiest people on the planet,” Vrablic wrote in a 2011 email.

She advocated within the bank for lending to Trump Organization ventures. In a 2012 email to then-Executive Vice President Ivanka Trump, Vrablic promised to ensure that a Deutsche Bank lending executive knew “how important you and your family’s business have become to the bank.”

Eventually, though, the bank started saying no. In 2016, when Donald Trump was on the campaign trail and his company sought a loan for its golf course in Turnberry, Scotland, the bank decided it didn’t “want to increase its exposure,” Vrablic testified.

“The bank felt that the increased exposure, scrutiny – it was an unprecedented situation to have a customer who was about to become president of the United States,” she said.

Judge Arthur Engoron will decide the verdict. He ruled before the trial that Trump and other defendants engaged in fraud and he ordered that a receiver take control of some of Trump’s properties, putting their future oversight in question. An appeals court has put that order on hold for now.

The trial concerns remaining claims of conspiracy, insurance fraud and falsifying business records. James is seeking more than $300 million in penalties and a ban on Trump doing business in New York.

Wednesday 29 November 2023 21:23 , AP

James maintains that Trump’s allegedly inflated financial statements were critical to netting his company the Deutsche Bank loans at favorable rates, saving him many millions of dollars in interest.

Trump says the financial statements actually underestimated his wealth and that a disclaimer on them absolves him of liability for any problematic figures. Trump, the current front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, claims that James, a Democrat, is trying to harm his prospects of returning to the White House.

Trump personally guaranteed the loans at issue — standard practice for loans made by Deutsche Bank’s division that caters to rich individuals, Vrablic said. The deals came with conditions about Trump’s net worth and, sometimes, liquidity, and they often required annual submissions of his financial statements.

Other current and former Deutsche Bank executives have testified that while they expected the information to be accurate, they came up with their own numbers.

Documents show the bank sliced Trump’s $4.2 billion estimate of his net worth to $2.4 billion when considering the Doral loan, for example. Asked Wednesday whether the cut had concerned her, Vrablic said that if the bank’s credit experts “were comfortable with it, I would be comfortable with it.”

The $125 million loan went ahead, with one banker writing in an email that Trump had “among the strongest personal balance sheets we have seen.” A top executive agreed to sign off but insisted on an “iron clad” guarantee from Trump.

Trump provided it, Vrablic said Wednesday.

Continued...

Wednesday 29 November 2023 21:18 , AP

The bank’s revenue from its Trump business shot up from about $13,000 in 2011 to a projected $6 million in 2013, according to a bank document prepared for the then-co-chairman, Anshu Jain, before a lunch with Trump in early 2013.

The briefing document suggested “key asks” for Jain to make: “Obtain more deposits and investment management assets,” and “strategically discuss leveraging Mr. Trump’s personal and professional network within the real estate industry in NY” for the bank’s benefit.

And how did it go?

“It was a very, very nice, productive lunch,” Vrablic recalled on the stand.

Behind the scenes, she told a colleague at the time in an email: “It went great. Donald was low key and demure. Unbelievable. The conversation was fantastic. Not sure he could do it again for a second meeting but hey … miracles can happen.”

Adding that the two were planning to golf together that spring, she wrote: “I bet the real D shows up for that one.”

The next year, her direct boss went to lunch with Trump to thank him and “ask whether we can work on other opportunities with them,” according to a document for that meeting.

Continued...

NY fraud trial: Deutsche Bank was keen to land a ‘whale’ of a client in Trump, documents show

Wednesday 29 November 2023 21:13 , AP

Deutsche Bank viewed Donald Trump as a “whale” of a client, was eager to land him and eagerly cultivated a relationship that grew from $13,000 worth of revenue to $6 million in two years, according to documents presented Wednesday at the former president’s civil fraud trial.

The bank’s dealings with Trump are a key issue in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit, which accuses Trump, his company and some executives of hoodwinking lenders and insurers by presenting them with grossly inflated statements of his asset values.

The defendants deny any wrongdoing. They have sought to show that the bank felt delighted, not deceived, by Trump and courted his business.

“We are whale hunting,” then-bank managing director Rosemary Vrablic wrote colleagues in November 2011, after she had been introduced to Trump’s son Donald Jr. but had yet to meet the elder Trump. The bankers used “whale” to refer to a very wealthy client, Vrablic testified Wednesday.

Vrablic first came into contact with the Trumps when they were looking for a loan to buy the Doral golf resort near Miami. Over the next three years, that contact blossomed into loans for that project, then two others in Chicago and Washington, as well as multimillion-dollar deposits in the bank.

Continued...

Gen Z voter group reacts to Trump op-ed pitching younger voters

Wednesday 29 November 2023 20:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Voters of Tomorrow, a Gen Z activist group, released the following statement in response to Donald Trump’s Newsweek op-ed targeting the younger electorate.

“Donald Trump is lying to young people again, but we are not falling for it. In his deeply misguided op-ed, he writes that young people would be better off electing him rather than Joe Biden in 2024. Trump also claims that young people thrived and prospered under his administration — and will once again if he takes back the White House.

“These are flat-out lies. But here are the facts: Donald Trump failed Gen Z when he was president. He tried to take away health care and food security for millions of us, allowed corporations to pollute our environment, rolled back gun violence prevention measures, targeted immigrant communities, and only served to benefit the richest, most privileged Americans. Not to mention, the former president’s far-right judicial appointments resulted in the Dobbs decision — a loss of our reproductive freedoms that has since fueled waves of high youth voter turnout in elections across the nation.

“In case Trump forgot, young voters played a key role in Republicans losing their congressional majority in 2018 and his loss to Joe Biden in 2020. And we will give him another taste of what it feels like to lose again in 2024.”

The group then fact-checked the assertions made by the former president in the article:

  • False: “Under Joe Biden, we are a nation in decline and rapidly losing the American Dream.”

  • True: Earlier in 2023, youth unemployment hit its lowest point in 70 years. The Biden-Harris Administration has delivered historic investments in American education, infrastructure, environment, and mental health care.

  • False: “Biden’s war on American energy is making everything more expensive.”

  • True: ​​The Biden-Harris Administration’s investments in clean energy, infrastructure, and semiconductor manufacturing will create millions of good jobs, including union jobs, with fair pay and safe working conditions.

  • False: “The Democrats’ radical promotion of Critical Race Theory, transgenderism, and other inappropriate racial, sexual, and political content in our schools has divided our communities and frayed the bonds of national unity.”

  • True: Trump’s racist, homophobic, and transphobic rhetoric harms young Americans and incites violence. Young people instead stand behind an agenda that advances LGBTQ+ equality, racial justice, educational freedoms, and inclusivity.

  • False: “Joe Biden’s unimaginable weakness on the world stage is threatening to drag the United States into World War III, which would devastate an entire generation of young Americans.”

  • True: The Pew Research Center reported a “decline in America’s global image during Donald Trump’s presidency and a rebound in ratings for the U.S. following the election of Joe Biden.”

  • False: “Next November, tens of millions of young Americans will be casting their vote to end Joe Biden’s failed presidency, and to finish the job of making America great again.

  • True: Young Americans defeated Trump once, and then we showed up again and again to defeat his ideology in elections across the nation. We will do so again in 2024.

In furious denial that he’s ‘cognitively impaired’, Trump claims he deliberately muddles Biden and Obama

Wednesday 29 November 2023 20:30 , 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.

“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.”

And he added: “No, I know both names very well, never mix them up, and know that they are destroying our Country.”

Graeme Massie has the story.

Trump claims he deliberately muddles Biden and Obama in furious denial

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

Wednesday 29 November 2023 20:00 , 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 full details

Which congressman called Trump ‘the orange Jesus’? Liz Cheney tells all...

Wednesday 29 November 2023 19:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Former Republican Representative Liz Cheney called Donald Trump‘s supporters in Congress “enablers and collaborators” in a new book, and revealed that at least one member called the former president “orange Jesus.”

Ms Cheney reportedly does not hold back from critiquing her former colleagues in the new book, Oath and Honor, according to CNN.

She claims that her fellow Republican lawmakers were “willing to violate their oath to the Constitution out of political expediency and loyalty to Donald Trump.”

The former congresswoman called the former president “the most dangerous man ever to inhabit the Oval Office”, and blasted her fellow Republicans for their “cowardice.”

Graig Graziosi reports on which of them called Mr Trump “Orange Jesus” behind his back...

GOP congressman called Trump ‘the orange Jesus’, new book claims

Univision’s friendly Trump interview condemned by star anchor

Wednesday 29 November 2023 19:30 , 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 story.

Univision anchor joins condemnation of channel’s friendly Trump interview

Trump claims he has done more for Black people than any other president

Wednesday 29 November 2023 19:11 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump — who is having an especially active day on Truth Social — is claiming that he has done more for Black people than any other president perhaps even including Abraham Lincoln. Here’s what the former president had to say:

Spoke with Mark Fisher yesterday, a great guy, very honored to have his and BLM’s support. I have done more for Black people than any other President (Lincoln?), including 10 year funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, where they had none, Opportunity Zones, Criminal Justice Reform, and much more. Thank you to Mark!

Mr Trump made the remarks in reference to an interview Mark Fisher, who was co-founder of Black Lives Matter Rhode Island, gave to Fox & Friends about Black voters who have left the Democratic Party.

DC judge denies Trump’s Jan 6 committee fishing expedition

Wednesday 29 November 2023 19:00 , Oliver O'Connell

The federal judge overseeing Donald Trump’s election interference case has rejected what she likened to a bad-faith “fishing expedition” for documents from the congressional committee that investigated the events surrounding the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.

US District Judge Tanya Chutkan shot down the attempt from the former president’s legal team to obtain what it labelled “missing” records from the committee, which had turned over reams of documents to federal archivists and publicly shared thousands of pages of transcripts from hearings and interviews as part of its mammoth report.

“The broad scope of the records that [Mr Trump] seeks, and his vague description of their potential relevance, resemble less ‘a good faith effort to obtain identified evidence’ than they do ‘a general ‘fishing expedition,’” the judge wrote in a filing on Monday.

Alex Woodward reports.

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

Students for Trump co-founder arrested

Wednesday 29 November 2023 18:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Ryan Fournier, the co-founder of Students for Trump, has been arrested in North Carolina on misdemeanour charges of assaulting a female and assault with a deadly weapon.

According to court records from Johnston County, Mr Fournier, 27, is accused of grabbing the woman by her right arm and striking her in the head with a 9mm SIG Sauer firearm on 21 November.

Axios reported that the woman involved in the attack sustained minor injuries in the incident. Identifying information for the woman has been redacted from court records.

The Independent has reached out to the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office for additional details.

Michelle Del Rey has more details in this report.

Lincoln Project responds as Trump paints dark economic picture

Wednesday 29 November 2023 18:39 , Oliver O'Connell

Ramaswamy political director joining Trump campaign, report says

Wednesday 29 November 2023 18:35 , Oliver O'Connell

Per The Messenger:

A former top aide to GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy is leaving his campaign this week to join Donald Trump’s re-election effort, The Messenger learned Wednesday.

Brian Swensen, Ramaswamy’s national political director, confirmed that he will take a new job working closely with Trump campaign senior adviser Susie Wiles in the upper echelon of the Trump campaign. Swensen directed further questions to the Trump and Ramaswamy campaigns.

The move is a blow to Ramaswamy, who soared to prominence over the summer but has struggled to maintain his momentum in the Republican primary. Ramaswamy is polling at around 5% in support in the average of national Republican polling compiled by 538. Trump’s lead in the race has climbed to about 60% nationwide, according to 538.

Christie blames Trump for rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia

Wednesday 29 November 2023 18:30 , 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 report by John Bowden.

Sununu reveals who he’ll vote for in Trump-Biden matchup

Wednesday 29 November 2023 18:15 , Oliver O'Connell

New Hampshire’s moderate Republican governor has walked a fine line as a centre-right Republican in a party that is trending more and more to the extremes.

For example, while criticising the implementation of Mr Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill over what he viewed as insufficient highway funds for his state, for example, the governor also issued a stern rebuke aimed at members of his own party’s conservative wing who sought retribution against those members who had voted for the legislation.

John Bowden reports on what he said when asked about a Trump-Biden showdown in 2024...

Moderate GOP governor reveals who he’ll vote for in Trump-Biden matchup

Full story: Trump vows to save young voters from ‘crushed dreams’ in op-ed

Wednesday 29 November 2023 18:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump has argued in a Newsweek op-ed that President Joe Biden is “crushing” the dreams of young people with “debt, taxes, and inflation,” claiming that he’s “paving the way for a future of anger and despair”.

The oped, titled I Will Make America Great Again for Young People, was published early on Wednesday and is a raging screed against what the former president calls Mr Biden’s “reign of failure, incompetence, and corruption”.

For his part, Mr Trump became the first president to leave office with fewer jobs than when he entered since the presidency of Herbert Hoover which coincided with the Great Depression. Economists have said that Mr Trump’s lack of leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic made the financial impact of the health crisis worse, pointing to policies that helped the wealthy and international trade plans that pushed away US allies and hurt domestic industries.

In the face of all this, Mr Trump still wrote in Newsweek that his administration “created the strongest and most prosperous economy in the history of the world”.

Gustaf Kilander has the full story.

Trump vows to save young voters from ‘crushed dreams’ in op-ed

Biden impeachment inquiry like GOP ensuring Trump ‘being fed’ at Mar-a-Lago

Wednesday 29 November 2023 17:28 , Oliver O'Connell

This morning, Democratic rep and House caucus chair Pete Aguilar mocked the Biden impeachment inquiry as yet another Republican attempt to make former president Donald Trump happy comparing it to former Speaker Kevin McCarthy allegedly going to visit a depressed Mr Trump who had stopped eating after the January 6 Capitol riot.

Meanwhile, at this morning’s Republican House leadership press conference, Arthur Delaney of HuffPost asked an important question about the inquiry and the alleged facts surrounding it:

There were duelling narratives on cable news this morning.

Elise Stefanik was on Fox Business with Maria Bartiromo arguing why Republicans want a closed-door deposition of Hunter Biden and not a public televised hearing as he has requested, calling their bluff:

And over on MSNBC, Reps Dan Goldman and Jared Moskowitz explained that if Republicans had a shred of evidence against the president and his son, they would be more than willing to get it out in public:

Jimmy Kimmel mocks Marjorie Taylor Greene’s request to be on his show

Wednesday 29 November 2023 17:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel roasted Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene after the congresswoman requested to be on his show.

Rep Greene sarcastically asked Mr Kimmel if she could go on his show in a thinly-veiled effort to promote her new book, MTG.

“Hey @jimmykimmel since most of your show content is your nonstop lies about me, why don’t you have me on your show? I’ll bring you a copy of my book and we can chat about what needs to happen to SAVE AMERICA!” she tweeted on 22 November.

But Mr Kimmel did not seem receptive to the idea on Monday night.

Martha McHardy reports.

Jimmy Kimmel brutally shuts down Marjorie Taylor Greene’s request to be on his show

Jamie Dimon: ‘Help’ Nikki Haley’s 2024 primary run

Wednesday 29 November 2023 16:51 , Oliver O'Connell

Per CNBC:

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has a message for some of the world’s wealthiest corporate leaders: Help Nikki Haley’s presidential campaign.

“Even if you’re a very liberal Democrat, I urge you, help Nikki Haley, too. Get a choice on the Republican side that might be better than [Donald] Trump,” Dimon said Wednesday at a conference hosted by The New York Times’ DealBook franchise.

Present in the audience for Dimon’s remarks was a who’s who of Wall Street titans, including hedge fund veteran Bill Ackman. Billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk, media titan David Zaslav and Disney CEO Bob Iger were all scheduled to speak later in the day.

Dimon was clearly addressing his remarks to the people in the room, and not to all liberal Democrats.

As Trump rages about Biden economy, Q3 growth revised up

Wednesday 29 November 2023 16:45 , Oliver O'Connell

As Donald Trump rages about the economy under Joe Biden in an effort to win over young people who read Newsweek, the US Bureau of Economic Analysis has revised up Q3 2023 growth figures for the US economy from 4.9 per cent to 5.2 per cent.

White House officials are understandably thrilled...

Democrats jump on Trump comments on healthcare

Wednesday 29 November 2023 16:15 , Oliver O'Connell

As NBC News’s Garrett Haake notes, it’s “definitely been a messaging gift for Dems” and fits well into their narrative of mocking Republicans for being so unproductive.

Trump breaks silence on Koch network’s endorsement of Nikki Haley

Wednesday 29 November 2023 16:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump has broken his silence on the Charles Koch-controlled Republican donor network, Americans for Prosperity Action, announcing it is throwing its support behind former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley in the party’s 2024 presidential primary.

Here’s what the former president had to say on Truth Social this morning:

The Globalist Koch Fake “Network,” Americans for China Prosperity, who constantly admit that they did better in Business under President Trump than EVER BEFORE, have decided to back Nikki “Birdbrain” Haley over Ron DeSanctimonious, a minor hit for Ron. I was never in the running because I’m all about Making America, not the outside World, Great Again! These losers have fought me from 2016 to the present. They are bad for our Country, and so is a very weak and ineffective Birdbrain, who still says that “President Trump was a GREAT President, I will never run against him.” She’s down 50 Points, she better start running FAST!

John Bowden filed this report earlier this week:

Republican megadonor network backs Haley over DeSantis

Speaking of dark things and World War III

Wednesday 29 November 2023 15:41 , Oliver O'Connell

Vladimir Putin will not consider ending his invasion of Ukraine until he knows the result of the 2024 US presidential election, a senior official from the Joe Biden administration has said.

Experts have said Russia appears content to grind down Ukraine’s resolve in the conflict rather than risk losing yet more troops in an all-out assault, and that wearing down the patience of Kyiv’s Western allies appears to be a key part of that strategy.

Since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion, the Biden administration has dedicated over $60bn in aid to Ukraine, with a significant portion exceeding the $43bn budget allocated for military assistance. Further funding is being held up by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, with Democrats outraged by the latest GOP efforts to tie Ukraine aid to a crackdown on immigration to the US.

A senior US State Department official made the suggestion after a meeting of Nato foreign ministers in Brussels during which they agreed that a peace agreement between Ukraine and Russia was unlikely to come within the next year.

“My expectation is that Putin won’t make a peace or a meaningful peace before he sees the result of our election,” said the official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Read Shweta Sharma’s full report.

‘I will make America great again for young people’ says Trump in dark Newsweek op-ed

Wednesday 29 November 2023 15:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Newsweek has published a Donald Trump bylined op-ed that is framed as an appeal for the votes of young people (who famously read Newsweek).

It is ostensibly an economic argument centred on financial concerns and the cost of living causing Gen Z and Millennial couples to put their lives on hold in terms of marriage, further education etc and “you practically have to be a rich person to afford a new car”. Obviously, he blames all of this on Joe Biden.

The article takes a darker turn toward traditional Maga territory with boilerplate Trump speech warnings about “the Radical Left”, violent crime, World War III, Critical Race Theory, and transgenderism.

You can read the full piece here.

Wednesday 29 November 2023 15:00 , Oliver O'Connell

And finally... Mr Trump offered his take on the latest testimony in his civil fraud trial in New York from a senior banker at Deutsche Bank:

The big and respected bank yesterday said the loans were great, they got their money, and that I did nothing wrong. There was no defaults, no “nothing.” This is a RIGGED AND VICTIMLESS CASE THAT SHOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN BROUGHT by the Corrupt New York State Attorney General and her Puppet Judge. Election Interference and WEAPONIZATION of JUSTICE. DISGRACEFUL! VIOLENT CRIME AT AN ALL TIME HIGH, BUSINESSES FLEEING NEW YORK!

The former president will be the final witness for the defence on 11 December, as Alex Woodward reports:

Donald Trump will take the stand again at fraud trial

The trial resumes at 10am ET today at the New York State Supreme Court in Lower Manhattan. Stay tuned for the latest developments...

Wednesday 29 November 2023 14:56 , Oliver O'Connell

The former president then doubled down on his threat to turn the justice system against his political foes, namely President Joe Biden, if he retakes the White House in 2024. He accused Mr Biden of persecuting him by suing him “wherever and whenever possibl” and said such actions have opened “a very big and dangerous Pandora’s Box” saying Democrats should “be careful what you wish for”.

I’m 12 Points up on Crooked Joe Biden - But he’s got the Justice Department and others suing me wherever and whenever possible - WEAPONIZATION, it’s called, and maybe that can make a difference. This has never been done on this scale before, not in our Country, but it opens up a very big and dangerous Pandora’s Box. Joe Biden should stop his Election Interfering Thugs before it is too late for him and the rest of the Country. As the leader of the Opposition Party, I should not be forced to campaign from inside a courthouse, which is very doable, but not very Democratic or convenient. This is where they want me to spend my time and money, but is not the way our system is supposed to work. If they filed these cases years ago, which they could have, this would not be a problem. But they want it to be a problem because they are BAD! Voters have, and will, reject it. To ALL Democrats, be careful what you wish for. God Bless America!

It’s not the first time Mr Trump has made these threats, as Rachel Sharp reported earlier this month:

Trump says he would weaponise DOJ and FBI against political enemies

Wednesday 29 November 2023 14:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Obviously, Mr Trump took a couple of potshots at two of his rivals for the Republican nomination (though has stayed silent on Nikki Haley winning the backing of Charles Koch):

Ron DeSanctimonious has become an Absentee Governor of Florida, never there, not working. The same thing happened to Sloppy Chris Christie. He failed in New Jersey, and left with an 8% approval rating, lowest ever for a governor. Get back to Florida, Ron, and do what you campaigned on, which was NOT running for President. Fix the highest in the Nation Insurance problem. Oh, and you’re 54 Points down!

More on Haley’s political win over DeSantis:

Republican megadonor network backs Haley over DeSantis

Wednesday 29 November 2023 14:48 , Oliver O'Connell

Former president Trump then called on New York Mayor Eric Adams and Andrew Cuomo to fight against the Adult Survivors Act under which they were all accused of sexual assault (Trump by E Jean Carroll):

I hope that Mayor Eric Adam’s, Andrew Cuomo, and all of the others that got sued based on this ridiculous law where someone can be sued decades later, and with no proof, will fight it on being totally unfair and UNCONSTITUTIONAL. I got sued, decades later (she has no idea when her made up event took place!), by a woman - I HAD NO IDEA WHO SHE WAS. It was a made up fairytale that was brought and funded by political operatives for purposes of Election Interference.

Here’s more on where the E Jean Carroll case stands now:

Judge rejects Trump’s ‘frivolous’ fourth attempt to block E Jean Carroll case

Wednesday 29 November 2023 14:42 , Oliver O'Connell

Mr Trump then shared his thoughts on healthcare:

Getting much better Healthcare than Obamacare for the American people will be a priority of the Trump Administration. It is not a matter of cost, it is a matter of HEALTH. America will have one of the best Healthcare Plans anywhere in the world. Right now it has one of the WORST!

I don’t want to terminate Obamacare, I want to REPLACE IT with MUCH BETTER HEALTHCARE. Obamacare Sucks!!!

More on that here:

Trump will renew efforts to overturn ‘Obamacare’ if he wins second term

Wednesday 29 November 2023 14:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Next up Mr Trump attacked MSNBC for being critical of him:

MSNBC (MSDNC) uses FREE government approved airwaves, and yet it is nothing but a 24 hour hit job on Donald J. Trump and the Republican Party for purposes of ELECTION INTERFERENCE. Brian Roberts, its Chairman and CEO, is a slimeball who has been able to get away with these constant attacks for years. It is the world’s biggest political contribution to the Radical Left Democrats who, by the way, are destroying our Country. Our so-called “government” should come down hard on them and make them pay for their illegal political activity. Much more to come, watch!

Here’s a compilation video Morning Joe put together of all his recent gaffes:

Last night on Truth Social was... a lot...

Wednesday 29 November 2023 14:38 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump has been on quite a social media spree over the past twelve hours railing against the criminal and civil cases against him, MSNBC, healthcare, the Adult Survivors Act, Ron DeSantis and Chris Christie (no surprises there), before threatening President Joe Biden hot on the heels of his own threats to weaponise the justice system against his enemies.

Let’s recap by starting at the beginning with his catch-all complaint about the cases against him:

All of these Fake Lawsuits against me are the work of the Radical Left Democrat Party. They could have been brought years ago, but they waited and waited, and brought them right in the middle of my very successful campaign for President - Strictly Third World Country “Stuff.” The good news is that the PEOPLE get what is going on and want to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN - AND WILL!!!

Cheney: McCarthy visited Mar-a-Lago after Jan 6 because Trump was depressed

Wednesday 29 November 2023 14:09 , Oliver O'Connell

And had stopped eating?

Io Dodds reports:

Republican house speaker Kevin McCarthy visited Donald Trump three weeks after January 6th because he was "depressed" and "not eating" following his election defeat, a new book has claimed.

In her new memoir, former congresswoman Liz Cheney accuses her fellow Republicans of "cowardice" and "craven" behaviour in going along with Mr Trump's claims of a stolen election despite knowing they were nonsense.

In one passage, she describes confronting McCarthy, who was then speaker of the House of representatives, about his decision to visit the president's estate at Mar-a-Lago so soon after the violence at the Capitol.

"Mar-a-Lago? What the hell, Kevin?" Ms Cheney reports asking McCarthy, according to extracts seen by CNN.

Continue reading:

McCarthy visited Mar-a-Lago after Jan 6 because Trump was depressed, book claims

Watch: Cheney writes Speaker Johnson wanted Trump’s flattery and will do what he wants in 2024

Wednesday 29 November 2023 13:45 , Oliver O'Connell

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

Wednesday 29 November 2023 13:15 , 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.

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)
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

Wednesday 29 November 2023 12:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Stay in school kids...

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.”

Mr McCarthy, who was voted out of his job in October, was so proud of his assertion that he went on to post a video clip on Elon Musk’s X social media platform, with the caption “Think for one moment.”

Graeme Massie explains why what he said was so wrong:

GOP considers holding formal vote to authorise Biden impeachment

Wednesday 29 November 2023 21:11 , AP

House Republicans are considering holding a formal vote next month to authorize the impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden as the party looks to legitimize a process that has yet to yield any direct evidence of wrongdoing by the president.

GOP leaders floated the possibility of a vote during a closed-door meeting with Republican lawmakers Wednesday morning, according to a person familiar with the private discussion who was granted anonymity to discuss it.

The possible reversal from House Republicans comes amid a growing standoff with the White House over requests for information related to Biden and his family. Republican leaders have long said a vote on the impeachment investigation was unnecessary, but are reconsidering as White House lawyers use the lack of formal House authorization to argue that the entire investigation lacks “constitutional legitimacy.”

Yet holding a vote on the impeachment investigation would be a high-stakes gambit by House Republican leadership, with no guarantee of success, given their narrow 222-213 majority. With Democrats united against the impeachment push, GOP leaders would need near-unanimous support from their side for the vote to succeed.

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

Wednesday 29 November 2023 12:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Something special for your Maga-loving uncle and aunt...

Wednesday 29 November 2023 11:45 , Oliver O'Connell

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 takes a look at what’s on offer:

Trump campaign unveils new mugshot-themed wrapping paper

Nikki Haley scores support of anti-Trump megadonor Koch

Wednesday 29 November 2023 11:00 , 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 Tuesday 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.

“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,” CEO Emily Siedel said. “We can’t keep looking to the politicians of the past to fix the problems of today. 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.”

Read on...

Republican megadonor network backs Haley over DeSantis

Report: Trump could face even more criminal charges

Wednesday 29 November 2023 09:45 , 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 has the story.

Trump could face even more criminal charges, report warns

ICYMI: Trump will take the stand again at fraud trial

Wednesday 29 November 2023 08:30 , 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.

Click here for the full details.

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

Wednesday 29 November 2023 06:30 , 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 story.

Iowa evangelical leader explains Trump’s big 2024 problem

In furious denial that he’s ‘cognitively impaired’, Trump claims he deliberately muddles Biden and Obama

Wednesday 29 November 2023 04:30 , 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.

Read more...

Trump claims he deliberately muddles Biden and Obama in furious denial

Trump puts re-litigating 2020 election back on table

Wednesday 29 November 2023 03:30 , 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. US Department of Justice special counsel Jack Smith argues that Mr Trump ignored those findings in his multi-state campaign to reverse the outcome.

Read the full report by Alex Woodward

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

Wednesday 29 November 2023 02:30 , 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 full story.

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

Obamacare under threat again if Trump wins in 2024

Wednesday 29 November 2023 01:30 , 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.

The back-and-forth points to what could be a key issue in a general election rematch between Trump and Biden if both win their parties’ nominations, as is widely expected.

Trump will renew efforts to overturn ‘Obamacare’ if he wins second term

Lawyers argue Trump can’t control fraud trial death threats

Wednesday 29 November 2023 00:30 , 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.

Read more...

Univision anchor joins condemnation of channel’s friendly Trump interview

Tuesday 28 November 2023 23:30 , 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 reports.

Univision anchor joins condemnation of channel’s friendly Trump interview

Watch: Cheney writes Speaker Johnson wanted Trump’s flattery and will do what he wants in 2024

Tuesday 28 November 2023 23:00 , Oliver O'Connell

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

Tuesday 28 November 2023 22:30 , Oliver O'Connell

The federal judge overseeing Donald Trump’s election interference case has rejected what she likened to a bad-faith “fishing expedition” for documents from the congressional committee that investigated the events surrounding the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.

US District Judge Tanya Chutkan shot down the attempt from the former president’s legal team to obtain what it labelled “missing” records from the committee, which had turned over reams of documents to federal archivists and publicly shared thousands of pages of transcripts from hearings and interviews as part of its mammoth report.

“The broad scope of the records that [Mr Trump] seeks, and his vague description of their potential relevance, resemble less ‘a good faith effort to obtain identified evidence’ than they do ‘a general ‘fishing expedition,’” the judge wrote in a filing on Monday.

Alex Woodward has the details.

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

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