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Haley hammers ‘unhinged’ Trump and ‘failed’ Biden in defiant speech vowing to stay in 2024 race: Live

Ahead of a major address, Nikki Haley told The Associated Press that she will not leave the Republican primary election regardless of the result in South Carolina this Saturday, vowing to stay in the 2024 race at least until after Super Tuesday on 5 March.

The former governor and UN ambassador has yet to win any state against frontrunner Donald Trump.

Ms Haley made headlines over the weekend by declining to say she would endorse Mr Trump but promising to pardon him if she entered the White House.

The former president reacted furiously to those comments, appearing to object to Ms Haley effectively “legitimising” the criminal cases against him, contrary to his baseless insistence that they are all part of a conspiracy being orchestrated by President Joe Biden and his myriad enemies.

In her remarks on Tuesday lunchtime, Ms Haley attacked both Mr Biden and Mr Trump for their respective ages and condemned their records in the White House — the former for inflation and the crisis at the border, and the latter for his myriad of legal problems and his callous insults directed at military heroes.

Key Points

  • Haley vows to keep fighting Trump

  • Trump ally Scott calls on ‘desperate’ Haley to drop out ahead of South Carolina

  • Trump lashes out at Haley after she declines to say she would endorse him as Republican nominee

  • House lawmakers leave for recess without voting on Ukraine and Israel aid bill

  • Joe Manchin 'will not run for president as a third-party candidate’

Poll: Haley has support of moderates and liberals in South Carolina

20:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Undeterred by a series of legal battles, former president Donald Trump maintains a substantial lead over Nikki Haley, his last remaining 2024 GOP competitor, in her home state of South Carolina, a new poll shows.

The Suffolk University/USA Today poll shows the former president with 63 per cent support from South Carolina primary voters — or those who said they are “very likely” to vote. The former South Carolina governor had 35 per cent support.

Mr Trump has an overall lead in the state but certain populations prefer Ms Haley over the Republican frontrunner, according to the poll.

Kelly Rissman looks at the numbers:

Moderates and liberals support Haley in South Carolina, says new poll

Watch: Haley accuses Trump of trying to hold a Soviet-style election

20:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Watch: Who would Biden rather run against?

19:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Navalny issued chilling warning about second Trump term

19:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Alexei Navalny issued a chilling warning about what a second presidential term for Donald Trump could mean in one of his final letters before he died in an Arctic prison last week.

The staunch opponent of Vladmir Putin also read voraciously from Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Chekhov and Solzhenitsyn to occupy his mind and prevent himself from sinking into despair amid the brutal conditions in which he was held.

In one 3 December letter to Evgeny Feldman, a photographer who covered his attempted run for president in 2018 and now lives in exile in Latvia, Navalny wrote that he feared that if anything should happen to President Joe Biden – a distinct possibility, he felt, given the American’s advanced age – “Trump will become president”.

To Navalny, a second Mr Trump term was a “really scary” prospect for the wider world.

Continue reading...

Navalny issued chilling warning about second Trump term in final letters from prison

Watch: Biden campaign to ramp up highlighting Trump’s inflammatory statements

19:24 , Oliver O'Connell

...which is not exactly how it was reported by CNN this lunchtime.

Although worth pointing out that it was a direct quote from a source:

Who’s speaking at CPAC this weekend?

19:00 , Oliver O'Connell

The annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) returns once more this week for another serving of Republican grandstanding, grievance-airing and merchandise shilling.

The four-day event that bills itself as the “largest and most influential gathering of conservatives in the world” returns to the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, just outside of Washington DC, from Wednesday 21 February to Saturday 24 February.

Brace yourselves libs, you’re about to get well and truly owned, writes Joe Sommerlad:

Who’s speaking at CPAC? All the scheduled presenters

What is Haley’s gameplan?

18:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Former White House staffer turned pundit and presenter Alyssa Farah Griffin believes she knows what Nikki Haley’s gameplan is going forward:

Voices: Who would pay $99 to smell like Donald Trump?

18:30 , Oliver O'Connell

“I thought the most outlandish celebrity-scented product I’d see in my lifetime was Gwyneth Paltrow marketing a candle called This Smells Like My Vagina on her website Goop for $75,” writes Rowan Pelling.

“But, in a race to the, um, bottom, no one’s going to outdo the nuclear levels of toxic chutzpah wielded by Donald Trump.

“The former president’s riposte to being fined $355m and deemed malodorous by former GOP congressman Adam Kinzinger is to launch Victory47, a new fragrance in For Him and For Her versions, at a mere $99 a pop.”

Who’d pay $99 to smell like Donald Trump? Eau d’Insurrection, anyone…?

DeSantis announces media availability... in South Carolina?

18:05 , Oliver O'Connell

White House to hit Russia with ‘major sanctions’ in response to Navalny’s death

18:00 , Oliver O'Connell

The White House has announced that a new package of sanctions against Russia is set to go into effect following the death of opposition leader Aleksei Navalny in a prison camp in the Arctic Circle.

The administration said the package would be released on Friday. This comes after President Joe Biden’s comments to reporters on Monday that he was considering new sanctions.

“We already have sanctions, but we are considering additional sanctions, yes,” he said.

On Friday, Mr Biden blamed the death of Mr Navalny on Russian President Vladimir Putin, noting that while the US was unsure what took place, it was “a consequence of something that Putin and his thugs did”.

Gustaf Kilander reports:

White House to hit Russia with ‘major sanctions’ in response to Navalny’s death

Watch: Emotional moment Haley chokes back tears talking about deployed husband

17:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Defiant Haley insists she doesn’t fear Trump’s retribution as she vows to stay in race

17:42 , Oliver O'Connell

Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley delivered a defiant speech ahead of her home state’s primary on Saturday and insisted that she will not leave even if she loses the primary.

Ms Haley, who won two terms as governor of South Carolina, insisted that even if she loses the primary she does not fear former president Donald Trump’s retribution, citing the fact that only three states have voted so far in the primary contests and that plenty of Republican primary voters are on her side.

“That’s why I refuse to quit. South Carolina will vote on Saturday. But on Sunday, I’ll still be running for president. I’m not going anywhere,” she said at a speech in Greenville on Tuesday.

Eric Garcia watched the former UN ambassador’s remarks:

Defiant Haley insists she doesn’t fear Trump’s retribution: ‘I’m not going anywhere’

17:25 , Oliver O'Connell

The truth is, Americans already know what Joe Biden and Donald Trump will do. But we’re just as concerned with who they are. They’re dividers at a time when America desperately, urgently, needs a uniter.

All they do is turn us against each other. Trump calls his fellow Americans vermin. Biden calls his fellow Americans fascists. Trump and Biden don’t just demand that people pick sides. They demand that their followers hate the other side.

Look where that’s gotten us. Congress is too divided and broken to do its job. Families won’t even talk to each other at the dinner table. We’re separating into opposing camps that view each other as un-American, if not downright evil.

These are dangerous times. The most important thing we must do is regain our focus and shared sense of purpose. The worst thing we can do is become even more distracted and divided.

17:22 , Oliver O'Connell

Trump and Biden are two old men who are only getting older. Nearly 60% of Americans say Trump and Biden are both too old to be president—because they are. We’ve all seen them fumble their words and get confused about world leaders. That’s not who you want in the Oval Office when Russia launches a nuclear weapon at our satellites or China shuts down our electricity grid.

We’re talking about the most demanding job in human history. You don’t give it to someone who’s at risk of dementia. You give it to someone who is disciplined—someone who can work day and night for eight years straight. No vendettas. No drama. Just results.

Even if Trump and Biden weren’t too old—and again, they are—Americans still oppose them because we know what they’ll do. They’ve already done tremendous damage—and they’re just getting started.

17:22 , Oliver O'Connell

After bashing President Biden about the border, Ms Haley turned her focus to Mr Trump calling him “unhinged” and focused on the past and not the future.

It’s not normal to insult our military heroes and veterans. It’s not normal to spend fifty million dollars in campaign donations on personal court cases. It’s not normal to threaten the people who back your opponent. And it’s not normal to call on Russia to invade NATO countries. Donald Trump has done all that and more in just the last month.

Look, I’ve said it many times -- I think Donald Trump was the right president at the right time. But times change—and so has Trump. He’s gotten more unstable and unhinged. He spends more time in courtrooms than on the campaign trail. He refuses to debate. He’s completely distracted. And everything is about him. He’s so obsessed with his own demons from the past, he can’t focus on delivering the future Americans deserve.

17:18 , Oliver O'Connell

Nikki Haley tells a crowd of supporters: “South Carolina will vote on Saturday. But on Sunday, I’ll still be running for president. I’m not going anywhere.”

She jokes regarding the attacks she and Donald Trump have made at each other: “Some people used to say I was running because I really wanted to be Vice President. I think I’ve pretty well settled that question.”

“We don’t anoint kings in this country. We have elections. And Donald Trump, of all people, should know we don’t rig elections!” Ms Haley says.

Of the current president, she says: “First thing’s first: Joe Biden is doing more damage to himself than any Republican could ever do. Every time he opens his mouth, he sounds like his mind is closing up shop.”

Watch LIVE: Nikki Haley speaks after vowing to stay in presidential race

16:58 , Oliver O'Connell

16:45 , AP

Trump not happy

Trump, in recent days, has shown flashes of fury in response to Haley’s refusal to cede the nomination.

He called her “stupid” and “birdbrain” in a social media post over the weekend and his campaign released a memo ahead of her speech on Tuesday predicting that she would be forced out of the race after losing her home state on Saturday.

“The true ‘State’ of Nikki Haley’s campaign?” Trump’s campaign chiefs wrote. “Broken down, out of ideas, out of gas, and completely outperformed by every measure, by Donald Trump.”

Eager to pivot toward a general election matchup against Biden, the Republican former president is taking aggressive steps to assume control of the Republican National Committee, the GOP’s nationwide political machine, which is supposed to stay neutral in presidential primary elections. Last week, Trump announced plans to install his campaign’s senior adviser Chris LaCivita, as RNC’s chief operating officer and daughter-in-law Lara Trump as the committee’s co-chair.

And there is every expectation that current Chair Ronna McDaniel will step down after Trump wins South Carolina’s primary and party officials will ultimately acquiesce to Trump’s wishes. Privately, Haley’s team concedes there is nothing it can do to stop the Trump takeover.

In the interview, Haley warned her party against letting Trump raid the RNC’s coffers to pay for his legal fees while taking a short-term view of Trump’s political prospects.

Trump’s standing will fundamentally change if he is a convicted felon before Election Day, Haley said, acknowledging that such an outcome is a very real possibility as Trump navigates 91 felony charges across four separate criminal cases.

“People are not looking six months down the road when these court cases have taken place,” Haley said. “He’s going to be in a courtroom all of March, April, May and June. How in the world do you win a general election when these cases keep going and the judgments keep coming?”

As for her path forward, Haley said she’s focused only on her plans through Super Tuesday. As for staying in the race through the July convention, she said she hasn’t thought that far ahead.

Some voters wish she would.

Gil White, a 75-year-old Republican veteran from James Island, South Carolina, said he was a Trump loyalist until the former president criticized Haley’s husband, a military serviceman, last week.

“For him to disparage a military man in deployment is just too much,” White said while attending a Haley rally in Kiawah Island over the weekend.

He acknowledged concerns about Haley’s chances against Trump, but said he wants her to stay in the race even if she continues to lose.

“I want the choice,” he said.

16:35 , AP

Haley’s campaign raised $5 million in a fundraising swing after her second-place finish in New Hampshire that included stops in Texas, Florida, New York, and California, Perez-Cubas said. Her campaign raised $16.5 million in January alone — her best fundraising month ever — which includes $2 million in small-dollar donations online in the 48 hours after Trump threatened to “permanently bar” Haley supporters from his MAGA movement.

Haley raised another $1 million last week in the 24 hours after Trump attacked her husband, a military serviceman currently serving overseas.

The lone member of Congress who has endorsed Haley, Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., insisted that she would stay in the race even if she is blown out in South Carolina, a state where she lives and served two terms as governor.

“Obviously, you want to win them all, but for those who say it’s going to embarrass her, or end her political career, I disagree. She’s willing to take that risk,” Norman said in an interview. “I think it’s a courageous thing she’s doing.”

Moving forward, Haley’s team is especially focused on several Super Tuesday states with open or semi-open Republican primaries that allows a broader collection of voters to participate — especially independents and moderates — instead of just hardcore conservatives.

Continued...

16:25 , AP

Haley’s Hurdles

History would suggest Haley has no chance of stopping Trump. Never before has a Republican lost even the first two primary contests, as Haley has by an average of 21 points, and gone on the win the party’s presidential nomination. Polls suggest she is a major underdog in her home state on Saturday and in the 16 Super Tuesday contests to follow. And since he announced his first presidential bid in 2015, every effort by a Republican to blunt Trump’s rise has failed.

Yet she is leaning into the fight.

Lest anyone question her commitment, Haley’s campaign is spending more than $500,000 on a new television advertising campaign set to begin running Wednesday in Michigan ahead of the state’s Feb. 27 primary, according to spokesperson Olivia Perez-Cubas. At the same time, the AP has obtained Haley’s post-South Carolina travel schedule that features 11 separate stops in seven days across Michigan, Minnesota, Colorado, Utah, Virginia, Washington, D.C., North Carolina and Massachusetts.

The schedule also includes at least 10 high-dollar private fundraising events.

Indeed, Haley’s expansive base of big- and small-dollar donors is donating at an extraordinary pace despite her underwhelming performance at the polls. That’s a reflection of persistent Republican fears about Trump’s ability to win over independents and moderate voters in the general election and serious concerns about his turbulent leadership should he return to the White House.

“I’m going to support her up to the convention,” said Republican donor Eric Levine, who co-hosted a New York fundraiser for Haley earlier this month. “We’re not prepared to fold our tents and pray at the alter of Donald Trump.”

“There’s value in her sticking in and gathering delegates, because if and when he stumbles,” Levine continued, “who knows what happens.”

Levine is far from alone.

Continued...

Haley vows to keep fighting Trump

16:15 , AP

There are no wins on the horizon for Nikki Haley.

Those close to the former United Nations ambassador, the last major Republican candidate standing in Donald Trump’s path to the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination, are privately bracing for a blowout loss in her home state’s primary election in South Carolina on Saturday. And they cannot name a state where she is likely to beat Trump in the coming weeks.

But ahead of a major address on Tuesday, Haley told The Associated Press that she will not leave the Republican primary election regardless of Saturday’s result. And backed by the strongest fundraising numbers of her political career, she vowed to stay in the fight against Trump at least until after Super Tuesday’s slate of more than a dozen contests on March 5.

“Ten days after South Carolina, another 20 states vote. I mean, this isn’t Russia. We don’t want someone to go in and just get 99% of the vote,” Haley said. “What is the rush? Why is everybody so panicked about me having to get out of this race?”

In fact, some Republicans are encouraging Haley to stay in the campaign even if she continues to lose — potentially all the way to the Republican National Convention in July. Her continued presence could come in handy in the event that the 77-year-old former president, perhaps the most volatile major party front-runner in U.S. history, becomes a convicted felon or stumbles into another major scandal.

As Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement presses for her exit, a defiant Haley will outline her rationale for sticking in the race for the foreseeable future Tuesday afternoon in South Carolina. In an interview ahead of the speech, she highlighted Trump’s legal exposure and criticized MAGA activists who say she’s hurting Trump’s chances against President Joe Biden in the general election by refusing to drop out.

“That’s about the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. If I get out of the race today, it will be the longest general election in history,” Haley said.

She also pushed back when asked if there is any primary state where she can defeat Trump.

“Instead of asking me what states I’m gonna win, why don’t we ask how he’s gonna win a general election after spending a full year in a courtroom?”

Full story: Biden campaign and Democrats raise $42m in January ‘driven by grassroots’

16:00 , Oliver O'Connell

The Biden campaign and the Democratic Party raised more $42m in January in a fundraising haul “driven by” grassroots efforts, officials said.

The Democrats now have $130m in cash on hand as the general election season is set to be one of the longest in recent memory.

Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said in a statement that “January’s fundraising haul – driven by a powerhouse grassroots fundraising program that continues to grow month by month – is an indisputable show of strength to start the election year”.

Gustaf Kilander reports from Washington, DC:

Biden campaign and Democrats raise $42m in January ‘driven by grassroots’

Watch: Haley adamant she is staying in race

15:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Pelosi speaks out on Putin’s leverage over Trump: ‘It’s probably financial’

15:30 , Joe Sommerlad

Here’s more vitriol from the former House speaker against the Republican.

Shweta Sharma has this report on Pelosi invoking the kompromat alluded to in the Steele dossier way back in 2016.

Pelosi speaks out on Putin’s leverage over Trump: ‘It’s probably financial’

15:15 , AP

While the Bidens will be pursuing deep-pocketed donors this week, the campaign points to the number of smaller donations it has raised as an encouraging sign for the president.

The campaign says 97% of the 3 million donations it has received thus far were under $200 each. Biden has also received pledges from 158,000 “sustaining donors” who have committed to donating on a monthly basis — more than double the amount Biden had at this point in the 2020 cycle.

Those totals include donations to Biden’s political operation and to a network of joint fundraising arrangements with the national and state Democratic parties. Biden’s 2020 campaign raised over $1bn, and could need even more in a likely Trump rematch.

“This haul will go directly to reaching the voters who will decide this election,” said Biden campaign senior communications adviser TJ Ducklo.

Biden heads to California to rev up his fundraising

15:10 , AP

President Joe Biden heads to California on Tuesday looking to soak up more cash for his reelection bid during a three-day swing through the state.

Going into the trip, Biden's campaign and the Democratic National Committee announced Tuesday that they had collected $42m in contributions during January from 422,000 donors. Biden ended January with $130m in cash on hand. Campaign officials said that is the highest total amassed by any Democratic candidate at this point in the cycle.

Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez called the haul "an indisputable show of strength to start the election year.”

“While Team Biden-Harris continues to build on its fundraising machine, Republicans are divided – either spending money fighting Donald Trump, or spending money in support of Donald Trump’s extreme and losing agenda," she said.

The campaign will need to keep fundraising for what is expected to be a hotly contested and expensive battle with former President Trump, who has emerged as the GOP's likely nominee.

This week’s trip to Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area will mark Biden’s third visit to California in just over two months for political events. He’s trying to make up for lost time after largely avoiding the Democratic donor stronghold during last year’s strikes by the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA.

Biden heads first to Los Angeles, where he will take part in a fundraiser. He’ll also make campaign stops in San Francisco and Los Altos Hills this week and deliver a policy speech near Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Biden made a quick visit to Los Angeles earlier this month for a meeting with supporters in the city’s upscale Bel Air neighborhood. He and first lady Jill Biden also spent a weekend in December in the Los Angeles area for campaign events.

The first lady is traveling Tuesday to Guilford, Connecticut, to hold a campaign fundraiser on behalf of her husband.

Continued...

House sets up bipartisan task force on AI

15:00 , Oliver O'Connell

The House of Representatives has set up a bipartisan task force on AI with a mandate to produce a comprehensive report with “guiding principles, forward-looking recommendations and bipartisan policy proposals.”

“Because advancements in artificial intelligence have the potential to rapidly transform our economy and our society, it is important for Congress to work in a bipartisan manner to understand and plan for both the promises and the complexities of this transformative technology,” said Speaker Mike Johnson. “I am happy to announce with Leader Jeffries this new Bipartisan Task Force on Artificial Intelligence to ensure America continues leading in this strategic arena.

“Led by Rep Jay Obernolte (R-Ca) and Rep Ted Lieu (D-Ca), the Task Force will bring together a bipartisan group of Members who have AI expertise and represent the relevant committees of jurisdiction. As we look to the future, Congress must continue to encourage innovation and maintain our country’s competitive edge, protect our national security, and carefully consider what guardrails may be needed to ensure the development of safe and trustworthy technology.”

“Congress has a responsibility to facilitate the promising breakthroughs that artificial intelligence can bring to fruition and ensure that everyday Americans benefit from these advancements in an equitable manner,” said Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

New poll: Trump leads Haley 2-1 in South Carolina

14:45 , Oliver O'Connell

A new poll by Suffolk University and USA Today has found that among likely voters in South Carolina, Donald Trump is leading Nikki Haley by approximately 2-1, with the former president getting 63 per cent of the vote and the former UN ambassador and two-term governor of the state getting 35 per cent.

Per USA Today:

“The story of this poll is the depth of strength shown by Trump,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. The former president holds double-digit advantages among men and women, in every age group, and among both high school graduates and those with a college degree.

Mr Trump’s lead didn’t even appear dented among military households after his comments about Ms Haley’s husband who is currently deployed overseas.

The poll was conducted from 15-18 February with 500 respondents contacted by either cellphone or landline.

Pelosi brands Trump Putin’s ‘buddy in vileness’ after self-serving response to Navalny death

14:30 , Joe Sommerlad

Donald Trump has been branded Vladimir Putin’s “buddy in vileness” by former House speaker Nancy Pelosi, incensed by the ex-president’s self-serving comments about the suspicious death of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny last week.

Mr Trump waited three days before saying anything about the heroic politician’s passing in an Arctic prison and when he did, rather than paying tribute or condemning Mr Putin, the candidate used the case to draw a ludicrous parallel with his own legal plight.

“Trump speaking out the way he did about Navalny shows you he is a person without values,” Ms Pelosi told Jen Psaki on MSNBC on Monday evening.

“He looks like he’s going to be a person without dollars,” she added.

Here’s our original report on his remarks about Navalny.

Trump finally breaks silence on Navalny’s death to cast himself as a victim

Watch: Haley vows to stay in race for Michigan and Super Tuesday

14:12 , Oliver O'Connell

14:05 , Oliver O'Connell

Trump asks supporters who his running mate should be

13:30 , Joe Sommerlad

Trump has unexpectedly asked his supporters who they think he should pick to be his running mate for the presidency, assuming he sews up the Republican nomination, as is widely expected.

The likes of New York congresswoman Elise Stefanik, South Carolina senator Tim Scott, South Dakota governor Kristi Noem and Arkansas governor and one-time Trump White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, have all been linked to the role in recent weeks but Trump has remained uncharacteristically tight-lipped, saying only that it will definitely not be GOP rival Nikki Haley or Mike Pence this time around.

Here’s more on his latest campaign email straw poll.

Trump asks supporters to tell him who to pick as his VP

Countdown on for CPAC and South Carolina

12:30 , Joe Sommerlad

On Saturday, will attend the Conservative Political Action Conference just outside of Washington, DC right before he hops over for the South Carolina primary, where he will almost certainly declare victory.

His address to the conservative faithful at CPAC — largely comprising snake oil salesmen, College Republican chapters looking for a fun weekend in DC and the most die-hard conservative activists out there — will serve as a sort of homecoming.

Trump first addressed the conference in 2011. Doing so began his tease of running for the 2012 Republican nomination, during which he promoted the racist conspiracy theories that Barack Obama was not born in the United States and that he somehow did not deserve to have graduated from Columbia University or Harvard.

Trump ultimately elected not to run that year, but his CPAC appearance marked a turning point. The reality television host from New York who spent much of his adult life as a Democrat would become the standard bearer of the Republican Party just five years later, in 2016.

Here’s more from Eric Garcia.

Expect the worst from Trump at CPAC and in South Carolina

Gabbard joins Trump attack on Nato

11:30 , Joe Sommerlad

The MAGA-pilled former Democratic presidential candidate offers a bizarre attack on the military alliance here, which is rightly called out for its short-sightedness.

Trump ally Scott calls on ‘desperate’ Haley to drop out ahead of South Carolina

10:41 , Joe Sommerlad

The ever-more shameless Tim Scott told Trump’s former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Fox last night that it is time for Nikki Haley to drop out of the Republican primary (as he did), even before Saturday’s primary in her native South Carolina.

He says he senses “desperation” around her campaign and he would know.

He was even more craven in his discussion of the border, which is rightly called out below.

Trump created ‘Putin wing’ of Republican party, warns Cheney

09:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Former Republican conference chair Liz Cheney has argued that former president Donald Trump has created the “Putin wing” of the Republican Party, a section backing the Russian president.

Ms Cheney, 57, was on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday warning of the Putin wing possibly coming back to the White House in the form of former president Donald Trump.

She slammed the ex-president for his recent comments saying that he wouldn’t protect Nato countries who don’t pay their fair share, recounting how he told a fellow world leader that he would urge Russia to do “whatever the hell they want”.

Continue reading...

Cheney warns that Trump has created the ‘Putin wing’ of the Republican party

Haley hammers Trump on fondness for dictators

07:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Nikki Haley is fully on the offensive as she stares down the quickly approaching South Carolina primary, now less than one week away.

The former UN ambassador was on the Sunday show circuit this weekend as her campaign continues events through her home state and maintains that she will stay in the race through March — no matter what happens this coming Saturday.

On ABC’s This Week, Ms Haley attacked her opponent once again for his comments about Nato. The former president made an off-colour remark at a rally in the state on 10 February wherein he seemed to invite Russia to attack any Nato member-state deemed to be making insufficient contributions to its own national defence.

John Bowden reports:

Nikki Haley hammers Trump on fondness for dictators as South Carolina primary nears

George Santos sues Jimmy Kimmel

05:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Disgraced ex-Congressman George Santos has sued Jimmy Kimmel, accusing the late-night host of “deceiving” him when he requested Cameo videos from him.

The former New York lawmaker sued Kimmel — as well as ABC and Disney — for copyright infringement, fraudulent inducement, breach of contract and unjust enrichment in federal court on Saturday.

Mr Santos previously bragged about making a fortune from his post-Congressman gig making personalised videos on Cameo. Now, he is seeking at least $750,000 in damages.

Read on...

George Santos sues Jimmy Kimmel for allegedly misusing Cameo videos

Gaetz accused of paying woman for sex parties as new bombshell texts emerge

03:15 , Oliver O'Connell

The House Ethics Committee’s probe into Matt Gaetz has obtained 2017 texts that the Florida Republican allegedly sent to a young woman who had been paid for sex by his associate.

These messages, ABC News first reported, show Mr Gaetz, just months after he was elected into Congress, asking the unnamed woman to go on a trip with him to the Florida Keys in May 2017. The exchange signifies the first private exchange between the pair, the outlet wrote.

Kelly Rissman has the details:

Matt Gaetz accused of paying woman for sex parties as new bombshell texts emerge

GOP lawmaker doubles down on ‘great replacement theory'

01:15 , Oliver O'Connell

A Michigan Republican lawmaker has doubled down on tweets he made echoing the white supremacist Great Replacement Theory, and has lost a committee seat in the state’s House in doing so.

State Representative Josh Schriver insists he has been falsely branded a racist despite sharing the bigoted conspiracy theory.

Graig Graziosi reports:

Michigan Republican lawmaker doubles down on pushing ‘great replacement theory’

Report: Trump privately supporting 16-week abortion ban because he likes even numbers

Monday 19 February 2024 23:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Former President Donald Trump has quietly expressed support for a 16-week abortion ban but told his advisers he wants to keep his opinions close to his chest until the end of the Republican presidential primary, according to reports.

The New York Times was the first to report the news. According to the outlet, Mr Trump is advocating for a ban with three exceptions: in cases of rape or incest, or to save the life of the mother. The paper said the information came from “two people with direct knowledge of Mr Trump’s deliberations.”

Michelle Del Rey reports:

Trump wants 16-week abortion ban ‘because he likes even numbers’

Countdown on for CPAC and South Carolina

Monday 19 February 2024 22:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Eric Garcia writes:

On Saturday, former president Donald Trump will attend the Conservative Political Action Conference just outside of Washington, DC right before he hops over to the South Carolina primary, where he will almost certainly declare victory.

His address to the conservative faithful at CPAC — largely comprising snake oil salesmen, College Republican chapters looking for a fun weekend in DC, and the most dieheard conservative activists out there — will serve as a sort of homecoming.

Trump first addressed the conference in 2011. Doing so began his tease of running for the 2012 Republican nomination, during which he promoted the racist conspiracy theories that Barack Obama was not born in the United States and that he somehow did not deserve to have graduated from Columbia University or Harvard. Trump ultimately elected not to run that year, but his CPAC appearance marked a turning point. The reality television host from New York who spent much of his adult life as a Democrat would become the standard bearer of the Republican Party just five years later, in 2016.

Continue reading...

Expect the worst from Trump at CPAC and in South Carolina

Happy Presidents’ Day

Monday 19 February 2024 21:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump isn’t just the first current or former president in US history to ever face criminal charges.

Now, he is making history in another way.

According to a new poll, Mr Trump has now been labelled as the worst president that the United States has ever seen.

Amelia Neath has the story:

Trump ranks as worst president in US history in new academics poll

Watch: Rep Dingel ‘sick and tired’ of everyone talking about Biden’s age

Monday 19 February 2024 20:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Matt Gaetz accused of paying woman for sex parties amid shocking texts

Monday 19 February 2024 20:15 , Joe Sommerlad

The House Ethics Committee’s probe into Gaetz has obtained 2017 texts that the Florida Republican allegedly sent to a young woman who had been paid for sex by his associate.

Kelly Rissman has the latest.

Matt Gaetz accused of paying woman for sex parties as new bombshell texts emerge

Watch: Biden says GOP walking away from threat of Russia

Monday 19 February 2024 19:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Democratic presidential candidate parodies Trump’s pivot to shoe salesman

Monday 19 February 2024 19:15 , Joe Sommerlad

Nice work from Dean Phillips here.

In case you missed it over the weekend, the Democrat is sending up these monstrosities that Trump unveiled at Sneaker Con in Philadelphia, yours for a mere $399 (or $9,000 with autograph).

Here’s more from Mike Bedigan on Trump’s latest desperate grift foray into the fashion world.

Donald Trump sneakers: Everything we know about the $399 ‘never surrender’ high-tops

Trump’s affinity for Putin called about Cheney and Haley in wake of Navalny death

Monday 19 February 2024 18:15 , Joe Sommerlad

Never Trumpers Liz Cheney and Nikki Haley both called out Trump over the weekend in relation to his recent remarks about letting Russia “do whatever the hell they like” to America’s Nato allies, which has taken on an even more sinister aspect since the tragic and not-very-mysterious death of Alexei Navalny in an Arctic prison on Friday.

Here’s Kelly Rissman on the Lincoln Project’s latest ad, linking Trump and Vladimir Putin.

Lincoln Project launches new ad comparing Trump and Putin after Navalny death

Mike Turner questions Trump fraud trial verdict

Monday 19 February 2024 17:15 , Joe Sommerlad

The Republican House Intelligence Committee, who caused a scare last week by loudly demanding answers about a “serious national security threat” the country faced, was out tub-thumping for Trump on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, dishonestly questioning the outcome of his man’s civil fraud trial on Friday.

Tim Scott grilled on criticism of Biden over Ukraine aid

Monday 19 February 2024 16:15 , Joe Sommerlad

The short-lived Republican presidential candidate turned Trump cheerleader was given a torrid time by Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union yesterday over his attack on the president when surely it’s vacationing House Republicans are holding matters up, not the White House.

George Santos sues Jimmy Kimmel for allegedly misusing Cameo videos

Monday 19 February 2024 15:15 , Joe Sommerlad

Disgraced ex-congressman George Santos has sued Jimmy Kimmel, accusing the late-night host of “deceiving” him when he requested Cameo videos from him.

The former New York lawmaker sued Kimmel — as well as ABC and Disney — for copyright infringement, fraudulent inducement, breach of contract and unjust enrichment in federal court on Saturday.

Santos previously bragged about making a fortune from his post-House of Representatives gig making personalised videos on Cameo.

Now, he is seeking at least $750,000 in damages.

Kelly Rissman has the story.

George Santos sues Jimmy Kimmel for allegedly misusing Cameo videos

Trump voted worst America president of all time in new poll

Monday 19 February 2024 14:15 , Joe Sommerlad

Donald Trump has come dead last, 45th out of 45, in a poll ranking the greatest American presidents of all time.

The 2024 Presidential Greatness Project Expert Survey, which conducted its findings between 15 November and 31 December last year, put Honest Abe Lincoln in the top spot, followed by FDR, George Washington, Teddy Roosevelt and Thomas Jeffreson.

Annoyingly for Trump, Barack Obama was up to seventh and Joe Biden a respectable 14th while the Republican was bottom of the pile below James Buchanan at 44th, Andrew Johnson at 43rd, Franklin Pierce at 42nd and William Henry Harrison at 41st.

Too funny.

Trump makes series of worrying blunders at weekend rally

Monday 19 February 2024 13:15 , Joe Sommerlad

Also this weekend, Trump gave a rally in Waterford Township, Michigan, in which he moaned about his New York fraud trial verdict – “The judge fined me $355 million for doing everything right!” – and once again denied ever having met E Jean Carroll.

He also joked about President Biden doing coke in the White House, ridiculing his successor’s lack of energy.

The old “cognitive decline” narrative rather fell apart, however, when Trump himself made a series of incoherent statements and bizarre blunders that should give anyone planning to vote for him in November serious pause for thought, even if they weren’t put off already by the Capitol riot, the unprecedented double impeachment, the 91 criminal charges, the massive legal defeats or the sexual assault ruling going against him.

Judge orders Donald Trump to pay more than $350m in massive fraud trial ruling

Monday 19 February 2024 12:15 , Joe Sommerlad

In case you missed this one over the weekend, here’s Alex Woodward with an extensive account of Trump’s latest legal disaster.

Judge orders Donald Trump to pay more than $350m in massive fraud trial ruling

Trump lashes out at Haley after she declines to say she would endorse him as Republican nominee

Monday 19 February 2024 11:15 , Joe Sommerlad

Donald Trump has reacted furiously after his last remaining rival for the Republican nomination, Nikki Haley, declined to say she would endorse him during a Fox News town hall event in her native South Carolina, although she did say she would pardon him if she became president.

The former president was enraged by this, fuming at her as “stupid” on Truth Social and posting numerous polls to illustrate his apparent dominance over her ahead of Saturday’s all-important Palmetto State primary.

Here’s John Bowden on Haley on the attack.

Nikki Haley hammers Trump on fondness for dictators as South Carolina primary nears

What you need to know about CPAC

Monday 19 February 2024 08:00 , Joe Sommerlad

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) gathers for a woke-bashing, conspiracy-peddling, red meat-tossing jamboree three times a year, usually in February, March and July.

The next instalment is set to take place at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Maryland just outside Washington, DC, between 21 and 24 February.

Gustaf Kilander has everything you need to know about next week’s hell convention.

What happens at CPAC?

Haley renews attacks on ‘diminished’ and ‘unhinged’

Monday 19 February 2024 04:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Republican presidential underdog Nikki Haley is going all-in on what she sees as the safest line of attack against Donald Trump — questions about his mental fitness and temperament in a year where the incumbent Democratic president is facing similar concerns.

The former South Carolina governor and UN ambassador sat down with NBC’s Craig Melvin for an interview with the Today show this week as she prepares for a showdown with Trump in her home state that is a little more than a week away.

The primary election in the Palmetto State could serve as a jolt in the arm of her campaign as she continues to steeply trail the frontrunner — or, it could be the death knell of her presidential bid.

It could also be neither of those things, as she trudges on towards Super Tuesday on 5 March.

Haley made some of her most forceful criticism of Trump’s mental state yet during the interview.

John Bowden listened to her remarks.

Nikki Haley defends her role in ‘unhinged’ Trump’s administration

Trump, facing 91 criminal charges, demands Biden impeachment in return

Monday 19 February 2024 00:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Well, he would wouldn’t he?

Here’s Andrew Feinberg on retaliation-as-policy.

Trump, facing 91 criminal charges, demands Biden impeachment in return

What’s inside the Senate’s $95bn bill to aid Ukraine and Israel?

Sunday 18 February 2024 20:00 , Joe Sommerlad

It may never see the light of day in a House of Representatives being held hostage by craven Republicans bowing down to Trump but this is what’s included in the proposal passed by the upper chamber of Congress.

What’s inside US Senate’s $95 billion bill to aid Ukraine, Israel and counter China

Why centrists oppose Biden and progressives like AOC defend him

Sunday 18 February 2024 16:00 , Joe Sommerlad

This week saw two Democrats take diverging stances on President Joe Biden.

On Thursday, Senator Joe Manchin, the mercurial conservative Democrat from West Virginia, said that the president “is not the person I thought he was” and questioned how he moved so far to the left.

His words came despite the fact that — given the 50-50 breakdown in the Senate during the last Congress — Democrats actually had to bend over backwards to accommodate Manchin, not the other way around.

Conversely, on Tuesday evening, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York — a progressive supporter of Medicare for all, the Green New Deal and a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas — appeared on CNN to defend Biden.

She noted specifically that Trump and Biden are about the same age, making concerns about Biden’s age moot, while “Donald Trump has 91 indictments.”

She proceeded to called Biden, who was in his second term in the Senate when she was born, “one of most successful presidents in modern American history” and praised him on passing the Inflation Reduction Act — the climate and health care legislation that Manchin all but wrote after he killed Build Back Better.

The common narrative in Washington is that progressives regularly clash with Biden.

But in truth, moderate and conservative Democrats are now the biggest roadblocks to Biden’s chances to remain president, whereas progressives, despite their deep reservations, are helping to bolster him.

Here’s more from Eric Garcia.

Suddenly, Joe Biden’s best friend is AOC

FBI ‘source’ who made bribery allegations against Biden charged with false statements

Sunday 18 February 2024 12:00 , Joe Sommerlad

The FBI source who claimed to have information regarding alleged bribes paid to President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, has been charged with fabricating the allegations during interviews with federal agents.

David Weiss, the special prosecutor and Trump appointee who is overseeing two federal cases against Hunter Biden, obtained a grand jury indictment in the Central District of California against Alexander Smirnov on charges that he made false statements to federal investigators during his time as a confidential human source for the FBI.

According to the indictment, Smirnov allegedly “provided false derogatory information” to agents about President Biden, who is described in the court documents as “Public Official 1, an elected official in the Obama-Biden Administration who left office in January 2017” and Hunter Biden, who prosecutors describe as “Businessperson 1, the son of Public Official 1, in 2020, after Public Official 1 became a candidate for President of the United States of America.”.

Prosecutors allege that Smirnov made the false allegations to agents in June 2020, when he allegedly told agents about two meetings with an executive from Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company which employed Hunter Biden as an attorney and later as a member of its’ corporate board.

Smirnov allegedly told agents that “executives associated with Burisma, including Burisma Official 1, admitted to him that they hired [Hunter Biden] to ‘protect us, through his dad, from all kinds of problems”.

Andrew Feinberg has more.

FBI ‘source’ who made bribery allegations against Biden charged with false statements

Blinken warns ‘Russia is responsible’ for Navalny death as world leaders react

Sunday 18 February 2024 08:00 , Joe Sommerlad

US secretary of state Antony Blinken has placed blame for the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny squarely on the shoulders of Russian president Vladimir Putin, leading a string of world leaders who have reacted in horror to the news.

In the hours after Navalny’s death was announced in Russian state media, Blinken reminded reporters travelling with him in Germany that Russia had “persecuted, poisoned, and imprisoned” the anti-corruption activist for decades and said the report of his death, if true, “underscores the weakness and rot at the heart of the system that Putin has built”.

“Russia is responsible for this,” Blinken said.

He added that he and other US officials would be “talking to the many other countries concerned about Alexei Navalny, especially if these reports turn out to be true”.

Kate Devlin and Andrew Feinberg have more.

Harris warns ‘Russia is responsible’ for Navalny death as world leaders react

House lawmakers leave for recess without voting on Ukraine and Israel aid bill

Sunday 18 February 2024 04:00 , Joe Sommerlad

The House of Representatives has broken up for its winter recess without voting on the $95bn aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan passed by the Senate.

The Senate stayed in session last weekend to ensure the bill passed but House Republicans have expressed opposition over its failure to include provisions to address illegal immigration at the US southern border with Mexico, a subject they are incensed about and which inspired them to impeach homeland security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas earlier this week.

The upper chamber moved to pass a standalone bill after an earlier bipartisan deal including border security measures was rejected, allegedly at the insistence of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, who believes he can beat Joe Biden in November on that issue and therefore needs it to be kept alive.

The bill that was passed now faces an uncertain future in the House, where speaker Mike Johnson has said he will not bring it up for a vote.

“The Republican-led House will not be jammed or forced into passing a foreign aid bill that was opposed by most Republican senators and does nothing to secure our own border,” Speaker Johnson insisted at a press conference.

Mike Johnson (AP)
Mike Johnson (AP)

Latest impeachment witnesses can’t link Biden to family’s businesses

Sunday 18 February 2024 00:00 , Joe Sommerlad

A series of witnesses in the House Republican impeachment probe into President Biden told investigators they were unaware of any evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the president and said they did not know of any evidence that Biden had any involvement in his family’s overseas or domestic business ventures, according to a Democratic staff memorandum obtained by The Independent.

The memorandum, which was prepared by staff on the House Oversight and Judiciary committees, said the series of seven witness interviews conducted over the last two months turned up nothing in the way of derogatory evidence in the long-running probe, which Republicans opened shortly after taking control of the House last year.

Although prominent members of the GOP such as Oversight Committee chairman James Comer have intimated that their investigation has uncovered evidence of criminality by Biden and members of his family, the memorandum flatly states that each of the seven witnesses said “they were not aware of any evidence of any wrongdoing by President Biden or of President Biden being involved in, profiting from, or taking official actions in relation to family members’ business ventures”.

Andrew Feinberg reports.

Latest Republican impeachment witnesses fail to link Biden to family’s businesses

Biden joins TikTok despite White House banning government accounts

Saturday 17 February 2024 20:00 , Joe Sommerlad

President Biden’s re-election campaign has unexpectedly joined TikTok, despite the White House banning government agencies from using the China-made app.

Anthony Cuthbertson has more.

Biden joins TikTok despite White House banning government accounts

Biden faces trust gap on key issues including immigration, inflation

Saturday 17 February 2024 16:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Joe Biden is less trusted on key issues than Donald Trump, according to a new poll that suggests voters have become weary with his administration’s handling of major crises and upset about the state of the economy.

A recent ABC News/Ipsos poll provided several vexing results for the incumbent president. One startling result that suggests the depth of Biden’s problems: voters were more likely to blame him over Trump for the collapse of border security talks in Congress — even despite Trump publicly coming out against the legislation while Biden supported it.

It’s a maddening survey result that suggests two problems: insufficient or ineffective messaging on the issue of immigration in general and the Senate’s bipartisan compromise legislation specifically on the part of the White House and Biden campaign and a failure by the beltway media to succinctly describe the state of both America’s immigration system and the politics behind it to the American public.

John Bowden has more.

Biden faces trust gap on key issues including immigration and inflation

Trump backs new RNC chairman with his daughter-in-law as co-chair

Saturday 17 February 2024 12:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Donald Trump has formally endorsed North Carolina Republican Party chairman Michael Whatley as his choice to lead the Republican National Committee (RNC) in place of the outgoing Ronna McDaniel.

Trump also proposed his own daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, as the RNC’s co-chair, as had been widely predicted, and his joint campaign manager, Chris LaCivita, as chief operating officer – representing a near-total potential MAGA takeover of the organising committee.

Here’s more on what that means and how Trump’s friendship with McDaniel soured.

Trump backs new RNC chairman with daughter-in-law Lara as co-chair

Jon Stewart's return to The Daily Show felt familiar to those who missed him while he was away

Saturday 17 February 2024 08:00 , Joe Sommerlad

No, Jon Stewart really wasn’t sitting at his desk at Comedy Central for the last nine years, waiting for someone to turn the lights back on.

Yet it almost felt that way during Stewart’s return to The Daily Show on Monday night. His signature moves — blunt satire, facial grimaces, incisive use of video and some occasional lectures — were all intact.

Public figures are served notice that the media’s sharpest bull detector is back on the job.

Stewart has said that the lack of a comedic outlet for his observations as the presidential campaign unfolded largely drove his decision to reprise his most memorable role, one night a week through the election.

The much-diminished Comedy Central, unable to find a successor to Trevor Noah as host, happily welcomed him back.

Questions about the future of late-night TV, which is rapidly shedding viewers and losing influence, won’t be answered in one night.

Neither will that night prove Stewart can regain the position of prominence he stepped away from in August 2015.

But it was a promising start.

Jon Stewart's return to 'The Daily Show' felt familiar to those who missed him while he was away

Migrant crossings at the US-Mexico border are down. What's behind the drop?

Saturday 17 February 2024 04:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Don’t worry Republicans, the border crisis isn’t going anywhere.

The recent decline in arrests for illegal crossings on the US border with Mexico may only prove temporary.

The drop in January reflects how the numbers ebb and flow and the reason usually goes beyond any single factor.

After a record-breaking number of encounters at the southern border in December, crossings dropped by half in January, authorities reported this week.

The largest decrease seen was in the Del Rio sector encompassing Eagle Pass, Texas, the main focus of Republican Governor Greg Abbott’s recent border enforcement efforts.

Mexico also increased enforcement efforts during that time after talks with President Joe Biden‘s administration.

Here’s a look at the numbers and what’s behind them.

Migrant crossings at the US-Mexico border are down. What's behind the drop?

What you need to know about CPAC

Saturday 17 February 2024 00:00 , Joe Sommerlad

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) gathers for a woke-bashing, conspiracy-peddling, red meat-tossing jamboree three times a year, usually in February, March and July.

The next instalment is set to take place at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Maryland just outside Washington, DC, between 21 and 24 February.

Gustaf Kilander has everything you need to know about next week’s hell convention.

What happens at CPAC?

Marjorie Taylor Greene accuses Lord Cameron of ‘calling us Hitler’ as she doubles down on insult

Friday 16 February 2024 23:00 , Joe Sommerlad

The attention-seeking Georgia populist has doubled-down on her mistaken assertion that British foreign secretary Lord Cameron compared Republicans unwilling to support further aid to Ukraine to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

“Well, number one, I really could care less what Lord Cameron has to say. I just don't care,” she told The Independent on Thursday.

“And number two, he was calling us Hitler and calling us horrible names and that is extremely rude and he needs to stop making that association.

“He needs to consider what he's actually saying. So I just don't care. He really needs to worry about his country. I think over there, they're having all kinds of problems, they’re entering a recession.

“They need to worry about their problems and leave our country alone.”

This comes after she said Lord Cameron “can kiss my a**” after he urged Congress to pass aid to Ukraine and avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, citing the appeasement of Hitler in the lead-up to the Second World War.

Eric Garcia, Gustaf Kilander and Zoe Grunewald have more.

Marjorie Taylor Greene accuses David Cameron of calling Republicans ‘Hitler’

Haley renews attacks on ‘diminished’ and ‘unhinged’ Trump

Friday 16 February 2024 22:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Republican presidential underdog Nikki Haley is going all-in on what she sees as the safest line of attack against Donald Trump — questions about his mental fitness and temperament in a year where the incumbent Democratic president is facing similar concerns.

The former South Carolina governor and UN ambassador sat down with NBC’s Craig Melvin for an interview with the Today show this week as she prepares for a showdown with Trump in her home state that is a little more than a week away.

The primary election in the Palmetto State could serve as a jolt in the arm of her campaign as she continues to steeply trail the frontrunner — or, it could be the death knell of her presidential bid.

It could also be neither of those things, as she trudges on towards Super Tuesday on 5 March.

Haley made some of her most forceful criticism of Trump’s mental state yet during the interview.

John Bowden listened to her remarks.

Nikki Haley defends her role in ‘unhinged’ Trump’s administration

Cohen predicts Trump will be convicted ‘on all charges’ in New York hush money case

Friday 16 February 2024 21:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Very much enjoying himself at the moment, Donald Trump’s former personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen told Erin Burnett on CNN’s OutFront on Thursday night that he is confident his estranged ex-boss is in big trouble over the payout made to porn actress Stormy Daniels in 2016 to cover up an extramarital affair a decade earlier.

“I believe, based upon the information that I know, and based upon, not just the documentary evidence but the corroborating testimony from so many people, I believe that he will be found guilty on all charges,” Cohen told Burnett.

“I would say, at best, it would be a four-week case,” he added, describing it as “very simple”.

Cohen has been subpoenaed to testify in the case and predicted it would be rather less “fun” for him, explaining: “They get personal, they get nasty.”

Trump, facing 91 criminal charges, demands Biden impeachment in return

Friday 16 February 2024 20:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Well, he would wouldn’t he?

Here’s Andrew Feinberg on retaliation-as-policy.

Trump, facing 91 criminal charges, demands Biden impeachment in return

What’s inside the Senate’s $95bn bill to aid Ukraine and Israel?

Friday 16 February 2024 19:00 , Joe Sommerlad

It may never see the light of day in a House of Representatives being held hostage by craven Republicans bowing down to Trump but this is what’s included in the proposal passed by the upper chamber of Congress.

What’s inside US Senate’s $95 billion bill to aid Ukraine, Israel and counter China

Why centrists oppose Biden and progressives like AOC defend him

Friday 16 February 2024 18:00 , Joe Sommerlad

This week saw two Democrats take diverging stances on President Joe Biden.

On Thursday, Senator Joe Manchin, the mercurial conservative Democrat from West Virginia, said that the president “is not the person I thought he was” and questioned how he moved so far to the left.

His words came despite the fact that — given the 50-50 breakdown in the Senate during the last Congress — Democrats actually had to bend over backwards to accommodate Manchin, not the other way around.

Conversely, on Tuesday evening, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York — a progressive supporter of Medicare for all, the Green New Deal and a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas — appeared on CNN to defend Biden.

She noted specifically that Trump and Biden are about the same age, making concerns about Biden’s age moot, while “Donald Trump has 91 indictments.”

She proceeded to called Biden, who was in his second term in the Senate when she was born, “one of most successful presidents in modern American history” and praised him on passing the Inflation Reduction Act — the climate and health care legislation that Manchin all but wrote after he killed Build Back Better.

The common narrative in Washington is that progressives regularly clash with Biden.

But in truth, moderate and conservative Democrats are now the biggest roadblocks to Biden’s chances to remain president, whereas progressives, despite their deep reservations, are helping to bolster him.

Here’s more from Eric Garcia.

Suddenly, Joe Biden’s best friend is AOC

Joe Manchin 'will not run for president as a third-party candidate’

Friday 16 February 2024 17:30 , Joe Sommerlad

The conservative Democrat from West Virginia will reportedly announce on Friday that he will not run for president as a third-party candidate.

Eric Garcia has the latest.

Joe Manchin will not run for president as a third-party candidate

FBI ‘source’ who made bribery allegations against Biden charged with false statements

Friday 16 February 2024 17:00 , Joe Sommerlad

The FBI source who claimed to have information regarding alleged bribes paid to President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, has been charged with fabricating the allegations during interviews with federal agents.

David Weiss, the special prosecutor and Trump appointee who is overseeing two federal cases against Hunter Biden, obtained a grand jury indictment in the Central District of California against Alexander Smirnov on charges that he made false statements to federal investigators during his time as a confidential human source for the FBI.

According to the indictment, Smirnov allegedly “provided false derogatory information” to agents about President Biden, who is described in the court documents as “Public Official 1, an elected official in the Obama-Biden Administration who left office in January 2017” and Hunter Biden, who prosecutors describe as “Businessperson 1, the son of Public Official 1, in 2020, after Public Official 1 became a candidate for President of the United States of America.”.

Prosecutors allege that Smirnov made the false allegations to agents in June 2020, when he allegedly told agents about two meetings with an executive from Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company which employed Hunter Biden as an attorney and later as a member of its’ corporate board.

Smirnov allegedly told agents that “executives associated with Burisma, including Burisma Official 1, admitted to him that they hired [Hunter Biden] to ‘protect us, through his dad, from all kinds of problems”.

Andrew Feinberg has more.

FBI ‘source’ who made bribery allegations against Biden charged with false statements

Kamala Harris echoes Blinken on Navalny death: ‘Russia is responsible’

Friday 16 February 2024 16:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Here’s the US vice president, attending the Munich Security Conference in Germany, reacting to the news of the slow, drawn-out murder of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in a remote prison at the orders of Vladimir Putin, brooding in the heart of the Kremlin.

And, by way of contrast, here’s a reminder of Donald Trump, a matter of days ago, warning America’s Nato allies that he would encourage Russia to “do whatever the hell they want” to them if they fell behind on their dues to the military alliance, an organisation that is more vital now than it has been for many a decade.

Trump wants Russia to ‘do whatever they want’ to Nato allies who fail to pay bills