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Trump news – live: Jan 6 committee wants Kevin McCarthy to talk as new report on probe rocks Matt Gaetz

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LIVE – Updated at 03:55

A new interview airing on NPR hears Donald Trump irritably ending his discussion with the broadcaster over questions about the Capitol insurrection and his fixation on non-existent election fraud in 2020.

Speaking to interviewer Steve Inskeep, Mr Trump disowned Republicans who have recognised his fraud claims as false, calling Mitch McConnell a “loser” for agreeing and decrying all those in his party who agree as “RINOs”. According to Mr Inskeep, the interview was meant to go on for 15 minutes but in the end only lasted nine because Mr Trump left the call.

The ex-president is facing further pressure from the select committee investigating the events of 6 January 2021, with the panel issuing subpoenas to a former White House speechwriter and aides to Donald Trump Jr. So far, many White House and Trump associates have refused to comply with the panel’s demands, but many others are thought to have given evidence in private and handed over relevant documents.

Meanwhile, the one-term president’s middle son, Eric Trump, lashed out at New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is leading a long-running probe into whether he or his company violated New York tax laws. Coming off the back of a lawsuit claiming Ms James’s efforts “are in no way connected to legitimate law enforcement goals, but rather, are merely a thinly-veiled effort to publicly malign Trump and his associates”, the president’s son claimed that her probe was unconstitutional.

The younger Trump made the incorrect statements during an appearance on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News in which he claimed Ms James’s investigation into whether his family business violated New York tax laws is meant to keep his father from running for president in 2024 and amounts to “effectively handing” that election to President Joe Biden.

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Key Points

  • Mary Trump interview: From 2024 predictions to Donald’s psychological deterioration
  • Capitol riot committee subpoenas ex-Trump speechwriter and Donald Trump Jr advisers
  • GOP senators refuse to back Trump’s election lies
  • Poll finds wide majority fears political instability, collapse of American democracy
  • January 6 committee subpoenas Kevin McCarthy

McCarthy refuses to cooperate with ‘illegitimate’ Jan 6 probe

03:54 , Shweta Sharma

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy has refused to cooperate with the House select committee investigating the 6 January insurrection, citing the “illegitimate” investigation by the panel.

In a statement released hours after the committee sent a formal request to him for an interview, McCarthy said that the “illegitimate” panel was trying to interview him about his “private conversations not remotely related to the violence that unfolded at the Capitol.”

“The committee’s only objective is to attempt to damage its political opponents,” he said.

“It is with neither regret nor satisfaction that I have concluded to not participate with this select committee’s abuse of power that stains this institution today and will harm it going forward.”

The panel requested “voluntary cooperation” after noting that he had previously acknowledged having at least one telephone conversation with Donald Trump while a mob of his supporters was storming the Capitol in hopes of stopping Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral college victory.

Looking at Ray Epps, the subject of the GOP’s newest conspiracy

03:30 , John Bowden

The Justice Department won’t say why Ray Epps, a man previously identified on a website set up by the FBI to catch Capitol rioters, is no longer facing charges.

The decision has spawned a conspiracy theory on the right, where some supporters of former President Donald Trump have spread the idea that Mr Epps was a federal agent involved in inciting other rioters to violence. There’s no currently-public evidence, however, placing Mr Epps physically inside the Capitol building during the riot.

The House select committee investigating January 6 has said that “Mr Epps informed us that he was not employed by, working with, or acting at the direction of any law enforcement agency on January 5th or 6th or at any other time, and that he has never been an informant for the FBI or any other law enforcement agency”.

Justin Vallejo investigates the conspiracist right’s newest fixture:

© Provided by The Independent

Who is Ray Epps? The FBI’s Capitol riot figure who has not been charged

Oklahoma congressman writes letter to judge requesting leniency for rioter

03:00 , John Bowden

A congressman from Oklahoma, GOP Rep Kevin Wallace, penned a letter to a DC judge overseeing numerous Capitol riot-related trials and asked her to show “compassion” in the sentencing of a man who spent only a few minutes inside the US Capitol on January 6.

“I’ve known his mother, Kristin Sells, and family for more than twenty years,” wrote Mr Wallace. “He is and has been a contributing citizen in our small community.”

Greg Graziosi reports:

© Provided by The Independent

GOP state lawmaker writes letter of support for Capitol rioter ahead of sentencing

GOP lawmaker on January 6 panel seeks to disprove Ted Cruz’s conspiracy theory

02:30 , John Bowden

Adam Kinzinger, a congressman on the House select committee investigating January 6, fired back on Tuesday after his fellow Republican, Sen Ted Cruz, questioned an official at a hearing regarding whether a man present at the January 6 attack was a federal agent.

There’s no evidence to suggest that the man in question, who was targeted by conspiracy theorists after being removed from FBI wanted lists, is a federal agent of any kind. Republicans have long sought to prove that left-wing activists or even the government itself was responsible for the massive crowd of Trump supporters that overran the Capitol last year.

“Take your pick. Truth is they were rioters incited by lies. And Ray is no fed. Just another misled man,” wrote the congressman on Twitter. “While it may break hearts, it’s true. So many are misled by so few. Just look up.”

Andrew Feinberg reports:

© Provided by The Independent

Adam Kinzinger shoots down Ted Cruz’s 6 January conspiracy theory

Top Trump ally in the House faces legal trouble of his own

02:00 , John Bowden

One of former President Donald Trump’s most loyal followers in the House, GOP Rep Matt Gaetz, was in his own hot water on Wednesday as the ex-president battled his niece Mary Trump in court and faces the ongoing efforts of the Jan 6 committee.

Rep Matt Gaetz has been under federal investigation for months after being accused of allegedly engaging in sexual contact with a girl who was 17 at the time, and paying for her travel across state lines. The congressman has strenuously denied the accusations, and has not yet been formerly indicted.

But that could change soon. On Wednesday, his ex-girlfriend testified before a grand jury, and his former confidant is supposedly cooperating after being hit with his own similar charges last year.

Eric Garcia reports:

© Provided by The Independent

Gaetz ex-girlfriend appears before grand jury investigating sex trafficking claims

Mike Rounds refuses to back down in face of Trump criticism

01:30 , John Bowden

South Dakota’s Sen Mike Rounds, a Republican, is refusing to cease his criticism of former President Donald Trump and his false claims about the 2020 election.

On Wednesday, he responded after several statements from the former president excoriating him for saying on Sunday during an interview that the election was not stolen; he urged his fellow Republicans to join him, and more persistently call out the former president’s falsehoods.

“If we want to keep the trust and gain the trust of more individuals that are wondering, we have to probably say it a little bit louder and in more places that many of us normally either aren’t invited to talk or have chosen not to get into the fray,” he told The Associated Press.

© Provided by The Independent

Sen. Rounds pushes GOP to get ‘louder’ on false Trump claims

Eric Trump disses NY AG in Fox News rant

01:00 , John Bowden

President Trump’s son Eric Trump unloaded on New York state Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday, furious over the Democratic official’s ongoing investigation of the company that he runs alongside his brother, Donald Trump Jr.

“You have Letitia James out there, probably the most unethical prosecutor in the history of the United States, who literally said on video ‘I’m going to go into office every single day and I’m going to sue Trump and then I’m going to go home’,” he said.

“She ran on the campaign promise of suing my father because she didn’t believe in his political party, because she didn’t like us, because the people of Washington, DC told her to do that. It violates the Constitution, it’s unethical, it’s wrong,” added Eric Trump.

Andrew Feinberg has the story:

© Provided by The Independent

Eric Trump lashes out at New York’s top prosecutor in unhinged Fox News rant

Mike Lindell says he has evidence that could incriminate every living American adult

00:30 , John Bowden

One of former President Donald Trump’s most loyal supporters, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, made a bizarre claim on Wednesday in which he said that he supposedly had evidence that would incriminate “300 and some million” Americans relating to the 2020 election and the Trump campaign’s baseless charges of fraud.

There are just over 258 million adults in the US.

Josh Marcus reports:

© Provided by The Independent

Mike Lindell says he has evidence to put 300 million in jail for election fraud

Latest appearance of Fauci on Capitol Hill sees escalation of his feud with GOP

00:00 , John Bowden

The appearance of Dr Anthony Fauci at this week’s committee hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions saw an escalation of the ongoing feud between the top infectious disease specialist under two presidents and far-right figures in Congress.

Two GOP senators on the panel, Rand Paul and Roger Marshall, took turns belittling the doctor and accusing him of supporting supposedly draconian public health measures.

Dr Fauci battled back and accused the senators of spreading misinformation that was leading to threats of violence against him. And he was heard calling Mr Marshall a “moron” after a particularly testy back-and-forth over whether Dr Fauci’s financial disclosure forms were public record.

Ann Coulter blasts Trump over DeSantis remark

Wednesday 12 January 2022 23:30 , John Bowden

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter, formerly one of Donald Trump’s biggest supporters in right-wing media, called the former president a “liar” and a “con man” on Wednesday.

Her comment came in response to Mr Trump saying in an interview that “gutless” politicians were refusing to say whether or not they had taken the vaccine out of fear of angering anti-vaxxers in the GOP.

“I watched a couple politicians be interviewed and one of the questions was, ‘Did you get a booster?’ Because they had the vaccine and they’re answering like… in other words, the answer is ‘yes’ but they don’t want to say it, because they’re gutless,” said Mr Trump in the interview with One America News.

Ms Coulter fired back on Twitter, writing: “Trump is demanding to know Ron DeSantis’s booster status, and I can now reveal it. He was a loyal booster when Trump ran in 2016, but then he learned our president was a liar and con man whose grift was permanent. I hope that clears things up.”

Riot committee is back in full swing

Wednesday 12 January 2022 23:10 , John Bowden

This week saw another flurry of activity by the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot, indicating that lawmakers are back and focused on the investigation with the intent of finishing it in the coming months.

On Tuesday, the committee issued several subpoenas, including one targeting a former speechwriter for Donald Trump.

© Provided by The Independent

Capitol riot committee subpoenas ex-Trump speechwriter and Donald Trump Jr advisers

The next day, the committee took its most unprecedented step since the subpoena for former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and issued a voluntary request for information from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the House’s #1 Republican.

© Provided by The Independent

Capitol riot committee seeks information from House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy

Psaki hits Romney over response to Biden speech

Wednesday 12 January 2022 22:50 , John Bowden

White House press secretary Jen Psaki did not mince words on Wednesday when asked to respond to Sen Mitt Romney, who had complained that President Joe Biden’s speech about voting rights on Tuesday was divisive.

Republicans have claimed as such due to the president’s portrayal of opponents of the legislation as on the side of noted Jim Crow figures like Sheriff “Bull” Connor and former Gov George Wallace.

“I know there’s been lot of claim of the ‘offensive’ nature of the speech yesterday, which is hilarious on many levels given how many people sat silently over the past four years for the former president,” said the press secretary.

“What is far more offensive is the effort to suppress people’s basic right to exercise who they want to support and who they want to elect. That’s not a partisan thing,” she said.

January 6 committee subpoenas Kevin McCarthy

Wednesday 12 January 2022 20:55 , John Bowden

The House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol moved on Wednesday to request that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the top-ranking House Republican, voluntarily provide information to the panel.

The move is a significant step for the panel, which so far has requested the same from just one other member of Congress, Rep Jim Jordan. Mr Jordan refused to comply with the committee’s request, and Mr McCarthy is likely to do the same.

The requests from the committee raise the potential that the lawmakers could face congressional subpoenas from the panel in the months ahead.

Three in four Americans say ‘political instability’ is US’s greatest threat while Trump spreads election lies

Wednesday 12 January 2022 20:23 , John Bowden

Three in four Americans said in a new Quinnipiac University poll that “political instability” is the greatest threat facing the US today. The feeling is widespread and Americans of all political backgrounds named it when responding to the survey.

One finding of the poll, which also saw dismal approval ratings for both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, was particularly bleak: “A majority of Americans, 58 – 37 percent, think the nation’s democracy is in danger of collapse.”

The survey comes as former President Donald Trump continues to push his baseless complaints of election fraud more than a year after losing the 2020 election, and simultaneously looks to be the favoured pick for GOP voters in the 2024 primary thus far.

Donald Trump Jr groans about ‘Lord Fauci’ being a victim of Rand Paul

Wednesday 12 January 2022 19:46 , John Bowden

Donald Trump Jr. went after Dr Anthony Fauci on Twitter after the latter chastised Sen Rand Paul at a committee hearing for spreading misinformation that Dr Fauci said was leading to death threats against him and his family.

In a pair of tweets, the former president’s eldest son reacted to the footage of Tuesday’s hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

“If @RandPaul was a democrat people would also remember he was at the congressional baseball shooting and violently attacked by a neighbor on top of the below. But as a conservative/libertarian that will all be conveniently forgotten. Fauci ain’t seen nothing compared to Rand,” said Mr Trump Jr.

“Remember Lord Fauci is always the victim folks, no one else! Not your dead relatives, not your kids or their education, not your destroyed businesses/livelihoods, not Freedom as we knew it. It always has been and always will be about him,” he added.

Read More from The Independent’s Andrew Feinberg:

© Provided by The Independent

Donald Trump Jr groans about ‘Lord Fauci’ being a victim of Rand Paul

Washington Post: NPR interview with Trump didn’t change any minds

Wednesday 12 January 2022 19:23 , John Bowden

The Washington Post’s Philip Bump analysed former President Donald Trump’s disastrous interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep on Wednesday, describing it as doing little to move the dial in terms of support for Mr Trump’s falsehoods regarding the 2020 election.

The Post went on to explain that it was necessary for reporters to continue challenging falsehoods with facts, even if supporters of the former president were basing their beliefs about election fraud on emotions rather than facts.

“No one’s mind was changed by Inskeep’s interaction with Trump. But an honest actor should call him out on his falsehoods. It’s important to challenge a dishonest assertion that continues to power dangerous anger in the country. And, I would argue, it’s revealing that Trump’s attempts to parry Inskeep were so wan that he simply had to give up the fight,” wrote Mr Bump.

GOP senators refuse to back Trump’s election lies

Wednesday 12 January 2022 18:11 , John Bowden

A handful of GOP senators including members of Senate Republican leadership are coming to the defence of Mike Rounds, a South Dakota senator who ignited a feud with former President Donald Trump over the weekend.

Mr Rounds earned Mr Trump’s ire with a comment made during an ABC News interview, in which he said that the 2020 election had not been stolen by President Joe Biden. The quip resulted in a furious statement issued by the former president and a jab at Mr Rounds and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during an NPR interview.

Mr McConnell defended Mr Rounds on Tuesday, telling CNN that he agreed with Mr Rounds’s assessment of Mr Trump’s 2020 falsehoods.

“I think Sen. Rounds told the truth about what happened in the 2020 election,” he said.

Sen John Thune, another South Dakota senator and the Senate Minority Whip, added: “I don’t think re-litigating or rehashing the past is a winning strategy. If we want to be a majority in 2023, we’ve got to get out and articulate what we’re going to do with respect to the future the American people are going to live and the things they’re going to care about when it comes to economic issues, national security issues.”

Ex-girlfriend of Trump ally Gaetz set to testify on Wednesday

Wednesday 12 January 2022 17:47 , John Bowden

An ex-girlfriend of Congressman Matt Gaetz entered a federal courtroom to testify before a grand jury on Wednesday as it considered an indictment for Mr Gaetz, who is under federal investigation for sex trafficking.

A lawyer for the woman declined to comment to CNN. Mr Gaetz is accused of having sexual contact with a woman who was 17 at the time, and allegedly paid for her travel expenses.

Mr Gaetz has strongly denied the accusations, and portrayed the Justice Department’s investigation as a supposedly partisan effort by the agency to attack one of former President Donald Trump’s most loyal acolytes in the House.

His former confidant, Joel Greenberg, pleaded guilty to several similar charges last year and is thought to be cooperating with federal authorities in their pursuit of Mr Gaetz.

Conspiracy theories about insurrection continue to spread…

Wednesday 12 January 2022 17:00 , Andrew Naughtie

Many of the more lurid (and baseless) counter-narratives about what happened on 6 January are being driven by hosts at Fox News, in particular Tucker Carlson, who held Ted Cruz’s feet to the fire last week.

HuffPost’s Christopher Mathias has charted how, in just a few days, the Texas senator went from calling the Capitol riot a “terrorist attack” to floating a conspiracy theory about it in the very building where it occurred.

Biden to meet with Democrats to discuss voting rights legislation

Wednesday 12 January 2022 16:39 , Andrew Naughtie

Reports are coming thick and fast that Joe Biden will be having lunch with Democratic senators tomorrow as they try to hammer out a path forward on voting rights legislation – specifically on whether and how to change the chamber’s rules to pass it without Republican votes.

West Virginia governor feeling “extremely unwell” with Covid-19

Wednesday 12 January 2022 16:20 , Andrew Naughtie

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, a Democrat-turned-Republican who has often spoken out in favour of vaccination, will be skipping his State of the State address after developing Covid-19 symptoms.

In a statement, the governor – who has been vaccinated and boosted – said he is “surprised” to have tested positive but is thankful for the shots he’s received, and that he is receiving monoclonal antibody treatment.

“For this to happen just one night before the State of the State – knowing I won’t be able to be there – saddens me … but, because of this pandemic, we all must adjust and realise that our lives aren’t the same as they were a few short years ago,” he said.

Read more here:

© Provided by The Independent

West Virginia governor ‘extremely unwell’ with Covid

Catch up: Trump’s implicit attack on Ron DeSantis

Wednesday 12 January 2022 16:01 , Andrew Naughtie

Donald Trump’s latest defence of Covid-19 vaccines – which he recently described as one of humanity’s all-time great achievements – saw him attacking Republicans who won’t say they’ve received their booster shots.

“I watched a couple of politicians be interviewed,” he said, “and one of the questions was, ‘Did you get the booster?’ Because they had the vaccine, and they’re answering like – in other words, the answer is ‘yes,’ but they don’t want to say it, because they’re gutless. You gotta say it, whether you had it or not, say it.”

Many have interpreted the ex-president’s words as an attack on Ron DeSantis, the Florida Governor who is widely seen as a likely successor to Mr Trump if he does not or cannot run in 2024. Mr DeSantis has repeatedly dodged questions about his vaccination status.

Read more here:

© Provided by The Independent

Trump attacks ‘gutless’ GOP politicians who dodge vaccine question

Independent Voices: Trump is a shadow of his former self

Wednesday 12 January 2022 15:38 , Andrew Naughtie

The Independent’s Holly Baxter writes that Donald Trump’s petulant, “toe-curling” performance on NPR this morning shows off not just the former president’s delusional beliefs, but also his desperation.

“Trump entered his presidency in 2016 with a sense of combative enjoyment,” she says. “Now, it seems, he’s lost his sense of joy in the fight. His voice is tired, demoralized, unsure. He’s pushing a conspiracy that reasonable Republican voters find distasteful. And he can’t stick out an interview on mainstream media for even 10 minutes. How the heck’s he going to survive another campaign?”

Read more:

© Provided by The Independent

Trump’s NPR interview proved he’s a shadow of his former self

The emperor’s new clothes

Wednesday 12 January 2022 15:13 , Andrew Naughtie

After years of arguments over whether or not journalists should bother confronting Donald Trump with facts when he makes brazenly false claims, the Washington Post’s Philip Bump writes that today’s confrontational NPR interview matters – whether or not Mr Trump’s thinking will have been shifted.

No one’s mind was changed by Inskeep’s interaction with Trump. But an honest actor should call him out on his falsehoods. It’s important to challenge a dishonest assertion that continues to power dangerous anger in the country. And, I would argue, it’s revealing that Trump’s attempts to parry Inskeep were so wan that he simply had to give up the fight.

I refuse to believe that it’s unimportant to tell the emperor that he’s not wearing clothes, even if it doesn’t prompt him to put on pants.

Read the full article here.

Romney says Biden “goes down the same tragic road” as Trump on elections

Wednesday 12 January 2022 14:50 , Andrew Naughtie

Speaking on the Senate floor after Joe Biden’s speech in Georgia, Mitt Romney – the most prominent Republican Trump critic in the Senate – criticised the president’s advocacy for changing the chamber’s rules to get voting rights legislation passed. He not only compared Mr Biden to Mr Trump, but also warned of what might happen if the 45th president were able to return to power with a Republican Congress at his disposal.

Opinion: Why Joe Biden’s voting rights speech in Georgia fell so badly short

Wednesday 12 January 2022 14:15 , Andrew Naughtie

As observers digest the voting rights speech Joe Biden delivered in Georgia yesterday, Michael Arceneaux writes for The Independent that the president left some “glaring omissions” in his address – auguring ill for the fight to get legislation through the Senate before Republicans take it back.

© Provided by The Independent

You should know why Biden’s speech in Georgia was such a colossal disappointment

Watch Trump’s NPR interview

Wednesday 12 January 2022 13:54 , Andrew Naughtie

NPR has released footage of the interview that saw Donald Trump hang up on its host.

State-level races to decide who runs elections draw record donations

Wednesday 12 January 2022 13:33 , Andrew Naughtie

One of the key elements of Trumpworld’s strategy to retake power is to install sympathetic figures in the state-level offices where elections are managed and scrutinised. Axios reports that as Democrats wake up to the prospect that key swing state elections could soon be overseen by out-and-out Trump supporters working under little oversight, record sums of money are pouring into elections that usually fly under the national radar.

The ‘radicalisation’ of the GOP continues – former Ted Cruz aide

Wednesday 12 January 2022 13:09 , Andrew Naughtie

One of the legacies of the Trump era is that the overwhelming majority of Republicans cannot risk breaking ranks on major right-wing narratives without provoking their own side into full-blown rage. This is what played out last week when Ted Cruz was forced to apologise on Fox News for using the word “terrorism” to describe the Capitol insurrection, even though he and many others on the right used it at the time.

According to his former aide Amanda Carpenter, now a vocal Trump critic, the senator’s interview with Tucker Carlson was an example of how Republican officials who used to stand on principle against violence and lawbreaking have been effectively “radicalised” by pressure from Mr Trump and his right-wing media outriders.

Read more below:

© Provided by The Independent

Ted Cruz aide weighs in on Tucker Carlson appearance, says he’s been ‘radicalised’

Justice Department forms new domestic terrorism unit as concerns about extremism mount

Wednesday 12 January 2022 12:36 , Andrew Naughtie

In the aftermath of the Trump presidency and the Capitol riot, many have worried that the federal government has been essentially asleep at the wheel when it comes to combating homegrown far-right extremism – this as the president’s extravagant claims of widespread election fraud encourage his supporters to take action against elected officials of both parties.

Now, the Justice Department has opened a new unit to address rising threats on this front. The head of the department’s National Security Division yesterday told a Senate committee that the unit will tackle “individuals in the United States who seek to commit violent criminal acts in furtherance of domestic social or political goals”, including “those who are motivated by racial animus, as well as those who ascribe to extremist anti-government and anti-authority ideologies”.

Read more below.

© Provided by The Independent

Justice Department forms new domestic terrorism unit

GOP and Democratic senators argue over elections: ‘Mind if I borrow your chart?’

Wednesday 12 January 2022 11:55 , Andrew Naughtie

As Democrats push to change Senate rules in order to pass new voting rights legislation, Texas Republican John Cornyn took to the floor to claim that voting has not in fact been made harder.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer responded by “borrowing” Mr Cornyn’s chart and turning his own point back on him.

What Trump told NPR before hanging up

Wednesday 12 January 2022 11:25 , Andrew Naughtie

The transcript of the president’s full interview with NPR is now live, along with audio from the call. It shows the president not only insisting that the election was stolen but repeating his talking point that sparse attendance at Biden rallies (which were held under Covid-19 restrictions) makes it implausible that the now-president could have won more votes than any candidate in history.

Read more here:

© Provided by The Independent

Trump hangs up on interviewer when pressed about election ‘fraud’