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Nikki Haley calls former president ‘diminished’ and ‘unhinged’

Donald Trump is “unhinged” and “more diminished” than when he was in office according to former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. She gave her blunt assessment of the former president in a new interview, making a similar critique of President Joe Biden, as she reiterated the need for generational change in US leadership.

Meanwhile, the verdict in the former president’s New York civil fraud trial will be known by the end of this week, with Judge Arthur Engoron expected to reveal whether the Trump Organization routinely inflated the value of assets to secure favourable terms from lenders. New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking $370m in financial penalties.

Mr Trump has hit out at New York Republican Mazi Pilip after she lost the race for George Santos’s old seat to Democrat Tom Suozzi, labelling her a “very foolish woman” for not adopting his MAGA brand and for not understanding “modern politics in America”.

Elsewhere, the fallout over Mr Trump’s remarks that he would abandon America’s Nato allies in the face of Russian aggression if they did not meet their financial commitments to the military alliance was slammed by Joe Biden as “dumb”, “shameful”, “dangerous” and “unAmerican”.

Key Points

  • Haley defends past role in Trump administration saying he is now ‘diminished’ and ‘unhinged’

  • Judge set to deliver verdict in Trump’s New York fraud trial on Friday

  • Trump disowns ‘very foolish’ New York GOP candidate after special election defeat

  • Biden says Trump’s Nato remarks are ‘dumb’, ‘shameful’, ‘dangerous’ and ‘unAmerican’

  • US Supreme Court gives special counsel deadline in Trump immunity fight

  • Presidential front-runner backs new RNC chairman with daughter-in-law Lara Trump as co-chair

Trump calls on Supreme Court to block ruling against ‘immunity’ defence on election conspiracy charges

Tuesday 13 February 2024 09:45 , Joe Sommerlad

Donald Trump has asked the US Supreme Court to block a ruling that struck down his “immunity” defence against prosecution for crimes allegedly committed in office, potentially teeing up the nation’s highest court to weigh in on another huge question hanging over his campaign.

Trump’s attorneys filed their request following last week’s appellate court ruling that rejected his “immunity” claim against charges connected to the attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

“This threat will hang like a millstone around every future president’s neck, distorting presidential decisionmaking, undermining the president’s independence, and clouding the president’s ability ‘to deal fearlessly and impartially with’ the duties of his office,’” the Republican’s attorneys claimed.

“Without immunity from criminal prosecution, the presidency as we know it will cease to exist,”

The court met last week to hear opening arguments in another case to determine whether states have the power to exclude Trump from ballot papers under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, which bars insurrectionists from returning to public office.

Alex Woodward has this report.

Trump asks Supreme Court to block ‘immunity’ ruling

Truth Social: Ranting Trump lashes out at enemies and claims he made Nato ‘strong’ during presidency

Tuesday 13 February 2024 10:15 , Joe Sommerlad

Oh boy, the Orange One was in rare old form on social media last night, angrily tapping out a series of tirades on miscellaneous grievances against everyone from Nikki Haley (whose husband is hiding out in Africa from sheer embarrassment at her polling, we are assured) to the Lincoln Project, whom he unwisely labelled “perverts”, a theme on which Rick Wilson and friends will very much enjoy getting back to him.

He also issued an exhausting three-post rant against New York attorney general Letitia James and Judge Arthur Engoron over his Big Apple fraud trial, which is surely not smart when $370m is on the line.

Finally, there was this hot-headed rebuke to his critics over the international backlash his comments about Nato have inspired.

Trump’s hush money case and fraud trial collide in New York this week

Tuesday 13 February 2024 10:45 , Joe Sommerlad

Two judges in separate courtrooms just minutes down the street from one another in New York could deal serious blows to Trump, his business and his campaign schedule this week.

On Thursday, a judge in Manhattan criminal court will preside over a hearing that could set a course for the former president’s trial on charges stemming from hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels during his 2016 campaign.

The judge overseeing a separate civil fraud trial that could imperil his family business and brand-building empire is also imminently expected to issue a final judgment in that case, with potentially tens of millions of dollars in sanctions and the end of his real estate career in the Big Apple at stake.

Here’s more from Alex Woodward.

Trump’s hush money case and fraud trial collide in New York this week

Trump wants Fani Willis kicked off his Georgia case. A judge said a hearing ‘must occur’

Tuesday 13 February 2024 11:15 , Joe Sommerlad

A sprawling election interference case against Trump is set to veer into the private and professional life of the woman leading the prosecution against him during a hearing in an Atlanta courtroom this week.

And the former president reportedly plans to be there to see it.

The Georgia judge overseeing the case against the former president and more than a dozen others will preside over a misconduct hearing on Thursday scrutinising allegations against Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis.

Willis and prosecutor Nathan Wade could be called to testify after one of the former president’s co-defendants alleged that the attorneys financially benefited from the vast RICO case through their “personal, romantic relationship” with each other.

If stood up in court, accusations levelled against Willis and the chief prosecutor she hired to lead the case could result in her disqualification.

The tireless Alex Woodward reports.

Trump wants Fani Willis kicked off his case. A judge said a hearing ‘must occur’

Trump wants his daughter-in-law Lara in senior position at RNC, report says

Tuesday 13 February 2024 11:45 , Joe Sommerlad

The Republican is reportedly considering supporting his daughter-in-law Lara Trump for co-chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC), according to The New York Times.

This comes after reports that current RNC chair Ronna McDaniel is set to leave her post after the South Carolina Republican primary.

Gustaf Kilander has more.

Trump wants his daughter-in-law Lara in senior position at RNC, report says

Trump’s ‘outrageous’ Nato comments make allies ‘wonder whether they can rely on America’, warns Romney

Tuesday 13 February 2024 12:15 , Joe Sommerlad

Mitt Romney has told The Independent that Trump’s comments about urging Russia to attack Nato countries who don’t spend enough on defence makes US allies wonder if they can “rely on America”.

Romney’s comments come after Trump’s weekend rally in Conway, South Carolina, where he answered a hypothetical exchange with a leader of a Nato state behind on its dues to the alliance by saying: “No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want.”

Utah’s Senator Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and formerly the governor of Massachusetts, told The Independent on Monday: “He says outrageous things to get people riled up. It works at the rallies. Unfortunately, it also has an impact around the world where our friends wonder whether they can rely on America.”

Eric Garcia and Gustaf Kilander report.

Romney says Trump Nato comments make ‘friends wonder if they can rely on America’

Watch: Can Europe still rely on US after Trump’s Nato comments?

Tuesday 13 February 2024 12:45 , Joe Sommerlad

Republicans ‘are running for vice president instead of worrying about protecting the US’

Tuesday 13 February 2024 13:15 , Joe Sommerlad

Claire McCaskill, the former Democratic senator for Missouri turned pundit, has told MSNBC’s Morning Joe that Maga Republicans are so preoccupied with winning Trump’s affections that they pose a national security threat.

Fox News host confronts Republican senator over Trump’s ‘brainwashing’ of the party

Tuesday 13 February 2024 13:45 , Joe Sommerlad

Shannon Bream sparred with Arkansas senator Tom Cotton over whether the GOP had handed Joe Biden and Democrats a messaging victory by bowing to Trump’s wishes and killing a bipartisan piece of immigration legislation negotiated in the Senate.

John Bowden was watching.

Fox News host confronts Republican senator over Trump’s ‘brainwashing’ of the party

Tuesday 13 February 2024 22:22 , Oliver O’Connell

Biden slams Trump’s ‘dumb’ comments on Russian aggression against Nato

Taylor Swift tweet threatening Trump resurfaces: ‘We will vote you out in November’

Tuesday 13 February 2024 14:15 , Joe Sommerlad

Some classic Swifty doing the rounds and, as Luke Skywalker himself notes, it has indeed aged remarkably well.

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

Tuesday 13 February 2024 14:45 , Joe Sommerlad

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

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

Here’s our report.

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

Biden faces trust gap on key issues including immigration and inflation, new poll finds

Tuesday 13 February 2024 15:15 , Joe Sommerlad

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

An ABC News/Ipsos poll released on Sunday provided several vexing results for the incumbent president.

One startling result that suggests the depth of Biden’s problems: voters were more likely to blame him over Trump for the collapse of border security talks in Congress, in spite of Trump publicly coming out against the legislation while Biden supported it.

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

John Bowden takes a closer look.

Biden faces trust gap on key issues including immigration and inflation

Trump on trial: A big week for the former president’s legal woes

Tuesday 13 February 2024 15:30 , Oliver O’Connell

There are a number of important developments in all of Donald Trump’s criminal cases this week.

The former president has asked the Supreme Court to block the immunity ruling in the federal election interference case, with special counsel Jack Smith being given until 20 February to respond.

In Florida, the closed-door hearings in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case continue today, presided over by Judge Aileen Cannon.

On Thursday there is a pretrial conference in the Stormy Daniels hush-money criminal case in New York, as well as the misconduct hearings against Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in Atlanta. The former president’s attorney has confirmed that Mr Trump will attend the hearing in Georgia, keen to try and see the sprawling state-level election subversion case thrown out.

In addition, the highly anticipated civil fraud trial ruling by Justice Arthur Engoron, which could see the former president banned from the real estate business in New York and fined hundreds of millions of dollars, is expected by Friday.

The hush-money pretrial hearing and Judge Engoron’s fraud trial ruling will likely come within hours of each other, with both courthouses just down the street from one another.

Trump’s hush money case and fraud trial collide in New York this week

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

Tuesday 13 February 2024 15:45 , Joe Sommerlad

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

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

Andrew Feinberg has more on this running farce.

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

ICYMI: Trump calls on Supreme Court to block ruling against ‘immunity’ defence

Tuesday 13 February 2024 16:15 , Oliver O’Connell

Donald Trump is asking the US Supreme Court to block a ruling that struck down his “immunity” defence against prosecution for crimes allegedly committed while he was in office, potentially setting up another major constitutional question involving the former president’s campaign in front of the nation’s highest court.

On Monday, Mr Trump’s attorneys filed their expected request following last week’s appellate court ruling that rejected his “immunity” from charges connected to his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Alex Woodward reports:

Trump asks Supreme Court to block ‘immunity’ ruling

Georgia election subversion: Trump wants Fulton County DA off the case as hearing looms

Tuesday 13 February 2024 16:45 , Oliver O’Connell

A sprawling election interference case against Donald Trump is set to veer into the private and professional life of the woman leading the prosecution against him during a hearing in an Atlanta courtroom this week.

And the former president reportedly plans to be there to see it.

The Georgia judge overseeing the case against the former president and more than a dozen others will preside over a misconduct hearing on Thursday scrutinising allegations against Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

Ms Willis and prosecutor Nathan Wade could be called to testify after one of the former president’s co-defendants alleged that the attorneys financially benefited from the vast RICO case through their “personal, romantic relationship” with each other.

If stood up in court, accusations levelled against Ms Willis and the chief prosecutor she hired to lead the case could result in her disqualification.

Alex Woodward reports:

Trump wants Fani Willis kicked off his case. A judge said a hearing ‘must occur’

Coming up: Trump’s hush money case and fraud trial collide in New York this week

Tuesday 13 February 2024 17:15 , Oliver O’Connell

Two judges in separate courtrooms just minutes down the street from one another could deal serious blows to Donald Trump, his business and his campaign schedule this week.

On Thursday, a judge in Manhattan criminal court will preside over a hearing that could set a course for the former president’s trial on charges stemming from hush-money payments to an adult film star during his 2016 campaign.

The judge overseeing a separate civil fraud trial that could imperil his family business and brand-building empire is also imminently expected to issue a final judgment in that case, with potentially tens of millions of dollars in sanctions and the end of his real estate career in New York at stake.

A court official told The Independent that a decision in that case would be due by mid-February. People familiar with the matter suggested to The New York Times that a decision would come one day after Mr Trump’s criminal court date.

Continue reading…

Trump’s hush money case and fraud trial collide in New York this week

Watch: Haley hits out at Trump RNC endorsements

Tuesday 13 February 2024 17:28 , Oliver O’Connell

How might Trump’s immunity appeal impact the timeline of his federal election interference trial?

Tuesday 13 February 2024 17:45 , Oliver O’Connell

There are several pathways for the federal case against Donald Trump for his role in attempts to subvert the results of the 2020 presidential election, all hingeing on the Supreme Court’s decision whether or not to take up his immunity appeal.

The folks over at Just Security produced this flowchart of how things could play out and when a trial might start.

Over at Politico, Kyle Cheney has also done some quick calculations as to how things might go.

He wrote on X:

A MATH EXERCISE: Trump’s immunity appeal paused his D.C. trial on Dec. 7 — with 88 days to go until his March 4 trial was set to begin.

That means, if SCOTUS sends the case back to (Judge Tanya) Chutkan, she will give Trump roughly 88 days to prepare for trial …

If SCOTUS grants the stay, takes up the immunity issue and resolves it by, say, April 20, Trump’s trial would begin in mid-July, on just about same day he is expected to accept the GOP nomination at the RNC.

If SCOTUS denies the stay on, say, Feb. 22, that would line up Trump’s trial for May 20 … the precise date he’s slated to go on trial in Florida (in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case), but which seems highly unlikely to remain on track.

All of this supposes that SCOTUS rejects Trump’s immunity argument. If it doesn’t, the case is essentially over. The court could also reject expediting the matter and schedule the case for consideration in the fall, upending the timeline altogether.

Stefanik files Bar complaint against NY AG

Tuesday 13 February 2024 18:15 , Oliver O’Connell

Trump ally and New York Republican Rep Elise Stefanik has filed an official Bar complaint with the Committee on Professional Standards against New York Attorney General Letitia James for “violations of the rules of professional conduct” during the former president’s civil fraud trial.

A final ruling on the case against Mr Trump is expected by the end of the week and could see him barred from doing business in real estate, and having to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in disgorgement.

Tuesday 13 February 2024 18:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Trump pushes daughter-in-law for senior RNC position

Tuesday 13 February 2024 19:15 , Oliver O’Connell

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

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

Joe Sommerlad reports:

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

Watch: Biden says Trump Nato remarks are ‘dumb’, ‘shameful’, ‘dangerous’, and ‘unAmerican’

Tuesday 13 February 2024 19:28 , Oliver O’Connell

While Republicans can turn a blind eye to Trump’s Nato comments, the wider world has no such option

Tuesday 13 February 2024 19:45 , Oliver O’Connell

This weekend, when he held a rally in South Carolina, Donald Trump all but goaded Putin into invading European countries when he recalled that he told a head of state of a Nato country talking about Russia during his presidency that if the country did not pay its obligations “I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want.”

Eric Garcia has the story:

The world takes Trump’s Nato comments literally, while Maga takes them seriously

‘History is watching’: Biden urges House to act quickly on Ukraine aid

Tuesday 13 February 2024 19:56 , Oliver O’Connell

President Joe Biden on Tuesday called on the Republican-led House of Representatives to act quickly to approve the $95.34bn (£75.69bn) defence aid package which passed the Senate by a vote of 70-29 earlier in the day, warning House Speaker Mike Johnson and his colleagues that their actions will be remembered long in the future.

“If we don’t stop (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s appetite for power and control in Ukraine, he won’t limit himself just to Ukraine, and the cost for America and our allies and partners are going to rise,” he said, speaking from the State Dining Room in the White House just hours after the Senate vote.

“For Republicans in Congress who think they can oppose funding for Ukraine and not be held accountable. History is watching … failure to support Ukraine at this critical moment will never be forgotten,’ he added.

Andrew Feinberg reports from Washington, DC:

Biden urges House to act quickly on Ukraine aid: ‘History is watching’

GOP senator confronted over Trump’s ‘brainwashing’ of party

Tuesday 13 February 2024 20:15 , Oliver O’Connell

Fox host Shannon Bream sparred with Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton on Sunday over whether the GOP had handed Joe Biden and Democrats a messaging victory by bowing to Donald Trump’s wishes and killing a bipartisan piece of immigration legislation negotiated in the Senate.

Mr Cotton defended Republicans including himself who had voted against the legislation, which died in the Senate this past week after just a few Republicans (including the lead Republican negotiator for the compromise, James Lankford) crossed party lines to vote in favour of it. The move served to hang Mr Lankford out to dry while capitulating to Mr Trump and his loyalists who did not want to see Republicans hand Mr Biden an election-year messaging victory.

But it also served to throw into question whether Republican elected officials are serious about addressing border security, or merely wish to use the immigration system in America as a political cudgel.

John Bowden reports:

Fox News host confronts Republican senator over Trump’s ‘brainwashing’ of the party

ICYMI: Haley accuses Trump of ‘attacking all veterans’ by disrespecting her husband’s military service

Tuesday 13 February 2024 20:45 , Joe Sommerlad

Donald Trump’s challenger for the Republican presidential nomination was interviewed by CNN’s Jake Tapper last night and continued to go after her rival for his absurd attack on her husband’s absence from the campaign trail (he’s serving overseas, something Mr Trump never cared to).

She shrewdly extended her attack as part of a strategy to make it about the former president’s cynical disdain for “all veterans” and the US military generally.

Yesterday, she had this to say on the same subject, which is a cute line.

She has also been hitting back at him on social media, fighting the war on many fronts.

Rosenmontag Carnival floats lampoon Trump

Tuesday 13 February 2024 21:15 , Oliver O’Connell

A carnival float depicting Republican presidential candidate and former US President Donald Trump who cut a swastika out of the U.S. national flag appears in the annual Rose Monday (Rosenmontag) Carnival parade in Dusseldorf, Germany, 12 February 2024. Rose Monday is the traditional highlight of the carnival season in many German cities. (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)A carnival float depicting Republican presidential candidate and former US President Donald Trump who cut a swastika out of the U.S. national flag appears in the annual Rose Monday (Rosenmontag) Carnival parade in Dusseldorf, Germany, 12 February 2024. Rose Monday is the traditional highlight of the carnival season in many German cities. (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Another float shows the former president stabbing a Ukrainian soldier in the back (AP)Another float shows the former president stabbing a Ukrainian soldier in the back (AP)

Another float shows the former president stabbing a Ukrainian soldier in the back (AP)

Georgia election interference: Judge to hold hearing on Fani Willis over two days

Tuesday 13 February 2024 21:29 , Oliver O’Connell

Judge Scott McAfee, the presiding justice in the sprawling Fulton County election interference case in Georgia, will hold two days of hearings into the motion to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and lead prosecutor Nathan Wade from the case.

The motion was brought by defendant Michael Roman after allegations of an improper relationship between the two prosecutors came to light, and then joined by several other defendants, including former president Donald Trump.

You can read Judge McAfee’s order here

Here’s our latest reporting on the case, by Alex Woodward:

Trump wants Fani Willis kicked off his case. A judge said a hearing ‘must occur’

House GOP seek testimony from special counsel in Biden classified documents probe

Tuesday 13 February 2024 21:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Republicans in the House of Representatives have reportedly reached out to Justice Department special counsel Robert Hur about the possibility of his testifying before the Judiciary Committee over his investigation into President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents.

Mr Hur, a Republican former US attorney for Maryland appointed to the task by US attorney general Merrick Garland, caused a furore last week after publishing a report that found the president had “wilfully” held onto highly-sensitive material after leaving office as Barack Obama’s vice president in January 2017 and that they had not been securely stored at his Delaware home or Washington DC office.

He did not charge Mr Biden with a crime but did include an astonishingly personal attack, describing his subject as likely to appear to a jury as “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory”.

Joe Sommerlad reports:

House Republicans seek testimony from special counsel in Biden documents probe

Trump civil fraud trial verdict due Friday

Tuesday 13 February 2024 21:59 , Oliver O’Connell

Molly Crane-Newman of the New York Daily News reports that the verdict in Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial will be handed down by Judge Arthur Engoron on Friday.

She cites a source familiar with the plans as saying that it will be published “barring unforeseen circumstances”.

The former president could be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars and may even be barred from working in real estate in New York state.

His codefendants from his company include both his adult sons Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump as well as former senior Trump Organization executives.

Read up on the case here

The verdict had been expected by the end of January but was delayed:

Trump’s fraud trial judge fires back at his attorneys in scathing letter

Watch: Biden says Trump Nato remarks are ‘dumb’, ‘shameful’, ‘dangerous’, and ‘unAmerican’

Tuesday 13 February 2024 22:15 , Oliver O’Connell

‘Cowboys for Trump’ leader turns to Supreme Court over insurrection challenge

Tuesday 13 February 2024 22:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Nearly two years ago, an elected official from New Mexico was convicted on charges for his role in the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, then removed from office under a constitutional clause banning anyone who “engaged in insurrection” from holding office.

The case of Couy Griffin, a now-former Otero County commissioner, is in front of the US Supreme Court, just days after Donald Trump challenged a Colorado court’s decision that disqualified him from 2024 ballots under the same rule.

Justices are scheduled to consider Griffin’s case in a private conference on Friday.

Alex Woodward has the details of the case:

He was kicked out of office for insurrection. Will the Supreme Court step in?

Biden has a trust gap problem

Tuesday 13 February 2024 23:45 , Oliver O’Connell

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

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

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

John Bowden reports from Washington, DC:

Biden faces trust gap on key issues including immigration and inflation

Allies ‘wonder whether they can rely on America’, warns Romney after ‘outrageous’ Trump Nato remarks

Wednesday 14 February 2024 00:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Mitt Romney has told The Independent that former President Donald Trump’s comments about how he would urge Russia to attack Nato countries who don’t spend enough on defence makes US allies wonder if they can “rely on America”.

Mr Romney’s comments come after Mr Trump’s rally in Conway, South Carolina on Sunday, where he said: “If we don’t pay and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?” Mr Trump said, claiming to remember a Nato member state leader asking him during his presidency. He then claimed to have responded: “No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want.”

Mr Romney, now a Utah Senator after being the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and serving as the governor of Massachusetts, told The Independent on Monday: “He says outrageous things to get people riled up. It works at the rallies. Unfortunately, it also has an impact around the world where our friends wonder whether they can rely on America.”

Continue reading the full article…

Georgia election interference: Judge to hold hearing on Fani Willis over two days

Wednesday 14 February 2024 01:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Judge Scott McAfee, the presiding justice in the sprawling Fulton County election interference case in Georgia, will hold two days of hearings into the motion to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and lead prosecutor Nathan Wade from the case.

The motion was brought by defendant Michael Roman after allegations of an improper relationship between the two prosecutors came to light, and then joined by several other defendants, including former president Donald Trump.

You can read the full court order here

Here’s our latest reporting on the case, by Alex Woodward:

Trump wants Fani Willis kicked off his case. A judge said a hearing ‘must occur’

ICYMI: Trump says he witnessed a migrant stealing a refrigerator

Wednesday 14 February 2024 02:45 , Michelle Del Rey

On Friday, former president Donald Trump addressed a crowd of supporters at the National Rifle Association’s Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he made several surprising comments, including how he saw a migrant stealing a refrigerator and claimed the state’s name would be changed if he isn’t re-elected president.

The event marked Mr Trump’s first Pennsylvania stop on the campaign trial.

Here are some highlights of Trump’s speech:

Trump says he saw migrant shoplifting a refrigerator ‘the other day’

GOP divided on Trump threat to violate Nato defence pledge

Wednesday 14 February 2024 04:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Former president Donald Trump’s latest remarks claiming that he would oversee the disintegration of the Nato alliance Saturday evening in South Carolina divided Republicans on Sunday.

Mr Trump made the remarks at a rally in Conway, South Carolina.

“If we don’t pay and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?” Trump claimed to remember a Nato member-state’s leader asking him when he was president. He then claimed to have responded: “No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want.”

But Republicans — who are already experiencing a major split led by Mr Trump about the role of the United States as a global leader — disagreed about whether his words should warrant alarm when quizzed by The Independent.

Continue reading the full article…

Coming up this week: Trump’s hush money case and fraud trial collide in New York

Wednesday 14 February 2024 06:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Two judges in separate courtrooms just minutes down the street from one another could deal serious blows to Donald Trump, his business and his campaign schedule this week.

On Thursday, a judge in Manhattan criminal court will preside over a hearing that could set a course for the former president’s trial on charges stemming from hush-money payments to an adult film star during his 2016 campaign.

The judge overseeing a separate civil fraud trial that could imperil his family business and brand-building empire is also imminently expected to issue a final judgment in that case, with potentially tens of millions of dollars in sanctions and the end of his real estate career in New York at stake.

Alex Woodward reports:

Trump’s hush money case and fraud trial collide in New York this week

ICYMI: Trump calls on Supreme Court to block ruling against ‘immunity’ defence

Wednesday 14 February 2024 08:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Donald Trump is asking the US Supreme Court to block a ruling that struck down his “immunity” defence against prosecution for crimes allegedly committed while he was in office, potentially setting up another major constitutional question involving the former president’s campaign in front of the nation’s highest court.

On Monday, Mr Trump’s attorneys filed their expected request following last week’s appellate court ruling that rejected his “immunity” from charges connected to his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

“This threat will hang like a millstone around every future President’s neck, distorting Presidential decisionmaking, undermining the President’s independence, and clouding the President’s ability ‘to deal fearlessly and impartially with’ the duties of his office,’” according to Mr Trump’s attorneys.

“Without immunity from criminal prosecution, the Presidency as we know it will cease to exist,” they wrote.

Alex Woodward has the details:

Trump asks Supreme Court to block ‘immunity’ ruling

Truth Social: Trump disowns ‘very foolish’ New York GOP candidate after special election defeat

Wednesday 14 February 2024 10:07 , Joe Sommerlad

Donald Trump has hit out at New York Republican congressional candidate Mazi Pilip after she lost the race for George Santos’s old seat to Democrat Tom Suozzi, labelling her a “very foolish woman” for not adopting his MAGA brand.

“Republicans just don’t learn, but maybe she was still a Democrat?” Mr Trump seethed on Truth Social.

“I have an almost 99 per cent Endorsement Success Rate in Primaries, and a very good number in the General Elections, as well, but just watched this very foolish woman, Mazi Melesa Pilip, running in a race where she didn’t endorse me and tried to ‘straddle the fence,’ when she would have easily WON if she understood anything about MODERN DAY politics in America.

“MAGA, WHICH IS MOST OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, STAYED HOME – AND IT ALWAYS WILL, UNLESS IT IS TREATED WITH THE RESPECT THAT IT DESERVES.”

He may not be taking the right lesson from last night’s result, however…

Here’s Bevan Hurley on Suozzi’s big win.

Democrat Tom Suozzi wins New York special election for George Santos’ former seat

Biden says Trump’s Nato remarks are ‘dumb’, ‘shameful’, ‘dangerous’ and ‘unAmerican’

Wednesday 14 February 2024 10:30 , Joe Sommerlad

Trump’s suggestion over the weekend that he would abandon America’s Nato allies in the face of Russian aggression if they had not met their financial commitments to the military alliance were slammed by Joe Biden last night, as he called on the House of Representatives to hurry up and pass more Ukraine aid, warning them: “History is watching.”

The president called his predecessor’s comments on Nato “dumb”, “shameful”, “dangerous” and “unAmerican” and tantamount to bowing down to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

You can see his comments in full courtesy of IndyTV.

Biden slams Trump’s ‘dumb’ comments on Russian aggression against Nato

Truth Social: Trump accuses Haley of hypocrisy, berates Schiff and champions Hur report

Wednesday 14 February 2024 11:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Back in the Republican’s social media wormhole, he was up late accusing his GOP presidential rival of hypocrisy over the military (and appears to have got her on this one) and going up absolutely rabid over his old foe Adam Schiff.

He also attempted to blow on the embers of last week’s report by Republican prosecutor Robert Hur into Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents, which cleared the president of wrongdoing but contained some very unwelcome and unsolicited remarks about his memory.

Here’s more on the House GOP efforts to make political theatre out of Hur’s hatchet job on the commander-in-chief.

House Republicans seek testimony from special counsel in Biden documents probe

US Supreme Court gives special counsel deadline in Trump immunity fight

Wednesday 14 February 2024 11:30 , Joe Sommerlad

The US Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the special counsel prosecuting Trump on criminal charges of plotting to overturn his 2020 election loss to respond by 20 February to the former president’s bid to freeze a judicial decision rejecting his immunity claim.

The justices, in a brief order told Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith to file a response to Trump’s request by next Tuesday at 4pm. Smith could file his response sooner. He previously asked the justices to resolve Trump’s immunity claim before a lower appeals court had weighed in – a request they denied.

Trump’s lawyers on Monday asked the justices to temporarily block a decision by a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejecting his claim of presidential immunity from prosecution, pending his bid for the full slate of DC Circuit judges to reconsider the case, and, if necessary, a Supreme Court appeal.

The requests risk further delaying Trump’s criminal trial on four criminal counts. A 4 March trial date in federal court in Washington was postponed, with no new date yet set. Trump has pleaded not guilty and has sought to portray the case as politically-motivated.

Given that Trump is the front-runner for the Republican nomination to challenge President Biden again in November’s election, slowing the case could be to Trump’s benefit.

In their filing to the Supreme Court, Trump’s lawyers said a months-long criminal trial of Trump during “at the height of election season will radically disrupt” his ability to campaign against Biden.

They painted a dark picture of what they said would befall future presidents if Trump’s prosecution is permitted to move forward, warning of partisan prosecutions, extortion, blackmail and more.

Here’s Alex Woodward on what they had to say.

Trump asks Supreme Court to block ‘immunity’ ruling

New York civil fraud trial: Trump verdict due on Friday

Wednesday 14 February 2024 12:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Molly Crane-Newman of The New York Daily News has reported that the verdict in Trump’s civil fraud trial will be handed down by Judge Arthur Engoron on Friday.

She cites a source familiar with the plans as saying that it will be published “barring unforeseen circumstances”.

The former president could be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars and may even be barred from working in real estate in New York state.

His co-defendants from his company include both his adult sons Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump as well as former senior Trump Organization executives.

The verdict had been expected by the end of January but was delayed.

Here’s Alex Woodward with the latest.

Trump’s fraud trial judge fires back at his attorneys in scathing letter

Georgia election interference case: Judge to hold hearing on Fani Willis over two days

Wednesday 14 February 2024 12:30 , Joe Sommerlad

Judge Scott McAfee, the presiding justice in the sprawling Fulton County election interference case in Georgia, will hold two days of hearings into the motion to disqualify Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis and lead prosecutor Nathan Wade from the case.

The motion was brought by defendant Michael Roman after allegations of an improper relationship between the two prosecutors came to light, and then joined by several other defendants, including Trump.

Here’s our latest reporting on the case from Alex Woodward.

Trump wants Fani Willis kicked off his case. A judge said a hearing ‘must occur’

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

Wednesday 14 February 2024 13:00 , Joe Sommerlad

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

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

Lara’s been out lobbying for the role on Newsmax (which pays a cool $250,000 a year!) but her candidacy has provoked some rather unkind words from Trump’s estranged former fixer Michael Cohen.

Here’s more on those Trump endorsements and the souring of relations with McDaniel.

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

Jon Stewart bashes both Biden and Trump’s ages in return to Daily Show

Wednesday 14 February 2024 13:30 , Joe Sommerlad

More than eight years since his last Daily Show episode, Jon Stewart made his return to the programme this week and did not hold back from an extended bashing of the two main presidential candidates.

Stewart hit out at both Democrats and Republicans alike for trying to defend the advanced ages of President Joe Biden and GOP candidate Donald Trump.

“One thing we know for certain is this: we have two candidates who are chronologically outside the norm of anyone who has run for the presidency of this country in the history of this country,” he said.

“I think we’ve got a new name for our election coverage: Indecision 2024 Antiques Roadshow,” he said, also proposing “Indecision 2024: Electile Dysfunction.”

Amelia Neath has more.

Jon Stewart skewers Joe Biden’s TikTok for making him look older in Daily Show return

AOC rubbishes Trump’s argument Biden is too old to run: ‘They could have gone a high school together’

Wednesday 14 February 2024 14:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Ocasio-Cortez stuck up for Joe Biden on CNN last night, the young progressive significantly backing a man with whom she has not always seen eye-to-eye “one on most successful presidents in modern American history.”

Trump blames ‘foolish’ Mazi Pilip for NY special election loss

Wednesday 14 February 2024 14:24 , Oliver O’Connell

Donald Trump has hit out at New York Republican candidate Mazi Pilip, branding her a “very foolish woman” for not appealing to his MAGA brand – after she lost the race for George Santos’s former seat to Democrat Tom Suozzi.

Mr Suozzi won the special election in the Big Apple’s 3rd congressional district on Tuesday night, which comprises eastern Queens and the Long Island suburbs of Nassau County.

The Democrat picked up 53.9 per cent of the vote to Ms Pilip’s 46.1 per cent.

Joe Sommerlad has the story:

Trump blames ‘foolish’ Republican candidate Mazi Pilip for NY special election loss

Trump defends Biden over criticism he’s too old

Wednesday 14 February 2024 14:32 , Oliver O’Connell

…sort of.

No, just another early morning all-caps rant.

Perhaps the former president is finally realising that he is only four years younger than the incumbent, as Nikki Haley has been stressing.

Lincoln Project gloats after Trump fumes over border ad

Wednesday 14 February 2024 14:45 , Oliver O’Connell

The Never Trump Republicans obviously enjoyed being branded “perverts” by their nemesis on Truth Social the other night and have wasted no time in recirculating the ad that so infuriated him.

Haley defends past role in Trump administration saying he is now ‘diminished’ and ‘unhinged’

Wednesday 14 February 2024 14:58 , Oliver O’Connell

In an interview with NBC’s Today show, Nikki Haley defended her past support for Donald Trump while offering some of her bluntest criticism of him yet, telling Craig Melvin of NBC News that the former president is “more diminished than he was”.

The former UN ambassador has long made the need for generational change a centrepiece of her campaign for the Republican Party presidential nomination, taking shots at both Mr Trump and President Joe Biden regarding their age.

When challenged as to how her criticism of the former president stacks up against the fact she was part of his administration, Ms Haley said: “During the time that I was in the administration, I called him out every single time.”

“If something was wrong — I had a conversation with him about Charlottesville, I had a conversation about something that he would say about women, I had a conversation with him about multiple things.

“The problem now is he is not the same person he was in 2016,” she continued. “He is unhinged; he is more diminished than he was, just like Joe Biden’s more diminished than what he was.

“We have to see this for what it is,” Ms Haley added. “This is a fact: He is now saying things that don’t make sense.”

Going further with her criticism of the 81-year-old incumbent president and the 77-year-old former commander-in-chief, she said: “You’ve got Joe Biden, where the special counsel said he was diminished, and he’s not the Joe Biden he was two years ago.”

Continuing, she said: “You’ve got a Donald Trump who’s unhinged, and he’s more unhinged than he ever was. And why are we settling for that when the country is in disarray and the world is on fire?

“We don’t want these two old men running. We want someone who’s going to go and fight for us and work for us, with no drama, no vendettas.”

The former ambassador has been focused on trying to break through the Trump-dominated primary with the next state up being her home state of South Carolina, where she served as a popular governor for two terms.

“We’re going to be competitive in South Carolina, then we’re headed to Michigan, then we’re headed to Super Tuesday,” she said, before acknowledging calls from Mr Trump and some others in the Republican Party to drop out, thereby handing the former president the nomination.

“We don’t pick kings. We don’t do coronations. We have a democracy where people vote,” Ms Haley said. “Why would I get out as long as we keep it competitive?”

McConnell denounces Trump’s threat to violate Nato treaty

Wednesday 14 February 2024 15:30 , Joe Sommerlad

Republican senator minority leader Mitch McConnell has found his voice and denounced Trump’s threat to violate the Nato treaty after initially refusing to comment on the matter over the weekend.

John Bowden has this one.

McConnell denounces Trump’s threat to violate Nato treaty after dodging questions

GOP senator confronted over Trump ‘brainwashing’ party… on Fox News

Wednesday 14 February 2024 16:00 , Oliver O’Connell

Fox host Shannon Bream sparred with Arkansas senator Tom Cotton on Sunday over whether the GOP had handed Joe Biden and Democrats a messaging victory by bowing to Donald Trump’s wishes and killing a bipartisan piece of immigration legislation negotiated in the Senate.

John Bowden has the story.

Fox News host confronts Republican senator over Trump’s ‘brainwashing’ of the party

George Santos trolls Republicans after Democrats claim his old seat

Wednesday 14 February 2024 16:30 , Oliver O’Connell

Disgraced former congressman and serial fabulist George Santos trolled the Republican party after Democrats claimed his old seat in New York’s third district.

Democratic Rep Tom Souzzi – the man who represented the district before Mr Santos won in 2022 – won back his old seat on Tuesday night in a tight race against Republican nominee Mazi Melesa Pilip.

Mr Souzzi chose not to run for re-election in 2022, instead mounting a failed primary campaign to be the Democratic nominee for governor, which he lost to incumbent Governor Kathy Hochul.

Gustaf Kilander has the story:

George Santos trolls Republicans after Democrats claim his old seat

Happy Valentine’s Day, Melania

Wednesday 14 February 2024 16:35 , Oliver O’Connell

Trump doubles down after widely condemned Nato comments

Wednesday 14 February 2024 16:43 , Oliver O’Connell

Donald Trump has doubled down after his shocking comments about leaving European members of Nato to defend themselves against Russia were widely condemned.

Could somebody please inform our uninformable President that NATO has to pay their bills! They are right now paying a small fraction of what we are for the Disaster in Ukraine which, if we had a real President, would never have happened. There is probably a $150 Billion difference. They should equalize with the U.S. – FAST! The European Nations, when combined, have approximately the same size Economy as we do. They have the money. PAY UP!

President Joe Biden called Mr Trump’s remarks at a rally over the weekend “dumb”, “shameful”, “dangerous” and “unAmerican”.

Wednesday 14 February 2024 17:00 , Oliver O’Connell

Nato chief insists allies will be protected after Trump’s Russia remarks

‘Cowboys for Trump’ leader turns to Supreme Court after insurrection ruling

Wednesday 14 February 2024 17:30 , Oliver O’Connell

Nearly two years ago, an elected official from New Mexico was convicted on charges for his role in the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, then removed from office under a constitutional clause banning anyone who “engaged in insurrection” from holding office.

The case of Couy Griffin, a now-former Otero County commissioner, is in front of the US Supreme Court, just days after Donald Trump challenged a Colorado court’s decision that disqualified him from 2024 ballots under the same rule.

Justices are scheduled to consider Griffin’s case in a private conference on Friday.

Alex Woodward reports:

He was kicked out of office for insurrection. Will the Supreme Court step in?

Wednesday 14 February 2024 18:00 , Oliver O’Connell

Biden slams Trump’s ‘dumb’ comments on Russian aggression against Nato

Michael Cohen claims Trump always hated one of his daughters-in-law…

Wednesday 14 February 2024 18:30 , Oliver O’Connell

Former Trump lawyer and fixer turned critic Michael Cohen has said that the former president despised his daughter-in-law Lara Trump for “many years”.

Cohen’s comments come after Donald Trump endorsed her for co-chair of the Republican National Committee.

The ex-Trump ally was speaking to the co-founder of the left-leaning media outlet MeidasTouch, Ben Meiselas, when he shared his reaction to Mr Trump’s endorsement.

Gustaf Kilander has the story:

Michael Cohen claims Trump always hated Lara after RNC endorsement

Former SecDef says Trump doesn’t understand Nato and will withdraw if back in office

Wednesday 14 February 2024 19:00 , Oliver O’Connell

Donald Trump’s former Secretary of Defence Mark Esper on CNN this morning said of the former president’s approach to Nato: “He doesn’t understand the importance of the alliance and how it’s critical to our security as well … One of the first things he’ll do is cut off assistance to Ukraine … and then begin trying to withdraw troops and ultimately withdraw from Nato.”

‘Foolish’ Republican candidate Mazi Pilip responsible for NY special election loss, Trump says

Wednesday 14 February 2024 19:30 , Oliver O’Connell

Donald Trump has hit out at New York Republican candidate Mazi Pilip, branding her a “very foolish woman” for not appealing to his MAGA brand – after she lost the race for George Santos’s former seat to Democrat Tom Suozzi.

Mr Suozzi won the special election in the Big Apple’s 3rd congressional district on Tuesday night, which comprises eastern Queens and the Long Island suburbs of Nassau County.

The Democrat picked up 53.9 per cent of the vote to Ms Pilip’s 46.1 per cent.

Joe Sommerlad reports:

Trump blames ‘foolish’ Republican candidate Mazi Pilip for NY special election loss

As he tells Europe to ‘PAY UP’, Trump’s Nato criticism is fact-checked by historian

Wednesday 14 February 2024 19:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Donald Trump drew widespread condemnation after his recent comments that he would encourage Russia to invade Nato countries that don’t spend enough on defence.

A leading historian, Timothy Snyder, noted on X on Tuesday that when it comes to aid to Ukraine, the US is lagging behind some European countries when it comes to per capita assistance to the wartorn country.

After President Joe Biden called Mr Trump’s Nato comments “un-American”, Mr Trump wrote on Truth Social on: “Could somebody please inform our uninformable President that NATO has to pay their bills!

“They are right now paying a small fraction of what we are for the Disaster in Ukraine which, if we had a real President, would never have happened. There is probably a $150 Billion difference. They should equalize with the U.S. – FAST! The European Nations, when combined, have approximately the same size Economy as we do. They have the money. PAY UP!” he added.

Gustaf Kilander reports on what Mr Snyder had to say about that…

Leading historian rebukes Trump claim that Europe is paying less to help Ukraine

Watch: Haley pushed back on idea Trump is on glide path to nomination

Wednesday 14 February 2024 20:00 , Oliver O’Connell

Trump claims to have already won trial he has already (partially) lost

Wednesday 14 February 2024 20:30 , Oliver O’Connell

With the looming final verdict from Judge Arthur Engoron expected Friday, Donald Trump is sharing his thoughts (again) on his civil fraud trial using his usual dubious capitalisation.

Here’s what the former president wrote on Truth Social:

We’ve already WON the NO Jury Allowed Engoron case in the Appellate Division – Statute of Limitations and Ivanka released from the CORRUPT Attorney General litigation. Judge Engoron has been overturned FOUR TIMES in this case (WOW!), A RECORD. Great Financial Statements with nevertheless IRONCLAD DISCLAIMER/BUYER BEWARE/DO YOUR OWN DUE DILIGENCE, CLAUSE (Accepted in ALL jurisdictions throughout the USA!), No Victims, No Damages, a Never Used Statute, Unconstitutional Gag Order, happy banks and insurance companies (All made lots of money!), No Complaints, Fully DISCREDITED STAR WITNESS WHO ADMITTED TO LYING ON THE STAND, NO CASE!!! Should have been sent to Commercial Division but, more correctly, never been brought at all. A Biden directed Political Witch Hunt for the purpose of Election Interference. Violent Crime at ALL TIME HIGH, AS BUSINESSES FLEE NEW YORK IN RECORD NUMBERS. I PAID OVER $300,000,000 in Taxes during dates in question, but they stupidly want me gone. MAGA!!!

He wasn’t done though, later posting in full caps:

IT HAS BEEN LEAKED ALL OVER THE PLACE TO THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA, PROBABLY BY THE CORRUPT JUDGE AND/OR ATTORNEY GENERAL, THAT A DECISION ON THE NEVER USED BEFORE (FOR SUCH PURPOSE!) CONSUMER FRAUD STATUTE, THAT HAS BEEN ILLEGALLY WEAPONIZED AGAINST ME, WILL BE RELEASED ON FRIDAY. JUDGE ENGORON WRONGFULLY RULED AGAINST ME BEFORE THE TRIAL EVEN STARTED, SAID THAT MAR-a-LAGO WAS ONLY WORTH $18,000,000, AND WAS ALREADY OVERTURNED FOUR TIMES ON APPEAL, A RECORD. THIS CROOKED JUDGEMENT WILL BE A DARK AND SAD DAY FOR THE JUSTICE SYSTEM IN NEW YORK STATE. NO DAMAGES, NO VICTIMS – ONLY SUCCESS. CASE ALREADY WON ON APPEAL…WITCH HUNT!!! ELECTION INTERFERENCE!!!

And here’s what you need to know ahead of Friday’s “leaked’ verdict, courtesy of Alex Woodward:

Trump’s hush money case and fraud trial collide in New York this week

ICYMI: Haley defends past role in Trump administration saying he is now ‘diminished’ and ‘unhinged’

Wednesday 14 February 2024 21:00 , Oliver O’Connell

In an interview with NBC’s Today show, Nikki Haley defended her past support for Donald Trump while offering some of her bluntest criticism of him yet, telling Craig Melvin of NBC News that the former president is “more diminished than he was”.

The former UN ambassador has long made the need for generational change a centrepiece of her campaign for the Republican Party presidential nomination, taking shots at both Mr Trump and President Joe Biden regarding their age.

When challenged as to how her criticism of the former president stacks up against the fact she was part of his administration, Ms Haley said: “During the time that I was in the administration, I called him out every single time.”

“If something was wrong — I had a conversation with him about Charlottesville, I had a conversation about something that he would say about women, I had a conversation with him about multiple things.

“The problem now is he is not the same person he was in 2016,” she continued. “He is unhinged; he is more diminished than he was, just like Joe Biden’s more diminished than what he was.

“We have to see this for what it is,” Ms Haley added. “This is a fact: He is now saying things that don’t make sense.”

Going further with her criticism of the 81-year-old incumbent president and the 77-year-old former commander-in-chief, she said: “You’ve got Joe Biden, where the special counsel said he was diminished, and he’s not the Joe Biden he was two years ago.”

Continuing, she said: “You’ve got a Donald Trump who’s unhinged, and he’s more unhinged than he ever was. And why are we settling for that when the country is in disarray and the world is on fire?

“We don’t want these two old men running. We want someone who’s going to go and fight for us and work for us, with no drama, no vendettas.”

The former ambassador has been focused on trying to break through the Trump-dominated primary with the next state up being her home state of South Carolina, where she served as a popular governor for two terms.

“We’re going to be competitive in South Carolina, then we’re headed to Michigan, then we’re headed to Super Tuesday,” she said, before acknowledging calls from Mr Trump and some others in the Republican Party to drop out, thereby handing the former president the nomination.

“We don’t pick kings. We don’t do coronations. We have a democracy where people vote,” Ms Haley said. “Why would I get out as long as we keep it competitive?”

Here’s the Kristen Stewart clapback we’ve been waiting for…

Wednesday 14 February 2024 21:30 , Oliver O’Connell

Kristen Stewart has revealed how she decided to publicly come out after seeing Donald Trump’s tweets about her break-up with Robert Pattinson.

In February 2017, Stewart hosted Saturday Night Live and took the opportunity to shoot back at the then-President of the United States’s social media messages, as well as opening up about her sexuality.

“Donald, if you didn’t like me then, you’re probably really not going to like me now,” she said during her monologue. “Because I’m hosting SNL and I’m, like, so gay, dude.”

In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Stewart, 33, said the decision to come out on national television was a “very shoot-from-the-hip moment”.

Kevin E G Perry reports on what she had to say to the former president:

Kristen Stewart reveals Donald Trump’s tweets inspired her coming out on SNL

Coming up tomorrow: Trump’s hush money case and fraud trial collide in New York

Wednesday 14 February 2024 22:00 , Oliver O’Connell

Two judges in separate courtrooms just minutes down the street from one another could deal serious blows to Donald Trump, his business and his campaign schedule this week.

On Thursday, a judge in Manhattan criminal court will preside over a hearing that could set a course for the former president’s trial on charges stemming from hush-money payments to an adult film star during his 2016 campaign.

The judge overseeing a separate civil fraud trial that could imperil his family business and brand-building empire is also imminently expected to issue a final judgment in that case, with potentially tens of millions of dollars in sanctions and the end of his real estate career in New York at stake.

Alex Woodward reports:

Trump’s hush money case and fraud trial collide in New York this week

Triple amputee actor arrested for allegedly breaching Capitol during Jan 6 riot

Wednesday 14 February 2024 22:30 , Oliver O’Connell

Yet another Hollywood actor is facing charges for his alleged role in the January 6 attack.

Cameron Clapp, a triple amputee whose acting career led him to appearances in Workaholics and My Name is Earl, was arrested on Tuesday in Los Angeles. Federal prosecutors are accusing him of entering the Capitol unlawfully during the siege and attempting to obstruct the official proceedings of Congress, as well as disorderly conduct, according to a criminal complaint first reported by The Daily Beast.

Mr Clapp’s prosecution marks the second semi-notable TV actor now known to have been caught up in the mob of Donald Trump’s supporters who stormed the US Capitol with the intent of hunting down lawmakers and stopping the lawful certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.

John Bowden reports from Washington, DC:

Triple amputee actor arrested for allegedly breaching Capitol during January 6 attack

Trump posts heartfelt Valentine’s Day message to Melania – in the most Trumpy way…

Wednesday 14 February 2024 23:00 , Oliver O’Connell

Donald Trump sent a gushing Valentine’s Day message to his wife, Melania, as part of a campaign email asking supporters for donations.

The former president thanked his FLOTUS for standing by her husband despite the litany of charges – both civil and criminal – against him.

“Dear Melania, I love you. Even after every single indictment, arrest, and witch hunt, you never left my side,” the excerpt from the email, sent out on 14 February read.

Mike Bedigan has the story.

Trump posts heartfelt Valentine’s Day message to Melania – in campaign email