The US Supreme Court is hearing opening arguments as it considers whether Donald Trump should be allowed to remain on 2024 ballot papers.

Colorado and Maine have moved to have Mr Trump removed citing Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, which argues that anyone found to have “engaged in insurrection” after swearing a loyalty oath should not be allowed to return to public office.

The highest court in the land, which has a conservative majority, will now consider whether that applies to Mr Trump in relation to the Capitol riot of 6 January 2021, when his supporters stormed Congress in an attempt to stop the formal certification of the 2020 election results, erroneously believing the vote to have been “rigged” in Joe Biden’s favour, as the then-president and his allies had repeatedly claimed.

Justices appeared sceptical of the arguments put forward by Colorado.

Also on Thursday, Mr Trump is expected to win the Nevada Republican caucus, a formality in which principal rival Nikki Haley will not take part, which will hand him a further 26 delegates as he attempts to sew up his party’s nomination to challenge Mr Biden again in November.

Key Points

  • Will the Supreme Court keep Donald Trump on 2024 ballots?

  • Republican senators block Ukraine-border bill after Trump opposes it

  • How Trump soured on RNC boss after seven years of unyielding loyalty

  • Trump does not have immunity from election conspiracy charges, appeals court rules

  • Most Americans want Trump election subversion charges verdict before 2024 vote, poll reveals

Listen LIVE: Supreme Court oral arguments in Trump v Anderson

15:25 , Oliver O’Connell

16:49 , Oliver O’Connell

There have been testy moments between Murray and the justices.

16:43 , Oliver O’Connell

UCLA Law Professor Rick Hasen gives his take on how the hearing is going and how he expects the justices to rule:

Important to note that the liberal Justices are not pushing back on this argument about the federal interest here. Suggests the cake is already baked. Perhaps they’ve also been discussing the immunity case and whether to let that go to trial and not grant a stay next week.

It would not be surprising to see a quick 9-0 or 8-1 ruling reversing Colorado and keeping Trump on the ballot, with Roberts writing on the federal interest, and perhaps some concurrences (Kavanaugh on Griffin, Alito and Gorsuch on “holdin” office). Sotomayor is the question mark.

16:26 , Alex Woodward

Justice Roberts said a decision to disqualify Trump could open up attempts to disqualify candidates “on the other side”.

“In very quick order I would expect … that a goodly number of states will say whoever the Democratic candidate is, you’re off the ballot,” he said.

He adds with no sense of irony whatsoever: “And it will come down to a handful of states that will determine the presidential election.”

16:25 , Alex Woodward

Gorsuch reminds Colorado that “you’re asking to enforce, in an election context, a provision of the Constitution that speaks to holding office,” as opposed to “running for office.” Congress can reverse that disqualification, unlike other disqualifying things like age.

But that remedy “does not negate a disability that exists today,” Murray argues. That disqualifier has “existed since January 6 2021, when President Trump engaged in insurrection”.

16:23 , Alex Woodward

An opinion seems to be emerging. Individual states can’t enforce the disqualification of federal candidates without permission from Congress.

Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kavanaugh both argue there’s no historical basis for Colorado to enforce Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

“Wouldn’t that be the last place you look at … to enforce the presidential election process? That seems to be a position that is at war with the whole thrust of the 14th amendment and ahistorical,” Justice Roberts said.

Justice Kavanaugh follows, saying that there’s “no historical evidence to support the theory of Section 3 or to explain the overall structure of the 14th Amendment”.

Justice Kagan, too, seems to doubt Colorado’s authority: “Why should that be the right rule? Why should a single state make that determination not just for their own state but for the whole nation?”

Justice Coney-Barrett agreed, telling Murray, “I mean, really, it’s going to have, as Justice Kagan said, the effect of Colorado deciding.”

16:12 , Oliver O’Connell

Up now, arguing the case for the Colorado voters is Attorney Jason Murray.

He begins by saying that Mitchell’s argument that Section 3 disqualifies all oathbreaking insurrectionists except the former president is incorrect — it is broad for a reason and its intent is to refer to any federal office and anyone who holds one.

Murray continues that states have the power to ensure their votes are not wasted on a candidate who is not ineligible for office (e.g. by age, term limits, place of birth, or those who engaged in insurrection).

16:06 , Oliver O’Connell

Justice Jackson tries to get Mitchell to agree to the definition of insurrection, which Trump’s team has called a riot, and that Trump didn’t engage with anything resembling it.

Mitchell said that “for an insurrection, there needs to be an organised, concerted effort” to overthrow the government.

But a “chaotic effort to overthrow the government is not an insurrection?” she asks.

Mitchell responds “this was a riot … [but] did not qualify as insurrection”.

15:58 , Oliver O’Connell

Back on the “officer question”, the justices push Mitchell about the difference between an “officer” and an “office of the United States”.

Justice Sotomayor, trying to nail down Mitchell’s argument, calls it “a bit of a gerrymandered rule designed only to benefit your client”.

Trump is one of five presidents since George Washington (as the first president) to have never been sworn into another elected office of the United States.

Trump is also the only president to have never sworn either an oath of military service or for any lower office.

Justice Kagan asked whether the founders would have been thinking about the differentiation between office and officer and whether such a distinction would be a sensible one. What reason would there have been for that?

Why would Trump alone fall through the cracks?

15:48 , Oliver O’Connell

The justices discuss other reasons for disqualification from being a candidate for president (citizenship, age, already serving two terms).

Justice Jackson asks Mitchell: “Does it have something to do with the fact that the particular circumstance that you’re talking about can change? Is that what you mean?”

She clarifies: “I’m trying to understand the distinction between the provision in the Constitution that relates to disqualification on the basis of insurrection behaviour and these other provisions that Justice Sotomayor points out. They all seem to me to be extant constitutional requirements, but you’re drawing a distinction.”

Mitchell responds: “Right, I’m drawing a distinction because some of them are categorical.”

“What do you mean by categorical? Whether or not you are an insurrectionist is or is not categorical?” Justice Jackson asked.

“It is not categorical,” Mitchell replies

15:37 , Ariana Baio

Justice Jackson tried to switch the topic to the “officer argument” which would define if Trump was an officer of the US as president. Justices want to speak to other arguments first.

“Will there be an opportunity to do officer stuff?” Jackson asks

“Absolutely”, Chief Justice Roberts says to a crowd of laughter.

15:36 , Alex Woodward

Justice Sotomayor: “We have a history of states disqualifying candidates who would be of age if elected. We have a history of at least one state disqualifying someone who wasn’t a US citizen. Are your arguments limited to Section 3? … Are you setting up so that if someone runs for a third term a state can’t disqualify them from the ballot?”

Mitchell says no, “Of course not,” but Sotomayor and the other justices are trying to establish what makes Section 3 requirements separate from other term-limiting or disqualifying provisions.

What the Colorado Supreme Court decision did, according to Mitchell, is say that Trump would have to show that he qualifies under Section 3 “now”, which “accelerates” a timeline for potential disqualification from Congress before he’s elected. The ban is on him holding office, not running for it, he’s arguing.

15:32 , Oliver O’Connell

Justice Alito: “The consequences of what the Colorado Supreme Court did, as some people claim, would be quite severe.”

He said the decision “could effectively decide this question for many other states.”

“Could it not lead to that?”

Alito also said: “Section Three refers to the holding of office, not running for office. And so, if a state or Congress were to go further and say that, ‘You can’t run for the office. You can’t compete in a primary,’ wouldn’t that be adding an additional qualification for serving as president? You must have been free from this disqualification at an earlier point in time than Section 3 specifies.”

15:21 , Oliver O’Connell

Is Section Three self-executing?

Justice Thomas asks the first question and notes that Mitchell is arguing that it is not self-executing and would be up to Congress to implement disqualification. In that case, what would the role of the state be?

Justice Sotomayor jumps in, telling Mitchell that “history proves a lot for me and my colleagues generally,” and that “there’s a whole lot of examples of states relying on Section 3 to disqualify.”

“You’re basically telling us you want to go two steps further,” by trying to get the Supreme Court to say that “self-executing doesn’t mean what it means” and that only Congress should make that decision, for any candidates, at any level, state or federal.

Oral arguments are underway in Trump v Anderson

15:17 , Oliver O’Connell

Attorney Jonathan Mitchell begins giving the argument for Donald Trump.

As we mentioned earlier, Mitchell is the architect of Texas’ vigilante abortion ban.

Mitchell argues that “even an admitted insurrectionist” can still be on the ballot and be elected to office. It’s up to Congress to decide whether they should be removed later.

He also states that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment doesn’t apply to Donald Trump because he said he wasn’t an “officer” of the United States when he served as president — the argument being that officers are only appointed officials and not those elected into office.

The big question: Will the Supreme Court keep Donald Trump on 2024 ballots?

15:09 , Oliver O’Connell

Here’s what you need to know.

Alex Woodward explains what the Supreme Court justices are hearing arguments on today:

Will the Supreme Court keep Donald Trump on 2024 ballots?

15:05 , Oliver O’Connell

Watch live: View of Supreme Court as Donald Trump appeals Colorado ballot ruling

15:04 , Oliver O’Connell

SCOTUS: A Colorado Republican is suing to kick Trump off the ballot. She says she’s worried for democracy’s survival

14:56 , Oliver O’Connell

Alex Woodward spoke with 91-year-old Norma Anderson who made history as a state lawmaker. Now she wants the former president disqualified from office under a constitutional challenge at the Supreme Court.

Who is Norma Anderson? The 91-year-old challenging Trump’s ballot eligibility

The justices who were involved with the last major election case at the court

14:56 , Oliver O’Connell

Clarence Thomas was the only still-sitting justice who was on the bench during Bush v Gore, a landmark decision that settled a recount in Florida during the 2020 presidential election between Al Gore and Georgia W Bush.

The decision effectively handed Bush the presidency. All five justices in the majority in that 5-4 decision were appointed by Republican presidents.

Two of Trump’s appointees also worked on the case before it reached DC. Brett Kavanaugh was on the Bush legal team at the time while he was an attorney in private practice. Amy Coney Barrett also worked on the case in Florida.

John Roberts, who would later be appointed by President Bush and is now chief justice at the Supreme Court, also supported Bush’s legal team and helped prepare the case for the Florida Supreme Court.

How will today’s Supreme Court oral arguments play out?

14:45 , Alex Woodward

Each side will get 40 minutes, but the hearing is expected to last much longer, as justices frequently jump into arguments and ask questions throughout.

Up for Donald Trump is Jonathan Mitchell, a former solicitor general of Texas who was behind state legislation that effectively banned abortion in the state in the months before Roe v Wade was overturned.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor has called Texas’s SB8 “a breathtaking act of defiance” of “the Constitution, of this Court’s precedents, and of the rights of women seeking abortions throughout Texas.”

He will get 40 minutes.

Representing the plaintiffs from the Colorado case – which include a group of Republican and independent voters from the state (including 91-year-old state legislature legend Norma Anderson) – is Jason Murray.

He will get 30 minutes, followed by 10 minutes for Shannon W Stevenson, the solicitor general of Colorado.

Chip Roy points out Trump failed to ‘close the border’ for his whole presidency

14:45 , Joe Sommerlad

Texas Republican Chip Roy, known for his blunt speaking in the House of Representatives, has served up a surprise fact-check to Trump concerning the southern border with Mexico and the flow of migrants.

Speaking before the collapse of the bipartisan border bill negotiated in the Senate, Roy, who represents the 21st District of Texas between San Antonio and Austin, called out those who claim that no legislation is needed.

Here’s Oliver O’Connell on what he had to say about the 45th president’s less-than-stellar record on the issue.

Chip Roy says Trump failed to ‘close the border’ during every year of his presidency

Watch: New Lincoln Project ad says Trump wants border chaos and is on the side of the Mexican cartels

14:30 , Oliver O’Connell

14:17 , Oliver O’Connell

How Trump soured on Ronna McDaniel after seven years of unyielding loyalty

14:15 , Joe Sommerlad

The chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC) has told Trump that she’s planning on leaving her role after the South Carolina GOP primary on 24 February.

The front-runner is set to push for the chair of the North Carolina Republican Party, fellow election denier Michael Whatley, to replace her, according to The New York Times.

McDaniel has been under pressure for several months to step down as Trump’s allies have attempted to push her out amid concerns about the RNC’s finances ahead of the general election campaign.

After years of dogged loyalty on her part, her tenure looks send to end on a decidedly sour note.

Gustaf Kilander looks at what went wrong.

How Trump soured on Ronna McDaniel after seven years of unyielding loyalty

Giuliani claims Trump’s campaign owes him $2m

13:45 , Joe Sommerlad

Rudy Giuliani told a federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan that Trump’s presidential campaign and the Republican National Committee owe him roughly $2m for a spurious legal battle to overturn election results in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.

The former president’s one-time attorney testified for the first time about his strained financial state on Wednesday, nearly two months after he filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the wake of a $148m defamation judgment for his election lies.

Alex Woodward has more.

Rudy Giuliani claims Donald Trump’s campaign owes him $2m

Another Trump co-defendant joins move to disqualify Willis

13:15 , Joe Sommerlad

Jeffrey Clark, who was formerly a high-ranking official in the Justice Department in the Trump administration, has joined the call to have Willis disqualified from the Georgia case, alleging this time that she has a “personal and financial interest” in the prosecution.

He echoes the other parties in calling for her removal in focusing on the relationship she has with lead prosecutor Nathan Wade, to which she has admitted, and her extrajudicial comments in which she defended him against the allegations.

Clark also claims that Willis “exploited the power of her office” to “threaten” Wade’s estranged wife in a divorce filing.

You can read the full filing here.

Trump team reveals latest bid to disqualify Georgia DA Fani Willis – ‘extrajudicial racial comments’

12:45 , Joe Sommerlad

Trump’s legal team is now arguing in Georgia that Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis should be removed from his election interference case because of “extrajudicial racial comments”.

In a response to her latest filing, Trump’s attorneys, Steve Sadow and Jennifer Little, filed a motion on Wednesday accusing Willis of having “inappropriately injected race into the case and stoked racial animus” when she gave a speech at Big Bethel AME Church, a historic Black church in Atlanta, on Martin Luther King Jr Day.

In the speech, Willis defended Nathan Wade, a special prosecutor hired to lead the case, with whom rumors had recently flared of her having a romantic relationship.

In a court filing on Friday, she admitted to a “personal relationship” with Wade, but claimed it did not begin until after his hiring, and argued there had been no impropriety that justified removing them from the case.

Julia Reinstein has more.

Trump team cites ‘extrajudicial racial comments’ in bid to disqualify Fani Willis

Trump civil fraud trial: Letitia James responds to judge’s letter regarding Weisselberg perjury deal

12:15 , Joe Sommerlad

New York attorney general Letitia James has responded to Justice Arthur Engoron’s letter to counsel in Trump’s civil fraud trial concerning whether there is a plea deal in the offing for former Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg who allegedly lied under oath.

James’s office is asking the judge not to let any potential plea deal interrupt or delay his final judgment in the case.

“At this time, we are not involved in any negotiations and are unaware of what specific trial testimony may be the subject of the plea negotiations or whether Mr Weisselberg has conceded that he testified falsely,” she wrote.

“Other attorneys within OAG [the Office of Attorney General] have been cross-designated to DANY [District Attorney of New York] on other matters, including some involving Mr Weisselberg, and so this response is limited to the knowledge of the attorneys that tried this case before Your Honor.”

Judge Engoron has said he would deliver his final ruling by mid-February.

Alex Woodward filed this report on the judge’s question to lawyers on the case on Tuesday.

Trump’s fraud trial judge demands answers about Weisselberg’s ‘perjury’

E Jean Carroll defamation trial: Trump motion to dismiss denied

11:45 , Joe Sommerlad

Justice Lewis Kaplan has ruled on the motion for a mistrial in the E Jean Carroll defamation case in which Trump was ordered to pay the writer $83.3m in cumulative damages by a New York jury.

And, yes, you guessed it: the motion was denied.

Judge Kaplan concluded his 30-page written ruling with the line: “Mr Trump’s oral motion and his letter motion were denied as lacking any merit.”

Ouch.

Here’s our coverage of the original verdict.

Trump ordered to pay E Jean Carroll $83m for defamation

Trump team seeks to get Mar-a-Lago classified documents case thrown out

11:15 , Joe Sommerlad

The Republican’s lawyers have reportedly filed multiple motions to have the criminal charges he’s facing in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case dismissed.

Here’s Graig Graziosi with the latest update.

Trump team seeks to get Mar-a-Lago classified documents case thrown out

GOP senators block Ukraine-border bill after Trump opposes it

10:45 , Joe Sommerlad

Senate Republicans blocked the path forward on a security package that included restrictions to immigration in exchange for aid to Ukraine, Israel and allies in the Indo-Pacific.

The legislation – which Senators James Lankford of Oklahoma, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Chris Murphy of Connecticut put forward – failed 49-50 as a majority of Republican senators voted against the legislation.

House speaker Mike Johnson and the rest of the Republican leadership in the lower chamber opposed it as well.

Many Republicans came out with their opposition only after a certain Donald Trump condemned the legislation.

Eric Garcia and Katie Hawkinson report from Capitol Hill.

Republican senators block Ukraine-border bill after Donald Trump opposes it

Trump plans to skip SCOTUS hearing on ballot eligibility

10:15 , Joe Sommerlad

The former president is not expected to appear at the Supreme Court today for oral arguments in the case challenging his presidential primary ballot eligibility in Colorado, according to CNN.

Despite Trump using his recent trials and court proceedings as media coverage to promote his 2024 presidential campaign, the arguments in Trump v Anderson will apparently not serve as such.

Instead, he will stay at his home in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, before heading to Nevada later for the Republican caucus, which he is expected to win at a canter, picking up another 26 delegates.

Ariana Baio has more.

Trump plans to skip SCOTUS hearing on ballot eligibility

Coming up today: Supreme Court oral arguments on whether Trump can stay on 2024 ballots

09:45 , Joe Sommerlad

Did Donald Trump “engage” in insurrection? And if he did, can he be kicked off the presidential ballot? Or should that decision be left up to Congress?

These are the major constitutional questions surrounding Trump’s presidential campaign, including whether he is immune from prosecution for crimes connected to the January 6 attack and if his name can be removed from ballots because of them, that the US Supreme Court could soon settle.

On Thursday, the nation’s highest court will consider whether Colorado election officials can remove Trump from the state’s ballots in 2024, after the state’s top court disqualified him from the presidency under the US Constitution’s “insurrection” clause.

Alex Woodward looks at what will be argued today before the nation’s highest court.

Will the Supreme Court keep Donald Trump on 2024 ballots?

Tucker Carlson’s Putin interview will ‘blow up’ US election, according to Russian propaganda

09:15 , Oliver O’Connell

A Russian propagandist working for Kremlin-controlled state TV has claimed that Tucker Carlson’s interview with President Vladimir Putin is set to “blow up” the upcoming US election.

The Kremlin confirmed on Wednesday that the interview took place on Tuesday, and it is believed to be set for broadcast on Thursday.

Gustaf Kilander reports:

Putin propagandists claim Tucker Carlson interview will ‘blow up’ US election

After Nevada loss, Haley again lays into Trump and Biden’s ages

06:15 , Oliver O’Connell

Despite a disastrous result in the Nevada primary where she was beaten by “None of these candidates” in a race in which Donald Trump did not participate, Nikki Haley continues to lay into the former president and current occupant of the Oval Office, Joe Biden, over their respective ages.

The former UN ambassador is focusing all of her energy on her home state of South Carolina where she served as governor for two terms, and has vowed to stay in the race for the Republican Party presidential nomination even after Tuesday’s embarrassing outcome in the Silver State.

Her campaign pitch against both Mr Trump and President Biden is that they are both too old to lead the country, aged 77 and 81 respectively, and that it is time for generational change. Ms Haley is 52.

Continue reading…

Nikki Haley lays into Trump and Biden’s ages again after disastrous night in Nevada

What’s the most ‘devastating’ part of Trump’s immunity loss?

04:15 , Oliver O’Connell

Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel on Tuesday taunted Donald Trump after a federal appeals court ruled he does not have “immunity” from prosecution for crimes committed while he was in office.

Martha McHardy reports on what he said:

Kimmel reveals most ‘devastating’ part of Trump’s immunity loss

Trump tells followers to give Bud Light a ‘second chance’

03:15 , Oliver O’Connell

Donald Trump has urged conservatives to relax their boycott of Bud Light brewer Anheuser-Busch over LGBT+ rights, extending an olive branch to one of America’s biggest beer makers.

In a post on his social network Truth Social on Tuesday, Mr Trump described the company as “a great American brand that deserves a second chance”.

He further claimed that he is compiling a list of “woke companies”, and that Anheuser-Busch – which donated nearly $1.8m to Republicans in the 2022 elections – was not among them.

“The Bud Light ad was a mistake of epic proportions, and for that a very big price was paid,” said Mr Trump, referring to last year’s Pride Month advert featuring transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney that triggered the boycott.

Io Dodds reports on the new Trump stance toward the company:

Trump says he’s making list of ‘woke’ companies as he urges end to Bud Light boycott

Those MAGA-Taylor Swift conspiracy theories? Trump voters aren’t buying them

02:15 , Oliver O’Connell

NBC News reports that the wild conspiracy MAGA theories swirling around Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce as the Kansas City Chiefs head to the Super Bowl this weekend are generally falling flat with Trump voters.

Talking to Republican voters, the network found the following responses to the idea that there was something nefarious relating to the couple’s relationship and the 2024 election:

“To be honest and blunt, I think that’s crazy. It’s absolutely crazy,” said Nic Heimsoth, a two-time Trump voter from Kansas City, Missouri.

“The Democrats will use fair means and foul to win, but that’s nonsense,” [Cynthia Yockey, 70, is a two-time Trump voter] said of the conspiracy theory.

“Democrats’ record of hoaxes is pretty long,” she added. “It’s been a steady stream of manipulations, so it becomes easy to start to use that filter to see everything. I would love for Republicans to chill so that we start working with the real hoaxes.

“Everyone’s trying to find some political vantage to everything,” Craig Gingrich, 75, a substitute teacher from Cedar Falls, Iowa, said of Swift and Kelce’s relationship. “I don’t buy into it, and I don’t think a lot of my conservative friends do, either.”

Read more of the reactions here.

And here’s our reporting on the bizarre theories floating around MAGA World:

Is Taylor Swift a Biden psyop? Here’s the far-right’s ‘evidence’

Trump trolls Haley over Nevada primary loss

01:15 , Oliver O’Connell

Donald Trump has trolled Nikki Haley after her loss in the Nevada primary to “none of these candidates”.

The former UN ambassador and two-term governor of South Carolina did not campaign in the state, instead focusing on her home state which votes next.

She ran against “none of these candidates” and some notable names that had already dropped out of the race.

Here’s what the former president had to say:

Trump trolls Haley over Nevada primary loss: ‘She’ll soon claim victory’

Analysis: How Trump soured on Ronna McDaniel after seven years of unyielding loyalty

00:45 , Gustaf Kilander

Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, has told former President Donald Trump that she’s planning on leaving her role after the South Carolina primary on 24 February.

Mr Trump is set to push for the chair of the North Carolina Republican Party, fellow election denier Michael Whatley, to replace her, according to The New York Times.

Ms McDaniel has been under pressure for several months to step down as Mr Trump’s allies have attempted to push her out amid concerns about the RNC’s finances ahead of the general election campaign.

After she met Mr Trump at Mar-a-Lago on Monday, Mr Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform that Ms McDaniel was “now Head of the RNC, and I’ll be making a decision the day after the South Carolina Primary as to my recommendations for RNC Growth”.

Ms McDaniel has reportedly been thinking about resigning before the end of her term for quite a while.

So how did we get here?

How Trump soured on Ronna McDaniel after seven years of unyielding loyalty

Georgia election subversion case: Fani Willis gets backing of ethics experts

00:15 , Oliver O’Connell

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that a group of 17 ethics experts, former prosecutors and defence attorneys filed a “friend of the court” brief this week in support of Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis, writing that she does not have any conflicts that warrant her disqualification from the Georgia election interference case brought against Trump.

“Disqualifying conflicts,” the group wrote, “occur when a prosecutor’s previous representation of a defendant gives the prosecutor forbidden access to confidential information about the defendant or a conflict otherwise directly impacts fairness and due process owed a defendant.”

“That kind of conflict is not at issue here,” they said.

The brief lays out why Fulton Superior Court judge Scott McAfee should dismiss multiple court motions alleging Willis acted improperly by not disclosing a romantic relationship with Nathan Wade, the attorney she hired in the case against the former president and his 14 co-defendants.

Willis acknowledged the relationship in a court filing last week but denied she had improperly benefited financially.

An evidentiary hearing is scheduled for 15 February, which Willis has urged Judge McAfee to cancel.

Here’s Alex Woodward’s earlier reporting on the issue.

Fani Willis rejects ‘salacious’ accusations in Trump election crimes case

ICYMI: Maga Republicans try to rewrite what happened on Jan 6 ahead of Supreme Court hearing

Wednesday 7 February 2024 23:15 , Oliver O’Connell

More than 60 House Republicans have joined a resolution, led by Florida congressman Matt Gaetz, declaring that Trump did not engage in an insurrection on 6 January 2021, just days before the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case.

In a heated press conference on Tuesday, Gaetz was joined by several notable Trump-allied representatives to claim the January 6 attack on the US Capitol was not an insurrection, that Trump did not engagedin the insurrection and that the Colorado Supreme Court erred in its decision to remove the former president from the ballot on those grounds.

“We are here today to authoritatively express that President Trump did not commit an insurrection and we believe Congress has a unique role in making that declaration,” Gaetz said.

“It’s not the jobs of the state, especially not the job of some bureaucrats in Colorado to make that assessment,” he added.

Ariana Baio has the story.

Maga Republicans try to rewrite Jan 6 ahead of Trump Scotus hearing

Analysis: Haley just lost Nevada to ‘no one’. Why her campaign says it doesn’t matter

Wednesday 7 February 2024 22:57 , Oliver O’Connell

Republican voters turned out to vote against Nikki Haley in Nevada on Tuesday, delivering the sole remaining challenger to Donald Trump’s bid for the GOP nomination an embarrassing night of headlines.

The night was essentially a worst-case scenario for Ms Haley; her campaign chose not to compete in Nevada’s caucuses, set for Thursday, and instead put Ms Haley up against three rivals who had already departed the primary before Tuesday. The result? Instead of losing to Donald Trump in a contest her team blasted as “rigged”, the former governor found herself finishing second behind “none of these candidates” as vote totals came in.

Her campaign, with apparent knowledge of how the state was trending, reminded reporters in a memo earlier this week that the campaign had not run ads or invested any serious effort in Nevada; Ms Haley herself hasn’t been in the state this year, and has instead focused her energy on campaigning in her home state of South Carolina.

“Nevada is not and has never been our focus,” Haley campaign manager Betsy Ankey had said on Monday. “I’m truly not sure what the Trump team is up to out there but they seem pretty spun up about it.”

Continue reading…

Haley just lost Nevada to ‘no one’. Why her campaign says it doesn’t matter

Trump civil fraud trial: NYAG responds to judge’s letter regarding Weisselberg perjury deal

Wednesday 7 February 2024 22:49 , Oliver O’Connell

New York Attorney General Letitia James has responded to Justice Arthur Engoron’s letter to counsel in Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial concerning whether there is a plea deal in the offing for former Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg who allegedly lied under oath.

Ms James’s office is asking the judge not to let any potential plea deal interrupt or delay his final judgment in the case.

“At this time, we are not involved in any negotiations and are unaware of what specific trial testimony may be the subject of the plea negotiations or whether Mr. Weisselberg has conceded that he testified falsely. Other attorneys within OAG have been cross-designated to DANY on other matters, including some involving Mr. Weisselberg, and so this response is limited to the knowledge of the attorneys that tried this case before Your Honor.”

Judge Engoron has said he would deliver his final ruling by mid-February.

Alex Woodward filed this report on the judge’s question to lawyers on the case on Tuesday:

Trump’s fraud trial judge demands answers about Weisselberg’s ‘perjury’

Who voted to kill the bipartisan border compromise?

Wednesday 7 February 2024 22:33 , Oliver O’Connell

Donald Trump’s campaign to kill a bipartisan deal that would have addressed several national security priorities appeared to succeed on Wednesday as members of the Republican Senate caucus turned, one by one, against the bill which their own colleagues supported.

John Bowden reports on who killed the bill:

Every senator who voted to kill the bipartisan border compromise

Haley blames Trump for GOP ‘chaos’

Wednesday 7 February 2024 22:20 , Oliver O’Connell

Nikki Haley lays the current chaos in the Republican Party squarely at Donald Trump’s feet, saying the party’s insistence on doing the same thing again and again is “the definition of insanity”.

Voices: The Republican faceplants are not (as) funny anymore

Wednesday 7 February 2024 22:15 , Oliver O’Connell

Eric Garcia, reporting for The Independent from Capitol Hill, writes:

The last 24 hours featured a rolling series of faceplants on both ends of Capitol Hill and showed how there is no way to win in the Donald Trump’s Republican Party.

The Republican-run House of Representatives often has a reputation of being much more rambunctious and much more beholden to Trump while Senate Republicans, even in their Trump-ified iteration, are known for being much more staid in their demeanor. After all, a majority of House Republicans voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election results and only eight did so in the Senate on January 6. Similarly, the Senate likes to see itself as the grown-ups who focus on serious business while the House hates being treated as the children’s table.

But Tuesday and Wednesday showed the irrelevancy of that mindset. Beneath the comedy of errors, a deep rot exists within the GOP and it reveals just how much Trump has hamstrung the ability of the Republican Party to govern.

Continue reading…

The Republican faceplants are not (as) funny anymore

Marjorie Taylor Greene claimed Biden’s inauguration was an insurrection… people had thoughts…

Wednesday 7 February 2024 21:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Marjorie Taylor Greene was hilariously schooled on social media after she claimed Joe Biden’s inauguration was an insurrection.

“When they came to Washington and protested all of you called it an insurrection,” the controversial Georgia Republican told reporters, referring to the January 6 rioters who stormed the Capitol in an effort to overturn the 2020 election.

“And then when Joe Biden was inaugurated and this entire Capitol complex was surrounded with 30,000 National Guard troops, none of you stood there and called that an insurrection,” she said. “Oh no. You all stayed silent.”

Rep Greene has repeatedly downplayed the January 6 attack, praising rioters and even visiting some of them in jail, calling them “political prisoners.”

But her attempt to downplay the Capitol riot once again did not fly on social media, with X/Twitter users hilariously schooling the congresswoman on the definition of an insurrection.

Martha McHardy reports on the responses:

Marjorie Taylor Greene slammed for claiming Biden’s inauguration was an insurrection

Watch: New Lincoln Project ad says Trump wants border chaos, is on side of cartels

Wednesday 7 February 2024 21:30 , Oliver O’Connell

E Jean Carroll defamation trial: Trump motion to dismiss denied

Wednesday 7 February 2024 21:19 , Oliver O’Connell

Justice Lewis Kaplan has ruled on the motion for a mistrial in the E Jean Carroll defamation case in which Donald Trump was ordered to pay the writer $83.3m in cumulative damages by a New York jury.

The motion was denied.

Judge Kaplan concluded his 30-page written ruling with the line: “Mr Trump’s oral motion and his letter motion (Dkt 271) were denied as lacking any merit”

Read the full ruling here

Here’s our coverage of the verdict:

Trump ordered to pay E Jean Carroll $83m for defamation

In pictures: Line forms to be present for Supreme Court oral arguments in Trump v Anderson

Wednesday 7 February 2024 21:15 , Oliver O’Connell

A protester outside the US Supreme Court the day before oral arguments begin in Trump v Anderson (AP)A protester outside the US Supreme Court the day before oral arguments begin in Trump v Anderson (AP)

A protester outside the US Supreme Court the day before oral arguments begin in Trump v Anderson (AP)

People wait in line to be able to hear arguments on Thursday in former President Donald Trump’s appeal of a Colorado Supreme Court ruling that he’s not eligible to run again for president (AP)People wait in line to be able to hear arguments on Thursday in former President Donald Trump’s appeal of a Colorado Supreme Court ruling that he’s not eligible to run again for president (AP)

People wait in line to be able to hear arguments on Thursday in former President Donald Trump’s appeal of a Colorado Supreme Court ruling that he’s not eligible to run again for president (AP)

Trump is accused of violating section three of the 14th Amendment that disqualifies people who have engaged in insurrection from running for office (AP)Trump is accused of violating section three of the 14th Amendment that disqualifies people who have engaged in insurrection from running for office (AP)

Trump is accused of violating section three of the 14th Amendment that disqualifies people who have engaged in insurrection from running for office (AP)

Protester Stephen Parlato holds up a sign in front of the court (AP)Protester Stephen Parlato holds up a sign in front of the court (AP)

Protester Stephen Parlato holds up a sign in front of the court (AP)

Coming up tomorrow: Supreme Court oral arguments on whether Trump can stay on 2024 ballots

Wednesday 7 February 2024 20:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Did Donald Trump “engage” in insurrection? And if he did, can he be kicked off the presidential ballot? Or should that decision be left up to Congress?

These are the major constitutional questions surrounding Mr Trump’s presidential campaign, including whether he is immune from prosecution for crimes connected to the January 6 attack and if his name can be removed from ballots because of them, that the US Supreme Court could soon settle.

On Thursday, the nation’s highest court will consider whether Colorado election officials can remove Mr Trump from the state’s ballots in 2024, after the state’s top court disqualified him from the presidency under the US Constitution’s “insurrection” clause.

Alex Woodward looks at what will be argued today before the nation’s highest court:

Will the Supreme Court keep Donald Trump on 2024 ballots?

BREAKING: Republican senators block Ukraine-border bill after Donald Trump opposes it

Wednesday 7 February 2024 20:19 , Oliver O’Connell

Senate Republicans blocked the path forward on a security package that included restrictions to immigration in exchange for aid to Ukraine, Israel and allies in the Indo-Pacific.

The legislation—which Senators James Lankford of Oklahoma, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Chris Murphy of Connecticut—failed 49-50 as a majority of Republican senators voted against the legislation. Speaker Mike Johnson and the rest of Republican leadership in the US House of Representatives opposed it as well.

Many Republicans came out with their opposition after former President Donald Trump condemned the legislation.

Eric Garcia and Katie Hawkinson report from Capitol Hill:

Republican senators block Ukraine-border bill after Donald Trump opposes it

Trump legal team looks to get Mar-a-Lago classified docs charges dropped

Wednesday 7 February 2024 20:00 , Oliver O’Connell

In a new filing, lawyers for Donald Trump said that they plan to file multiple motions to get the criminal charges in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case against the former president dismissed, NBC News reports.

“Defendants currently plan to file on February 22, at minimum, a series of motions to dismiss the Superseding Indictment and certain of the charges therein,” Todd Blanche and Christopher Kise wrote in the newly filed motion, which seeks to extend certain deadlines in the case.

The superseding indictment in the case alleges Mr Trump was involved in a scheme to delete security video at his Palm Beach home and private club.

They added that they are “still evaluating potential motions” which could relate to presidential immunity, the Presidential Records Act, their client’s security clearances, and “selective and vindictive prosecution”.

Both sides — the defence and Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team have until 22 February to file pretrial motions in the case.

Chip Roy points out Trump failed to ‘close the border’ for his whole presidency

Wednesday 7 February 2024 19:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Republican Rep Chip Roy, known for his blunt speaking in the House of Representatives, served up a fact-check to Donald Trump concerning the southern border with Mexico and the flow of migrants.

Speaking after apparent the collapse of the bipartisan border bill, negotiated in the Senate, Mr Roy, who represents the 21st District of Texas between San Antonio and Austin, called out those who claim that no legislation is needed.

Opponents of the bill claim that the president already has the power to deal with the border and even order it closed — something that they claim Joe Biden is refusing to do.

One of the most vocal critics of the bill — credited with tanking the legislation by calling around to loyalist lawmakers to persuade them to vote against it despite Republicans specifically asking for such legislation — is Mr Trump.

Speaking in the lower chamber of Congress on Tuesday, Rep Roy specifically called out the former president.

Continue reading…

Chip Roy says Trump failed to ‘close the border’ during every year of his presidency

Watch: Mayorkas addresses failed GOP efforts to impeach him

Wednesday 7 February 2024 19:40 , Oliver O’Connell

Another Trump Georgia co-defendant joins move to disqualify Fulton County DA Fani Willis

Wednesday 7 February 2024 19:35 , Oliver O’Connell

Another of Donald Trump’s co-defendants in the Georgia election interference case brought against the former president and 14 others has joined the call to have Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis disqualified from the case.

Jeffrey Clark, who was formerly a high-ranking official in the Justice Department in the Trump administration, alleges Ms Willis has “personal and financial interest” in the prosecution.

He echoes the other parties calling for her removal in focusing on the relationship she has with lead prosecutor Nathan Wade to which she has admitted, and her extrajudicial comments in which she defended him against the allegations.

Mr Clark also claims that Ms Willis “exploited the power of her office” to “threaten” Mr Wade’s estranged wife in a divorce filing.

Read the full filing here

Watch: Arizona senator tells colleagues ‘take your political theatre to Texas’ over failed border bill

Wednesday 7 February 2024 19:25 , Oliver O’Connell

Tucker Carlson’s Putin interview will ‘blow up’ US election, according to Russian propaganda

Wednesday 7 February 2024 19:15 , Oliver O’Connell

A Russian propagandist working for Kremlin-controlled state TV has claimed that Tucker Carlson’s interview with President Vladimir Putin is set to “blow up” the upcoming US election.

The Kremlin confirmed on Wednesday that the interview took place on Tuesday, and it is believed to be set for broadcast on Thursday.

Gustaf Kilander reports:

Putin propagandists claim Tucker Carlson interview will ‘blow up’ US election

Watch: GOP senator says he was threatened over border bill Trump railed against

Wednesday 7 February 2024 19:13 , Oliver O’Connell

Wednesday 7 February 2024 19:00 , Oliver O’Connell

Donald Trump’s legal team replies to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s argument that her conduct does not warrant disqualification from the sprawling Georgia election interference racketeering case she brought against the former president and his 14 co-defendants.

The Trump team claims that Ms Willis’s “extrajudicial racial comments” during a speech at a historically Black church created an “appearance of impropriety”.

Here’s our coverage of the speech:

Fani Willis defends prosecutor on Trump case after relationship claims

Steve Sadow, one of Mr Trump’s attorneys, writes that he “can only hope” that the district attorney will be required to explain her comments “in testimony under oath” when she, special prosecutor Nathan Wade — with whom she has admitted a relationship — and others in her office, testify in a 15 February hearing before Judge Scott McAfee.

Here’s Alex Woodward reporting on Ms Willis’s response:

Fani Willis rejects ‘salacious’ accusations in Trump election crimes case

After Nevada loss, Haley again lays into Trump and Biden’s ages

Wednesday 7 February 2024 18:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Despite a disastrous result in the Nevada primary where she was beaten by “None of these candidates” in a race in which Donald Trump did not participate, Nikki Haley continues to lay into the former president and current occupant of the Oval Office, Joe Biden, over their respective ages.

The former UN ambassador is focusing all of her energy on her home state of South Carolina where she served as governor for two terms, and has vowed to stay in the race for the Republican Party presidential nomination even after Tuesday’s embarrassing outcome in the Silver State.

Her campaign pitch against both Mr Trump and President Biden is that they are both too old to lead the country, aged 77 and 81 respectively, and that it is time for generational change. Ms Haley is 52.

Continue reading…

Nikki Haley lays into Trump and Biden’s ages again after disastrous night in Nevada

Watch: Pelosi has some advice for Speaker Johnson…

Wednesday 7 February 2024 18:30 , Oliver O’Connell

What’s the most ‘devastating’ part of Trump’s immunity loss?

Wednesday 7 February 2024 18:15 , Oliver O’Connell

Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel on Tuesday taunted Donald Trump after a federal appeals court ruled he does not have “immunity” from prosecution for crimes committed while he was in office.

Martha McHardy reports on what he said:

Kimmel reveals most ‘devastating’ part of Trump’s immunity loss

GOP lawmaker changes mind on quitting Congress, as fellow Republicans line up to replace her

Wednesday 7 February 2024 17:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Republican Congresswoman Victoria Spartz announced that she will seek re-election in Indiana, surprising voters after announcing last year that she planned to end her time in Congress after her current term.

Ms Spartz has already served two terms in Congress and had said in February last year that she did not plan to seek a third, instead wanting to spend more time with her family, according to the Associated Press.

But in a statement on Monday, Ms Spartz announced that she had changed her mind, saying: “Looking where we are today, and urged by many of my constituents, I do not believe I would be able to deliver this Congress, with the current failed leadership in Washington, DC, on the important issues for our nation that I have worked very hard on.”

Nine Republicans have already announced their intent to run for the seat they believed would be uncontested by an incumbent.

Graig Graziosi reports on the somewhat awkward situation…

Republican lawmaker U-turns on plan to quit as she announces surprise re-election bid

Watch: Chip Roy says Trump failed to ‘close the border’ during every year of his presidency

Wednesday 7 February 2024 17:30 , Oliver O’Connell

Jan 6: State Department security officer arrested over Capitol riot

Wednesday 7 February 2024 17:15 , Oliver O’Connell

A former contractor for the US Department of State has been criminally charged in connection with the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.

Kevin Alstrup of Washington DC was arrested and charged with four misdemeanour offences on 6 February, including entering and remaining in a restricted building, disorderly conduct and unlawful picketing.

Mr Alstrup was employed by the State Department as a “diplomatic security officer” at the time of the riots, according to an FBI affidavit. In that role, he would have been “familiar with providing security and protection for high-ranking government officials or sensitive locations, like embassies,” according to court documents.

Surveillance footage and still images from livestreams included in the charging documents show Mr Alstrup inside the US Capitol during the siege.

Alex Woodward has more details on the charges against Mr Alstrup:

State Department security officer arrested over January 6 Capitol riot

Marjorie Taylor Greene gets into another wild spat with fellow lawmaker

Wednesday 7 February 2024 16:45 , Oliver O’Connell

One might wonder why this keeps happening…

Marjorie Taylor Greene gets into wild online spat about bathroom habits and the klan

Ms Greene was also slapped down by fellow GOP lawmaker Tom McClintock whom she said should “read the room” concerning his vote against impeaching DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The California Republican suggested that she might instead read the Constitution.

Watch below:

Watch: Speaker Johnson says ‘democracy is messy’ after failure to pass Mayorkas impeachment

Wednesday 7 February 2024 16:41 , Oliver O’Connell

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