A member of the Oath Keepers militia group has pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy in relation to the 6 January riot – and with the plea deal sealed, it has emerged that he was present when the militia’s leader tried to contact Donald Trump after the Capitol riot had ended.
According to court documents filed in the case of William Todd Wilson, who is now co-operating with the government, leader Stewart Rhodes called “an individual” on speaker phone after leaving the Capitol grounds and implored this person “to tell President Trump to call upon groups like the Oath Keepers to forcibly oppose the transfer of power”. However, the unidentified person on the other end of the line apparently refused to put Mr Trump on the phone.
The news comes after Mr Trump’s oldest son, Donald Jr, voluntarily testified to the select committee investigating the insurrection. In a session conducted without a subpoena, the president’s oldest child reportedly answered questions without pleading the Fifth Amendment.
The committee is still considering whether and how to request testimony from the former president himself as it tries to piece together his movements and communications on the day of the riot.
Donald Trump Jr testifies to Jan 6 committee
JD Vance wins GOP Senate primary in Ohio
US Capitol riots panel to hold public hearings in June, says chairman
Dr Oz to campaign with Trump and JD Vance in Pennsylvania
04:00 , Alex Woodward
TV personality and Republican senate candidate Mehmet Oz will be joined by Trump and recently nominated Ohio GOP Senate candidate JD Vance at a rally in Pennsylvania on Friday.
‘He said I got him in trouble’: Biden meets Amazon union leader at White House
03:00 , Alex Woodward
After speaking at a Senate Budget Committee on union-busting efforts and federal contracts for companies like Amazon that allegedly flour federal labor law, Amaon Labor Union president Christian Smalls joined a White House meeting with Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh as well as Starbucks union workers and other organizers.
Mr Smalls – in a red, yellow and black jacket with “eat the rich” printed on the front – also met Joe Biden.
Here’s what you’ll find on Trump’s Truth Social
02:00 , Alex Woodward
Truth Social – Trump’s platform to “stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech,” as he described it – is the most high profile among several newer platforms to launch as a direct challenge to mainstream social media platforms, viewed among right-wing figures and users as too constrictive or conspiring to remove their views after they were kicked off for flouting rules about Covid-19 misinformation, violence and harassment.
Despite billing itself as a platform for “free expression” against the alleged tyranny of companies like Twitter, Truth appears singularly devoted to the Trump universer and right-wing media ecosystem.
Madison Cawthorn says someone is out to get him amid a ‘drip-drip’ of embarrassing leaks – is he right?
01:00 , Alex Woodward
The 26-year-old far-right congressman – the youngest member of the House – has faced a slow-drip leak of embarrassing videos and photos over the last month, after telling a right-wing broadcaster that about alleged “orgies” among his Washington colleagues.
He claims the leaks are aimed to discredit him, punishment for speaking out about members of Congress. His standing in an upcoming primary election – in which polls show him falling behind – has one life raft: Donald Trump.
The Independent’s John Bowden has more:
Karine Jean-Pierre to replace Jen Psaki as White House Press Secretary
Friday 6 May 2022 00:00 , Alex Woodward
Karine Jean-Pierre will be stepping into the role of White House press secretary this month.
She will be the first openly LGBT+ and first Black person to serve as a president’s top spokesperson, after serving Ms Psaki’s top deputy since Joe Biden took office last year. She joined the Biden campaign in 2020 after serving as chief public affairs officer for MoveOn.org and as an NBC News political analyst.
Much-maligned DC fencing returns around Supreme Court for Roe protests
Thursday 5 May 2022 23:00 , John Bowden
The much-hated Capitol Hill fencing, used last year to secure the area around the Capitol for months after Jan 6, is back and reinstalled around the Supreme Court amid tensions over the Court’s assumed plans to overturn Roe V Wade in the coming weeks or months.
Videos of the perimiter showed that an entire city block, including one of the Capitol Hill neighborhood’s nicest green spaces, was cordoned off by the black metal barricades as of Thursday.
Read more from The Independent’s Bevan Hurley:
Thursday 5 May 2022 22:30 , John Bowden
More than a dozen members of the so-called “Trucker Convoy” are suing the District of Columbia after the city allegedly refused them entry when it shut down some exit ramps leading into the District from the beltway on the day of their protest.
According to the suit, on at least four occaisions those participating in the convoy (which included both trucks and smaller vehicles) were stopped from entering the city itself.
Read more from The Independent’s Greg Graziosi:
Madison Cawthorn says someone is out to get him amid a ‘drip-drip’ of embarrassing leaks – is he right?
Thursday 5 May 2022 22:00 , John Bowden
North Carolina’s Madison Cawthorn is the youngest member of Congress, and also one of the most controversial.
The embattled 26-year-old Trump loyalist faces a contested primary election in two weeks amid a steady “drip-drip” campaign of leaked photos and videos of Mr Cawthorn in embarrassing situations.
But the congressman also faces real controversies: He was recently cited for bringing a gun into an airport, as well as for driving under the influence on a revoked license.
Read more in The Independent from John Bowden:
Amazon union leader clashes with Lindsay Graham at hearing
Thursday 5 May 2022 21:30 , Alex Woodward
Amazon Labor Union president Christian Smalls was before the Senate Budget Committee for a hearing on the use of federal dollars in relationships with companies found to be in violation of federal labor law, like Amazon.
The ranking Republican member, Lindsay Graham, challenged Mr Smalls on his unionisation efforts and regarding whether his complaints about the company could be handled by America’s legal system.
“Senator Graham, you forgot that the people are the ones who make these companies operate,” Mr Smalls lectured the South Carolina senator. “If we’re not protected, the process for holding these companies accountable is not working for us – that’s the reason why we’re here today.”
Read more from The Independent’s Alex Woodward:
Trump says he took cognitive test to shield from criticism of his intelligence
Thursday 5 May 2022 21:00 , John Bowden
In a new interview with the former president with CBN News, Donald Trump reveals that he released the results of a cognitive test he took through the White House physician in 2018 in order to dispell criticisms of his intelligence.
“I decided to take one because fake news was having fun no matter what you did,” Mr Trump said in the interview. “And I took one. And you know what is the amazing thing that happened they now call me a dictator and other things but they don’t call you stupid.”
Read more from The Independent’s Shweta Sharma:
Justice Alito cancels public appearance amid uproar over leaked Roe v Wade memo
Thursday 5 May 2022 20:30 , John Bowden
Justice Samuel Alito is canceling a public appearance amid a national uproar over a draft decision he authored that would overturn both Roe V Wade and Planned Parenthood V Casey, two landmark abortion rights cases.
The decision is not final yet, but its veracity was confirmed by the court after Politico obtained it and published the document over the weekend.
Read more from The Independent’s Graeme Massie:
John Bolton says Trump administration was right to try and overthrow Maduro regime in Venezuela
Thursday 5 May 2022 19:40 , John Bowden
Donald Trump’s former national security adviser has only one regret regarding the Trump administration’s four-year effort to topple Nicolas Maduro’s government in Venezuela: It failed.
The US under Mr Trump embraced an opposition leader, Juan Guaido, in his effort to unseat Mr Maduro and attempted to legitimise Mr Guaido’s claim by recognising him as the true president of Venezuela. Unfortunately for Mr Guaido, that had little effect on the actual government of Venezuela, which remained firmly in Mr Maduro’s hands.
An embarrassing incident also occurred in 2020 when a group of US private military contractors and Venezuelan dissidents attempted an apparent armed coup of Mr Maduro’s government and were captured.
The Independent’s Johanna Chisholm has more:
Sexual harassment suit could drag in Kellyanne Conway
Thursday 5 May 2022 19:00 , Andrew Naughtie
Former Trump aide and “alternative facts” originator Kellyanne Conway has been working for Nebraska gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster, who now faces a lawsuit from a state senator who accuses him of sexual battery.
Ms Conway herself may now be called to be deposed in the case, but it is reported that the senator’s legal team intend to find out what she knew about the allegations of sexual harassment that have been levelled against the Trump-backed candidate, and when.
Johanna Chisholm has more.
Donald Trump Jr mocked for accusing FBI of ‘Gestapo tactics’ over arrest of man who urged on Capitol rioters
Thursday 5 May 2022 18:38 , John Bowden
Donald Trump Jr is facing Twitter mockery after claiming that a man accused of egging on Capitol rioters as they savagely attacked police and stormed the building was facing the federal government’s “Gestapo Tactics”.
His comments referred to the treatment of Brandon Straka, a right-wing activist who was interviewed by Fox News’s Tucker Carlson after the riot and who was seen on video encouraging people to steal weapons and equipment from Capitol Police officers while they were battling on the grounds of the Capitol.
Read more from The Independent’s Bevan Hurley:
Another Cawthorn scandal blows up…
Thursday 5 May 2022 17:20 , Andrew Naughtie
As if salacious videos, falsely claiming to have been invited to orgies and bringing guns into airports weren’t enough, the litany of scandals swirling around Madison Cawhthorn just keeps growing. The Daily Beast now reports that Mr Cawthorn “paid his chief of staff, Blake Harp, $131,278 in 2021” – a sum that on the face of it is in line with congressional pay, but which may represent an ethics violation because of Mr Harp’s specific employment status.
Read more below…
NC Senator disgusted by Madison Cawthorn – again
Thursday 5 May 2022 16:30 , Andrew Naughtie
Thom Tillis, the junior senator from North Carolina, has hit out at his state colleague Madison Cawthorn after the latest in a series of variously mortifying and disturbing stories about the far-right congressman’s personal life.
Mr Cawthorn, who faces multiple primary challengers in his re-election bid this year, insists he is the victim of a “drip-drip” character assassination by the political establishment – whom he recently accused of inviting him to cocaine-fuelled sex parties in Washington, DC.
Tim Ryan’s team disown Lincoln Project’s involvement in Ohio race
Thursday 5 May 2022 15:57 , Andrew Naughtie
On the back of JD Vance’s victory in the Ohio Senate primary, the anti-Trump Lincoln Project has announced it will be wading into the race, which it considers “critical to American democracy’s survival”.
Staff to Democratic candidate Tim Ryan, who would be the supposed beneficiary of the project’s work, are not happy about the news.
Right-wing candidate who attended Jan 6 rally storms out of interview
Thursday 5 May 2022 15:06 , Andrew Naughtie
Doug Mastriano, a hardcore right-winger who attended the 6 January rally and is now running for governor of Pennsylvania, has made much of his support for Donald Trump while also insisting he did nothing wrong by spending campaign funds on buses to take people to Washington, DC for the 6 January rally that preceded the attack on the US Capitol.
As the state’s primary draws near, he remains an extremely controversial figure, not least for his continued association with far-right religious movements and conspiracy theorists. When asked about this in a recent podcast interview, he ended up storming out of the room.”
“I resent the fact that you want to castigate anyone who went down to Washington, DC on 6 January as some kind of enemy of the public.,” he told the interviewer. “That is dangerous. You’re talking like an East German there.”
Read more from the Delaware Valley Journal below.
Book details “outlandish” policies considered by 2020 Trump campaign
Thursday 5 May 2022 14:30 , Andrew Naughtie
According to the much-trailed This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future, top aides to Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign poll-tested the public’s potential reaction to various policies that if implemented would have been outré even by the then-president’s standards.
Authors Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns report that the litany of ideas included sending the National Guard into American cities at times of social unrest and ” requiring all Chinese scientists, researchers, and technicians that are Chinese citizens to leave the US”.
Shweta Sharma has more.
Oath Keeper says militia leader tried to call Trump on Jan 6
Thursday 5 May 2022 13:55 , Andrew Naughtie
A member of the extremist Oath Keepers militia group yesterday pleaded guilty to a charge of seditious conspiracy stemming from the 6 January riot – and according to details of the case against him, he testified that his group’s leader attempted to contact Donald Trump after the insurrection to ask for his support.
According to a court filing from the Department of Justice, “Wilson heard Rhodes repeatedly implore the individual to tell President Trump to call upon groups like the Oath Keepers to forcibly oppose the transfer of power. This individual denied Rhodes’s request to speak directly with President Trump. After the call ended, Rhodes stated to the group, ‘I just want to fight’”.
It is not clear who the person Mr Rhodes spoke to was, or if law enforcement officials know their identity.
Read more below from Namita Singh.
Bizarre scenes at Pennsylvania GOP debate
Thursday 5 May 2022 13:24 , Andrew Naughtie
The Republican candidates for Pennsylvania’s open US Senate seat held a TV debate last night, and once again, their encounter saw candidate Dave McCormick laying into controversial Trump endorsee Dr Mehmet Oz – specifically over his record of voting in Turkey, where he holds citizenship, and serving in the Turkish military.
The discussion also took several decidedly strange turns, in particular one that revived a truly odd story from the Trump era…
Lindsey Graham mocked for musings on election lies
Thursday 5 May 2022 12:43 , Andrew Naughtie
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, one of Donald Trump’s most determined congressional allies and a key player in the confirmation of all three of his Supreme Court nominees, went on Fox News yesterday to discuss the reaction to the draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v Wade. And on the matter of whether the news would drive up Democratic turnout in November’s midterms, he had a strangely amnesiac take:
“They think America’s stupid,” he said of the Democrats, “and we’re not. People are not going to be goaded into believing hysterical things just to try to change an election.”
This of course rather misses the point of everything that happened on the right after the 2020 election. Former Republican congressman Denver Riggleman, a Trump critic who served for a time on the legal staff of the 6 January select committee, had this to say…
Watch: A Democratic challenger to Madison Cawthorn
Thursday 5 May 2022 11:50 , Andrew Naughtie
Thanks to the rules governing Republican primaries in his state, far-right Congressman Madison Cawthorn has a low bar to clear in order to be renominated, meaning that the party establishment may struggle to shake him off.
His most conspicuous Democratic challenger, who faces a primary on the same day as Mr Cawthorn, is the Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, a county commissioner who is touting her faith and local credentials – and insisting that a gay woman can be elected to Congress in the South.
However severe Mr Cawthorn’s troubles, the seat is still rated “solid Republican” by poll-watchers.
Republican Party shills for Truth Social
Thursday 5 May 2022 11:10 , Andrew Naughtie
The official Republican National Committee email list has sent out a promotional email for Truth Social, Donald Trump’s bespoke social media platform, which it describes as a “huge success” despite months of dire publicity. The platform is a private company operated in the name of someone out of office with no official role in the party, but the RNC is pointing users its way regardless.
Mr Trump has recently reappeared on Truth Social. after a long silence, apparently spurred into action by Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter. Alex Woodward recently took a peek at what’s going on there.
Kinzinger calls for Cawthorn’s defeat
Thursday 5 May 2022 10:27 , Andrew Naughtie
Another unedifying video of Madison Cawthorn adds another stain to his tarnished image, anti-Trump Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger has called on voters to turf out the extreme North Carolina representative in November.
Mr Cawthorn has shared a video message in which he rants against the supposed smear campaign against him. The latest video, which is on the explicit side, comes after one in which his cousin and scheduler apparently grabs his crotch.
Catch up; New McCarthy audio on Trump’s “atrocious” actions
Thursday 5 May 2022 09:48 , Andrew Naughtie
Kevin McCarthy’s political standing has so far suffered little from the audio detailing his anger at Donald Trump after the Capitol riot, but further recordings from the aftermath of the attack are still emerging.
Here’s a new excerpt that was aired on CNN last night. On the recording, which dates from two days after the riot, Mr McCarthy says he wants to “reach out to Biden” to help “make a smooth transition” between the two presidents.
Ohio primary proves the Trump Bump lives on
Thursday 5 May 2022 08:00 , John Bowden
The number one lesson from Tuesday’s GOP primary for Ohio’s open Senate seat? Donald Trump still rules over the Republican Party.
His elevation of JD Vance’s campaign from fourth place to first place over the course of just over a month is an incredible case study into his dominance over the party that appears poised to support him again in 2024, if he runs.
Read more in The Independent:
Oath Keepers member pleads guilty to seditious conspiracy
Thursday 5 May 2022 07:25 , John Bowden
A member of the far-right Oath Keepers militia on Wednesday became the third person to plead guilty to seditious conspiracy in relation to the January 6 attack.
William Todd Wilson plead guilty to a charge of plotting to use force to halt the peaceful transfer of power to the Biden administration in a DC court. He also revealed that the group’s founder attempted to contact Donald Trump through a mediary ahead of the attack itself.
Read more at CBS News:
ICYMI: DHS inspector general says Trump appointee covered up report that made Trump ‘look bad’
Thursday 5 May 2022 06:25 , John Bowden
The former acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, intervened to alter a report’s final wording as well as delay its release because of concerns it made Donald Trump “look bad”, the agency’s Inspector General said on Wednesday.
The report itself detailed foreign interference in the 2016 election, including in particular the efforts on behalf of Russia’s government.
Read more from The Independent’s Andrew Feinberg:
‘The Five’ turns ugly over abortion ruling
Thursday 5 May 2022 05:25 , John Bowden
Fox News’s The Five turned ugly fast on Wednesday as the co-hosts discussed a draft ruling from the Supreme Court leaked to and published by Politico over the weekend.
The network’s longtime correspondent Geraldo Rivera warned that such a move would just drive abortions underground to illegal facilities, increasing the danger for women.
After a back-and-forth with co-host Greg Gutfeld, he lashed out at the “insulting punk”.
Trump ally Madison Cawthorn criticises fellow Republicans again
Thursday 5 May 2022 04:25 , John Bowden
Congressman Madison Cawthorn is once again attacking the reputations of broad swaths of lawmakers on Capitol Hill, including his fellow Republicans.
In a new video apparently shot by Mr Cawthorn’s team and shared online by a Democratic-leaning political firm on Wednesday, the embattled North Carolina Republican says that “most” of his older colleagues would have been disqualified for office if the technology to rapidly take pictures and share them via cell phones was around when they were younger. Mr Cawthorn is the youngest member of the House or Senate.
Trump attacks Biden administration over DHS board on disinfo
Thursday 5 May 2022 03:20 , John Bowden
Donald Trump is weighing in on the growing right-wing backlash against the Department of Homeland Security’s effort to fight disinformation including Russian efforts to interfere in American election systems.
In an interview with CBN, he smeared the agency’s efforts as a Soviet-esque effort to control speech.
“Now they’re saying, ‘Oh, no, it’s just a recommendation.’ That’s where it all began. I guess that’s what they used to say in Russia. That’s what they said in the Soviet Union, right? We’re just going to do a little bit — no, we can’t do that, we can’t do that. That’s a horrible thing,” he said.
Read more at CBN:
GOP leader McCarthy supportive of removing Trump quickly in audio
Thursday 5 May 2022 02:25 , John Bowden
More leaked audio of GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy has been published, today by CNN, and it’s clear that Mr McCarthy was privately completely supportive of removing Donald Trump from office in the hours just after January 6.
The GOP majority leader is heard telling a colleague in the new audio that usage of the 25th Amendment to remove Mr Trump from office was not preferable — but only because it would take “too long”.
Listen to the audio, from CNN:
Louisiana GOP pushes forward with anti-abortion agenda
Thursday 5 May 2022 01:25 , John Bowden
Louisiana Republicans on Wednesday debated a bill that would make abortion a crime of murder in the state.
The shocking legislation, which would have been unthinkable just years ago, is now on the table thanks to a draft opinion from the Supreme Court overturning both Roe V Wade and Planned Parenthood V Casey, two landmark abortion rights cases, leaked to Politico and published by the news outlet over the weekend.
Biden rips GOP’s ‘ultra-MAGA’ agenda
Thursday 5 May 2022 00:25 , John Bowden
Joe Biden swiped at the Republican Party and Donald Trump for what he dubbed their “ultra-MAGA agenda” during remarks about the economy on Wednesday, where he celebrated federal deficit reductions that occurred under the first year of his presidency.
His remarks referred largely to a wide-ranging proposal released by Sen Rick Scott that would, among other things, require all federal programs including Medicare and Social Security to be reauthorised by the Senate every few years.
Mo Brooks uses footage of himself in aftermath of mass shooting in campaign ad endorsed by NRA
Wednesday 4 May 2022 23:12 , John Bowden
Mo Brooks, the Alabama Senate candidate who recently lost Donald Trump’s endorsement, is out with a new ad hitting the media for its reaction to the targeting of Republican lawmakers by a gunman at a congressional baseball practice.
The ad uses footage of Mr Brooks taken moments after the shooting, and slams reporters for asking in the immediate aftermath whether the congressman still opposes gun control legislation.
Read more from The Independent’s Bevan Hurley:
Jan 6 defendant arrested
Wednesday 4 May 2022 22:25 , John Bowden
The Department of Justice’s effort to prosecute the hundreds of Americans who stormed the Capitol and battled with law enforcement on January 6.
On Wednesday, authorities arrested 20-year-old Justin Michael Smith and charged him with crimes related to illegal entry of the Capitol during the riot. The Brunswick, Ohio native was reportedly identified via an FBI informant who showed officials Facebook photos in which Mr Smith was wearing the same clothes he wore during his attendance at the riot.
NBC News correspondent Ryan J Reilly has more:
Donald Trump Jr testifies to Jan 6 committee
Wednesday 4 May 2022 21:34 , John Bowden
Donald Trump Jr testified remotely before lawmakers on the Jan 6 committee on Tuesday, according to Politico and CNN.
The president’s eldest son and longtime campaign surrogate did not plead the Fifth and instead answered questions from members of the panel, according to CNN.
The cable news channel’s source described the meeting as lasting a little more than three hours and having a “cordial” tone.
Kayleigh McEnany keeping her children away from Disney after “Don’t Say Gay” furore
Wednesday 4 May 2022 19:35 , Andrew Naughtie
Former Trump spokeswoman turned Fox News talking head Kayleigh McEnany has shared a video in which she explains that though her daughter loves all things Disney, she cannot “in good faith” do that, “at least not in the near future”, because of the company’s opposition to Florida’s notorious “Don’t Say Gay” legislation.
The conservative backlash directed at Disney has manifested itself in proposed legislation dissolving the company’s longtime governing agreement in several counties, a move that some say could sharply raise taxes on residents.
Kellyanne Conway complains about people lying on TV
Wednesday 4 May 2022 19:00 , Andrew Naughtie
Kellyanne Conway, whose repeated propagation of falsehoods (or “alternative facts”) via the airwaves made her a figure of both mockery and contempt during the Trump administration, last night joined Fox News’s Laura Ingraham to vent her disgust at people who are never held “accountable” for what they say on TV.
Watch: Marjorie Taylor Greene confronted over “craziness”
Wednesday 4 May 2022 18:25 , Andrew Naughtie
Extreme Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, who was recently obliged to testify in a lawsuit accusing her of violating an anti-insurrection clause in the 14th Amendment, has been confronted on camera by a constituent and veteran who accused her of “disrespecting the United States Congress” and described himself as “saddened that the 14th district has gone to such craziness”.
Watch the footage below.
Ohio Republican delivers campaign message in rap
Wednesday 4 May 2022 17:45 , Andrew Naughtie
Some more mainstream Republicans were dismayed by last night’s primary in Ohio’s 9th congressional district, whose incumbent Democrat Marcy Kaptur will be now challenged by JR Majewski – a 6 January riot attendee who rose to fame by painting a Trump mural on his lawn and giving an interview about it wearing a QAnon t-shirt.
Here he is “rapping” in a “Let’s Go Brandon”-themed music video – of sorts.
Biden tears into “truly outrageous” GOP agenda
Wednesday 4 May 2022 17:00 , Andrew Naughtie
The Republican Party has not been enthusiastic about putting forward a concrete policy platform for this year’s midterm elections, leaving it up to Senate campaign chair Rick Scott to launch a plan of his own – one that’s been ridiculed for suggesting raising income taxes for 50 per cent of adult Americans.
Now, Joe Biden has delivered a speech not only touting his party’s own plans but laying into Mr Scott’s self-proclaimed “ultra-MAGA” agenda.
“Let me tell you about this ‘ultra Maga agenda’ — it’s extreme, as most Maga things are,” he said. “it will actually raise taxes on 75 million American families, over 95 per cent of whom make less than $100,000 a year.
“The working class folks are gonna pay a hell of a lot more — and it goes further than that,” Mr Biden continued. “It’s hard to make this up — meanwhile, millionaires and billionaires and corporations skate by … I think it is truly outrageous,” he said.
Read more below from Andrew Feinberg.
Oath Keeper pleads guilty to Jan 6 sedition charges
Wednesday 4 May 2022 16:25 , Andrew Naughtie
A member of the self-styled milita the Oath Keepers, William Todd Wilson, will appear in court today to plead guilty to offences related to the 6 January attack on the US Capitol.
Specifically, he faced charges of seditious conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding. Other members of the group, including its founder, Stewart Rhodes, are being held on similar counts., which are among the most serious facing any accused 6 January rioters.
ICYMI: What’s going on on Truth Social
Wednesday 4 May 2022 15:45 , Andrew Naughtie
Donald Trump has lately started posting on his troubled social media platform Truth Social, which suffered a disastrous launch earlier this year and saw downloads and user engagement crash to dizzying lows as many conservatives declined to migrate across from other places – while many of those who did languished on a glitch-ridden waiting list.
The ex-president’s return to the platform seems to have been spurred by Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter, to which Mr Trump says he will not return even if his account is reinstated. Alex Woodward has taken a look inside the Truth Social ecosystem, where the president for now (mostly) remains.
Outgoing GOP Senator praises Vance after complaining about polarisation
Wednesday 4 May 2022 15:15 , Andrew Naughtie
Rob Portman, the Ohio Republican whose retirement has paved the way for this year’s open-seat race, has offered up his endorsement of JD Vance after his victory in last night’s primary – but as the Bulwark’s Amanda Carpenter points out, his embrace of the Trump critic-turned-acolyte sits uneasily alongside his given reasons for standing down…
Trump promotes debunked 2020 election fraud “documentary”
Wednesday 4 May 2022 14:45 , Andrew Naughtie
Donald Trump’s fixation on the 2020 election is not abating, and even as he faces legal action over claims that he improperly pressured Georgia officials to overturn the result in their state, he is now promoting a film helmed by right-wing agitator Dinesh D’Souza that claims at least 2,000 “mules” were paid to illegally collect ballots and deliver them to drop boxes in key swing states ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
However, the film is in fact riddled with falsehoods and largely restates claims that have already been debunked elsewhere over the last 18 months. Here’s a fact check:
Watch: GOP governor urges party to abandon Trump
Wednesday 4 May 2022 14:10 , Andrew Naughtie
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican elected in a reliably blue state, is one of his party’s few nationally known elected Trump critics – and despite every indication that Mr Trump still effectively controls the GOP, he is still imploring his comrades to shake off the former president’s influence.
Mr Hogan, who has acknowledged that a 2024 presidential run is not out of the question for him, gave an interview to CBS News in which he insisted that Mr Trump should not run for a second term, and that the party should not nominate him if he does.
Read more from Alisha Rahaman Sarkar:
ICYMI: Trump settles inauguration lawsuit
Wednesday 4 May 2022 13:39 , Andrew Naughtie
After years of back-and-forth, Donald Trump has finally agreed to settle a lawsuit over the use of his hotel for the 2017 inauguration – more specifically, allegations that it deliberately overcharged the inauguration committee for the use of its facilities.
The settlement sees Mr Trump agree to pay $750,000 to Washington authorities while admitting no guilt or culpability.
What JD Vance said about Trump
Wednesday 4 May 2022 12:59 , Andrew Naughtie
The story of Ohio primary victor JD Vance’s conversion from Trump critic to Trump endorsee is being told in great detail across the internet today, but perhaps the best way to gauge how big the transformation is is to read the now-candidate’s own words from 2016.
Writing in The Atlantic, which he has lately been denigrating, Mr Vance explained Mr Trump’s rise with a riff on his thesis that white working-class “Scots-Irish” Americans were to blame for their own drug addictions:
Folks back home speak of heroin like an apocalyptic invader, something that assailed the town mysteriously and without warning. Yet the truth is that heroin crept slowly into Middletown’s families and communities—not by invasion but by invitation…
During this election season, it appears that many Americans have reached for a new pain reliever. It too, promises a quick escape from life’s cares, an easy solution to the mounting social problems of U.S. communities and culture. It demands nothing and requires little more than a modest presence and maybe a few enablers. It enters minds, not through lungs or veins, but through eyes and ears, and its name is Donald Trump.
Trump blasts out another Letitia James rant
Wednesday 4 May 2022 12:30 , Andrew Naughtie
The Trump legal team yesterday failed to convince a New York judge to halt a $10,000 daily fine imposed while the ex-president’s business fails to comply with a subpoena from the state’s attorney general, Letitia James.
As usual when he is confronted with such setbacks, Donald Trump responded to the news with a livid statement decrying Ms James as a “racist” and accusing her of “harassment”.
Mike Huckabee hawks “Kids Guide to President Trump”
Wednesday 4 May 2022 12:01 , Andrew Naughtie
Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who twice ran for president, appeared in an ad on Fox News last night to promote a new book meant to give children an upbeat primer on Donald Trump and his presidency.
“Schools and the media don’t want you to hear anything positive,” he said in the spot, “And that’s why my team created The Kids Guide to President Trump. It’ll teach your kids all about President Trump’s accomplishments and his vision for America. And I want you to have it for free.”
The ad has been widely derided for its cult-like feel.
The Kids Guide is the latest contribution to a bibliography of pro-Trump literature that also includes a $20 coloring book – one that comprises a mere 16 single-sided pages.
Other Ohio candidates back Vance
Wednesday 4 May 2022 11:30 , Andrew Naughtie
JD Vance rocketed to the top of the Ohio Senate primary field after Donald Trump backed him, much to the chagrin of less extreme candidates – but two of the other Republicans in the field, Jane Timken and Matt Dolan, have already thrown their weight behind him.
Flashback: Hillbilly Elegy’s disastrous big-screen adaptation
Wednesday 4 May 2022 11:00 , Andrew Naughtie
JD Vance’s memoir of Appalachian misery, Hillbilly Elegy, was hailed on both sides of the mainstream political spectrum when it was published in 2016, and its stock surged after Donald Trump’s win as people sought to explain why white working-class voters had deserted the Democrats in many parts of the country.
But as the Trump years wore on and onetime critics like Mr Vance started to embrace the president they once claimed to loathe, many lost patience with the book’s thesis of self-induced decline. And by the time the movie adaptation of the book dropped in 2020, the appeal had gone – something that Clarisse Loughrey’s review for The Independent conveyed in the bluntest terms.
Vance’s writing is raw, vulnerable, and intrinsically empathetic. But his politics are deceptive – using “we” as a way to speak on behalf of all Appalachians, he declares that his people’s poverty is largely self-determined. If only the young men of his community didn’t shrug off hard work. If only the women didn’t waste their money and neglect their children. He spares no thought to mass unemployment, the collapse of government support, or the lack of healthcare. “These problems were not created by governments or corporations or anyone else,” he writes. “We created them, only we can fix them.” There is only dead land here, without hope of rescue….[Director Ron] Howard’s adaptation has done nothing to combat the central ethos that made Vance’s work so damaging – the idea that the solution to poverty is for everyone to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get to work. His film pivots on the half-hearted notion that “where we come from is who we are, but we choose every day who we become”, and that what separates Vance’s fate from his mother’s is purely down to personal choice. That’s a narrative that belongs to a writer who refuses to admit his larger place in the world – and a filmmaker who thinks that a positive outlook alone can fix the world.
Read her full one-star review below.
“What a joke”: Tim Ryan ready for his Ohio rival
Wednesday 4 May 2022 10:31 , Andrew Naughtie
Democratic Senate nominee Tim Ryan had already prepared his anti-Vance attack ad, foregrounding the Republican candidate’s increasingly bilious rhetoric about the state of America.
Watch his opening volley below:
Poll finds over half of Americans want Trump to face criminal charges over Jan 6
Wednesday 4 May 2022 10:00 , Stuti Mishra
A little over half of Americans believe that former president Donald Trump should face criminal charges for encouraging the 6 January Capitol riot, according to a new poll.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 52 per cent of Americans, a narrow majority, want to see the twice-impeached president criminally charged, while just 42 per cent say that he should not be charged with a crime.
Abe Asher has more details on the poll here:
Kinzinger unsurprised Trump ‘wanted protesters shot in the legs’
Wednesday 4 May 2022 09:15 , Stuti Mishra
ICYMI: A new book by Donald Trump’s former secretary of defense Mark Esper confirms earlier reports that in 2020, the president was so incensed by Black Lives Matter protesters outside the White House that he suggested calling in the military to shoot them, if only in the legs.
The ex-president’s critics are not surprised.
Nathan Place has more.
How Trump passed the test as kingmaker in Ohio
Wednesday 4 May 2022 08:30 , Stuti Mishra
The primary elections in Ohio and Indiana on Tuesday stood as the first real test of former president Donald Trump’s status as the Republican Party kingmaker — and he passed.
Here are the key takeaways from the races:
Right-wingers crediting Trump for the end of Roe
Wednesday 4 May 2022 07:45 , Stuti Mishra
ICYMI: The draft Supreme Court opinion leaked last night is not necessarily the final version of the court’s decision, and nor has the vote on that decision been made clear – but many right-wing Republicans are already taking it for granted that Roe v Wade is dead, and that Donald Trump deserves the credit for appointing the jusitices who’ve buried it.
Read more below from Bevan Hurley.
Oath Keepers member pleads guilty to seditious conspiracy
Thursday 5 May 2022 00:48 , John Bowden
A member of the Oath Keepers became the third person to plead guilty to a charge of seditious conspiracy related to the January 6 attack on Wednesday.
William Todd Wilson plead guilty in court to plotting to use force to halt the peaceful transfer of power to the Biden administration.
CBS News has the full story:
Report: Capitol Police officer accidentally discharged gun in House office building
Wednesday 4 May 2022 07:00 , Stuti Mishra
ICYMI: It has emerged that a member of the US Capitol Police accidentally “discharged a weapon” in a breakroom at the Cannon House Office Building, which sits across the street from the US Capitol.
In a statement, Capitol Police spokesman Tim Barber said: “The Capitol Police’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) is investigating the discharge of a USCP weapon inside a breakroom in the Cannon Office Building. The officer has been suspended while OPR investigates the incident.”
There have been other incidents involving Capitol Police officers and their weapons in recent years, including an infamous one where a lieutenant left his service weapon in a bathroom. It was eventually found by another officer.