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Trump news – latest: Jan 6 texts ‘wiped’ from Pentagon officials’ phones, court documents reveal

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Former president Donald Trump’s endorsement of “Eric” for the Republican primary election for a US Senate seat to replace retiring Senator Roy Blunt has caused a stir among the party members.

There are two GOP front-runners named Eric in that race – former governor Eric Greitens and state Attorney General Eric Schmitt. Both of them have seemed to assume that they were endorsed by Mr Trump.

There is also a third GOP candidate named Eric McElroy on the Republican primary ballot.

Taking to Twitter, Mr Schmitt wrote: “I’m grateful for president Trump’s endorsement.”

However, Mr Greitens also announced that he was “honoured to receive president Trump’s endorsement”. “I just had a great phone call with president Trump, I thanked him for his support! Together we will MAGA and Save America,” he added.

Meanwhile, Guy Reffitt, the 6 January rioter found guilty on five felony charges earlier this year, on Monday received the longest sentence handed down to a participant in the Capitol riot so far.

Reffitt was the first accused Capitol rioter to be tried before a jury after pleading not guilty.

Key points

  • Trump endorses ‘Eric’ in Missouri’s Senate primary

  • Trump Jr shares Eric Greitens’s endorsement tweet amid confusion

  • Endorsed candidate Tim Michels refuses to commit to backing Trump

  • Video shows Trump hosting Tucker Carlson and Marjorie Taylor Greene at LIV golf tournament

Report: Jan 6 texts wiped from phones of Trump Pentagon officials

21:30 , Oliver O’Connell

CNN reports that the Defense Department wiped the phones of top departing officials at the end of the Trump administration, deleting any texts from key witnesses to events surrounding the Capitol riot, according to court filings.

The acknowledgment that the phones from the Pentagon officials had been wiped was first revealed in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit American Oversight brought against the Defense Department and the Army. The watchdog group is seeking 6 January 2021 records from former acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, former chief of staff Kash Patel, and former Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, among other prominent Pentagon officials — having filed initial FOIA requests just a few days after the Capitol attack.

Here’s Andrew Feinberg with the latest:

Trump Pentagon officials ‘wiped’ Jan 6 messages off phones

Trump hits out at “Crazy Nancy Pelosi” in Taiwan

21:15 , Oliver O’Connell

Former President Donald Trump couldn’t resist taking a pot shot at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her trip to Taiwan.

He wrote on Truth Social: “Why is Crazy Nancy Pelosi in Taiwan. Always causing trouble. Nothing she does turns out well (Two failed Impeachments, loss of House, etc.). WATCH!”

(Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Reuters)

Trump lashes out at ‘weak’ Arizona GOP House speaker

21:00 , Oliver O’Connell

Former president Donald Trump slammed speaker of Arizona’s state house Rusty Bowers after Mr Bowers’ repeated criticisms of the former president.

The former president criticised Mr Bowers on his social media platform Truth Social this week and called on Republican primary voters to vote him out in a GOP primary.

Eric Garcia reports.

Trump lashes out at ‘weak’ Arizona GOP House speaker after fierce criticism

Trump rails against GOP Rep impeachment voters

20:55 , Oliver O’Connell

The former president marked today’s primaries by calling on the electorate to vote out “Impeachment Slime” Jaime Herrera Beutler, Dan Newhouse, and Peter Meijer.

He posted on Truth Social:

Knock out Impeachment Slime Jaime Herrera Beutler, Dan Newhouse, Peter Meijer, TODAY. The rest, including the now disgraced RINO, Liz Cheney, are either gone, or soon will be. Five are already quitters because they were so far behind. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

‘What a heinous human being’

20:30 , Oliver O’Connell

Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough has torn into Donald Trump for his “heinous” remarks about imprisoned WNBA star Brittney Griner.

“We have Donald Trump calling Brittney Griner ‘spoiled,’ and we have Donald Trump talking about her, quote, ‘loaded up with drugs.’ There’s been no testimony, no evidence, no suggestion that she was, quote, ‘loaded up with drugs’,” Mr Scarborough said during the MSNBC show on Monday morning.

“It once again shows just what a terrible guy this is, what a heinous human being. How cruel it is. And you cannot help but wonder if he’s saying that because she’s a black basketball player,” the former Congressman added.

Morning Joe host tears into ‘heinous’ Trump over Brittney Griner criticism

Why is Pelosi’s Taiwan trip so contentious?

19:55 , Oliver O’Connell

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, the highest-level trip by a US official in 25 years, has sparked a diplomatic crisis between the US and China.

Beijing warned the United States that it was “playing with fire” if it allowed the speaker’s visit to take place, and even Joe Biden had cautioned against it.

So why is Ms Pelosi’s trip so controversial? Richard Hall reports.

Why is Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan so contentious?

Four things to watch in tonight’s primaries

19:25 , Oliver O’Connell

Michigan, Kansas, Arizona and Missouri will all hold primary elections Tuesday evening. As usual, former president Donald Trump has made endorsements in multiple Republican primaries, hoping to expand his influence in the GOP as he promotes candidates who will spread his lies about the 2020 presidential election.

He might also be getting some help from Democrats in Michigan, as they hope to elevate an election-denier to beat a Republican congressman who voted to impeach Mr Trump. Meanwhile, Kansas will be the first test for abortion rights in a post-Roe v Wade world.

Here’s what to watch in tonight’s primaries.

Four things to watch in tonight’s primaries in Michigan, Missouri, Arizona and Kansas

Why is Pelosi, not Biden, visiting Taiwan?

19:00 , Oliver O’Connell

When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s US Air Force jet touched down at Taiwan’s Taipei Songshan airport, she became the highest-ranking American official to visit the island since Newt Gingrich in 1997.

Andrew Feinberg explains the significance of this high-level visit and why the president is not making the trip.

Why is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — not President Joe Biden — in Taiwan?

Voices: Senate Republicans lose control of the narrative on veterans’ bill

18:30 , Oliver O’Connell

Eric Garcia writes:

In the past week, Senate Republicans have caught hell from the press, public opinion and from veteran activists, after 25 Republicans reversed their previous vote for the PACT Act. The act would have provided care for US veterans who were exposed to toxic exposure from burn pits.

Veterans have also seen a boost in publicity for their fight thanks to Jon Stewart, former host of The Daily Show, who has been vocally railing against GOP Senators who opposed the legislation. But now, likely sensing that public opinion is not on their side, Republican Senators have a new line of complaint: Democrats started it.

Senate Republicans lose control of the narrative on veterans’ bill

Multiple candidates celebrate after Trump simply endorses ‘ERIC’

18:05 , Oliver O’Connell

Donald Trump’s endorsement in the Missouri GOP Senate primary turned a lot of heads late Monday, baffling supporters and critics alike.

The former president, facing down Tuesday’s primary election with only hours left to make an endorsement that could have an impact on the race, issued a statement Monday evening declaring his support behind the campaign of “ERIC”, without specifying which frontrunner he meant: former Governor Eric Greitens, or current Attorney General Eric Schmitt.

John Bowden reports.

Multiple candidates celebrate after Trump endorses ‘ERIC’ in Missouri Senate race

JD Vance finally on air in Ohio

17:45 , Andrew Naughtie

JD Vance, who has metamorphosed from a critic of white working-class dependency and grievance to a vicious participant in the right’s culture wars, rocketed up the Ohio Senate primary polls earlier this year when Donald Trump endorsed him. Since winning the nomination, however, he has left many Republicans concerned with his approach to the race – or rather, his disengagement from it, visiting Israel without having launched a single post-primary TV ad.

That finally appears to be changing, with news that he and the GOP’s Senate campaign operation are buying up on-screen minutes at last.

Kevin Costner comes out for Liz Cheney

17:20 , Andrew Naughtie

While filming Yellowstone in Wyoming, actor Kevin Costner donned a shirt supporting Jan 6 committee vice chair Liz Cheney – whom the conventional wisdom says is on track to lose her primary as she campaigns for re-election to the state’s at-large House seat.

Watch: AZ candidate Kari Lake refuses to explain election fraud claims

17:09 , Andrew Naughtie

Kari Lake, the Trump-backed candidate leading the Republican pack in the Arizona gubernatorial primary, has become a zealous promoter of election fraud conspiracy theories, and not just about elections that have already been held. She now claims to have evidence of machinations to steal the current election from Trumpist candidates…but in the clip below, refuses to discuss those claims of illegality with the mainstream media.

Non-Eric Missouri candidate clings to faint hope

16:36 , Andrew Naughtie

After Donald Trump decided to endorse two competing candidates named “Eric” in today’s Missouri Senate primary, other candidates were left high and dry. This hasn’t stopped Congressman Billy Long from half-jokingly trying to reinsert himself into the top tier as his candidacy fades from view:

Is Dr Oz collapsing in Pennsylvania?

15:50 , Andrew Naughtie

Donald Trump endorsed Dr Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania’s GOP Senate primary over the objections of many conservatives, and the controversial TV medic ultimately only just scraped through. Now, he seems to be struggling badly in the must-win race to hold a what’s currently a Republican seat.

The Independent’s Eric Garcia has this take on the latest polling.

Liz Cheney contradicts Fox News host on fake electors

15:18 , Andrew Naughtie

Fox News host Mark Levin, a dependably pro-Trump commentator who has indulged conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, last night went on an extended on-air rant about the “electors” convened by Trump allies in late 2020 to form fake slates that could be submitted to Congress on 6 January 2021 in an effort to essentially throw out the certification of Joe Biden’s victory.

Mr Levin’s view of this plan, he made clear, is that it is well within the bounds of acceptability.

You might not like it. You might think it’s weird, you might think it’s unethical, but it’s not a crime. So to criminalize politics, to criminalize many of these things that have gone on in this country through its history, to completely misunderstand what the Electoral College is all about. And when the election is finally over, which is why they meet on January 6, to make that decision is to take the criminal law process and project it on top of the Constitution to pervert it.

In response, Liz Cheney – vice chair of the Jan 6 committee – flatly contradicted him, emphasising that the evidence gathered and made public by her committee plainly details that those involved in the plot knew that it was illegal.

Accused Jan 6 rioter wants “death list” excluded from trial evidence

14:30 , Andrew Naughtie

Thomas E. Caldwell, one of several members of the Oath Keepers militia facing charges over the 6 January Capitol attack, has asked a court to exclude several pieces of evidence from being introduced by the prosecution.

Among them are “any evidence” of various firearm-related actions, including purchases by other Oath Keeepers and “Quick Reaction Forces (QRFs) and guns that were located outside the District of Columbia at any time during the alleged conspiracy”. The filing also asks the court to exclude “A doodle pad—characterized by the Government as a “death list”—recovered from Caldwell’s residence on January 19, 2021.”

According to the government, the document “included the words ‘DEATH LIST’ handwritten across the top with the name of a Georgia election official, a purported family member of that official, and the county and state associated with that official all handwritten underneath.”

Read his full court filing here.

Trump-backed candidate compares abortion to Holocaust

14:00 , Andrew Naughtie

The GOP nominee for Governor of Illinois, Darren Bailey, is in hot water for comments on abortion – ones that go further even than many right-wing Republicans are prepared to tread,

“I believe that abortion is one of the greatest atrocities of our day and I believe it’s one of the greatest atrocities probably forever,” he said in a video unearthed by nonprofit outlet The Forward. “The attempted extermination of the Jews of World War II doesn’t even compare on a shadow of the life that has been lost with abortion since its legalization.”

Read the report below.

Both Erics offer Trump their thanks

13:30 , Andrew Naughtie

Eric Schmitt and Eric Greitens have spent months jockeying for Donald Trump’s endorsement in the Missouri Senate primary, and now they’ve both been handed nothing more than a first-name endorsement that fails to exclude either candidate from Mr Trump’s favours – arguably as momentous move than an actual endorsement.

Still, both of them are claiming his support as their own…

Trump calls WNBA star Brittney Griner ‘spoiled’

13:00 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Donald Trump blasted the proposed prisoner swap between the US and Russia, involving WNBA star Brittney Griner and ex-marine Paul Whelan in exchange for Russian weapons dealer Viktor Bout.

“She knew you don’t go in there loaded up with drugs, and she admitted it”, Mr Trump said on The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show.

Ms Griner has been in jail in Russia for months and is now on trial on drug charges.“It certainly doesn’t seem like a very good trade, does it?” the former president added, concerning Bout.

“He’s absolutely one of the worst in the world, and he’s going to be given his freedom because a potentially spoiled person goes into Russia loaded up with drugs.”

Read more here.

Trump calls Brittney Griner ‘spoiled’ and says he wouldn’t make deal for her release

Trump lashes out at ‘weak’ Arizona GOP House speaker after fierce criticism

12:15 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Former president Donald Trump slammed speaker of Arizona’s state house Rusty Bowers after his repeated criticisms of the former president.

The former president criticised Mr Bowers on his social media platform Truth Social this week and called on Republican primary voters to vote him out in a GOP primary.

“Remember Arizona, your so-called ‘Speaker,’ Rusty (an appropriate name because he is Rusty, just like steel gets rusty and weak) Bowers, is absolutely terrible,” Mr Trump said.

“He is ‘weak’ and wrong on everything, including your horrible Open Border and your pathetic election ‘counting.’ Vote him out!”

Eric Garcia reports.

Trump lashes out at ‘weak’ Arizona GOP House speaker after fierce criticism

Marjorie Taylor Greene says she ‘would be honoured’ to join Trump on 2024 presidential ticket

11:30 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has publicly come out in support of the notion that she could hitch a ride on Donald Trump’s potential bid for the presidency in 2024, stating that she’d be “honoured” to run alongside him as his vice-president.

“I think if he asked me I would definitely give that some strong consideration,” she said when asked by hosts during an interview on America’s Real Voice last week whether she’d be interested in being the twice-impeached president’s running mate.

“I love president Trump. I never hide that fact,” she added, emphasising how she has both a “great relationship” with the one-term president and speaks with him “frequently”.

Johanna Chisholm has more.

Marjorie Taylor Greene ‘would be honoured’ to join Trump on 2024 presidential ticket

Guy Reffitt’s daughter says Trump ‘deserves life in prison’

10:45 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

The daughter of a man who was jailed for his involvement in the January 6 Capitol riot said former president Donald Trump “deserves life in prison.”

Guy Reffitt was handed the longest sentence associated with the riot to date, with a federal judge giving him over seven years in prison after he was convicted for five counts.

“Trump deserves life in prison if my father is in prison for this long,” Peyton Reffitt said outside the courthouse in Washington, DC.

Daughter of jailed Capitol rioter says Trump ‘deserves life in prison’

Watch Eric Greitens’ bizarre, violent anti-RINO ad

09:13 , Andrew Naughtie

Missouri Senate candidate Eric Greitens is controversial for a plethora of reasons, and he recently doubled down on the public perception of him with a brace of ads showing him with a group of armed “troops” hunting down his political enemies.

Mr Greitens has defended his ad campaign vociferously even as the first one was removed by Facebook for violating the platform’s “policies prohibiting violence and incitement”. Twitter also blocked users from sharing it.

Here’s more from Gustaf Kilander.

Greitens says violent video about hunting people was meant to be humorous

Election deniers try to seize control of key positions

07:56 , Graeme Massie

ICYMI: The 2020 election’s shadow continues to loom over the 2022 midterm cycle and November could end up being a key referendum on whether the conspiracy theories that sprung out of 2020 have any sway over the general populace.

Conspiracy-supporting candidates are openly running for office in several states, including in swing states like Michigan and Nevada just to name a few.

The Associated Press dives in to the spread of election conspiracies through the GOP’s 2022 bench and whether it will turn off voters in November.

Top election official races feature deniers of 2020 results

Trump Jr shares Eric Greitens’s endorsement tweet amid confusion

07:43 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Donald Trump’s eldest son retweeted former Mussorie governor Eric Greitens’s tweet thanking the former president for his endorsement amid the ongoing confusion.

Mr Trump had announced his backing for “Eric” for a US Senate seat to replace retiring Senator Roy Blunt.

There are two GOP front-runners named Eric in that race – former governor Eric Greitens and state Attorney General Eric Schmitt. Both of them have seemed to assume that they were endorsed by Mr Trump.

There is also a third GOP candidate named Eric McElroy.Mr Greitens on Monday tweeted: “I just had a great phone call with president Trump, I thanked him for his support! Together we will MAGA and Save America!”

In a subsequent tweet, he added: “I’m honoured to receive president Trump’s endorsement. From the beginning, I’ve been the true MAGA Champion fighting against the RINO establishment backing [Eric] Schmitt.”

“President Trump said it best when he characterised Schmitt’s campaign as ‘great dishonesty in politics’.”

Four of his tweets pertaining to the endorsement row were retweeted by Donald Trump Jr on Monday.

What would happen if the Jan 6 committee issues a criminal referral for Trump?

07:04 , Graeme Massie

ICYMI: The House select committee investigating January 6 moved last week to provide transcripts of interviews with witnesses to the Justice Department, once again raising the prospect of what that would mean and whether it would spur the DOJ to take public action at a faster pace.

Though the committee has no power to indict anyone on criminal charges, the evidence it has uncovered thus far could very well be used by or have separately been gathered by investigators at the Justice Department.

So what would happen if the committee took the unprecedented step of recommending charges against a former president?

What would happen if the Jan 6 committee issues a criminal referral for Donald Trump?

Nancy Pelosi arrives in Malaysia amid reports of her Taiwan visit

06:11 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

US House speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Malaysia on Tuesday for the second leg of an Asian tour that has been clouded by an expected stop in Taiwan, which would escalate tensions with Beijing.

The plane carrying Ms Pelosi and her delegation touched down at an air force base amid tight security, national news agency Bernama reported.

While there have been no official announcements, local media in Taiwan reported that Ms Pelosi will arrive in Taipei on Tuesday night, becoming the highest-ranking elected US official to visit in more than 25 years.

Joe Scarborough: Trump is a ‘heinous human being’

06:05 , Graeme Massie

ICYMI: Hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe unloaded on Donald Trump on Monday as the former president continues his trashing of WNBA star Brittney Griner and the supposed plans of the Biden administration to secure her release from a Russian prison.

Former Congressman Joe Scarborough said the criticism was more evidence of what a “terrible” person Donald Trump is at heart.

“It once again shows just what a terrible guy this is, what a heinous human being. How cruel it is. And you cannot help but wonder if he’s saying that because she’s a black basketball player,” he said.

Read more and watch the clip in The Independent:

Morning Joe host tears into ‘heinous’ Trump over Brittney Griner criticism

Endorsed candidate Tim Michels refuses to commit to backing Trump in 2024 race

05:55 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Tim Michels, who was endorsed by Donald Trump for governor, said he would not commit to supporting the former president for the 2024 race.

Mr Michels, the millionaire co-owner of Brownsville-based construction company Michels Corp, along with his top two opponents in the Republican primary for governor distanced themselves from Mr Trump during a town hall candidate forum in Milwaukee.

“I will look at all the evidence and everything will be on the table and I will make the right decision,” said Mr Michels, when he was asked if he would sign legislation seeking to decertify the election’s results.

Trump endorses ‘Eric’ in Missouri’s Senate primary

05:14 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

The night before Missouri’s closely watched Republican primary election for a US Senate seat to replace retiring Senator Roy Blunt, Donald Trump has announced his endorsement: “Eric”.

There are two GOP front-runners named Eric in that race – former governor Eric Greitens and state Attorney General Eric Schmitt.

There is also a third GOP candidate named Eric on the Republican primary ballot: Eric McElroy, a comedian, unwittingly name-dropped among the Erics in the former president’s announcement.

“I trust the Great People of Missouri, on this one, to make up their own minds, much as they did when they gave me landslide victories in the 2016 and 2020 Elections, and I am therefore proud to announce that ERIC has my Complete and Total Endorsement!” the former president announced on 1 August.

Alex Woodward reports.

Trump endorses ‘ERIC’ in Missouri’s Senate primary without specifying which one

Will this Republican senator run against Donald Trump in 2024?

05:04 , Graeme Massie

ICYMI: Sen Tim Scott is working to dispel rumours of presidential ambitions after keen-eyed reviewers noticed that a page in his memoir appeared to give away his intentions.

On the copyright page of the South Carolina Republican senator’s memoir, a short description reads: “Senator Scott is a rising star who sees and understands the importance of bipartisanship to move America forward. This book is a political memoir that includes his core messages as he prepares to make a presidential bid in 2022.”

If that were the case and Mr Scott plans to launch a presidential campaign later this year, he could end up going head to head with Donald Trump who remains publicly keen on the idea of running for the White House again himself.

Read more from The Independent’s Eric Garcia:

Tim Scott claims he is ‘absolutely not’ running for president despite book saying so

Trump hosts Tucker Carlson and Marjorie Taylor Greene at LIV golf tournament

04:48 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Donald Trump was seen attending to Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson and Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene at a Saudi-funded LIV golf tournament, which the former president held at his Bedminster resort in New Jersey this weekend.

A video shared on Twitter by conservative political consultant Alex Brusewitz captured the crowd gathered at the tournament chant: “Let’s go Brandon”.

The derisive slogan “let’s go Brandon” is used by conservatives to attack president Joe Biden.

Michigan secretary of state heading off efforts to challenge primary results

04:02 , Graeme Massie

ICYMI: Michigan’s top elections official is warning campaigns and candidates against trying any funny business as a contentious primary season comes to a close with an election on Tuesday.

Jocelyn Benson, the Michigan Secretary of State, made the declaration in an interview with The Detroit News in which she echoed comments she has made on social media in the past several days.

“Any attempts to block the certification of our elections, regardless of the results, will be futile,” she told the news outlet.

John Bowden writes that her remarks would seem alarmist were it not for the fact that five Republican candidates previously running in the gubernatorial primary were kicked off Tuesday’s ballot.

Michigan official warns against ‘futile’ attempts to block election certification

Could Trump lose the GOP the Senate?

03:03 , Graeme Massie

ICYMI: Negative impressions of former president Donald Trump are dragging down Republican candidates for the US Senate in four key swing state races, according to a recent poll commissioned by a political action committee affiliated with a top former Trump adviser.

The survey of 1200 voters — 300 general election voters each in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina and Georgia — was commissioned by the John Bolton Super PAC. The PAC is run by Ambassador John Bolton, Mr Trump’s third national security adviser.

It found that Trump-endorsed candidates in three of the four states trail their Democratic opponents and have largely unfavourable ratings with “independent and undecided voters”.

Andrew Feinberg has more.

Trump is ‘significant drag’ on GOP Senate chances, poll finds

Trump: No deal to bring Brittney Griner home if I was in White House

02:05 , Graeme Massie

ICYMI: Former President Donald Trump attacked WNBA star Brittney Griner and accused her of being “loaded up with drugs” in a new interview while suggesting that he wouldn’t work to end her imprisonment in Russia if he was still in the White House.

Speaking on The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show on Saturday he sharply criticised reports that have circulated since May suggesting that the Biden administration was proposing a prisoner swap that would free Ms Griner and ex-Marine Paul Whelan in exchange for the extradition of a Russian arms dealer to Moscow.

Read more from Bevan Hurley and Gustaf Kilander in The Independent:

Trump calls Brittney Griner ‘spoiled’ and says he wouldn’t make deal for her release

Marjorie Taylor Greene says she ‘would be honoured’ to join Trump on 2024 presidential ticket

01:00 , John Bowden

Conspiracy-slinging Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene says she would be “honoured” to serve as Donald Trump’s running mate should he make a third bid for the White House in 2024.

The congresswoman made the comments in an interview with a right-wing broadcaster last week ahead of her appearance alongside the president at a Saudi-funded golf tournament he hosted over the weekend.

“I think if he asked me I would definitely give that some strong consideration,” she said when asked during an interview on America’s Real Voice.

“I love President Trump. I never hide that fact,” she added.

Read more from The Independent’s Johanna Chisholm:

Marjorie Taylor Greene ‘would be honoured’ to join Trump on 2024 presidential ticket

Trump clearly leads DeSantis in 2024 poll

Tuesday 2 August 2022 00:30 , John Bowden

A new poll out from Harvard’s Center for American Political Studies finds Donald Trump the clear leader of the potential 2024 GOP field, far ahead of his expected top rival Ron DeSantis.

Mr Trump leads the Florida governor by a wide margin in the new poll published Monday in The Hill, 52 per cent to Mr DeSantis’s 19 per cent. No other candidate received support in the double digits.

Read more at The Hill:

Joe Biden’s VA secretary hammers Republicans over burn pits bill

Tuesday 2 August 2022 00:00 , John Bowden

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs for the Biden administration on Sunday came out against Republican efforts to restrict the funding of a bill that is meant to provide healthcare to US veterans exposed to toxic burn pits during their service.

Denis McDonough accused Republcians like Sen Pat Toomey of trying to implement a system that would end up “rationing” health care to veterans as the GOP faces pressure from activists and accusations of abandoning veterans who fought in two wars their party started while in power.

“Let’s just get it done, and also let’s not be for a proposal that places artificial caps on year by year, and then functionally, at the end of those 10 years, makes this fund go away,” he told CNN. “Let’s not sign up to that, because at the end of the day, the risk of that is going to be rationing of care to veterans.”

Read more from Johanna Chisholm in The Independent:

VA secretary bemoans GOP amendments to burn pits bill: ‘Let’s just get it done’

Could Trump’s desperate revenge plan help Democrats flip seat for first time in 30 years?

Monday 1 August 2022 23:30 , John Bowden

Donald Trump’s efforts to punish Republicans who broke from his effort to overturn the 2020 election has left some Democrats wondering if a political opportunity exists.

One of those Democrats is Doug White, who is hoping to unseat a Republican congressman in Washington state who has lost the favour of the former president.

Andrew Buncombe details the unique position Mr White finds his campaign in as he hopes to help his party hold on to the House in November.

Will Trump desperate revenge plan help Dems flip seat for first time since 1992?

Jon Stewart challenges Republicans on Capitol steps ahead of second vote on burn pits bill

Monday 1 August 2022 23:00 , John Bowden

Comedian Jon Stewart rallied supporters on Monday in front of the US Capitol ahead of a second vote by the US Senate this week on legislation to extend benefits to US military veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits during their service.

In a fiery address, he challenged Republicans who have accused him of smearing their intentions after GOP senators voted down the bill last week.

“You can attack me all you want… but here’s the beautiful thing, I don’t give a s**t. I’m not scared of you” said the former late night talk show host.

Read more in The Independent from Bevan Hurley:

Jon Stewart gives fiery speech on Capitol steps ahead of second vote on burn pits

Guy Reffitt’s daughter: Trump should face life in prison

Monday 1 August 2022 22:30 , John Bowden

The daughter of convicted Texas militia member and January 6 participant Guy Reffitt told reporters on Monday that she believes Donald Trump needs to face prison time for inspiring the riot which led to her father’s imprisonment.

Mr Reffitt was sentenced on Monday to more than seven years in prison, far more that most riot participants and the longest sentence of any convicted Jan 6 figure so far.

“Trump deserves life in prison if my father’s in prison for this long,” she told news reporters.

Poll: Majority of Americans want Trump criminally charged

Monday 1 August 2022 21:59 , John Bowden

Public sentiment is turning in favour of seeing Donald Trump criminally charged for his role in inspiring and failing to respond to the January 6 attack on Congress as the House’s select committee investigating the riot continues to lay out evidence.

A new poll published by The Hill on Monday shows that 53 per cent of voters believe that Mr Trump should be criminally charged for the riot; at the same time, however, 54 per cent say that he should be allowed to run for office again.

“Despite a majority that would indict him, most questions on January 6th split down the middle along partisan lines, and it’s not clear they would convict him,” said Mark Penn, chair of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard, which ran the poll. “There is far greater support for healing the country over indicting politicians — but Trump is seem as bearing a good share of personal responsibility. “

Read more at The Hill:

Guy Reffitt: Militia member given longest sentence yet for role in Capitol riot

Monday 1 August 2022 21:25 , John Bowden

Guy Reffitt, the Wylie, Texas man and member of the Three Percenters militia who was convicted in March on charges related to the Capitol riot, received the longest sentence of any participant in the attack so far on Monday.

Mr Reffitt was sentenced to more than seven years in prison, less than the 15-year sentence prosecutors had requested while still substantially longer than those handed down to typical participants in the riot.

“Reffitt sought not just to stop Congress, but also to physically attack, remove, and replace the legislators who were serving in Congress,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing suggestions.

Read more from The Independent’s Graig Graziosi:

Militia member given longest sentence yet for role in Capitol riot

Trump on “weak” Rusty Bowers…

Monday 1 August 2022 16:20 , Andrew Naughtie

Following Rusty Bowers’ searing broadcast interview yesterday, Donald Trump has torn into the Arizona house speaker, calling him “‘weak’ and wrong on everything”.

Eric Garcia reports:

Trump lashes out at ‘weak’ Arizona GOP House speaker after fierce criticism

Trump trails key Senate endorsement

Monday 1 August 2022 15:48 , Andrew Naughtie

Donald Trump has “truthed” that he will be throwing an endorsement into Missouri’s Republican Senate primary, which is tomorrow. He has already said that candidate Vicki Hartzler “does not have what it takes”; the question is whether he will back former governor and accused domestic abuser Eric Greitens or sitting Attorney General Eric Schmitt. Polls currently show a tight race.

Trump trails Missouri Senate endorsement on Truth Social (Truth Social)

Who is Guy Reffitt?

Monday 1 August 2022 15:03 , Andrew Naughtie

As he faces his sentencing for his part in the Capitol riot, here’s a rundown on why Guy Reffitt’s case matters:

It took the jury of six men and six women just under four hours to find Mr Reffitt guilty on five counts: civil disorder; obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; and hindering communication through physical force or threat of physical force. He is set to be sentenced on 8 June, where he faces a maximum of 60 years in prison.

Mr Reffitt is notorious for two things: the fact that he pleaded not guilty to the five counts brought against him, and the fact that he allegedly threatened to kill his own children if they turned him in.

Read more below.

Who is Guy Wesley Reffitt, the first Capitol rioter convicted at jury trial?

Trump mockingly accuses Biden of dementia

Monday 1 August 2022 14:05 , Andrew Naughtie

In a characteristically vicious “truth” on his bespoke social media platform yesterday, Donald Trump responded to news that Joe Biden had tested positive for Covid-19 once again. It rolls together mockery of the president’s cognitive ability with a conspiracy theory about the 2020 election in Wisconsin that appears to have been obsessing Mr Trump of late. Take a look below…

ICYMI: Rusty Bowers’s interview

Monday 1 August 2022 13:27 , Andrew Naughtie

Republican Arizona State House Speaker Rusty Bowers has spoken out against Trumpism in a deepening row with former president Donald Trump over his testimony to the January 6 committee.

“They rule by thuggery and intimidation. So you know, they found a niche, they found a way and it’s fear, and people can use fear, demagogues like to use fear as a weapon. And they weaponise everything, and we all know it. But that’s not leadership to me to use thuggery”, Mr Bowers said.

Mr Bowers, 69, was censured by the Arizona GOP a month after his testimony. On 21 June, Mr Bowers told the committee that Mr Trump pressured him to overturn the results in Arizona, a state President Joe Biden won narrowly.

Concerning the lie that the 2020 election was stolen, Mr Bowers said: “If we want to base a party and an authority and move people to solve problems, you can’t base it on a lie. Ultimately, that falls apart.”

Gustaf Kilander has more.

‘Rule by thuggery’: Rusty Bowers speaks out against Trumpism after Jan 6 testimony

What’s in Jared Kushner’s book?

Monday 1 August 2022 12:48 , Andrew Naughtie

Jared Kushner is joining the long list of former Trump White House officials publishing memoirs in an attempt to capitalise from four years serving a celebrity president whose ex-employees have launched an empire of media gigs and pet projects.

Breaking History has much in common with the memoirs put out by other Trump alumni, with descriptions of lurid, explosive moments that would seem deeply out of place in any other administration. What may be unique about Mr Kushner’s, however, is the pairing of unflattering portrayals of the Trump White House with the unlikelihood that Mr Trump himself will denounce the work or its author.

John Bowden takes a look at the most newsworthy findings from the latest offering to arise from the ignominious end of the Trump presidency.

Five things we learned from Jared Kushner’s White House memoir

Let’s Go Brandon and Tucker Carlson: scenes from Bedminster

Monday 1 August 2022 12:00 , Andrew Naughtie

Donald Trump’s controversial hosting of the Saudi-backed LIV golf series went ahead this weekend despite the protests of 9/11 families. Despite the protests of the families of 9/11 victims outraged at the ex-president for accepting Saudi money, Mr Trump was front and centre among the spectators – as was one of his most extreme admirers on Fox News:

Explained: Will the Democrats’ surprise legislative win give them fresh momentum?

Monday 1 August 2022 11:15 , Andrew Naughtie

Democrats have been quick to accentuate the positives – both short and long term – of a surprise deal struck to resurrect some elements of Joe Biden’s legislative agenda. That includes climate provisions that advocates have said help keep the US in the global fight to deal with the environmental crisis.

“I’d say it’s somewhere between a surprise and a shock,” the Democratic senator from Connecticut, Chris Murphy, said of the deal around the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 – which also includes major investments in lowering drug pricing and closing tax loopholes for the wealthy.

The reason? Talks between West Virginia senator Joe Manchin, who has made a habit of holding up legislation, and the Democratic Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, had broken down in mid-July, with Manchin admitting that things had got “heated”.

Manchin said he had told Schumer, in regard to rising inflation, that “the people of West Virginia cannot afford higher prices. They can’t afford higher gasoline prices, higher food prices.”

A deal between senators Manchin and Schumer has provided a fillip to their party, writes our premium editor Chris Stevenson:

Analysis: Will the Democrats’ surprise legislative win give them fresh momentum?

Trump calls WNBA star Brittney Griner ‘spoiled’

Monday 1 August 2022 10:30 , Namita Singh

Donald Trump blasted the proposed prisoner swap between the US and Russia, involving WNBA star Brittney Griner and ex-marine Paul Whelan in exchange for Russian weapons dealer Viktor Bout.

Ms Griner has been in jail in Russia for months and is on trial on drug charges.

“She knew you don’t go in there loaded up with drugs, and she admitted it”, Mr Trump said on The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show on Saturday.

“It certainly doesn’t seem like a very good trade, does it?” he added, referring to Bout. “He’s absolutely one of the worst in the world, and he’s going to be given his freedom because a potentially spoiled person goes into Russia loaded up with drugs.”

Read the details in this joint report from Gustaf Kilander and Bevan Hurley:

Trump calls Brittney Griner ‘spoiled’ and says he wouldn’t make deal for her release

What to watch in primaries in Arizona, Michigan and elsewhere?

Monday 1 August 2022 09:30 , Namita Singh

In Missouri, scandal-ridden former governor Eric Greitens is attempting a political comeback. In Michigan, a crowded field of Republican gubernatorial candidates includes a man charged in the Jan 6 US Capitol attack. In Arizona, a prominent figure in the QAnon conspiracy movement is running for the US House.

Those are among some of the most notable contests in Tuesday’s primary elections being held in six states.

Arizona, which Democrat Joe Biden narrowly won in 2020, is a top target for former president Donald Trump, who tried in vain to get his defeat overturned. He has endorsed a slate of candidates up and down the ballot who have promoted his false claims of a stolen election.

Read the details about the upcoming primaries in this report:

What to watch in primaries in Arizona, Michigan, elsewhere

Trump ‘has to be rattled’, says biographer

Monday 1 August 2022 08:30 , Namita Singh

With the House committee probing the Jan 6 attack on the US Capitol, former president Donald Trump “has to be rattled”, his biographer Tim O’Brien said on Sunday.

The author of TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald made the comments on MSNBC when asked about the panel’s possible plans to interview his former secretary of state, Mike Pompeo.

Former US president Donald Trump and son Eric Trump react to his putt on the 14th green during the pro-am prior to the LIV Golf Invitational – Bedminster at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster on 28 July 2022 (Getty Images)

“Mike Pompeo said he’s considering talking to the committee about possibly testifying. Do you think Trump is rattled by these senior members of his administration cooperating?” asked the host.

“I can’t get inside his head that completely, but Trump has always believed in unwavering loyalty….And I think throughout most of his presidency that was a pretty firm wall,” Mr O’Brien responded.“I don’t think you saw many people in his inner circle—they quit before they really decided to rat him out.”

He told the outlet that the substance of questions directed at high-ranking Trump officials were aimed at enquiring “whether or not they were alarmed by what happened on January 6 that they wanted to invoke 25th Amendment and force Trump’s removal from office”.

“So he has to be rattled by that because these are people in the past… I think who never would have publicly gone on the other side against him.”

Top election official races feature deniers of 2020 results

Monday 1 August 2022 07:31 , Namita Singh

An Arizona lawmaker endorsed by former president Donald Trump and another lawmaker who believe that the 2020 presidential results should be overturned are among four Republicans in race for the top election officer in Arizona.

Tuesday’s primary elections feature similar candidates in Kansas and Washington state.n Kansas, voters will choose between a challenger who questions the 2020 presidential results and the incumbent Republican who believes the election was secure in his state.

Washington state’s open primary also has a candidate who backs Trump’s unsupported claims, although that’s not the toughest challenge the Democratic incumbent faces.

So far this year, Republican primary voters have split on whether to put election skeptics on the November ballot.

Read the details here:

Top election official races feature deniers of 2020 results

‘Rule by thuggery’: Rusty Bowers speaks out against Trumpism after Jan 6 testimony

Monday 1 August 2022 06:31 , Namita Singh

Republican Arizona State House Speaker Rusty Bowers has spoken out against Trumpism in a deepening row with former president Donald Trump over his testimony to the January 6 committee.

Responding to the attacks from former president for testifying before the select committee, Mr Bowers said: “I have thought at times that someone born how he was raised how he was – he has no idea what a hard life is and what people have to go through in real in the real world. He has no idea what courage is, and the last place on Earth that I would want to do evil would be the state of Arizona.”

“How do you explain the hold that he has, though, on Republicans, including a lot of Republican leaders right here in Arizona?” ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl asked.

“They rule by thuggery and intimidation. So you know, they found a niche, they found a way and it’s fear, and people can use fear, demagogues like to use fear as a weapon. And they weaponise everything, and we all know it. But that’s not leadership to me to use thuggery”, Mr Bowers said.

Read the details in this report by Gustaf Kilander:

‘Rule by thuggery’: Rusty Bowers speaks out against Trumpism after Jan 6 testimony

Trump apologised to Cruz for insulting his wife and father during campaign, reveals memoir

Monday 1 August 2022 05:54 , Namita Singh

Donald Trump apologised to Ted Cruz for insulting his wife and father during the 2016 campaign trail, revealed a new memoir from the former president’s then campaign manager Paul Manafort.

“On his own initiative, Trump did apologise for saying some of the things he said about Cruz, which was unusual for Trump,” Mr Manafort wrote in his book Political Prisoner: Persecuted, Prosecuted, But Not Silenced, reported the Guardian.

In 2016, Mr Trump had insinuated that Mr Cruz’s wife was ugly, linked his father to the assassination of John F Kennedy and questioned if he was born in Canada.

Donald Trump greets Ted Cruz (R), Republican of Texas, during a campaign rally at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, 22 October 2018 (AFP via Getty Images)

Mr Manafort, who was Mr Trump’s campaign manager between May and August 2016, said his former top boss, while apologising to Mr Cruz, told him that “he considered him an ally, not an enemy, and that he believed they could work together when Trump was president.”

While Mr Cruz did not initially endorse him at the Republican convention, however, he eventually “came around to supporting Trump and Trump harboured no ill will”

‘America’s tired’ of Trump says Arizona GOP house speaker Rusty Bowers

Monday 1 August 2022 05:07 , Namita Singh

In a stunning volte-face, Arizona House speaker Rusty Bowers vowed to never vote for former president Donald Trump, saying “America’s tired”.

“I’ll never vote for him, but I won’t have to,” Mr Bowers told ABC News. “Because I think America’s tired and there’s some absolutely forceful, qualified, morally defensible and upright people, and that’s what I want. That’s what I want in my party and that’s what I want to see.”

The statement comes almost a month after he told the Associated Press in June this year, that he would back his former top boss “if he is the nominee, if he was up against Biden”.

Rusty Bowers, Arizona House Speaker, testifies during the fourth hearing on the January 6th investigation in the Cannon House Office Building on 21 June 2022 in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

“Simply because what he did the first time, before Covid, was so good for the county. In my view it was great.”

The Republican, who has also testified before the House select committee probing the 6 January capitol riot, told the outlet that he does not “trust that authority” that Mr Trump “would exercise”.

“I have thought, at times, someone born how he was, raised how he was — he has no idea what a hard life is. And what people have to go through in real — in the real world. He has no idea what courage is.”

VIDEO: Three witnesses in Department of Justice’s investigation into Capitol riot receive subpoenas

Monday 1 August 2022 03:20 , Gustaf Kilander

Joe Biden sends pizza to burn pit protesters after Republicans block bill for veterans

Monday 1 August 2022 02:20 , John Bowden

Joe Biden is using his Covid isolation time to highlight the GOP’s resistance to passing legislation aimed at helping sick US veterans.

In a video posted to Twitter on Sunday the president highlighted protesters who are camped out on the steps of the US Capitol to denounce Republicans who have yet to put their support behind legislation that would mandate the Department of Veterans affairs to assume that US veterans who worked around so-called “burn pits” during their military service be presumed to have been exposed to toxic substances.

Republicans led by Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania are demanding an amendment to the bill that would tie its funding to the annual appropriations process, rather than giving it a direct, set line of funding. Democrats have accused their rivals of instigating pointless delays in supposed retaliation for the ressurection of the Build Bact Better Act in the form of the Inflation Reduction Act, a slimmed-down piece of legislation aimed at both battling inflation and addressing other issues like prescription drug prices and climate change.

On Sunday, Mr Biden released a video filled with images of sick veterans holding signs denouncing the GOP for inaction on the bill, which Democrats are hoping to force a vote on in the coming days.

“I’d planned to stop by the Capitol and visit families fighting to pass burn pits legislation. Covid got in the way, so I FaceTimed them and sent some pizza. It’s our sacred obligation to care for our veterans. I won’t stop fighting alongside them to get this bill passed,” tweeted Mr Biden.

Read more:

Biden sends pizza to protesters on Capitol steps after GOP blocks bill for veterans

Doctor: Biden tests positive for COVID for 2nd day in a row

Monday 1 August 2022 01:20 , The Associated Press

President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 for the second straight day, in what appears to be in a rare case of “rebound” following treatment with an anti-viral drug.

In a letter noting the positive test, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, the White House physician, said Sunday that the president “continues to feel well” and will keep on working from the executive residence while he isolates.

Biden tested positive on Saturday, requiring him to cancel travel and in-person events as he isolates for at least five days in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

After initially testing positive on July 21, Biden, 79, was treated with the anti-viral drug Paxlovid. He tested negative for the virus on this past Tuesday and Wednesday, clearing him to leave isolation while wearing a mask indoors.

Research suggests that a minority of those prescribed Paxlovid to experience a rebound case of the virus. The fact that a rebound rather than a reinfection possibly occurred is a positive sign for Biden’s health once he’s clear of the disease.

Read more:

Doctor: Biden tests positive for COVID for 2nd day in a row

‘Rule by thuggery’: Rusty Bowers speaks out against Trumpism after Jan 6 testimony

Monday 1 August 2022 00:20 , Gustaf Kilander

Republican Arizona State House Speaker Rusty Bowers has spoken out against Trumpism in a deepening row with former president Donald Trump over his testimony to the January 6 committee.

Mr Bowers testified in front of the House Select Committee investigating January 6 after voting for Mr Trump in 2016 and 2020. But the speaker hasn’t bought into the lie spread by the former president and his allies that the 2020 election was stolen from Mr Trump.

Mr Bowers, 69, was censured by the Arizona GOP a month after his testimony. On 21 June, Mr Bowers told the committee that Mr Trump pressured him to overturn the results in Arizona, a state President Joe Biden won narrowly.

“I do not want to be a winner by cheating, I will not play with laws I swore allegiance to”, he said at the time.

“Rusty Bowers is a RINO coward who participated against the Republican Party in the totally partisan unselect committee of political thugs and hacks the other day and disgraced himself and he disgraced the state of Arizona”, Mr Trump told a rally crowd in Prescott Valley on 22 July.

Mr Bowers responded to Mr Trump’s attacks during an interview with ABC News.

“I have thought at times that someone born how he was raised how he was – he has no idea what a hard life is and what people have to go through in real in the real world. He has no idea what courage is, and the last place on Earth that I would want to do evil would be the state of Arizona,” he said in the interview broadcast on Sunday.

Read more:

‘Rule by thuggery’: Rusty Bowers speaks out against Trumpism after Jan 6 testimony

Fights with Bannon and calls with Murdoch: Five revelations from Jared Kushner’s White House memoir

Sunday 31 July 2022 23:20 , John Bowden

Jared Kushner is joining the long list of former Trump White House officials publishing memoirs in an attempt to capitalise from four years serving a celebrity president whose ex-employees have launched an empire of media gigs and pet projects.

The president’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser is publishing a book next month titled Breaking History, which like the memoirs of his colleagues contains a number of descriptions of lurid, explosive moments that would seem deeply out of place in any administration other than Donald Trump’s. What may be unique about Mr Kushner’s, however, is the pairing of unflattering portrayals of the Trump White House with the unlikelihood that Mr Trump himself will denounce the work or its author.

That’s thanks to Mr Kushner’s marriage to Ivanka Trump, who as the president’s eldest daughter avoided criticism herself after the January 6 committee played testimony from her in which she admitted that she accepted ex-Attorney General Bill Barr’s assessment that her father’s claims of election fraud were, in his words, “bullshit”.

Let’s take a look at the most newsworthy findings from the latest offering to arise from the ignominious end of the Trump presidency.

Read more:

Five things we learned from Jared Kushner’s White House memoir

Trump calls WNBA star Brittney Griner ‘spoiled’ and says he wouldn’t make deal for her release

Sunday 31 July 2022 22:20 , Gustaf Kilander and Bevan Hurley

Donald Trump blasted the proposed prisoner swap between the US and Russia, involving WNBA star Brittney Griner and ex-marine Paul Whelan in exchnage Russian weapons dealer Viktor Bout.

Mr Trump appeared on The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show on Saturday.

Ms Griner has been in jail in Russia for months and is now on trial on drug charges.

“She knew you don’t go in there loaded up with drugs, and she admitted it”, Mr Trump said.

“It certainly doesn’t seem like a very good trade, does it?” he added, concerning Bout. “He’s absolutely one of the worst in the world, and he’s going to be given his freedom because a potentially spoiled person goes into Russia loaded up with drugs.”

Concerning Russian laws, he said: “They don’t like drugs. And she got caught. And now, we’re supposed to get her out — and she makes, you know, a lot of money, I guess. We’re supposed to get her out for an absolute killer and one of the biggest arms dealers in the world. Killed many Americans. Killed many people.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he urged Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to accept a prisoner swap for Ms Griner and Mr Whelan in their first talks since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Mr Blinken said he had a “frank and direct conversation” with Mr Lavrov on Friday, which focused primarily on the prisoner exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, the Associated Press reported.

“I urged Foreign Minister Lavrov to move forward with that proposal,” Mr Blinken said.

He said the Russian officials gave no indication if they would accept the US proposal.

“I can’t give you an assessment of whether that is any more or less likely.”

Mr Blinken said the call centred primarily on the proposal for the release of the Americans.

Read more:

Trump calls Brittney Griner ‘spoiled’ and says he wouldn’t make deal for her release

Manchin declines to say if he wants Dems to retain control

Sunday 31 July 2022 21:20 , The Associated Press

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, one of the Democrats’ most conservative and contrarian members, declined on Sunday to say whether he wants Democrats to retain control of Congress after the November elections.

The senator told NBC‘s “Meet the Press” that will be determined by the choices of voters in individual states, rather than his own preferences. He added that people “are sick and tired of politics” and want their representatives in Washington to put country over party.

“I’ve always taken the approach, whoever you send me, that’s your representative and I respect them and I respect the state for the people they send and I give it my best to work with them and do the best for my country,” Manchin said.

Manchin faces reelection in 2024 in a state where Donald Trump prevailed in every county in the past two presidential races, winning more than two-thirds of West Virginia’s voters. But in distancing himself from fellow Democrats, Manchin also tried to decry the rise of partisanship.

“We’re not working for any party. We’re not working for any political idealism,” he said, bemoaning “bickering over political outcomes and who’s going to be in charge of what” at a time of global tensions, war and economic uncertainty fueled by rising inflation.

Read more:

Manchin declines to say if he wants Dems to retain control

Joe Manchin evades question about whether he’ll support Joe Biden in 2024

Sunday 31 July 2022 20:20 , John Bowden

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin dodged a question from CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday regarding whether he’d throw his support behind Joe Biden should the president go through with plans to run for reelection in 2024.

The senator was asked whether Mr Biden would have his endorsement by Mr Tapper in response to new polling showing the president’s approval rating lower than ever among his own party and with record-low support for a potential reelection bid.

Mr Manchin responded by decrying the Washington media’s constant focus on the next election cycle, while touting his partnership with the president and at the same time very carefully avoiding making any statements about 2024.

“Jake, I’m not getting involved in any election right now, 2022, 2024, I’m not speculating on it. President Biden is my president right now, I’m going to work with him and his administration to the best of my ability to help the people in my state of West Virginia and this country,” he said.

His non-response would not be notable were it not for the public call from one of his Democratic colleagues in the House just a few days ago for Mr Biden to step down and let another Democrat head the party’s presidential ticket in 2024.

Congressman Dean Phillips of Minnesota this week became the first member of Mr Biden’s party on Capitol Hill to publicly join the calls for “generational” change in the party, a shot at the geriatric leadership of the Democrats in the House, Senate, and White House.

Read more:

Joe Manchin evades question about whether he’ll support Joe Biden in 2024

Vulnerable House Dems see abortion as winning campaign theme

Sunday 31 July 2022 19:20 , The Associated Press

A rare Democrat in a deeply Republican state, U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids of Kansas is one of the most vulnerable incumbents seeking reelection this year. In the final months of her congressional campaign, she is focusing on Republicans’ strict opposition to abortion rights.

An online ad she released last week highlights how Amanda Adkins, the Republican favored to emerge from Tuesday’s primary for a rematch with David in November, opposed abortion without exceptions. The ad points to Adkins’ support of an amendment to the Kansas Constitution on the ballot Tuesday that would make clear there is no right to abortion in the states.

“There were a lot of people who would not have known that I have an opponent who is extreme on this issue,” Davids, who beat Adkins in 2020, said in an interview. “It’s not hypothetical anymore.”

That’s a sign of how the Supreme Court’s decision in June to repeal a woman’s federal constitutional right to abortion has scrambled the political dynamics heading into the fall elections, when control of Congress is at stake. A half-dozen of the most vulnerable House members — all of them women, all representing swaths of suburban voters — see the issue as one that could help them win in an otherwise difficult political climate.

In addition to Davids, these incumbents include Reps. Angie Craig of Minnesota, Cindy Axne of Iowa, Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, Abigail Spanberger and Elaine Luria of Virginia, and Susan Wilds of Pennsylvania. They all face Republican opponents who support the high court’s abortion ruling. Some are contending with rivals who back efforts to ban abortion in all circumstances, including when the mother’s life is at risk.

Read more:

Vulnerable House Dems see abortion as winning campaign theme

Nancy Pelosi’s itinerary for Asia visit released – and there’s no mention of Taiwan

Sunday 31 July 2022 18:20 , Sravasti Dasgupta

US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi announced her itinerary for a trip to Asia on Sunday but made no mention of a controversial reported plan to visit Taiwan.

In a statement, Ms Pelosi said she will be leading a congressional delegation to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan this week to discuss trade, the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, security and “democratic governance”.

Last week, the Financial Times reported that Ms Pelosi planned to visit Taiwan in the next month. She was originally scheduled to visit in April but had to postpone after testing positive for Covid.

President Joe Biden has said that her to Taiwan visit might not be a “good idea.”

Read more:

Nancy Pelosi’s itinerary for Asia visit released – and there’s no mention of Taiwan

Sen. Warnock cites ‘bipartisanship,’ avoids Biden in Georgia

Sunday 31 July 2022 17:20 , The Associated Press

Democrats in Georgia predict dire outcomes should Sen. Raphael Warnock lose to challenger Herschel Walker this fall and Republicans regain control of Capitol Hill.

“They’re going to take away our democratic rights one after another,” longtime state lawmaker Nan Orrock warned partisans at a birthday party for the senator, who turned 53 on July 23. “Failure,” she said, “is not an option.”

Warnock took a different tack.

“I work with anybody to get something good done for the people of Georgia,” he told the same crowd, highlighting a trio of Republican senators with whom he has made legislative deals. Warnock mentioned President Joe Biden‘s name just once and referred several other times only to “the president of the United States,” trying to distinguish himself from Biden — and the rising inflation that has marked his term.

Running for his first full Senate term, Warnock is pitching himself as a senator willing to do whatever it takes to help his state. That’s a shift from his approach in what were nationally elevated twin runoff campaigns won by Warnock and fellow Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff in January 2021, giving their party Senate control two months after Biden was elected president.

Read more:

Sen. Warnock cites ‘bipartisanship,’ avoids Biden in Georgia

Jon Stewart schools Ted Cruz after senator votes against burn pits bill

Sunday 31 July 2022 16:20 , Gustaf Kilander

Jon Stewart has been blasting Republicans for blocking a bill that would aid veterans exposed to burn pits in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The former Daily Show host has appeared on Fox News and Newsmax to speak to right-wing audiences to slam GOP senators for what he says is “a disgrace”.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz accused Mr Stewart of misrepresenting the bill, saying that Democrats were attempting a “budgetary trick” in the PACT Act. Mr Cruz voted against the bill despite having said he support its and having said he supports veterans.

“What Ted Cruz is describing is inaccurate, not true, bulls***t”, Mr Stewart said in a video posted on Twitter, mocking Mr Cruz for saying that the Democrats put “discretionary” funds in the legislation that they made “mandatory”.

Mr Cruz was speaking about a budget disagreement initially objected to by retiring Republican Senator Pat Toomey. The Pennsylvanian claimed that the legislation would mean that $400bn in already decided spending on veterans wouldn’t be controlled by annual congressional appropriations.

Read more:

Jon Stewart schools Ted Cruz after senator votes against burn pits bill

Trump slams suggested US prisoner swap with Russia

Sunday 31 July 2022 15:25 , Gustaf Kilander

Donald Trump blasted the proposed prisoner swap between the US and Russia, involving Brittney Griner, Paul Whelan, and Russian weapons dealer Viktor Bout, who’s known as the “Merchant of Death”.

Mr Trump appeared on The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show on Saturday.

Ms Griner has been in jail in Russia for months and is now on trial on drug charges.

“She knew you don’t go in there loaded up with drugs, and she admitted it”, Mr Trump said.

“It certainly doesn’t seem like a very good trade, does it?” he added, concerning Bout. “He’s absolutely one of the worst in the world, and he’s going to be given his freedom because a potentially spoiled person goes into Russia loaded up with drugs.”

Concerning Russian laws, he said: “They don’t like drugs. And she got caught. And now, we’re supposed to get her out — and she makes, you know, a lot of money, I guess. We’re supposed to get her out for an absolute killer and one of the biggest arms dealers in the world. Killed many Americans. Killed many people.”

Paul Manafort claims that Michael Cohen spied on the 2016 Trump campaign

Sunday 31 July 2022 14:25 , Gustaf Kilander

Paul Manafort has claimed that Michael Cohen spied on the 2016 Trump campaign.

The former chairman of the Trump campaign and a convicted felon writes in his upcoming book Political Prisoner: Persecuted, Prosecuted but Not Silenced that the former Trump lawyer and fixer put himself in charge of the campaign’s server to gain status.

Manafort alleges that Cohen got access to all emails sent by staffers on the campaign, according to Vox.

“He had access to everybody’s communications. He had knowledge and he would be sitting in his office, gaining knowledge by virtue of spying on the campaign”, Manafort writes.

In a statement to the outlet, Cohen rejected the claims.

“Not surprisingly, Manafort is distorting the truth. I requested administrative access to only Corey Lewandowski’s campaign email address after he was terminated. The purpose was to prove to Trump that it was Corey who was leaking negative information on Jared and Ivanka to the press. The information was located and turned over to Donald”, he said.

Trump blasts Verizon for dropping far-right One America News Network

Sunday 31 July 2022 13:25 , Gustaf Kilander

‘Completely ridiculous’: Family member of 9/11 victim hits out at Trump comments

Sunday 31 July 2022 09:30 , Sravasti Dasgupta

The son of one of the victims of the 9/11 attack has said that statements made by Donald Trump as he hosted the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf event at his country club in New Jersey are “completely ridiculous”.

In an interview on MSNBC with presenter Katie Phang, Mathew Bocchi – who lost his father in the attack on the World Trade Center said: “But the reality is as much as his statements are completely ridiculous…we’re obviously all hurt by them.”

Read more:

‘Completely ridiculous’: Family member of 9/11 victim slams Trump comments

Near-total abortion ban in Indiana passes GOP-controlled Senate

Sunday 31 July 2022 08:30 , Sravasti Dasgupta

Indiana’s Republican-controlled Senate passed a bill on Saturday which would ban abortion at all stages of pregnancy with limited exceptions.

Indiana is one of the first Republican-controlled states to debate tighter abortion laws since the US Supreme Court last month over Roe v Wade ruling that guaranteed legal abortions to women across the country.

On Saturday, 10 Republicans crossed party lines to vote against the bill, with some of them saying the near-total ban did not go far enough.The Indiana bill authored by the GOP states that those seeking an abortion following rape or incest would have to sign an affidavit attesting to the attack.

“The decision whether to have a baby is a complicated balancing of responsibilities and opportunities that must be weighed by each woman, not made by politicians or Supreme Court justices,” said Democratic state senator Jean Breaux, adding that it was a “flawed bill” which “strips a woman of her right to choose”.

(Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Loren Culp: Trump-endorsed election denier looking to oust ‘a traitor’

Sunday 31 July 2022 07:30 , Sravasti Dasgupta

The Independent’s Andrew Buncombe meets Republican Loren Culp, the hardline, anti-abortion, America-first, election denying 61-year-old who is Donald Trump’s man in eastern Washington’s fourth congressional district, long considered the state’s most conservative.

“I told my campaign from the very beginning that President Trump is a very smart man, he’ll figure out who the best person is. And I felt confident he would choose me. So we didn’t pursue his endorsement. But I got it in February, [and] he saw what I did in 2020,” he said.

This year’s congressional primary, being held on August 2, contains a total of eight candidates, seven of them Republican.

The top two, irrespective of their party, go through to general election in November.

Read more:

Meet the Trump-endorsed election denier looking to oust ‘a traitor’

Jan 6 hearings loosening Trump’s hold on GOP, report says

Sunday 31 July 2022 06:30 , Sravasti Dasgupta

Political observers have noted that Republicans are veering away from the former president ahead of the next presidential election.

“I think one of the vulnerabilities for Trump running again in 2024 is that he doesn’t have a lot of new material,” Sarah Longwell, a Republican political consultant opposed to Trump who has conducted a number of focus groups with Trump voters since the January 6 committee hearings began, told NPR.

While Mr Trump is still a big player in the Republican party, he appears to be losing favour in several circles.

Editorial boards once friendly to him, like the Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post and Wall Street Journal have in the last week called him “unworthy” to be president again, citing his “character” and conduct on Jan 6.

Recent surveys have also shown an increase in those blaming the former president for last January’s Capitol Hill insurrection.

There has also been a drop in Republicans saying the election was stolen, surveys have shown.

(Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Jan 6 hearings won’t change Donald Trump’s behaviour, says niece Mary

Sunday 31 July 2022 05:30 , Sravasti Dasgupta

Donald Trump’s niece Mary has said that the proceedings of the January 6 committee will not result in a change of behaviour for the former president.

In an interview with Bloomberg executive editor Tim O’Brien, Ms Trump said: “The good news too, is that although the country is paying attention and re-evaluating. Donald’s paying attention to January 6, but it’s not going to modify his behaviour in any way.”

The former president’s niece was asked if the hearings around the Capitol riot will “activate” and “enrage” the former president.

“He’s a toddler,” Mr O’Brien suggested.

“That’s exactly what I meant,” Ms Trump said.

Capitol Riot Investigation (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Kushner says he stopped Trump from attacking Murdoch in 2015

Sunday 31 July 2022 04:54 , Sravasti Dasgupta

Jared Kushner says he intervened in 2015 to stop Donald Trump from publicly attacking media mogul Rupert Murdoch, in a development that could have had major consequences for Fox News’ coverage of his 2016 campaign.

In his new memoir “Breaking History”, Kushner writes about how Mr Trump was upset with Mr Murdoch for his criticism at the outset of the former’s foray into politics.“Trump called me. He’d clearly had enough.

‘This guy’s no good. And I’m going to tweet it,’” the former president said to him.

Mr Kushner claims to have said: ‘You don’t need to get on the wrong side of Rupert. Give me a couple of hours to fix it.’”

Despite reports of tension between the two, Mr Murdoch continued to support the former president through his term in office.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 11, 2020 US President Donald Trump listens to Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner (AFP via Getty Images)

Trump appointees two of six applying for upcoming Tennessee attorney general vacancy

Sunday 31 July 2022 00:00 , The Associated Press

Six people have applied to replace Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery, who won’t be seeking another term.

The Tennessee Supreme Court announced that Don Cochran, Jerome Cochran, Michael Dunavant, R. Culver Schmid, Jonathan Skrmetti and Bill Young submitted applications for the opening by Friday’s deadline.

Don Cochran served as the U.S. attorney in the Middle District of Tennessee based in Nashville from 2017 until 2021. He was appointed by former President Donald Trump. He is now a law professor at Belmont University.

Jerome Cochran is as an administrative law judge and previously served as a two-term Republican state House representative, elected to his first two-year term in 2002.

Michael Dunavant served as the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Tennessee based in Memphis from 2017 to 2021. He was appointed by Trump. Dunavant currently is the chief investigative counsel for the Tennessee comptroller’s office in Nashville.

Schmid is an attorney working as the Knoxville office managing shareholder for the firm Baker Donelson.

Skrmetti served as chief deputy attorney general in Slatery’s office from 2018 until 2021 before joining Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s administration in December 2021 as his general counsel.

Young is the executive director of the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance. He previously served as a chancery court judge in Nashville and director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, and filled multiple roles in the attorney general’s office.

Tennessee is the only state in which the attorney general is appointed by the Supreme Court. The position runs in eight-year terms. The new term begins Sept. 1.

The court’s justices selected Slatery in 2014 after he previously served as former Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s chief legal counsel. Slatery announced in May that he would not seek another term.

Meet the Trump-endorsed election denier looking to oust ‘a traitor’

Saturday 30 July 2022 23:00 , Andrew Buncombe

Every Tuesday evening Republican Loren Culp lets rip with a live-streamed speech packed full of red meat.

He makes addresses in person as well, at events that give him the chance to meet people and speak to them one-on-one.

But it is at these regular Tuesday appearances, one senses, that the hardline, anti-abortion, America-first MAGA-chomping 59-year-old has most effectively distilled his message to voters.

“Welcome to the show you guys. I appreciate you being here,” he says, in one recent stream, seeking to address the “disinformation” and old “smears” he claims are being leveled at him by opponents.

“I want you guys to know and be reminded, and share with other people, what I stand for – I stand for truth, logic and common sense. God, family and country, the Constitution, smaller government. We need to build a wall, we need to impeach Biden and Harris. We need to cut government spending. I’m pro-American energy.”

Read more:

Meet the Trump-endorsed election denier looking to oust ‘a traitor’

Dems seem headed, finally, toward triumph on climate, health

Saturday 30 July 2022 22:00 , The Associated Press

It’s been more than a year in the making and has seen plenty of ups and downs. Now, a Democratic economic package focused on climate and health care faces hurdles but seems headed toward party-line passage by Congress next month.

Approval would let President Joe Biden and his party claim a triumph on top priorities as November’s elections approach. They have not forgotten that they came close to approving a far grander version of the bill last year, only to see Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., one of their most conservative and contrarian members, torpedo it at the eleventh hour.

This time, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has crafted a compromise package with Manchin, to the surprise of everyone, transforming the West Virginian from pariah to partner. The measure is more modest than earlier versions but still checks boxes on issues that make Democrats giddy.

Read more:

Dems seem headed, finally, toward triumph on climate, health

What abortion access looks like in every state after the Supreme Court strikes down Roe v Wade

Saturday 30 July 2022 21:15 , Alex Woodward

The US Supreme Court has overturned key rulings enshrining abortion rights across the country, leaving states to determine whether to ban the procedure and force women to carry pregnancies to term.

Without protections under the landmark 1973 ruling in Roe v Wade, roughly half of US states are likely to move to outlaw abortion, including 13 states with so-called “trigger” bans in place – laws designed to take effect without Roe.

In the hours after the Supreme Court’s decision on 24 June, state officials across the US declared their anti-abortion laws were in effect. Others are expected to take effect within 30 days of the decision. Most do not include exceptions for rape and incest.

As of 30 July, temporary restraining orders have blocked such laws in Kentucky, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming while their legal challenges play out in court.

At least eight states – Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana. Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin – have outlawed abortion entirely in nearly all instances, and more legal challenges are expected as more laws take effect. As many as 26 states could outlaw abortion without Roe, with states legislatures poised to draft more-restrictive laws unbridled from constitutional obligations to protect access to care.

Read more:

What abortion access looks like in every state without Roe v Wade

Republican Senators not sure Trump is best 2024 candidate

Saturday 30 July 2022 20:30 , Gustaf Kilander

Several Republican senators have shared their scepticism that Donald Trump is their best hope to take back the White House in 2024 as the former president is struck again and again by damning revelations from the January 6 committee.

“I don’t think he’ll run again, and that’s a good thing, because of the whole cascade of events”, an anonymous GOP senator told The Hill.

“I could count on one hand the number of Republican senators who want Donald Trump to be our nominee”, another anonymous GOP senator said.

“I could count it on one finger”, the lawmaker added.

Senate Minority Whip John Thune said on Wednesday that “there are different polls and surveys and focus groups that are all trying to assess what the impact of all this and how it affects 2024. I think it’s too early to tell”.

“I also think people are going to be looking at taking into consideration the strongest and best candidate in a general election setting and trying to get the White House back”, he added.

“There are folks who aren’t in one camp or the other that are probably susceptible to new information, and there’s been some new information that’s come out”, Mr Thune said.

“Elections get decided, national elections at least, by the people in the middle. That’s who everybody, in the end, is going to have to win. The two sides will go to their respective corners, their respective camps, and there’s probably nothing that changes their minds about any of this, but those independent voters that decide late … or maybe aren’t paying all that much attention right now are probably going to decide it”, he added, according to The Hill. “Some of these things, cumulative effect, probably gets people looking at other possibilities.”

Overturning Roe v. Wade isn’t the end for abortion opponents

Saturday 30 July 2022 19:45 , The Associated Press

Now that Roe v. Wade has been toppled, abortion opponents are taking a multifaceted approach in their quest to end abortions nationwide, targeting their strategies to the dynamics of each state as they attempt to create new laws and defend bans in courts.

One anti-abortion group has proposed model legislation that would ban all abortions except to prevent the death of a pregnant woman. New legal frontiers could include prosecuting doctors who defy bans, and skirmishes over access to medication abortions already are underway. Others hope to get more conservatives elected in November to advance an anti-abortion agenda.

“For Republicans, the post-Roe world will be significantly different, from a legal perspective,” said Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School. “For the last 50 years, Republicans have been on the offense by chipping away on the edges of Roe. Now they are going to be playing defense in all 50 states.”

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade said abortion is not a right under the Constitution, creating an opening for states pushing to get more restrictions on the books. Most recently, lawmakers in West Virginia and Indiana have pushed ahead with new restrictions, with varying success.

James Bopp Jr., general counsel for National Right to Life, has worked on model legislation for states, but said with few legislatures in session “the process of adopting new laws is really just beginning.”

Read more:

Overturning Roe v. Wade isn’t the end for abortion opponents

Open US House seats draw large field of Missouri Republicans

Saturday 30 July 2022 19:00 , The Associated Press

Dozens of aspiring Missouri Republican candidates are jumping at the chance to run in November for two rarely open U.S. congressional seats.

U.S. Reps. Vicky Hartzler and Billy Long are running for the Senate in Tuesday’s GOP primary, leaving Hartzler’s central 4th Congressional District and Long’s southwestern 7th Congressional District seats open.

The Republican primary for Hartzler’s seat includes state Sen. Rick Brattin, cattle rancher Kalena Bruce, former Kansas City-area news anchor Mark Alford, former Boone County Clerk Taylor Burks and former St. Louis Blues player Jim Campbell. Burks and Campbell were the top two fundraisers as of mid-July, although Campbell is primarily self-funded and has not been spending money.

Republicans seeking Long’s seat include state Sens. Eric Burlison and Mike Moon and former state Sen. Jay Wasson, along with pastor Alex Bryant and Dr. Sam Alexander. Wasson is leading in fundraising.

All but two sitting Missouri representatives won their seats when the positions became open, which is rare in Missouri.

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Open US House seats draw large field of Missouri Republicans

Phil Mickelson heckled as he tees off at Trump’s controversial Saudi-backed LIV golf tournament

Saturday 30 July 2022 18:15 , Gustaf Kilander