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Trump news – live: Police can sue Trump over January 6 as ex-president rages at Fox News

Donald Trump can be held liable for the actions of a violent mob that launched an attack on the US Capitol on 6 January, 2021, the US Department of Justice has determined.

Attorneys for the Justice Department’s civil rights division determined that the realm of protected speech from the president “does not include incitement of imminent private violence” as a group of US Capitol Police officers and Democratic lawmakers seek to hold Mr Trump accountable for the Capitol riot in a lawsuit.

The former president meanwhile continues to rage at Fox News and his one-time ally Rupert Murdoch over the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit, including a deposition from the veteran executive in which he admitted his regret that the network’s top personalities “endorsed” the former president’s false election fraud claims in 2020.

On his Truth Social account on Wednesday, Mr Trump rebuked the “MAGA Hating Globalist RINOS” at Fox who refuse to believe his bogus insistence that the vote was “Rigged” and “Stollen” [sic], saying they should “get out of the News Business”.

Key Points

  • Tireless Trump rages at ‘incompetent RINOS at Fox News’

  • Ex-president doubles down on Murdoch attacks and orders enemies to ‘get out of the News Business’

  • Biden mocks Marjorie Taylor Greene: ‘Isn’t she amazing?’

  • Trump takes lead over DeSantis in four key polls as ex-president returns to CPAC

  • Judge clears Trump Georgia grand jury foreperson over ‘media tour’

Where’s Ted Cruz?

18:15 , David Taintor

There seems to have been a last-minute schedule change at CPAC. Sen Ted Cruz was scheduled to host a segment of his “Verdict” podcast after Sen John Kennedy of Louisiana spoke. However, CPAC head Matt Schlapp and CPAC senior fellow Mercedes Schlapp filled in for a segment before the programme moved on to Sen Tommy Tuberville for a panel on “Sacking the Woke Playbook”.

It’s possible a schedule snafu caused the lineup change. CPAC’s schedule notes that “agenda times and sessions are subject to change”.

Trump can be sued by police and lawmakers over Jan 6 attack, Justice Department says

18:14 , Alex Woodward

Trump can be held liable for the actions of a violent mob that launched an attack on the US Capitol on 6 January, 2021, the US Department of Justice has determined.

Attorneys for the Justice Department’s civil rights division determined that the realm of protected speech from the president “does not include incitement of imminent private violence” as a group of US Capitol Police officers and Democratic lawmakers seek to hold Mr Trump accountable for the Capitol riot in a lawsuit.

An appeals court reviewing the lawsuit turned to the Justice Department for an opinion in December.

“Presidents may at times use strong rhetoric. And some who hear that rhetoric may overreact, or even respond with violence,” attorneys for the Justice Department said on Thursday.

“Just as denying First Amendment protection to incitement does not unduly chill speech in general, denying absolute immunity to incitement of imminent private violence should not unduly chill the President in the performance of his traditional function of speaking to the public on matters of public concern,” they added.

Louisiana senator’s remarks list GOP priorities injected with his faux folksy aphorisms

17:51 , Alex Woodward

Republican US Senator John Neely Kennedy of Louisiana, making the first major solo speech at this year’s CPAC, listed off GOP priorities to defend America as a “star-spangled awesome” place to live

The senator – a former Democratic official and Oxford grad – has revved up his accent and use of folksy aphorisms in his time in Washington.

“I wonder how some people in Washington DC actually made it through the birth canal,” he said.

He revived a well-worn joke about kale aimed at American liberals (“Kale tastes like I wanna be fat”) and called the city of Chicago “the world’s largest outdoor shooting range”.

“The Washington elites … they may call us deplorables, they may think we are not real people, but we are real people and we need to get real mad,” he told the crowd. “So join with me, help me fight for America. We will win this fight if we just remember who we are as Americans.”

CPAC panelists joke about killings journalists

17:37 , Alex Woodward

In a panel titled “Don Lemon Is Past His Primetime,” right-wing media personalities criticised the CNN anchor and mocked what they characterised as an unfair liberal media and repeatedly joked about trans people.

Panelist L Brent Bozell III, the founder of conservative watchdog group the Media Research Center, said journalists have “never held a real job”.

Town Hall columnist Kurt Schlichter said journalists are “too dumb to do anything else” and “the enemy”.

“They want to be gatekeepers. They want to set the agenda,” he said.

At one point, he mentioned serving in the Gulf War – “when America won wars and the Pentagon knew which bathroom to use” – and recalled a service member asking if he can kill journalists.

“’Sir, if we have any reporters around, can I shoot ‘em?’” he said as panelists laughed.

“I would never advocate hunting the media for sport,” he added.

CPAC hosts hail Libs of TikTok founder as a ‘hero’ as panelists mock trans people

17:08 , Alex Woodward

With her Libs of TikTok accounts and attacks against LGBT+ people, teachers and doctors, Chaya Raichik has emerged as an influential right-wing media figure, making appearances on Tucker Carlson’s programming and Newsmax, with nearly 2 million followers on Twitter and a high-earning blog.

She also has dined with Donald Trump. And on Thursday, she stepped onto the CPAC stage shortly before noon on Thursday alongside several right-wing media personalities to criticise what they have characterised as an unfair liberal media.

Libs of TikTok has been inked to harassment and threats against drag performers, LGBT+ people and their advocates, particularly teachers, as well as doctors and hospitals that provide gender-affirming care to young trans people. Hours after five people were killed and several others were wounded inside a mass shooting at a Colorado Springs LGBT+ nightclub, Libs of TikTok drew negative attention to a drag performance in the state.

On Thursday at CPAC, she was hailed as a “hero” and “courageous” as panelists joked about trans people and pronouns.

She called a recent VICE profile previewing her CPAC appearance as an “insane hit piece”.

“Nothing I love more than to mock and clown the liberal media,” she said.

Panelist L Brent Bozell III, the founder of conservative watchdog group the Media Research Center, mocked trans people by joking that “if I ever transition I want to be Chaya.”

CPAC panelists target China over US farmland. How much do Chinese entities actually own?

16:43 , Alex Woodward

Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn accused “the Chinese Community Party” of stealing American intellectual property, spying on Americans and their children, and owning thousands of acres of US farmland, suggesting that China is purposefully developing land near sensitive US military sites.

China owns roughly 384,000 acres of US agricultural land, according to a 2021 report from the US Department of Agriculture. Roughly 195,000 acres, worth nearly $2bn when purchased, are owned by 85 Chinese investors, which could be individuals, companies or the government.

Another 189,000 of those acres, worth $235m, are owned by 62 US corporations with Chinese shareholders.

But of the 109 countries that own US agricultural land, China ranks eighteenth. Canada, easily in the No 1 spot, owns 12.8 million acres. China even falls behind the Cayman Islands, which owns 672,000 acres.

Chinese-linked entities acquired 32,000 acres in 2021, fewer than what was purchased in 2020, but 98 per cent more than combined growth between 2015 and 2019, according to Forbes.

Republican Scott Perry threatens to eliminate office space for agencies that don’t cooperate with GOP oversight

16:26 , Alex Woodward

House Freedom Caucus Chair Scott Perry at CPAC on Thursday threatened to eliminate federal office space for agencies if Biden administration officials don’t comply with oversight demands from House Republicans.

Scott Perry threatens to eliminate office space if officials don’t testify

Trump claims Pence and DeSantis are too boring for CPAC

16:12 , Alex Woodward

Trump criticised his vice president Mike Pence and potential 2024 rival Ron DeSantis or skipping this week’s CPAC.

“The only reason certain ‘candidates’ won’t be going to CPAC is because the crowds have no interest in anything they have to say. They’ve heard it all before, and don’t want to hear it again,” he wrote on Truth Social on Thursday.

Trump says Pence and DeSantis too boring for CPAC as he’s preparing ‘monster’ speech

GOP congressman calls Mark Milley a ‘traitor’ and claims children are ‘not safe’ in school

16:11 , Alex Woodward

Far-right congressman Ralph Norman of South Carolina called Joint Chiefs of Staff chair Mark Milley – a decorated service member and highest-ranking military officer in the nation’s armed forces – “a traitor”.

Moments earlier at his CPAC appearance alongside US Rep Scott Perry, Mr Norman dismissed Vice President Kamala Harris as “the giggler” as he mentioned the possibility of impeaching Joe Biden and lambasted the Biden administration and its response to the Chinese surveillance balloon.

Mr Perry said breaches into American airspace should be “met with maximum force” against China.

In his closing remarks on the panel, Mr Norman claimed that “our children are not safe” in America’s schools, amplifying right-wing moral panic involving teachers, LGBT+ rights and discussion of race and racism in classrooms and workplaces.

“What’s happening to them … is evil,” he said.

Trump says potential 2024 rivals aren’t at CPAC ‘because the crowds have no interest'

15:41 , Alex Woodward

The conference known for hoisting a golden Trump statue and platforming an array of far-right figures is reportedly losing interest from many potential 2024 contenders and high-profile Republican officials.

Not appearing at CPAC this week: potential GOP presidential candidates Ron DeSantis and Mike Pence.

Donald Trump says he knows why:

“The only reason certain ‘candidates’ won’t be going to CPAC is because the crowds have no interest in anything they have to say,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform on Thursday.

“They’ve heard it all before, and don’t want to hear it again,” he said. “But my speech, on Saturday night, is already a sold out ‘monster.’”

He said his speech will discuss “the fact that, obviously, our Country is going to ‘HELL,’ and how to fix it.”

Schlapp suggests House Republicans should impeach Biden cabinet

15:35 , Alex Woodward

Standing next to House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan on the CPAC stage, Matt Schlapp asked the crowd whether they want to see Joe Biden’s Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas impeached. The crowd cheered.

“Is this the most incompetent cabinet group we’ve ever seen?” he asked Mr Jordan. “This impeachment word … how do you handle all the wrongdoing?”

He later asked the crowd if they want House Republicans to impeach Mr Mayorkas.

Matt Schlapp and Jim Jordan kick off CPAC’s Thursday events

15:22 , Alex Woodward

Thursday’s event begins with Jim Jordan, the new chair of the House Judiciary Committee and a founding member of the far-right House Freedom Caucus.

He is speaking with CPAC chief Matt Schlapp, who suggested on stage that Mr Jordan’s committee should subpoena journalists at The New York Times and The Washington Post who were awarded Pulitzers for their coverage of Russian interference in 2016 elections, reporting that Mr Schlapp, Donald Trump and other Republicans falsely claim is fraudulent.

 (EPA)
(EPA)

Story: Matt Schlapp avoids questions on groping allegations as CPAC kicks off

14:37 , Alex Woodward

CPAC chief Matt Schlapp ignored questions from The Independent about allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

Trump booster Matt Schlapp avoids questions on groping allegations as CPAC kicks off

Behind the scenes, things look smaller this year

14:21 , Andrew Feinberg

After a pandemic-era hiatus, CPAC is back at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Centre, the just-outside-Washington, DC venue it has called home since 2003.

The Marriott-managed property is a massive complex that is part of an even more massive development called National Harbour, and in years past CPAC has packed the convention centre’s ballroom to the rafters.

While CPAC organisers say this year’s edition hasn’t scaled down its’ ambitions in any way, the ballroom setup for this year tells a different tale.

In years past, the conference’s general session has filled the cavernous main ballroom with multiple sections of seating reserved for attendees who’ve paid at different levels to guarantee varying degrees of access.

Not so this year.

Not only does the seating area for attendees not appear to have the multiple tiers of seating that were present at previous conferences, but roughly a quarter of the room is not being used for paying attendees at all.

 (Andrew Feinberg  / The Independent)
(Andrew Feinberg / The Independent)

A portion of that unused capacity is devoted to a press filing area that is much smaller than in years past.

 (Andrew Feinberg / The Independent)
(Andrew Feinberg / The Independent)

Instead of being spread out along several rows of seats spanning the breadth of the ballroom — the filing area has been relegated to a corner behind a riser set aside for television cameras and photographers, denying most of the press a view of the crowd size.

 (Andrew Feinberg / The Independent)
(Andrew Feinberg / The Independent)

What’s more, a significant part of the ballroom is blocked off by a movable wall which is disguising empty, unused space.

Matt Schlapp avoids questions on allegations against him

14:00 , Eric Garcia

As CPAC kicked off on Thursday morning, the event’s leader Matt Schlapp avoided questions on the allegations against him. A GOP operative has accused Mr Schlapp of making unwanted sexual advances during the Georgia Senate runoff campaign. Mr Schlapp has denied the claims.

CPAC panelists will target transgender healthcare, voting rights and ‘the woke playbook’

14:00 , Alex Woodward

Between the headlining speeches from prominent Republican elected officials at this year’s CPAC are several panels and roundtable talks on a host of issues – largely revolving around transgender people, election conspiracy theories, anti-abortion activism, attacks on schools and libraries, and a so-called “woke playbook”, issues that will likely dominate the stage over the next few days as well as upcoming campaigns in 2024.

Guest panelists include far-right commentator and “Pizzagate” proponent Jack Posobiec, anti-LGBT+ social media influencer Chaya Raichik of Libs of Tik Tok, and Terry Schilling with the American Principles Project, an organisation that promotes state legislation to end gender-affirming healthcare for all transgender people, regardless of their age.

CPAC will also hear from anti-abortion activists and activists involved in a coordinated right-wing effort to undermine public schools – a campaign fuelled by outrage over Covid-19 guidance and a “groomer” panic that has consumed school boards and debates over library contents across the US.

One panel – “Sacking the Woke Playbook” – will feature former college football coach turned US Senator Tommy Tuberville. Arizona attorney general candidate Abe Hamadeh, among so-called “election deniers” who ran and lost statewide races for positions that would have critical oversight of American elections, will join a panel called “They Stole it From Us Legally”.

 (EPA)
(EPA)

Lincoln Project attacks Trump takeover of Republican Party in new video

13:30 , Joe Sommerlad

Right in time for CPAC, the anti-Trump Republican collective has a new campaign to remind American conservatives: “The Republican Party of old is no more, as Trumpism and MAGA have taken root and instilled a rot that cannot be washed away.”

The allegations against CPAC chief Matt Schlapp

13:00 , Joe Sommerlad

As CPAC’s 2023 edition kicks off, the man who greets the myriad right-wing activists and supporters descending on Maryland will do so facing allegations of sexual misconduct.

That man, veteran GOP lobbyist Matt Schlapp, had been accused by a male Republican campaign operative of making unwanted sexual advances during the closing days of the US Senate race in Georgia.

What are the allegations against CPAC head Matt Schlapp?

‘I am afraid of Trump on a very personal level’, says Bill Maher

12:30 , Joe Sommerlad

Speaking to Jake Tapper as part of a new CNN interview, Real Time host Bill Maher revealed his “very personal” fear of a second Donald Trump presidency.

“I am afraid of Trump on a very personal level because I don’t think he likes me. I understand why,” Mr Maher said.

“And I don’t know what he would do in a second term.”

The comedian, whom Mr Trump has dismissed as a “radical left maniac” and “wacky”, said that, after the 2016 election: “I was afraid for my own wellbeing. I thought I could wind up in Guantanamo Bay. I think I still could.

“He’s obsessed sometimes. I don’t know. He went on a tear for about eight months when he was president. Every time he’d have a rally, I have a list three pages long of the things he’s called me.

“I mean, he is obviously someone who does not know any boundaries, and, you know, you have to worry when you see what other authoritarian rulers do in other countries to people.

“I’m not thinking he’s going to become [Russian president Vladimir Putin] and start pushing people out windows, but I’m not going to live on the 30th floor anywhere either.”

The Covid denialist organisation sponsoring CPAC

12:00 , Joe Sommerlad

This year’s CPAC will be sponsored by an advocacy organisation once dubbed “among the top purveyors” of Covid-19 misinformation by a member of Congress.

The group, called America’s Frontline Doctors, passes itself as any other medical organisation, but public health experts and critics have called the group “the 21st century, digital version of snake-oil salesmen” that promoted pseudoscientific Covid cures like using horse dewormer, fostered anti-vaccine sentiment and abused donor funds.

Read more:

What is America’s Frontline Doctors, the Covid denial organisation sponsoring CPAC?

Democratic leaders in Congress tell Rupert Murdoch to halt ‘grave propaganda’ around 2020 election

11:30 , Joe Sommerlad

A letter from Senate majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries demands that Fox News hosts such as Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham “admit on the air that they were wrong to engage in such negligent behaviour” by providing a platform for a baseless narrative that the election was compromised.

Their letter followed bombshell court filings in a defamation case against the network, with internal messages and testimony from Fox personalities and executives revealing their private rejection of bogus election fraud conspiracy theories while serveral programmes continued to host the people who promoted them.

Read more:

Top Democrats tell Rupert Murdoch to end ‘grave propaganda’ around 2020 election

Cowboys for Trump co-founder not guilty of campaign finance charge

11:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Couy Griffin was found not guilty on Wednesday of a misdemeanour charge of failing to register the group as a political committee at a trial in southern New Mexico.

The verdict from a 12-member jury capped a two-day trial in Alamogordo, the community where Mr Griffin served as an Otero County commissioner until he was banished from office last year for his role in the Capitol riot of 6 January 2021.

Read more:

Trump cowboy found not guilty of campaign finance charge

Jimmy Kimmel ridicules CPAC as ‘Magalos’ convention after report Trump tried to silence him

10:30 , Joe Sommerlad

The late night show had some fun sending up the $295 per ticket Republican gathering in Maryland, suggesting it began with a “21-assault rifle salute” and a pledge of allegiance to Mr Trump and reeling off a list of real names of events taking place including: “No Chinese Balloons over Tennessee”, “Sacking the Woke Playbook”, “Parents with Pitchforks, “The Biden Crime Family” and “MySpeech” (featuring Mike Lindell, of course).

We heard earlier this week, courtesy of Rolling Stone, that Trump was so offended by Mr Kimmel’s jokes during his presidency he had aides call up Disney in an attempt to have his show censored.

The Lincoln Project has also been mocking the event using a classic clip from The Simpsons.

Below, John Bowden takes a look at the lineup of speakers at this year’s CPAC, which features Nikki Haley, Mike Pompeo, Marjorie Taylor Greene,Ted Cruz and Jair Boslonaro, among many others.

Who is speaking at CPAC and when?

Biden mocks Marjorie Taylor Greene: ‘Isn’t she amazing?’

10:04 , Joe Sommerlad

Joe Biden has laughed off the latest provocation from MAGA populist congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene at an annual Democratic gathering in Baltimore, chuckling: “Isn’t she amazing?”

He was responding to the representative asking Michigan mother and conservative activist Rebecca Kiessling during a hearing at Capitol Hill whether she believed the two children she lost to fentanyl-related deaths in July 2020 would still be alive “if our government would secure our southern border”.

Ms Greene proudly tweeted a clip of the exchange, overlooking the fact that it was Mr Trump who was in the White House at the time the tragedy occurred, not Mr Biden.

“She was very specific — I shouldn’t digress, probably — I read, she was very specific recently saying that a mom, a poor mother who lost two kids to fentanyl, that I killed her sons,” the president said, addressing her comments in the hearing.

“Well, the interesting thing is, that fentanyl they took came during the last administration,” he said, before breaking off with a chuckle, according to The Hill.

“Look folks. Anyway, I don’t want to get started…”

Read more:

Biden leads laughter at Marjorie Taylor Greene after false fentanyl claims

Tireless Trump continues Fox News rant

09:35 , Joe Sommerlad

After slamming Fox over the Dominion revelations on Wednesday, denouncing its “MAGA Hating Globalist RINOS” and suggesting that anyone who does not believe the 2020 election was “Stollen” (a delicious German raisin bread?) should “get out of the News Business”, the swamp beast of Mar-a-Lago has been at it again.

This time he’s blaming former House speaker turned Fox board member Paul Ryan for being a bad influence and says he must resign or be fired:

This is what Mr Ryan himself has had to say about the crisis.

Paul Ryan ‘absolutely disagrees’ with Tucker Carlson as he defends role on Fox board

ICYMI: Mike Lindell thanks Rupert Murdoch for keeping his MyPillow ads on air despite support for bogus conspiracy theories

09:00 , Alex Woodward

Pillow salesman and prolific election fraud conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell has thanked the network’s Rupert Murdoch for keeping his MyPillow ads on air after the media mogul’s testimony in the Dominion defamation lawsuit revealed that he had no plans to cancel them.

MyPillow was the most prolific advertiser on Fox News, which ran 678 ads on the network between Election Day 2020 and 6 January 6, 2021, according to Media Matters.

In his sworn deposition in the case of Dominion Voting Systems, which is suing the network for promoting false election claims related to the voting machine company, Mr Murdoch said that Mr Lindell “pays us a lot of money” and has no plans to boot him from the lineup.

“At first you think it’s comic, and then you get bored and irritated,” Mr Murdoch said, according to court documents. “It is not red or blue, it is green.”

“Thank God that Mr Rupert Murdoch doesn’t cancel MyPillow ... because their president goes out there with his First Amendment right of free speech and talks about, tries to save our country,” Mr Lindell said on his The Lindell Report on 27 February.

“Is Fox supposed to be like the machine companies? ... ‘Mike Lindell, he’s saying those lies about Dominion.’ I’m not saying lies. It’s the truth,” he added.

Lawsuit documents allege that Fox executives grew anxious after Mr Lindell criticised the network during an interview with Newsmax.

Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott reportedly sent him a gift with a handwritten note, hoping to win him over.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Prosecutors and FBI reportedly clashed over search of Trump residence

08:00 , Alex Woodward

Top FBI officials reportedly pushed back on plans from the Justice Department to seek a warrant authorising a search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home because they feared scrutiny from internal watchdogs and congressional committees.

Prosecutors and FBI clashed over search of Trump residence, report says

The biggest revelations from the Dominion defamation lawsuit against Fox News

07:00 , Alex Woodward

Despite the network’s top officials and presenters privately acknowledging that then-president Trump and his allies were lying about the 2020 election, Fox News continued to bring them on air to amplify those claims, which also energised competing right-wing media networks that appeared to threaten Fox viewership, according to court documents.

Here is a brief overview of some of the claims outlined in Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6bn case, which collects sworn depositions and internal messages from prominent Fox News personalities like Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham and owner Rupert Murdoch discussing coverage of the 2020 election’s aftermath.

Fox News, the Murdochs and backstage Trump whispers: The damning Dominion revelations

Three things we’re watching at this year’s CPAC

04:00 , Alex Woodward

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is the elephant not in the room at this year’s CPAC. How will the crowd take it?

How will CPAC handle sexual misconduct allegations facing its chief organised chair Matt Schlapp? And what will far-right activists and GOP officials tell their supporters about their agenda targeting LGBT+ people, school censorship and voting rights?

Three things we’re keeping an eye on at CPAC this week

Donald Trump looms large over CPAC’s 2023 summit. What will he have to say?

03:00 , Alex Woodward

The annual Conservative Political Action Conference is back for another round of Republican grandstanding, grievance-airing and MAGA merchandise as the party and right-wing groups strategise ahead of critical 2024 races.

The four-day event that bills itself as the “largest and most influential gathering of conservatives in the world” will feature a headlining address from Donald Trump on Saturday.

So, what might the twice-impeached president, currently under criminal investigation, have to say this time?

Is Donald Trump speaking at CPAC?

CPAC panelists will target transgender healthcare, voting rights and ‘the woke playbook'

02:00 , Alex Woodward

Between the headlining speeches from prominent Republican elected officials at this year’s CPAC are several panels and roundtable talks on a host of issues – largely revolving around transgender people, election conspiracy theories, anti-abortion activism, attacks on schools and libraries, and a so-called “woke playbook”, issues that will likely dominate the stage over the next few days as well as upcoming campaigns in 2024.

Guest panelists include far-right commentator and “Pizzagate” proponent Jack Posobiec, anti-LGBT+ social media influencer Chaya Raichik of Libs of Tik Tok, and Terry Schilling with the American Principles Project, an organisation that promotes state legislation to end gender-affirming healthcare for all transgender people, regardless of their age.

CPAC will also hear from anti-abortion activists and activists involved in a coordinated right-wing effort to undermine public schools – a campaign fuelled by outrage over Covid-19 guidance and a “groomer” panic that has consumed school boards and debates over library contents across the US.

One panel – “Sacking the Woke Playbook” – will feature former college football coach turned US Senator Tommy Tuberville. Arizona attorney general candidate Abe Hamadeh, among so-called “election deniers” who ran and lost statewide races for positions that would have critical oversight of American elections, will join a panel called “They Stole it From Us Legally”.

Vendors set up inside CPAC’s 2023 event in Maryland on 1 March. (EPA)
Vendors set up inside CPAC’s 2023 event in Maryland on 1 March. (EPA)

Jamie Raskin hits back at Lauren Boebert over Covid-19 claims with Trump’s own words

01:00 , Alex Woodward

Democratic US Rep Jamie Raskin corrected Republican Lauren Boebert following her attempts to rewrite the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic.

Ms Boebert criticised pandemic-era mask and vaccine mandates as she claimed that Covid-19 was “released from a lab in China” during a House Oversight Committee on Tuesday. But she failed to note that Trump repeatedly praised Xi’s response and that one of Trump’s chief advisers blamed his policies on the loss of lives.

“So, if there’s a problem with the Chinese government unleashing a virus – which has not been proven anywhere, but it certainly could be true – you would have to pin that on your favourite president, Donald Trump, not on Joe Biden,” Mr Raskin said.

Democrat Jamie Raskin hits back at Lauren Boebert with Trump quotes

Chris Christie explains why he believes Trump will be indicted

00:00 , Alex Woodward

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said that he thinks Trump will be indicted in connection to at least one of the numerous investigations of which he’s at the centre.

Chris Christie explains why he believes Trump will be indicted

The allegations against CPAC’s Matt Schlapp

Wednesday 1 March 2023 23:00 , Alex Woodward

A male GOP campaign operative accused the head of the organisation that runs CPAC of making unwanted sexual advances during the closing days of Georgia’s Senate runoff election.

What are the allegations against CPAC head Matt Schlapp?

Three things we’re keeping an eye on at CPAC this week

Wednesday 1 March 2023 22:30 , Alex Woodward

The Independent’s Eric Garcia previews what we’ll be watching at this year’s CPAC: The elephant not in the room, allegations facing Matt Schlapp, and a GOP agenda targeting LGBT+ people and discussion of race and gender in schools, among other apparent priorities on the American right:

Three things we’re keeping an eye on at CPAC this week

Mike Lindell thanks Rupert Murdoch for keeping his MyPillow ads on air despite support for bogus conspiracy theories

Wednesday 1 March 2023 22:00 , Alex Woodward

Pillow salesman and prolific election fraud conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell has thanked the network’s Rupert Murdoch for keeping his MyPillow ads on air after the media mogul’s testimony in the Dominion defamation lawsuit revealed that he had no plans to cancel them.

MyPillow was the most prolific advertiser on Fox News, which ran 678 ads on the network between Election Day 2020 and 6 January 6, 2021, according to Media Matters.

In his sworn deposition in the case of Dominion Voting Systems, which is suing the network for promoting false election claims related to the voting machine company, Mr Murdoch said that Mr Lindell “pays us a lot of money” and has no plans to boot him from the lineup.

“At first you think it’s comic, and then you get bored and irritated,” Mr Murdoch said, according to court documents. “It is not red or blue, it is green.”

“Thank God that Mr Rupert Murdoch doesn’t cancel MyPillow ... because their president goes out there with his First Amendment right of free speech and talks about, tries to save our country,” Mr Lindell said on his The Lindell Report on 27 February.

“Is Fox supposed to be like the machine companies? ... ‘Mike Lindell, he’s saying those lies about Dominion.’ I’m not saying lies. It’s the truth,” he added.

Lawsuit documents allege that Fox executives grew anxious after Mr Lindell criticised the network during an interview with Newsmax.

Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott reportedly sent him a gift with a handwritten note, hoping to win him over.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

White House calls senior Republican ‘despicable’ for wishing Biden’s dead son had been prosecuted

Wednesday 1 March 2023 21:30 , Alex Woodward

The Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee was admonished by the White House after he complained that President Joe Biden’s late son Beau Biden was not prosecuted in connection to an investigation into illegal contributions involving the president’s 2008 campaign.

The comments from Kentucky congressman James Comer – who will join a CPAC panel titled “The Biden Crime Family” on Friday – were “completely inappropriate,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Wednesday.

“It says a lot about the chairman, which is not good, by the way,” she said. “To make the statement that he did is incredibly ugly and inappropriate.”

White House calls senior Republican ‘despicable’ for Beau Biden prosecution wish

Garland discusses special counsel probe into Trump classified documents case

Wednesday 1 March 2023 21:00 , Alex Woodward

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, US Attorney General Merrick Garland was asked to explain why he appointed two special counsels to look into both Trump and Biden’s retention of classified documents.

“With respect to President Trump,” Mr Garland said, “he had announced that he was a candidate for president, and President Biden had indicated that he would be a candidate.”

Mr Garland believed “that’s an extraordinary circumstance and ... fitting within the regulations to provide a level of independence and accountability that fit within the purpose of the special counsel regulations,” he said.

 (AP)
(AP)

Prosecutors and FBI clashed over search of Trump residence, report says

Wednesday 1 March 2023 20:30 , Alex Woodward

Top FBI officials reportedly pushed back on plans from the Justice Department to seek a warrant authorising a search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home because they feared scrutiny from internal watchdogs and congressional committees.

Prosecutors and FBI clashed over search of Trump residence, report says

Paul Ryan ‘absolutely disagrees’ with Tucker Carlson as he defends role on Fox News board

Wednesday 1 March 2023 20:00 , Alex Woodward

Former Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan is responding to a wave of criticism aimed at him and other Fox News and Fox Corporation executives after testimony and other evidence revealed during the course of Dominion’s lawsuit against the company showed that top personalities on the network spread Donald Trump’s election lies while trashing them in private.

The former speaker, who sits on the board of directors of the Fox Corporation, was asked directly in a recent interview if he has a responsibility to stand up to the kind of misinformation amplified by Fox News.

“I do,” Mr Ryan responded. “I have a responsibility to offer my opinion and perspective and I do that, but I don’t go on TV and do it, right? So I offer my perspective, my opinion, often. I’ll just leave it at that.”

Paul Ryan ‘absolutely disagrees’ with Tucker Carlson as he defends role on Fox board

Full story: Marjorie Taylor Greene berates Georgia election official with false claims that Trump won the state in 2020

Wednesday 1 March 2023 19:30 , Alex Woodward

Far-right congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene berated a Georgia election official while spreading conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election during a hearing on Tuesday.

The Independent’s Eric Garcia has more:

Marjorie Taylor Greene berates state election official: ‘Trump Won Georgia!’

Just in: GOP senator’s account suspended after he threatens Japan over US serviceman

Wednesday 1 March 2023 19:20 , Alex Woodward

Twitter has suspended the personal account of US Senator Mike Lee after the Utah Republican appeared to threaten the prime minister of Japan over a detained US Navy serviceman.

GOP Senator Mike Lee’s Twitter suspended after he threatens Japan over US serviceman

Marjorie Taylor Greene’s office tells CNN to ‘f*** off’

Wednesday 1 March 2023 19:00 , Alex Woodward

CNN correspondent Daniel Dale asked Marjorie Taylor Greene’s office about her claims that the Biden administration was responsible for fentanyl-related deaths in 2020 during the Trump administration.

Her congressional spokesperson Nick Dyer replied asking whether he believed families that have lost people to drugs since Biden took office “give a f*** about your bull**** fact checking.”

Dale also followed up with her office to ask about her ongoing lies around the 2020 presidential election, including the false claim that Trump won the state of Georgia, which several recounts have shown Biden winning definitively.

Dyer’s response: “F*** off.”

Trump takes lead over DeSantis in four key polls as ex-president returns to CPAC

Wednesday 1 March 2023 18:30 , Alex Woodward

Four new polls heading into CPAC show Donald Trump holding a commanding lead over a field of potential Republican primary challengers as 2024 elections for president approach.

Trump takes lead over DeSantis in four key polls as ex-president returns to CPAC

How a Trump-appointed judge could revoke access to a commonly used abortion drug

Wednesday 1 March 2023 18:00 , Alex Woodward

The future of abortion access for the most common form of abortion care is in the hands of a federal judge appointed by Donald Trump.

A right-wing group that has supported anti-abortion litigation across the US, including the landmark US Supreme Court case that overturned Roe v Wade last year, is challenging the US Food and Drug Administration to reverse its approval of a commonly used abortion drug.

An imminent decision from US District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk that would block access to mifepristone, even temporarily, could significantly disrupt access to medication abortion nationwide.

How a Trump-appointed judge could revoke access to a commonly used abortion drug

Full story: Top Democrats tell Rupert Murdoch to halt ‘grave propaganda’ around 2020 election

Wednesday 1 March 2023 17:45 , Alex Woodward

A letter from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries demanded that Fox News hosts such as Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham “admit on the air that they were wrong to engage in such negligent behavior” by providing a platform for a baseless narrative that the election was compromised.

Their letter followed bombshell court filings in a defamation case against the network, with internal messages and testimony from Fox personalities and executives revealing their private rejection of bogus election fraud conspiracy theories while serveral programmes continued to host the people who promoted them.

Top Democrats tell Rupert Murdoch to end ‘grave propaganda’ around 2020 election

Democratic leaders in Congress demand Fox News stop spreading ‘grave propaganda’ around 2020 election

Wednesday 1 March 2023 17:15 , Alex Woodward

The bogus narrative surrounding the 2020 presidential election is fuelling Donald Trump’s 2024 ambitions and will likely loom large at this year’s CPAC events.

After bombshell legal filings from a voting machine company suing Fox News for defamation revealed how network hosts and executives privately condemned those lies, top Democrats in Congress are calling on the network and Fox Corp chair Rupert Murdoch to end the “grave propaganda” and “conspiracy theories” that network hosts continue to “promote, spew and perpetuate.”

DeSantis speaks to The Times: The US needs ‘more energy’ in the White House

Wednesday 1 March 2023 16:45 , Alex Woodward

In a flattering profile from The Times, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis deflects when asked questions addressing speculation about his alleged presidential ambitions.

“I would flip it around and I think we look at the current incumbent,” he said, referring to 80-year-old Joe Biden. Mr DeSantis is 44.

“You know, don’t we need some more energy in the executive?” he said. “Don’t we need a little bit more vigour and a little bit more punch?”

When asked directly whether he wrote his book, the recently published The Courage to be Free, he replied: “What I would say is, I was well known. I was, you know, kind of a hot commodity. And I thought that the book would do well, I think it is doing well. I think you’re gonna see it’s going to do very well. We’ve had a great, great response.”

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Fox News, the Murdochs and secret Trump messaging: Inside the Dominion lawsuit

Wednesday 1 March 2023 16:15 , Alex Woodward

Court documents present damning messages from Fox News network’s star anchors and executives surrounding coverage of Donald Trump’s false 2020 election fraud narrative, claims that continue to animate the GOP and several panels and speeches at this year’s CPAC.

Despite the network’s top officials and presenters privately acknowledging that then-president Trump and his allies were lying, the network continued to bring them on air to amplify those claims, which also energised competing right-wing media networks that appeared to threaten Fox viewership, according to court documents.

The Independent looks at some of the claims in court documents, which collect sworn depositions and internal messages from prominent Fox News personalities like Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham and owner Rupert Murdoch discussing coverage of the 2020 election’s aftermath.

Fox News, the Murdochs and backstage Trump whispers: The damning Dominion revelations

Just in: Trump doubles down on attacks on Murdoch and tells Fox News chef to ‘get out of the news business’

Wednesday 1 March 2023 16:10 , Alex Woodward

The former president took to Truth Social on Wednesday to once again push his baseless and debunked claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him as he bashed the Fox News chairman.

Trump attacks Murdoch, tells him to ‘get out of news’ over Fox Dominion testimony

The allegations facing Matt Schlapp

Wednesday 1 March 2023 16:00 , Alex Woodward

Matt Schlapp has denied claims in a new lawsuit that he groped a male Republican strategist working for Herschel Walker’s failed US Senate campaign in Georgia.

Mr Schlapp, who is a close ally of Donald Trump and the chairman of the American Conservative Union, which organises CPAC, was accused of fondling the man as they drove in his car towards an Atlanta-area hotel in October.

Charlie Spies, a lawyer for Mr Schlapp and his wife, former Trump administration aide Mercedes Schlapp, issued a denial on their behalf last month.

Conservative leader Matt Schlapp denies new lawsuit claims he groped GOP strategist

The CPAC speaker lineup

Wednesday 1 March 2023 15:30 , Alex Woodward

From Wednesday through Saturday, some of the nation’s most prominent Republicans will address audiences of young activists, party officials, and veteran operatives as they make their respective cases for their own personal brands of conservatism.

The Indepedent’s John Bowden takes a look at the lineup of speakers at this year’s CPAC, including Trump, Nikki Haley, Mike Pompeo, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Ted Cruz:

Who is speaking at CPAC and when?

Poll shows Trump with big lead on DeSantis as Florida governor and other GOP hopefuls skip CPAC

Wednesday 1 March 2023 15:15 , Alex Woodward

Trump holds a commanding lead over a field of potential Republican primary challengers as the 2024 campaign season approaches, with the former president garnering support from 55 per cent of self-identified GOP voters, a new Emerson College poll shows.

His next closest rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, only clocks in with support from a quarter of the hypothetical GOP primary electorate polled in the survey of 1,060 voters. That’s four percentage points lower than the 29 per cent who said they’d support the Florida governor in a similar survey last month.

Andrew Feinberg reports:

Trump takes lead over DeSantis in four key polls as ex-president returns to CPAC

DeSantis team accused of threatening Trump fans with police outside of book signing

Wednesday 1 March 2023 15:00 , Alex Woodward

Notably absent from CPAC’s lineup this year? Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

His team, meanwhile, has been accused of threatening to call the police on a group of Trump supporters who were demonstrating outside of a book signing event at a Florida mall on Tuesday.

Far-right activist and white nationalist conspiracy theorist Laura Loomer recorded the group’s interaction with police and posted a video to social media:

DeSantis team accused of threatening Trump fans with police outside of book signing

Jair Bolsonaro will speak at CPAC this week

Wednesday 1 March 2023 14:55 , Alex Woodward

Former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is among prominent right-wing officials delivering remarks to the CPAC crowd this year.

Pro-Trump former Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro will speak at CPAC this week

America’s Frontline Doctors, the Covid denialist organisation sponsoring CPAC

Wednesday 1 March 2023 14:50 , Alex Woodward

This year’s CPAC will be sponsored by an advocacy organisation once dubbed “among the top purveyors” of Covid-19 misinformation by a member of Congress.

The group, called America’s Frontline Doctors, passes itself as any other medical organisation, but public health experts and critics have called the group “the 21st century, digital version of snake-oil salesmen” that promoted pseudoscientific Covid cures like using horse dewormer, fostered anti-vaccine sentiment, and abused donor funds.

The Independent’s Josh Marcus reports:

What is America’s Frontline Doctors, the Covid denial organisation sponsoring CPAC?

Donald Trump returns to CPAC

Wednesday 1 March 2023 14:45 , Alex Woodward

The annual Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, returns today for another round of Republican grandstanding, grievance-airing and MAGA merchandise as the party and right-wing groups strategise ahead of critical 2024 races.

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, for the first time in two years after relocating to Florida and then Texas to take advantage of those states’ more relaxed Covid-19 restrictions during the pandemic.

So, what might the twice-impeached president, currently under criminal investigation, have to say this time?

Is Donald Trump speaking at CPAC?

Judge clears Trump Georgia grand jury foreperson over ‘media tour’

Wednesday 1 March 2023 14:30 , Joe Sommerlad

Members of the Fulton County, Georgia, special purpose grand jury that examined former president Donald Trump’s effort to overturn his 2020 election loss in the Peach State are free to discuss the contents of the grand jury’s final report so long as they avoid speaking about their own internal discussions.

Judge Robert McBurney told ABC News on Monday that the former grand jurors are free to “talk about the final report” but said it could be “problematic” if they inadvertently “synthesise the testimony” heard during the investigation and the internal discussions about that testimony, which under Georgia law cannot be disclosed.

He explained to the network that he spoke to grand jurors at a “farewell session” and “reminded them of their oath, which is a statutory obligation that they not discuss with anyone outside their group their deliberations – that’s the one word that’s in the oath”.

Read more:

Judge clears Trump Georgia grand jury foreperson over ‘media tour’

ICYMI: Fox News refuses to air advert revealing how stars rejected Trump election fraud claims: ‘They lied to you’

Wednesday 1 March 2023 14:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Fox News reportedly rejected a television advert from a progressive advocacy group and political action committee that highlighted recently uncovered reactions from the network’s top stars and executives to Donald Trump’s bogus election fraud claims and conspiracy theories surrounding a voting machine company that is suing the network for defamation.

The ad from MoveOn addresses viewers directly while quoting from text messages and emails uncovered in the lawsuit, which revealed how network personalities and Rupert Murdoch shared their behind-the-scenes irritation with false claims while the network continued to amplify them.

“Texts show they lied to you about the 2020 election for profit,” the ad says.

Read more:

Fox News refuses to air ad with bombshell election fraud texts: ‘They lied to you’

What can we expect from Trump at CPAC this year?

Wednesday 1 March 2023 13:30 , Joe Sommerlad

Speaking of CPAC, Mr Trump is scheduled to cap off the four-day festival of anti-woke grievance airing with a Saturday speaking slot.

A number of high-profile Republicans, including Ron DeSantis and estranged former veep Mike Pence, are skipping the event this year, however.

So what we can we expect from Big Don – and will he be upstaged by Jair Bolsonaro?

Read more:

Is Donald Trump speaking at CPAC?

What’s happening at CPAC this year?

Wednesday 1 March 2023 13:00 , Joe Sommerlad

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is returning to the DC area as the 2024 primary contest begins to heat up with the announcements of Donald Trump and Nikki Haley, the first official contenders.

From Wednesday through Saturday, some of the nation’s most prominent Republicans will address audiences of young activists, party officials and veteran operatives as they make their respective cases for their own personal brands of conservatism.

Just as notable as those attending the event, however, is the list of those who declined invitations: Florida governor Ron DeSantis, thought to be one of the strongest potential 2024 GOP primary candidates, will not be attending while former US vice president Mike Pence, also thought to be readying a 2024 bid, has spurned the gathering.

John Bowden has this look at the most notable conservatives who will be there.

Who is speaking at CPAC and when?

Is Pete Buttigieg the worst transportation secretary in history?

Wednesday 1 March 2023 12:30 , Joe Sommerlad

Donald Trump would certainly say so and Mr Buttigieg certainly often divides opinion but transit experts say that the former South Bend mayor, who has little experience managing mass transit and has never held an elected office higher than leading that small city in Indiana, has done a solid job at the Department of Transport, overseeing an important agency with roughly 55,000 employees and a budget of nearly $90bn.

In the process, he’s elevated what’s normally considered a fairly staid cabinet position to put himself at the centre of both policymaking and surrogacy for the administration at large. Though, in doing so, Mr Buttigieg has also opened himself to unrelenting partisan attacks as the country experiences transit crisis after transit crisis, from chaos at airports to lengthy backlogs in the international supply chain.

Read more:

Is Pete Buttigieg the best – or worst – transportation secretary ever?

Trump launches attack on 'weak and totally ineffective' Pete Buttigieg over Ohio train derailment

Wednesday 1 March 2023 12:00 , Joe Sommerlad

In another recent Truth Social diatribe, the former commander-in-chief issues some rare praise for The Washington Post (he used to deride the legendary newspaper as “the Amazon Washington Post”) as a means of attacking US transport secretary Pete Buttigieg, whom his loathsome eldest son Don Jr recently suggested had been a “diversity hire” by the Biden administration because he is gay.

Of the beleaguered Mr Buttigieg, who arrived in East Palestine, Ohio, a day after Mr Trump last week to inspect the costly chemical cleanup after the freight train derailment of 3 February, he writes, somewhat confusingly:

Jury weighs whether Cowboys for Trump flouted campaign law

Wednesday 1 March 2023 11:30 , Joe Sommerlad

Cowboys for Trump co-founder Couy Griffin confronted a trial by jury on Tuesday on charges that he failed to register a political organisation without filing related public financial disclosures.

The two-day trial began yesterday with jury selection in state District Court at Alamogordo, the New Mexico community where Mr Griffin served as an Otero County commissioner until he was banished from office last year for his role in the Capitol riot.

In 2019, Mr Griffin forged a group of rodeo acquaintances into the promotional group called Cowboys for Trump, which staged horseback parades to spread the then-president’s conservative messages about gun rights, immigration controls and abortion restrictions.

But Mr Griffin has resisted pressure to register the group as a political committee, including filing an unsuccessful petition to the 10th District Court of Appeals.

Read more:

Jury weighs whether Cowboys for Trump flouted campaign law