Trump news – live: Humiliated Trump withdraws suit against James after $1m fine over ‘frivolous’ Hillary claim

Donald Trump has withdrawn a $250m lawsuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James after getting a warning from a federal judge.

The same judge sanctioned Donald Trump and his lawyer nearly $1m for suing former secretary of state Hillary Clinton over claims that she and others rigged the 2016 presidential election.

“This case should never have been brought,” wrote Judge Donald M Middlebrooks of the Southern District of Florida in his order. “Its inadequacy as a legal claim was evident from the start.”

Judge Middlebrooks said the sanctions were warranted because the former president had exhibited a “pattern” of misusing the courts for his political agenda. “Intended for a political purpose, none of the counts of the amended complaint stated a cognizable legal claim,” he wrote.

Mr Trump and his lawyer Alina Habba are now liable for $937,989 in sanctions.

Meanwhile, the former president angrily reacted to the failure of the Supreme Court to identify the source of the Roe v Wade decision leak that sparked outrage last year.

He shockingly called for the jailing of the Politico reporter, publisher, and editor who broke the story in an effort to force them to identify the source of the leak.

Key points

Trump and his lawyer fined nearly $1m for Hillary Clinton lawsuit

04:24 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

A federal judge in Florida on Thursday sanctioned former president Donald Trump and his legal team nearly $1m for filing a “frivolous” lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and others.

Mr Trump, in the suit filed against the former Democratic presidential candidate Ms Clinton and others, alleged that they tried to rig the 2016 election by falsely accusing his campaign of links to Russia.

“This case should never have been brought,” wrote Judge Donald M Middlebrooks of the Southern District of Florida in his order. “Its inadequacy as a legal claim was evident from the start.”

Read more here.

Judge fines Trump almost $1m for abusing court system ‘for political purpose’

Bolton knocks Pompeo’s ‘character’ after being dubbed ‘scumbag loser’

19:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Former national security adviser John Bolton has responded after his former colleague, Mike Pompeo, called him a “scumbag loser” and said that he wanted to see the former White House aide thrown in federal prison.

Yikes.

John Bowden reports.

Bolton knocks Pompeo’s ‘character’ after ex-Trump secretary dubs him ‘scumbag loser’

Secret Service plans new guardhouse at Mar-a-Lago… which is already an ‘armed fort’ Trump says

19:15 , Oliver O'Connell

The Mar-a-Lago Club, Palm Beach, Florida (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
The Mar-a-Lago Club, Palm Beach, Florida (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

The Secret Service is planning a new guardhouse at Donald Trump’s home and private members club, Mar-a-Lago.

The design will be themed to match the architectural style of the resort and surrounding Palm Beach and comes from local firm REG Architects.

In recent days, the former president has described his Florida home as already being like an “armed fort” in an attempt to depict it as a secure place in which to hoard classified materials that should have remained with the National Archives.

Bloomberg reports that Palm Beach’s Landmarks Preservation Commission board members reviewed a request on 18 January to construct a 232-square-foot guardhouse at the main gate of Mar-a-Lago, which is listed as a national historic landmark.

While staying true to the resort’s architecture, the security booth would have similar protections to those at the residences of other past presidents, but will also include additional security features such as armour, ballistic glass, and communication equipment in anticipation of potential coordinated attacks at the main gate or from South Ocean Boulevard which wraps around two sides of the property.

The landmarks board has requested revised design plans to depict the scale and visibility of the project in its location and has deferred approval until mid-February.

Press freedom advocate calls Trump’s demand to jail reporters ‘appalling'

19:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump’s demand to jail a reporter who broke the story of a leaked Supreme Court draft has been denounced as “appalling” by a leading press freedom activist.

The top court has said that an eight-month investigation to try and identify who had leaked the draft of decision to overturn Roe v Wade had been unable to uncover the source of the leak.

The leaked draft, and its shuddering implications for the country, were published in May by Politico.

The Independent’s Andrew Buncombe reports from Seattle.

Trump’s demand to jail reporter condemned as ‘appalling’ by press freedom activist

Clinton supporters goad Trump over ‘frivolous’ lawsuit fine

18:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Hillary Clinton supporters are goading Donald Trump after he withdrew a $250m lawsuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James, which followed a warning from a federal judge regarding a lawsuit against his 2016 opponent and other officials.

Just one example:

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Gustaf Kilander filed this report:

Hillary Clinton supporters goad Trump over ‘frivolous’ lawsuit payout

Fight between YouTubers Stephen Crowder and Ben Shapiro roils right-wing media

18:30 , Oliver O'Connell

The right-wing media sphere is in turmoil after popular YouTuber Stephen Crowder publicly accused a number of conservative media companies of being con jobs.

John Bowden has the story.

Conservatives turn on each other in feud between Stephen Crowder and Ben Shapiro

CNN reports Trump aide appeared at federal grand jury today

18:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Former Trump White House aide John McEntee appeared on Friday before a grand jury on Trump-related investigations at a federal courthouse in Washington, DC, according to reporting by CNN.

Mr McEntee was subpoenaed by the Department of Justice as part of its sprawling probe into the former president, the network says citing a source.

National Security and Justice Reporter Zachary Cohen tweets: “McEntee identified himself when approached by a CNN reporter but was pulled away by his attorney. He was spotted entering the grand jury room on Friday morning.”

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Mr McEntee, the University of Connecticut football star turned Trump White House Personnel Office Boss, has appeared into Trump investigations before.

He told the House January 6 committee that Rep Matt Gaetz personally asked him to engage with Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on obtaining a pardon for him during a deposition held in 2022.

Trump aide told Jan 6 panel of Gaetz pardon request

Delivery driver saw congressman plunge 25 feet

18:00 , Oliver O'Connell

A delivery driver reportedly called 911 after he saw Florida Representative Greg Steube fall off a ladder and plunge 25 feet to the ground.

The Republican congressman was cutting tree limbs when he fell at his property in Sarasota, Florida. He spent the evening in the intensive care unit with “several serious injuries.”

Eric Garcia reports.

911 audio reveals driver saw congressman plunge 25 feet as he remains in hospital

Biden and Harris mark two years in office

17:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Two years ago today Donald Trump left the White House and took Air Force One down to Palm Beach and a new chapter of his life ensconced in Mar-a-Lago.

A few hours later Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States with Kamala Harris as his Vice President.

The White House released a video to mark the second anniversary of the Biden administration.

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The Independent has published a selection of features on the first two years of the Biden presidency:

Joe Biden: What experts say two years in

How Biden the dealmaker faced down a deeply divided DC

Labour movement loses patience over Biden’s lip service

Inflation rocked Biden’s second year and there’s more trouble ahead

Can Biden win the war against Covid-19?

Biden’s green plan was hailed a triumph — was it enough?

Why Biden has been ‘consistently inconsistent’ on civil rights

RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel claims being able to wrangle Trump is why she should keep job, report says

17:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, is reportedly arguing that she should remain in her current role as she is best able to convince Donald Trump not to run a third-party candidacy in 2024 should he not get the party’s nomination.

A report published on Thursday in The Washington Postsays Ms McDaniel is attempting to thwart challenges to her leadership of the RNC by stirring up fears of a Trump third-party run splitting the GOP’s base.

Ms McDaniel has faced criticism from RNC members for presiding over the disappointing 2022 midterm election results which saw the party only narrowly win the House of Representatives and lose a seat in the Senate. Many had predicted a red wave sweeping the nation two years into the Biden presidency and propelling the GOP into full control of Congress.

With some party members blaming Mr Trump for the poor electoral performance many also appear to believe that Ms McDaniel is far too tied to him to continue to lead the party and that it is time to move on.

Steve Bannon asked Ms McDaniel about the criticism of her leadership on his show. Accusing her main challenger Harmeet Dhillon of lying about her, Mr Bannon asks her to be specific:

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Emotional Nancy Pelosi says husband’s recovery could take ‘three or four months’

16:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Nearly three months after her husband was struck in the head with a hammer, now-former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it may take “three or four months” for him to return to himself.

The California congresswoman and one of the longest-serving speakers of the House of Representatives told host Chris Wallace on his HBO Max show Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace? this week: “Anyone who’s had a head injury knows that you have to be very careful. You have to be careful about movement. You have to be careful about light, you have to be careful about sound and it just takes a while, probably another three or four months, according to the doctors, for him to be really himself.”

David DePape, the man accused of breaking into the Pelosi household on 28 October and striking her 82-year-old husband Paul in the head with a hammer, reportedly told police he broke into the home over “insane” lies in Washington DC, blaming Hillary Clinton and claiming that Democrats were responsible for crimes against Donald Trump.

Alex Woodward reports.

Emotional Nancy Pelosi discusses husband’s recovery from hammer attack

Trump makes campaign pitch to ‘save social security’ by gutting budget

16:00 , Oliver O'Connell

In his latest (third?) policy-focused campaign video, Donald Trump vows to gut the federal budget of Democrat programs ranging from immigration to foreign aid, and from climate change to inclusive policies in the military in order to “save social security” which he contends the Democrats want to destroy.

These videos lay out long-known Trump positioning on issues and appear to have been shot back-to-back as part of the 2024 campaign which so far has seen the former president firmly ensconced in Mar-a-Lago since the underwhelming launch of his reelection bid in mid-November.

Senator Tim Kaine announces third term run

15:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Senator Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s former running mate, has announced he will seek re-election in 2024 as one of the two senators representing Virginia.

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Democrat Rep to run for Senate against Sinema in Arizona

15:35 , Oliver O'Connell

Democratic Congressman Ruben Gallego will announce his decision to run against Independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema in Arizona next week, CBS News reported.

Mr Gallego, a Marine veteran who served in the Iraq War, will challenge Ms Sinema after she announced her exit from the Democratic Party to become an independent last month. Ms Sinema still caucuses with Democrats.

Eric Garcia has the latest.

Democrat Ruben Gallego to run for Senate against Kyrsten Sinema in Arizona

Trump withdraws lawsuit against New York AG Letitia James

15:26 , Oliver O'Connell

The day after being fined $1m for a “frivolous” lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump has withdrawn a $250m lawsuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James.

A brief was filed on Friday morning with US District Judge Donald Middlebrooks in the US District Court of the Southern District of Florida, West Palm Beach division.

On Thursday night Judge Middlebrooks warned the former president’s legal team that the lawsuit appeared on the verge of frivolous. He is the same judge who sanctioned the president and his legal team over the Clinton lawsuit.

Trump filed the lawsuit against Ms James, claiming she had violated his First and 14th Amendment rights by targeting him with legal action against him and his organisation — an ongoing $250m civil suit concerning alleged fraudulent conduct.

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What you missed overnight on Trump’s Truth Social

15:00 , Oliver O'Connell

While this blog has previously questioned the sudden labelling of Truth Social posts by the former president as “Page 1”, “Page 2” etc. it might have been helpful last night.

At around 10pm on Thursday, Mr Trump posted what appears to be Page 2 of a stream on consciousness relating to his long-time employee Allen Weisselberg, recently sentenced for his part in a fraud case at the Trump Organization. What appears to be Page 1 (it is labelled as such) was posted some two hours later — three times.

The third attempt at the new post came with the comment: “Please read and understand how unfair our two-tiered Legal System has become!”

Here’s what Mr Trump wrote, in what we can assume is the correct order:

Page 1: I can’t get over the fact that a casualty of the greatest Witch Hunt of all time, Allen Weisselberg, my long time employee and chief financial officer, is sitting in a prison cell in Rikers Island for a type of case that has never been brought before in the history of our Country. He didn’t pay taxes on the use of a company car - does anyone?The use of a company apartment - does anyone? Or the Education of his grandchildren - Wow! Are these things really criminal, or even a crime?

Remember, we are talking about New York City as the Crime and Murder Capital of the World, where no murder case has even been tried by the D.A. in 6 years, and yet they spend tens of millions of dollars, view 11,000,000 pages of documents, years of investigation, and weeks in trial over the education of grandchildren, etc. Such a thing has never happened before. He was offered a “DEAL” if he pled GUILTY TO EVERYTHING - 90 days, or Life in Prison. Allen Weisselberg is a CRIME VICTIM, and so am I.

Haley hits out at Pompeo for using ‘lies and gossip’ to sell books

14:41 , Oliver O'Connell

Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley hit back against claims by her ex-Trump administration colleague Mike Pompeo that she lobbied top White House officials to replace Mike Pence as vice president on the 2020 GOP ticket, dismissing them as false and suggesting the ex-Secretary of State was lying to promote his new memoir.

Stuti Mishra and Andrew Feinberg report.

Nikki Haley hits out at Mike Pompeo for ‘lies and gossip’ to sell books

White House responds to Trump’s call to arrest reporters over Dobbs Supreme Court leak

14:21 , Oliver O'Connell

The White House has issued a sharp rebuke to former president Donald Trump’s call for the arrest and jailing of journalists who broke the story of the Dobbs case leak at the Supreme Court.

The freedom of the press is part of the bedrock of American democracy. Calling for egregious abuses of power in order to suppress the Constitutional rights of reporters is an insult to the rule of law and undermines fundamental American values and traditions. Instead, it’s the responsibility of all leaders to protect First Amendment rights. These views are not who we are as a country, and they are what we stand against in the world.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates

Trump’s demand to jail Supreme Court leak reporter condemned as ‘appalling’

13:00 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Donald Trump’s demand to jail a reporter who broke the story of a leaked Supreme Court draft has been denounced as “appalling” by a leading press freedom activist.

The top court has said that an eight-month investigation to try and identify who had leaked the draft of the decision to overturn Roe v Wade had been unable to uncover the source of the leak. The leaked draft, and its shuddering implications for the country, were published in May by Politico.

On Thursday, Mr Trump doubled down on his suggestion, and claimed the reporters had to be jailed until they revealed the source, whom he termed a “slime”.

Andrew Buncombe reports.

Trump’s demand to jail reporter condemned as ‘appalling’ by press freedom activist

Judge denies Navarro effort to dismiss contempt of Congress case

12:00 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

A federal judge has denied Trump adviser Peter Navarro’s attempt to dismiss the contempt of Congress case against him.

In doing so, US District Court Judge Amit Mehta said Mr Navarro had failed to prove that former president Donald Trump wanted him to assert executive privilege over his potential testimony — a key claim that Mr Navarro has long maintained justified his decision to ignore the Janaury 6 select committee’s subpoena

Judge Mehta also gutted most of the defences that Mr Navarro plans to offer.

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...subsequently, Trump is furious.

11:00 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Former president Donald Trump reacted to the Supreme Court’s announcement that a monthlong investigation failed to uncover who leaked a draft of last year’s opinion overturning Roe v Wade to Politico by suggesting that the journalists who published the draft be jailed until they turn over a name.

Trump demands Politico reporter be jailed until they expose Supreme Court leak source

Internal probe fails to identify Supreme Court leaker of Dobbs ruling...

10:00 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

A monthslong investigation by the Marshal of the Supreme Court has failed to determine who leaked a draft version of the court’s decision overturning Roe v Wade to Politico last year, the court said on Thursday.

In a statement, the court said the leak of Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization was “one of the worst breaches of trust in its history” and “a grave assault on the judicial process,” but the person who provided the draft to a pair of reporters for the Washington, DC-based publication has not yet been identified despite the Marshal’s best efforts.

Andrew Feinberg has the story.

Supreme Court says internal probe hasn’t found leaker of Roe v Wade ruling

Timetable for Biden 2024 announcement gets clearer

09:00 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

President Joe Biden is likely to officially declare himself a candidate for reelection after he delivers his second State of the Union address in February, according to sources familiar with his plans.

On Thursday, CBS News reported that Mr Biden intends to announce his candidacy in the 2024 election but is holding off until his 7 February address to a joint session of Congress, citing his desire to be seen as a working president and not a candidate when he delivers his remarks.

“This has always, always been our plan. State of the Union first, candidate later,” said a source who spoke to CBS News.

Andrew Feinberg has the story.

Biden reportedly planning 2024 launch after State of the Union

Hardliners and Santos rewarded with committee seats by House GOP

08:00 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

The most far-right House Republicans, early opponents of Speaker Kevin McCarthy and even embattled new Rep. George Santos all are in line for coveted committee assignments. Some are set to serve on the high-profile oversight committee investigating President Joe Biden’s administration.

Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona will get to serve on committees now that Republicans have dislodged Democrats from the majority. When Democrats were in charge, both lawmakers were booted from their assignments for being too extreme.

Santos, who has acknowledged lying to New York voters about his past, has picked up two committee assignments.

Read on:

House GOP rewards hard-liners, Santos with committee seats

White House chooses words carefully when describing documents probe

07:00 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

When Hillary Clinton was running for president, her campaign wanted a gentler way to talk about the criminal investigation into her private email server, so they called it a “security review.”

Now President Joe Biden‘s team is using similar language when talking about the discovery of classified documents in his Delaware home and former office. Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, tends to describe the situation as a “review” or a “legal process,” using the term “investigation” much less frequently.

Read on:

"Investigation"? Nope, "review:" White House describes probe

Judge calls Trump’s lawsuit ‘abuse’ of legal system

06:00 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

The judge in his 46-page order said Donald Trump’s lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and other defendants, which include dozens of former justice department and FBI officials, was “frivolous” and an abuse of the legal system.

“Here, we are confronted with a lawsuit that should never have been filed, which was completely frivolous, both factually and legally, and which was brought in bad faith for an improper purpose,” US District Court Judge Donald Middlebrooks wrote in his order.

“Mr Trump is a prolific and sophisticated litigant who is repeatedly using the courts to seek revenge on political adversaries.

“He is the mastermind of strategic abuse of the judicial process, and he cannot be seen as a litigant blindly following the advice of a lawyer.”

Trump’s lawyers were fined in November

05:19 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Former president Donald Trump’s lead counsel in the case, Alina Habba, and another lawyer were asked to pay $50,000 in a penalty to the court and $16,274 in legal fees to one of the defendants.

The lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and other defendants was thrown out by the judge, who called the case a “two-hundred-page political manifesto”.

“The pleadings, in this case, contained factual allegations that were either knowingly false or made in reckless disregard for the truth,” wrote Judge Donald Middlebrook in his order.

Capitol rioter who propped his feet on Pelosi’s desk voices regrets in court

04:30 , Oliver O'Connell

The man who propped his feet on Nancy Pelosi’s desk as a mob stormed the halls of Congress has testified in his own defence after facing eight counts, including felony charges, tied to his widely photographed role in the Capitol riots.

Richard “Bigo” Barnett – whose defence attorneys compared him to “everyone’s crazy redneck uncle from out of town” – admitted to the jury on 19 January that he “probably shouldn’t have put my feet on the desk”.

Alex Woodward is following the trial.

Capitol rioter who propped his feet on Pelosi’s desk testifies in his own defense

9/11 survivor condemns Marjorie Taylor Greene’s new homeland security role

03:30 , Oliver O'Connell

A 9/11 survivor has condemned the appointment of Majorie Taylor Greene to a key House security committee – pointing out the Republican congresswoman long denied the attacks happened and instead peddled wild conspiracy theories.

Andrew Buncombe spoke with a woman who escaped from the 80th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

9/11 survivor condemns Marjorie Taylor Greene’s appointment to homeland security

Pompeo accuses Haley of scheming with Jared and Ivanka to grab Trump VP role

02:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Ex-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is taking swings at numerous former Trump administration officials as the 2024 GOP primary nears and the Republican Party prepares for an all-out battle over who will have the honour of running against Joe Biden.

His new book, Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love, contains several passages in which Mr Pompeo disparages his former colleagues including Nikki Haley, Donald Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations. Excerpts of the book were obtained by The Guardian ahead of its publication next week.

John Bowden reviewed what he wrote.

Mike Pompeo accuses Nikki Haley of trying to snatch vice president role, book claims

US hits debt ceiling – here’s what that means

01:30 , Oliver O'Connell

The United States hit its debt limit on Thursday, which triggered the US Treasury Department to take “extraordinary measures” to ensure that the country could fulfill its debt obligations.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen sent a letter to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Thursday warning that her department would begin taking “extraordinary measures”. She told Mr McCarthy that the US will be “unable” to fully invest the portion of the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund that is not immediately required to pay beneficiaries.

She also told him that she would begin a “debt suspension period” starting on Sunday and continuing into 5 June 2023.

Eric Garcia has the details.

US has hit the debt ceiling – here’s what that means

Report: Special counsel pressing Trump officials on Russia probe documents

00:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Investigators working for Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith have reportedly questioned multiple ex-Trump administration officials about the fate of a large tranche of classified documents pertaining to the FBI probe into Russia’s campaign of interference in the 2016 election.

A report by Murray Waas, a freelance investigative reporter and former National Journal staff writer, wrote on Wednesday that “at least three” figures in Mr Trump’s inner circle have been pressed by prosecutors on whether Mr Trump took “thousands of pages” of documents from the White House — including many bearing classification markings — with an eye towards making them public in attempt to discredit the Justice Department’s probe into alleged ties between his 2016 campaign and the Russian Federation.

Andrew Feinberg reports.

Special counsel pressing Trump officials on Russia probe documents, report says

Active duty US Marines charged over Jan 6 riot

00:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Three US Marines have been charged with participating in the January 6 riots after one of them posted photos from inside the US Capitol to their Instagram account.

Bevan Hurley has the story.

Three active duty US Marines charged over Jan 6 riot

Trump demands arrest of ‘slime’ Supreme Court leak reporter

Thursday 19 January 2023 23:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Former president Donald Trump reacted to the Supreme Court’s announcement that a monthlong investigation failed to uncover who leaked a draft of last year’s opinion overturning Roe v Wade to Politico by suggesting that the journalists who published the draft — and their bosses — be jailed until they turn over a name.

Andrew Feinberg has the full story.

Trump demands arrest of ‘slime’ Supreme Court leak reporter

If Mar-a-Lago is so secure, how did Nick Fuentes get in?

Thursday 19 January 2023 22:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post notes that for all the assertions by former president Donald Trump about how secure and fortified his home at the Mar-a-Lago Club is, just last month his own advisers said — in his defence — that Mr Trump has dinner with white supremacist Nick Fuentes because he did not know who he was and no-one had checked his ID at the gate.

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Judge denies Navarro effort to dismiss contempt of Congress case

Thursday 19 January 2023 22:15 , Oliver O'Connell

A federal judge has denied Trump adviser Peter Navarro’s attempt to dismiss the contempt of Congress case against him.

In doing so, US District Court Judge Amit Mehta said Mr Navarro had failed to prove that former president Donald Trump wanted him to assert executive privilege over his potential testimony — a key claim that Mr Navarro has long maintained justified his decision to ignore the Janaury 6 select committee’s subpoena

Judge Mehta also gutted most of the defences that Mr Navarro plans to offer.

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Trump to speak at CPAC in March

Thursday 19 January 2023 22:00 , Oliver O'Connell

The Conservative Political Action Committee has announced that Donald Trump will be a featured speaker at their March conference in National Harbor.

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Trump’s ‘big political speech’? Remarks at Judicial Watch’s Annual Roundtable

Thursday 19 January 2023 21:45 , Oliver O'Connell

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Given that Judicial Watch is the host of the dinner, expect to hear a lot more about the complaints he voiced in this morning’s video about the US having two systems of justice.

However, as HuffPost points out, as a tax-exempt charity, Judicial Watch is not supposed to engage in politics at all by law.

Having a 501(c)(3) tax exemption allows donors to deduct their gifts to the group but also prohibits it from engaging in politics.

Jill Farrell, Judicial Watch’s communications director, told HuffPost she had no concerns about Mr Trump’s planned remarks at a “private” event that is not permitting news media coverage.

“This is not a campaign speech,” she said. “There is no ‘there’ there.”

George Santos mocked after saying he had helped ‘reduce’ dogs

Thursday 19 January 2023 21:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Embattled Republican Representative George Santos faced mockery as he denied claims that he ripped off a veteran who needed health care for his dying service dog, after the New York congressman mistakenly tweeted he “reduced” the number of dogs.

Mr Santos responded to a story in Patch.com wherein military veteran Richard Osthoff accused Mr Santos of taking money from a GoFundMe to pay for Mr Osthoff’s dog Sapphire’s tumor and using it “for other dogs.” Sapphire ultimately died in 2017 and Mr Osthoff could not afford her euthanasia or cremation.

But Mr Santos vehemently denied any such accusation.

Eric Garcia has the story.

George Santos mocked after saying he helped ‘reduce’ dogs while denying accusations

Trump calls for arrest of Roe v Wade leak reporter after Supreme Court fails to find source

Thursday 19 January 2023 21:03 , Oliver O'Connell

Former president Donald Trump has reacted angrily to the failure of the Supreme Court to identify the source of the leak of the Roe v Wade decision that sparked outrage last year.

He shockingly called for the jailing of the reporter, publisher and editor who broke the story in an effort to force them to identify the source.

Mr Trump posted on Truth Social:

The Supreme Court has just announced it is not able to find out, even with the help of our “crack” FBI, who the leaker was on the R v Wade scandal. They’ll never find out, & it’s important that they do. So, go to the reporter & ask him/her who it was. If not given the answer, put whoever in jail until the answer is given. You might add the publisher and editor to the list. Stop playing games, this leaking cannot be allowed to happen. It won’t take long before the name of this slime is revealed!

He added in a separate post:

Arrest the reporter, publisher, editor - you’ll get your answer fast. Stop playing games and wasting time!

Hard-liners, Santos rewarded with committee seats by House GOP

Thursday 19 January 2023 20:45 , Oliver O'Connell

The most far-right House Republicans, early opponents of Speaker Kevin McCarthy and even embattled new Rep. George Santos all are in line for coveted committee assignments. Some are set to serve on the high-profile oversight committee investigating President Joe Biden’s administration.

Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona will get to serve on committees now that Republicans have dislodged Democrats from the majority. When Democrats were in charge, both lawmakers were booted from their assignments for being too extreme.

Santos, who has acknowledged lying to New York voters about his past, has picked up two committee assignments.

Read on:

House GOP rewards hard-liners, Santos with committee seats

Supreme Court internal probe did not identify Dobbs ruling leaker

Thursday 19 January 2023 20:15 , Oliver O'Connell

A monthslong investigation by the Marshal of the Supreme Court has failed to determine who leaked a draft version of the court’s decision overturning Roe v Wade to Politico last year, the court said on Thursday.

In a statement, the court said the leak of Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization was “one of the worst breaches of trust in its history” and “a grave assault on the judicial process,” but the person who provided the draft to a pair of reporters for the Washington, DC-based publication has not yet been identified despite the Marshal’s best efforts.

Andrew Feinberg has the latest from Washington, DC.

Supreme Court says internal probe hasn’t found leaker of Dobbs ruling

Former Trump-backing GOP candidate appears in court in New Mexico shooting case

Thursday 19 January 2023 19:52 , Oliver O'Connell

A failed GOP candidate accused of orchestrating a series of drive-by shootings at the homes of Democratic elected officials in New Mexico’s largest city made his first appearance in court Wednesday.

Solomon Peña appeared via video shackled as the judge explained he would be held without bond pending a detention hearing scheduled for next month.

Read on:

New Mexico GOP candidate appears in court in shooting case

ICYMI: Trump bemoans ‘two standards of justice’, demonstrates knowledge of garage floors

Thursday 19 January 2023 19:27 , Oliver O'Connell

In a new campaign-style video address, former president Donald Trump bemoans what he sees as two standards of justice in the US — one for him and the general public, and one for the “corrupt political class”.

Mr Trump trotted out many of the gripes he has voiced about the investigation into the trove of classified documents recovered from his Palm Beach home (which he maintains is “ultra-secure” despite operating as a members club) and what he sees as the “white-glove” treatment of President Joe Biden after the discovery of a small number of documents at an office and in his garage (”which was probably very wet and damp as many garages are”).

The former president also criticised special counsel Jack Smith who is investigating on behalf of the “Injustice Department” claiming Mr Biden has weaponised the department against him.

Watch below:

George Santos denies competing as drag queen in Brazil

Thursday 19 January 2023 19:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Freshman Republican congressman George Santos has moved to deny reports that he performed in drag competitions under the name “Kitara” while living in Brazil over a decade ago.

Mr Santos remains under fire over a series of alleged untruths concerning his background, which arose from a New York Times investigation alleging that he had fabricated a number of key details about his past.

Joe Sommerlad reports.

George Santos denies competing as drag queen named ‘Kitara’ in Brazilian pageants

Trump boasts he kept classified folders as ‘cool’ keepsakes

Thursday 19 January 2023 18:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump insisted on Wednesday that many of the documents marked “classified” taken from Mar-a-Lago — of more than 300 in total — were in fact empty folders marked “classified” that he had taken as keepsakes.

John Bowden has the story.

Trump boasts he kept classified folders as ‘cool’ keepsakes in TruthSocial rant

Lara Trump classified documents discussion devolves into conspiracy theories

Thursday 19 January 2023 18:30 , Oliver O'Connell

The daughter-in-law of former President Donald Trump held a discussion about Joe Biden’s retention of classified documents from his time as vice president this week which quickly devolved into conspiracies about allies of Mr Biden.

Lara Trump hosted a podcast discussion with ex-Trump administration official Lynne Patton and Turning Point USA contributor Erin Elmore where the three quickly agreed that there was a nefarious conspiracy afoot behind the discovery of documents at Mr Biden’s Wilmington home and a DC think tank linked to him. The comments were first reported by RawStory.

John Bowden has the story.

Lara Trump’s show devolves into conspiracies over Joe Biden’s classified papers

E Jean Carroll: Trump says he never read book accusing him of rape

Thursday 19 January 2023 18:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Former President Donald Trump said he has never read any part of a book in which the columnist E Jean Carroll accused him of raping her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s, according to court records unsealed Wednesday.

The former president was questioned under oath in October by lawyers for Ms Carroll, who is suing the Republican. During his five-and-a-half-hour deposition, Mr Trump said he hasn’t read Carroll’s book, What Do We Need Men For? and didn’t see excerpts of it in a New York magazine article when the book was released in 2019.

Read on:

Donald Trump says he never read book accusing him of rape

Oath Keepers saw Capitol riot as ‘moment to celebrate’ prosecutor says

Thursday 19 January 2023 18:00 , Oliver O'Connell

The Capitol riot was the culmination of weeks of preparation and a moment of triumph for the Oath Keepers, a federal prosecutor said Wednesday in closing argument in the second seditious conspiracy trial against members of the far-right extremist group.

Prosecutor Louis Manzo told jurors that Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes, who was convicted in an earlier trial, began pushing to stop the transfer of power from then-President Donald Trump to Democratic challenger Joe Biden almost immediately after the 2020 election, and that members of Rhodes’ group took up the cause.

Read on:

Prosecutor: Riot was 'moment to celebrate' for Oath Keepers

Jan 6: Capitol rioter who propped his feet on Pelosi’s desk regrets ‘crass’ note he left

Thursday 19 January 2023 17:45 , Oliver O'Connell

The man who propped his feet on Nancy Pelosi’s desk as a mob stormed the halls of Congress has testified in his own defense after facing eight counts, including felony charges, tied to his widely photographed role in the Capitol riots.

Richard “Bigo” Barnett – whose defense attorneys compared him to “everyone’s crazy redneck uncle from out of town” – admitted to the jury on 19 January that he “probably shouldn’t have put my feet on the desk”.

Alex Woodward is following the trial.

Capitol rioter who propped his feet on Pelosi’s desk testifies in his own defense

Trump preparing return to Twitter and Facebook

Thursday 19 January 2023 17:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump is preparing to return to Twitter and Facebook, a report states.

As the 2024 race for the White House gets underway, the former president is set to once again use some of the largest and most influential social media platforms after he was booted from them following the January 6 insurrection, according to NBC News.

Gustaf Kilander has the story.

Trump preparing return to Twitter and Facebook

Don Jr under fire for ‘hateful’ reaction to Alec Baldwin Rust charges

Thursday 19 January 2023 17:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump Jr has come under fire for his “hateful” reaction to Alec Baldwin’s Rust charges.

Gustaf Kilander reports on what he said and how people reacted.

Trump Jr under fire for ‘hateful’ reaction to Alec Baldwin charges

Pompeo accuses Haley of trying to snatch vice president role from Pence

Thursday 19 January 2023 16:52 , Oliver O'Connell

Ex-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is taking swings at numerous former Trump administration officials as the 2024 GOP primary nears and the Republican Party prepares for an all-out battle over who will have the honour of running against Joe Biden.

His new book, Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love, contains several passages in which Mr Pompeo disparages his former colleagues including Nikki Haley, Donald Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations. Excerpts of the book were obtained by The Guardian ahead of its publication next week.

John Bowden took a look at what Mr Pompeo wrote.

Mike Pompeo accuses Nikki Haley of trying to snatch vice president role, book claims

Classified documents: DeSantis simultaneously attacks Trump and Biden

Thursday 19 January 2023 16:32 , Oliver O'Connell

Ron DeSantis took a swipe at both President Joe Biden and ex-president Donald Trump at a press conference on Wednesday.

The Florida governor was asked by a reporter for his reaction to the ongoing story resulting from the finding of White House records dating back from when Joe Biden was vice president at two separate locations – his house in Delaware, and at a DC think tank.

Mr DeSantis responded with a statement seemingly swiping at both of his potential 2024 rivals, decrying any mismanagement of classified material as wrong while claiming that Democrats and Mr Biden’s supporters were trying to hold the current president to a lower standard.

John Bowden reports.

DeSantis simultaneously attacks Trump and Biden over classified document stashes

Trump bemoans ‘two standards of justice’ in US in video rant about documents probe

Thursday 19 January 2023 16:19 , Oliver O'Connell

In a new campaign-style video address, former president Donald Trump bemoans what he sees as two standards of justice in the US — one for him and the general public, and one for the “corrupt political class”.

Mr Trump trotted out many of the gripes he has voiced about the investigation into the trove of classified documents recovered from his Palm Beach home (which he maintains is “ultra-secure” despite operating as a members club) and what he sees as the “white-glove” treatment of President Joe Biden after the discovery of a small number of documents at an office and in his garage (”which was probably very wet and damp as many garages are”).

The former president also criticised special counsel Jack Smith who is investigating on behalf of the “Injustice Department” claiming Mr Biden has weaponised the department against him.

Watch below:

Report says Jack Smith pressing Trump officials on Russia probe documents

Thursday 19 January 2023 16:01 , Oliver O'Connell

Investigators working for Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith have reportedly questioned multiple ex-Trump administration officials about the fate of a large tranche of classified documents pertaining to the FBI probe into Russia’s campaign of interference in the 2016 election.

A report by Murray Waas, a freelance investigative reporter and former National Journal staff writer, wrote on Wednesday that “at least three” figures in Mr Trump’s inner circle have been pressed by prosecutors on whether Mr Trump took “thousands of pages” of documents from the White House — including many bearing classification markings — with an eye towards making them public in attempt to discredit the Justice Department’s probe into alleged ties between his 2016 campaign and the Russian Federation.

Andrew Feinberg has the details.

Special counsel pressing Trump officials on Russia probe documents, report says