A federal appeals court has ruled that Donald Trump does not have “immunity” from prosecution for crimes committed while in office, landing another major blow to his efforts to evade criminal charges brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith for his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

His attorneys are expected to swiftly appeal to the full bench of appeals court judges, or up to the US Supreme Court, teeing up another major constitutional test involving Mr Trump’s campaign at the nation’s highest court.

The ruling comes after new polling from CNN that found that most Americans believe there should be a verdict on Mr Trump’s election subversion charges ahead of November’s presidential election.

Meanwhile, in an interview with Newsmax, the former president suggested that the US no longer had “free and fair elections” and called the country “pathetic”.

In other remarks, he also appeared to signal the end of Ronna McDaniel’s tenure as Republican National Committee chair, ridiculed Joe Biden for passing on a Super Bowl interview, and had some kind words for King Charles III following his cancer diagnosis.

Key Points

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

  • Trump taunts Haley ahead of Nevada by declaring primaries ‘seem to be over’

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

  • Trump names two potential running mates

  • Republican says he would impose more tariffs on Chinese goods if he wins election

  • Judge’s decision in Trump civil fraud trial now expected in early or mid-February

‘SAVE PRESIDENTIAL IMMUNITY: Trump reacts to appeals court decision

17:50 , Oliver O’Connell

Donald Trump has personally reacted to the appeals court decision that stated he is not immune from criminal prosecution for his 2020 election interference charges.

Following an earlier statement from his campaign spokesperson, the former president wrote on Truth Social:

A President of the United States must have Full Immunity in order to properly function and do what has to be done for the good of our Country. A Nation-destroying ruling like this cannot be allowed to stand. If not overturned, as it should be, this decision would terribly injure not only the Presidency, but the Life, Breath, and Success of our Country. A President will be afraid to act for fear of the opposite Party’s Vicious Retribution after leaving Office. I know from personal experience because I am going through it right now. It will become a Political Weapon used for Election Interference. Even our Elections will be corrupted and under siege. So bad, and so dangerous for our Nation. SAVE PRESIDENTIAL IMMUNITY!

You can read the full ruling here which refutes all of Mr Trump’s arguments.

Alex Woodward has been following the case and filed this report earlier today:

Appeals court rejects Trump’s immunity claim in Jan 6 case

Ann Coulter offers brutal advice for Trump: ‘Die’

17:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter did not mince her words when asked what Trump could do to “help us take America back”.

“Maybe he could die?” she wrote on X.

Coulter was previously one of Trump’s most prominent supporters. In 2016, she endorsed the former president and authored a book, In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome!

However, she turned against the former president after accusing him of “betraying” his voters by failing to complete the much-touted wall along the US-Mexico border to stop the flow of undocumented migrants.

She has since been an outspoken critic, describing him as “the biggest wimp ever to serve” and “a gigantic baby” who “can barely speak English”.

Martha McHardy has more.

Ann Coulter offers brutal advice for Trump: ‘Die’

Trump civil fraud trial: Judge asks if Weisselberg is ‘changing his tune’ over perjury

17:21 , Oliver O’Connell

Justice Arthur Engoron has written to the New York attorney general’s office and Donald Trump’s legal team concerning last week’s reporting that former Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg is in negotiation to plead guilty to perjury.

The judge writes: “I of course want to know whether Mr. Weisselberg is now changing his tune, and whether he is admitting he lied under oath in my courtroom at this trial.”

He notes that while the New York Times article in question revolves around the reported size of the Trump Tower penthouse, he also would like to know whether this also impacts his other testimony.

“I do not want to ignore anything in a case of this magnitude.”

Judge Engoron asks the attorneys in the fraud case for their takes on how he should proceed on this matter, “if at all, including the timing of the final decision” and says they should respond by Wednesday at 5pm.

Read the full letter here

Here’s our reporting on Weisselberg’s apparent negotiations:

Former Trump executive reportedly in talks to plead guilty to perjury

Jimmy Kimmel notes Trump and Elvis do have one thing in common

17:15 , Oliver O’Connell

Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel on Monday mocked Donald Trump for comparing himself to Elvis Presley.

Amid preparations for the Nevada Republican primary and caucuses this week, the former president took time to ask his followers on Truth Social for their thoughts on his similarity to the “King of Rock and Roll”.

“For so many years people have been saying that Elvis and I look alike,” Mr Trump posted on Saturday, alongside an image comprising half of Elvis’ face lined up with half of his own.

“Now this pic has been going all over the place. What do you think?”

Mr Kimmel had a cutting response to Mr Trump on his show on Monday night.

Martha McHardy has the story:

Kimmel says Trump and Elvis have one thing in common: ‘He too will die on a toilet’

Watch: Gaetz urges fellow lawmakers to support resolution stating Trump did not engage in insurrection

17:10 , Oliver O’Connell

Newsmax interview: Trump claims the US is ‘just so pathetic’

16:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Donald Trump struck a less than patriotic note during an interview with Newsmax on Monday when he claimed that America was “just so pathetic” under his successor Joe Biden.

In a wide-ranging discussion with the conservative broadcaster’s anchor Rob Schmitt, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination claimed that the United States’s status on the world stage has badly diminished since he left the White House in January 2021 due to, as he sees it, President Biden’s mishandling of the wars in Ukraine and Gaza.

“The country is just, it’s so pathetic,” he told Mr Schmitt. “And you know other countries are watching this…”

Joe Sommerlad reports:

Trump claims the US is ‘just so pathetic’ in ranting Newsmax interview

Watch: Might the Supreme Court not take the case?

16:06 , Oliver O’Connell

Neal Katyal, former principal deputy solicitor general of the United States, doesn’t think that the Supreme Court will take the case. Here’s what he told MSNBC this morning:

Trump immunity case: What options does the Supreme Court have now?

16:01 , Oliver O’Connell

What might the Supreme Court do next given the Trump team is expected to appeal the decision?

Steve Vladeck of the University of Texas School of Law believes the court has two options: “It can deny Trump’s forthcoming stay request, and clear the way for the prosecution to proceed quickly; or it can grant the stay—and expedite its review of the merits of today’s ruling, with a decision by June.”

He adds: “Either way, I expect the Court to rule on the stay application either late next week or early the week of February 19. So we should know a *lot* more about the timing of the next steps sometime in the next two weeks.”

Trump spokesperson reacts to court ruling

15:52 , Oliver O’Connell

“If immunity is not granted to a President, every future President who leaves office will be immediately indicted by the opposing party. Without complete immunity, a President of the United States would not be able to properly function! Deranged Jack Smith’s prosecution of President Trump for his Presidential, official acts is unconstitutional under the doctrine of Presidential Immunity and the Separation of Powers. Prosecuting a President for official acts violates the Constitution and threatens the bedrock of our Republic. President Trump respectfully disagrees with the DC Circuit’s decision and will appeal it in order to safeguard the Presidency and the Constitution.”

— Steven Cheung, spokesperson for Donald Trump

Here’s what the panel of judges had to say about the threat of indictments to former presidents:

Additionally, former President Trump’s “predictive judgment” of a torrent of politically motivated prosecutions “finds little support in either history or the relatively narrow compass of the issues raised in this particular case,” … as former President Trump acknowledges that this is the first time since the Founding that a former President has been federally indicted. Weighing these factors, we conclude that the risk that former Presidents will be unduly harassed by meritless federal criminal prosecutions appears slight.

Further on in their ruling the justices add:

It would be a striking paradox if the President, who alone is vested with the constitutional duty to ‘take care that the Laws be faithfully executed,’ were the sole officer capable of defying those laws with impunity.

Trump stance would collapse separation of powers, court says

15:44 , Oliver O’Connell

Per the US District Court panel:

We cannot accept former President Trump’s claim that a President has unbounded authority to commit crimes that would neutralize the most fundamental check on executive power — the recognition and implementation of election results. Nor can we sanction his apparent contention that the Executive has carte blanche to violate the rights of individual citizens to vote and to have their votes count.

At bottom, former President Trump’s stance would collapse our system of separated powers by placing the President beyond the reach of all three Branches. Presidential immunity against federal indictment would mean that, as to the President, the Congress could not legislate, the Executive could not prosecute and the Judiciary could not review. We cannot accept that the office of the Presidency places its former occupants above the law for all time thereafter.

Careful evaluation of these concerns leads us to conclude that there is no functional justification for immunizing former Presidents from federal prosecution in general or for immunizing former President Trump from the specific charges in the Indictment. In so holding, we act, “not in derogation of the separation of powers, but to maintain their proper balance.”

Read the full ruling here

Trump wrote angry all-caps post about presidential immunity late on Monday

15:31 , Oliver O’Connell

Did Donald Trump and his legal team get a heads-up on the appeals court decision?

Or was this Truth Social post from 11.25pm on Monday just part of his usual late-night online ranting?

Full story: Trump does not have immunity from election conspiracy charges, appeals court rules

15:15 , Alex Woodward

A federal appeals court has ruled that Donald Trump does not have “immunity” from prosecution for crimes committed while he was in office, landing another major blow to his efforts to evade criminal charges for his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

His attorneys are expected to swiftly appeal to the full bench of appeals court judges, or up to the US Supreme Court, teeing up another major constitutional test involving Mr Trump’s campaign at the nation’s highest court.

Last year’s federal grand jury indictment outlines a multi-state scheme from Mr Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election, culminating in his failure to stop a mob’s violent breach of the US Capitol on January 6. He faces four criminal charges, including conspiracy and obstruction.

Continue reading:

Appeals court rejects Trump’s immunity claim in Jan 6 case

Trump NOT immune from prosecution, DC Circuit rules

15:07 , Oliver O’Connell

Former president Donald Trump (Getty Images)Former president Donald Trump (Getty Images)

Former president Donald Trump (Getty Images)

Donald Trump is not immune from prosecution over the election conspiracy charges against him, the US District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled in a 3-0 decision by the panel of judges.

“For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant. But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution.”

Read the full ruling here

This is a developing story…

JD Vance shut down after suggesting Trump could defy Supreme Court

14:45 , Joe Sommerlad

Republican senator JD Vance – who is reportedly being considered for Donald Trump’s potential administration – repeated baseless claims about the 2020 presidential election and falsely asserted that Trump as president could defy the US Supreme Court.

The Ohio senator told ABC News on Sunday that unlike then-vice-president Mike Pence, he would not have certified the results of the 2020 election, which he falsely claimed is the “legitimate way” to handle contested results from states that Trump lost.

There is no provision in the US Constitution to do so, nor is there any evidence of widespread election fraud that manipulated 2020’s outcome against Trump.

Here’s Alex Woodward on the storm of condemnation his comments have attracted.

JD Vance shut down after suggesting Trump could defy Supreme Court

Biden says he has to ‘hold my Irish temper’ when talking about Trump

14:15 , Joe Sommerlad

President Joe Biden told a group of donors to his re-election bid on Sunday that the mere thought of his predecessor’s callous attitude towards the nation’s military veterans and honoured war dead forces him to expend extra energy to keep his anger in check.

Andrew Feinberg has more.

Biden says he has to ‘hold my Irish temper’ when talking Trump at campaign fundraiser

Christie warns a Trump second term will be a ‘vendetta presidency’

14:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Speaking with ABC News in his first interview since dropping out of the Republican race about a month ago, the former New Jersey governor said a second Trump administration would amount to a “vendetta presidency” and have a massive personnel problem.

Gustaf Kilander has more.

Chris Christie warns a Trump second term will be a ‘vendetta presidency’

The hidden way Trump could still beat Haley in today’s Nevada primary

13:45 , Joe Sommerlad

As if election season weren’t complicated enough already, Nevada Republicans are holding both a primary and a caucus this year – effectively giving registered conservative voters two chances to declare their preferred candidate for the party’s presidential nomination.

The situation is the result of a dispute between the state and the local branch of the Republican party over a bipartisan bill passed by Nevada’s state legislature in 2021.

The bill stipulated that the Silver State must hold political primaries if more than one candidate is in contention for a given race, doing away with the old party-run caucus system traditionally employed.

As a result, a mandatory state-run Republican primary will be held on Tuesday 6 February.

However, the state Republican party pushed back on this plan and organised that caucuses will also take place on Thursday 8 February.

Under the Nevada Republican party’s rules, candidates are barred from running in both the primary and in the caucuses.

This odd state of play has divided the contenders into two camps and means that Nikki Haley and Donald Trump will not go head-to-head this time around, as they did in Iowa and New Hampshire, but that doesn’t mean Trump supporters can’t spoil her party in the primary.

Here’s how.

The hidden way Trump could still beat Haley in the Nevada primary

Majority of Americans don’t trust Supreme Court to rule fairly on 2024 election cases, poll finds

13:15 , Joe Sommerlad

Here’s Maroosha Muzaffar with more from the same poll, which also identified a large proportion of the American electorate suspicious of the conservative-majority on the Supreme Court.

Most Americans don’t trust Supreme Court to rule fairly on 2024 election cases – poll

Most Americans want verdict on Trump election charges before 2024 vote, poll finds

12:45 , Joe Sommerlad

Nearly half of Americans say that they want federal courts to reach a verdict on Donald Trump’s criminal charges stemming from his efforts to overturn the 2020 election before votes are cast in this year’s presidential election.

A CNN poll released on Monday found that 43 per cent of Americans see a resolution to that matter as a necessity given that Trump is likely to be the Republican nominee for president this year.

The share of respondents who agreed was markedly higher than the percentage of Americans who said it wasn’t important to their vote, which was around one in five, or the share who said the trial should be postponed until after the election (which was just 11 per cent). A further 16 per cent said they hoped the trial would conclude before November, but were not overly concerned with the outcome’s timing.

The poll is another piece in the growing pile of evidence suggesting that the greatest threat to Trump’s desired second term (beyond his unparalleled unfavourability ratings) remains his four criminal trials. The ex-president is facing a total of 91 felony counts, with prosecutors in two separate jurisdictions are alleging that he committed criminal acts in the course of attempting to reverse Joe Biden’s lawful victory in the 2020 election.

John Bowden takes a closer look.

Most Americans want verdict on Trump election charges before 2024 vote, poll finds

TV roundup: Hannity offended by Biden, Roy offended by Haley, Habba offended by everything

12:15 , Joe Sommerlad

Fox’s Sean Hannity last night pronounced his delicate sensibilities upset by reports that President Biden refers to Donald Trump as a “sick f***” in private, which the anchor felt was not becoming for a “grandfather figure”, conveniently overlooking the septuagenarian Trump’s own history of bad language (alluding to “s***hole countries” etc).

On CNN, Texas Republican congressman Chip Roy told Kaitlan Collins that Nikki Haley’s cameo on Saturday Night Live over the weekend indicated that she is not “representing the conservatives which I represent”.

Back on Newsmax, Trump lawyer Alina Habba complained about pretty much everything relating to last month’s $83.3m defamation award to E Jean Carroll by a New York jury, still smarting from an embarrassing defeat.

Undaunted Haley signals to Trump that she’s in it for the long haul

11:45 , Joe Sommerlad

Nikki Haley isn’t going anywhere.

At least, that’s the message her campaign is trying to get across this week as February begins and the battle for her home state of South Carolina ramps up.

Still trailing Donald Trump by a hefty margin in all national polling and most surveys of upcoming primary states, the former governor and UN ambassador is battling a perception that was born months before Iowa and New Hampshire voted: the idea that the race is over.

John Bowden has more.

Nikki Haley signals to Donald Trump that she’s in it for the long haul

Haley requests Secret Service protection amid rising threats

11:15 , Joe Sommerlad

Trump’s rival for the Republican presidential nomination Nikki Haley says she has asked the US Secret Service for protection due to ongoing threats of violence against her.

Haley told The Wall Street Journal on Monday afternoon that she had officially applied for help from the agency, which protects senior US politicians and their families.

It comes after at least two “swatting” attempts against the former South Carolina governor, in which police were called to her house by false reports of violence.

Io Dodds has more.

Nikki Haley requests Secret Service protection amid rising threats

Trump says US elections are ‘not free and fair’, ramps up pressure on McDaniel and Congress and rambles about ‘supply change’

10:45 , Joe Sommerlad

The Republican front-runner gave an interview to Rob Schmitt of Newsmax last night in which he said, among many other things, that it is time for McDaniel to go, that the US no longer has “free and fair elections” and that the country is “pathetic”.

He also further ramped up the pressure on Congress over its proposed border bill, calling it “a trap for Republicans”.

Finally, there was also this bizarre moment, which I confess I don’t entirely understand.

Has he misheard “supply chains” somewhere?

Truth Social: Trump pays tribute to ‘wonderful man’ King Charles III after cancer diagnosis

10:15 , Joe Sommerlad

This is rather more decent from Trump, quite a different tone from the bile he normally dumps on his social network.

Here is what President Biden had to say about His Majesty.

You can follow our liveblog on the King’s condition below, incidentally.

Charles shares cancer diagnosis as he takes a step back from public duties – latest

Truth Social: Trump says primaries ‘seem to be over’ and suggests axe hanging over RNC boss

09:46 , Joe Sommerlad

Donald Trump has taunted his rival for the Republican presidential rival Nikki Haley ahead of this week’s primary and caucus in Nevada, declaring on Truth Social that the nomination process “seems to be over” before pledging to “finish off a very unpopular candidate” in South Carolina later this month.

Amid a very upbeat post about his election prospects, the former president also appeared to signal the end for Ronna McDaniel’s tenure as Republican National Committee chair, unashamedly throwing his weight around as the most popular conservative in the country.

He also found time to gripe about his New York fraud trial and to ridicule Joe Biden, naturally.

Trump asks followers if he looks like Elvis

09:15 , Oliver O’Connell

No, really.

Donald Trump straw-polled supporters on Truth Social this weekend over his apparent likeness to the King of Rock and Roll.

Amid preparations for the Nevada Republican caucus next week, the former president took time to ask followers on the social media platform for their thoughts on his similarity to Elvis Presley. The former president shared an image comprising half of Elvis’ face lined up with half of his own.

“For so many years people have been saying that Elvis and I look alike,” Mr Trump posted on Saturday. “Now this pic has been going all over the place. What do you think?”

Ariana Baio reports on what replies he received:

Trump asks followers for validation that he looks like Elvis

Recap: Trump’s election conspiracy trial is off the calendar for now. New York is next

08:15 , Oliver O’Connell

On 4 March, Donald Trump was due to stand trial in a federal courthouse in Washington DC for criminal charges surrounding his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

But the date, roughly one month away, dropped off the court’s calendar this week, signalling what had long been anticipated and what federal prosecutors have warned judges would happen: the former president’s attempts to evade criminal prosecution by claiming “presidential immunity” have thrown the schedule off track.

It was all but expected. After Mr Trump’s “immunity” defence was shot down by the federal judge overseeing his case, his appeal has effectively ground proceedings to a halt for the last two months.

On Friday afternoon, the judge overseeing his case made it official: his federal election conspiracy trial date is no more, and the court will set a new one at another time.

Alex Woodward is tracking Mr Trump’s legal calendar:

Trump’s election conspiracy trial is off the calendar for now. New York is next

Roberta Kaplan says Trump used code to call her the c-word

06:15 , Oliver O’Connell

The top lawyer for writer E Jean Carroll has said that former President Donald Trump used a thinly veiled and well-known coded expression to call her the c-word during a deposition.

Attorney Roberta Kaplan represented Ms Carroll in both her defamation trials after Mr Trump repeatedly called the writer a liar and personally insulted her following the release of her 2019 memoir in which she claimed that the ex-president raped her in a Manhattan department store dressing room in the mid-1990s.

Mr Trump was found liable for sexual abuse in the first defamation trial, a ruling which was also applied to the second trial, meaning that the second jury only had to decide on damages, awarding Ms Carroll $83.3m.

On Friday, Ms Kaplan appeared on the George Conway Explains It All podcast, hosted by the conservative attorney who initially advised Ms Carroll to sue Mr Trump.

Continue reading…

E Jean Carroll’s lawyer says Trump used code to call her c-word

Why are people still sour on Joe Biden?

04:15 , Oliver O’Connell

Eric Garcia writes:

President Joe Biden got another boost on Friday when the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the US economy has added 353,000 jobs and that unemployment remains at a steady 3.7 per cent.

And jobs aren’t the only part of the economy that look great right now.

Hourly earnings grew by 4.5 per cent in the past year, outpacing inflation for the past 12 months. This means that even as prices rise, Americans are taking more money home.

Last month, the Bureau of Economic Analysis announced that gross domestic product grew by 3.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year. By comparison, Germany’s economy contracted in the fourth quarter of 2023 and looks like it might head to a recession while Canada’s grew by 0.3 per cent in the fourth quarter.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who also served as chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, also said in a speech last month that, in other countries, real wages had declined and that, compared to the Great Recession of the late 2000s, labour force participation rates and employment rates have recovered fairly rapidly.

So why do people still feel so lousy when it comes to Mr Biden’s handle on the economy?

Continue reading…

Jobs are hot, the economy is doing well. So why are people still sour on Joe Biden?

Classified docs case prosecutors say Trump team’s version of events ‘inaccurate and distorted’

03:15 , AP

Prosecutors in the classified documents case against former President Donald Trump told a judge Friday that defense lawyers had painted an “inaccurate and distorted picture of events” and had unfairly sought to “cast a cloud of suspicion” over government officials who were simply trying to do their jobs.

The comments came in a court filing aimed at urging a judge to reject a Trump team request from last month that sought to force prosecutors to turn over a trove of information that defense lawyers believe is relevant to the case.

But special counsel Jack Smith‘s team said the defense was creating a false narrative about how the investigation began and was trying to “cast a cloud of suspicion over responsible actions by government officials diligently doing their jobs.”

“The defendants’ insinuations have scant factual or legal relevance to their discovery requests, but they should not stand uncorrected,” the prosecution motion states.

“Put simply,” the prosecutors added, “the Government here confronted an extraordinary situation: a former President engaging in calculated and persistent obstruction of the collection of Presidential records, which, as a matter of law, belong to the United States for the benefit of history and posterity, and, as a matter of fact, here included a trove of highly classified documents containing some of the nation’s most sensitive information. The law required that those documents be collected.”

Continue reading the full article…

Haley trolls Trump with spoof Halloween costume

02:15 , Oliver O’Connell

Nikki Haley has poked fun at her Republican rival Donald Trump by posting a picture to a spoof Halloween costume branding him as the “weakest general election candidate ever”.

The former South Carolina governor posted the meme to X on Thursday, claiming that the former president would “hand Democrats a big victory” should he be selected to run.

Ms Haley and Mr Trump are the two main remaining candidates hoping to scoop the GOP presidential nomination. Mr Trump has previously scooped several major victories in the polls.

Ms Haley’s post on Thursday – a Fake Spirit Halloween Costumes meme – showed a smiling picture of Mr Trump.

Mike Bedigan has the story:

Haley trolls Trump with spoof Halloween costume

Colbert says Trump is right about one thing with Taylor Swift conspiracy

01:15 , Oliver O’Connell

Stephen Colbert joked on Wednesday that Donald Trump may be right about one thing when it comes to the wild, right-wing Taylor Swift conspiracy theories.

Martha McHardy reports:

Stephen Colbert says Trump is right about one thing with Taylor Swift conspiracy

Is Taylor Swift a Biden psyop?

00:15 , Joe Sommerlad

No.

But let’s take a look at why conservative media believe it might be the case…

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

Analysis: As crises mount, Biden’s hopes rest increasingly in his enemies’ hands

Monday 5 February 2024 23:15 , Oliver O’Connell

Andrew Feinberg writes:

For nearly three years, Joe Biden’s spokespeople have responded to questions about asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border by pointing to an immigration bill he proposed on the day he was sworn in as president. That bill was dead on arrival.

Now, with just months to go in an election contest he has described as an existential choice for American voters, he has chosen to throw his weight behind a bipartisan compromise bill that is far harsher than the progressive-tinged proposal he originally pitched. Not only that, but this one looks to be as equally dead as his own plan in January 2021.

Continue reading…

As crises mount, Biden’s future rests in his enemies’ hands

Haley signals to Trump that she’s in it for the long haul

Monday 5 February 2024 22:15 , John Bowden

Nikki Haley isn’t going anywhere.

At least, that’s the message her campaign is trying to get across this week as February begins and the battle for her home state of South Carolina ramps up.

Still trailing Donald Trump by a hefty margin in all national polling and most surveys of upcoming primary states, the former governor and UN ambassador is battling a perception that was born months before Iowa and New Hampshire voted: the idea that the race is over.

That idea became reality for many Republicans, particularly in Washington, after Mr Trump’s twin victories in the first two states of 2024. But Ms Haley is holding on like a barnacle, clinging to an 11-point margin of defeat in New Hampshire and her belief that she can close that gap even further in a state where she was governor for eight years.

As New Hampshire’s results came in last month, the Haley campaign insisted that their candidate would remain in the race through March. South Carolina, her advisers argued, presented a good opportunity for a resurgence against Mr Trump. Super Tuesday, they went on to insist, also represented favourable territory thanks to the ability of independent voters to participate in some state contests. Those independents broke heavily for Ms Haley in New Hampshire, and may represent her best shot at building a support base to rival Mr Trump’s.

Continue reading…

Nikki Haley signals to Donald Trump that she’s in it for the long haul

Might Trump’s federal election subversion trial extend into August?

Monday 5 February 2024 22:05 , Oliver O’Connell

Fourth Trump Georgia co-defendant calls for Fulton County DA Fani Willis to be removed from case

Monday 5 February 2024 21:45 , Oliver O’Connell

A fourth co-defendant of Donald Trump in the sprawling Georgia election interference case against the former president has joined calls for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis should be disqualified from prosecuting the case because of “indefensible and reprehensible” public comments she has made, according to a new court filing.

“All the causes for the disqualification are self-inflicted blows,” says the motion, filed by lawyers for former state GOP chair David Shafer.

Ms Willis has strayed “wildly from the legal guardrails that are designed to protect the accused from improper, extrajudicial comments.”

Mr Shafer is also asking Judge Scott McAfee to change the venue for jury selection to either Burke or Peach County which are more evenly divided politically.

Here’s our latest reporting on the case:

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

Trump attorneys file final reply brief ahead of Supreme oral arguments on ballot eligibility

Monday 5 February 2024 21:32 , Alex Woodward

Donald Trump’s attorneys have filed the final reply brief ahead of Thursday’s oral arguments in the Supreme Court regarding the former president’s eligibility to be on the 2024 ballot with regard to section three of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.

Their arguments are outlined in a few sections:

  1. The president is not “an officer of the United States” as written under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment

  2. And if he was, he did not “engage in insurrection,” the disqualifying clause in Section 3

  3. And in any case, Section 3 should be “enforced only through the congressionally enacted methods of enforcement”

  4. And he can’t be kicked off the ballot because “no court or litigant can declare that President Trump is ‘presently’ disqualified from holding office without assuming or predicting that Congress will refuse to lift” any of Section 3 clauses that might apply (“Anderson may believe or hope that Congress will not waive section 3 between now and January 20, 2029. But neither the Colorado Supreme Court nor this Court can declare a candidate ineligible for the presidency now based on a prediction of what Congress may or may not do in the future.“)

You can read the full brief here

Here’s our reporting on the case:

Trump warns Supreme Court of ‘chaos and bedlam’ in ballot removal case

Does Trump look like Elvis?

Monday 5 February 2024 21:15 , Oliver O’Connell

Donald Trump straw-polled supporters on Truth Social this weekend over his apparent likeness to the King of Rock and Roll.

Amid preparations for the Nevada Republican caucus next week, the former president took time to ask followers on the social media platform for their thoughts on his similarity to Elvis Presley. The former president shared an image comprising half of Elvis’ face lined up with half of his own.

“For so many years people have been saying that Elvis and I look alike,” Mr Trump posted on Saturday. “Now this pic has been going all over the place. What do you think?”

Ariana Baio reports on how his followers responded:

Trump asks followers for validation that he looks like Elvis

Americans are waking up to what a Biden-Trump rematch really means

Monday 5 February 2024 20:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Eric Garcia writes:

For much of his time in the White House, President Joe Biden has faced low approval ratings. In addition, a steady stream of polls last year showed him losing to Donald Trump in a hypothetical rematch.

Progressives warned that Biden’s handling of the Israel-Gaza war, in particular, would risk him losing support among young people. Rising cost of living prices in 2021 and 2022 also caused his approval to take a hit — as well as the US exit from Afghanistan, which led to the deaths of 13 US servicemembers. More than a few surveys have shown that Biden’s age also remains a problem for him, despite the fact Trump is only a few years younger.

Yet, with the exception of Republican primary voters, most voters did not believe that the United States would undertake another Trump-Biden election. We moved from denial that it could ever happen; to anger at the realization that no other candidates would challenge Biden; to bargaining (what if we could convince a Democratic Biden challenger? What if Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis or someone else could beat Trump in a primary?) It was a very American progression through the classic stages of grief.

Now, it appears that we are moving from depression to acceptance.

Continue reading…

Polls show what Americans really think of a Biden-Trump rematch

Trump says border bill is ‘lunacy’, slamming lead GOP negotiator Senator Lankford

Monday 5 February 2024 20:30 , Oliver O’Connell

Biden and Trump share love for ‘Morning Joe’

Monday 5 February 2024 20:15 , Oliver O’Connell

As President Joe Biden gears up for a re-election rematch against former president Donald Trump, he’ll be highlighting significant differences between himself and the man he defeated and evicted from the White House four years ago.

But there’s one thing Mr Biden and Mr Trump definitely have in common: a television diet that includes the longrunning MSNBC programme Morning Joe.

Andrew Feinberg reports from Washington, DC:

One thing Biden and Trump have in common? A love for ‘Morning Joe’

Trump wishes King Charles III ‘a fast and full recovery’

Monday 5 February 2024 20:06 , Oliver O’Connell

Donald Trump has wished King Charles III “a fast and full recovery” following the news of the monarch’s diagnosis with cancer.

Read our full report on the king’s health here:

Buckingham Palace’s statement in full as King Charles diagnosed with cancer

Trump claims he would be ‘ratings gold’ to replace Biden in Super Bowl interview

Monday 5 February 2024 19:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Over on Truth Social, Donald Trump has reacted to the news that President Joe Biden will not be taping a pre-Super Bowl interview as had become traditional.

The former president wrote:

Crooked Joe Biden has just announced that he will not be doing the big Super Bowl Interview. A great decision, he can’t put two sentences together. I WOULD BE HAPPY TO REPLACE HIM – would be “RATINGS GOLD!”

ICYMI: Trump and Haley face off… on SNL

Monday 5 February 2024 19:15 , Oliver O’Connell

Nikki Haley has made a surprise appearance on Saturday Night Live as she hones sharper attacks against former president and 2024 rival Donald Trump ahead of the South Carolina primary.

The former governor and United Nations ambassador has been holding events across her home state ahead of the 2024 Republican primary there later this month.

But on Saturday, she made an unannounced stop in New York for a cameo during SNL’s cold open, where she sparred with breakout star James Austin Johnson who was impersonating Donald Trump.

John Bowden has the story:

Nikki Haley makes surprise cameo on Saturday Night Live

Biden says he has to ‘hold my Irish temper’ as he rages at ‘Donald Hoover Trump’

Monday 5 February 2024 18:45 , Oliver O’Connell

President Joe Biden told a group of donors to his re-election bid on Sunday that the mere thought of his predecessor’s callous attitude towards the nation’s military veterans and honoured war dead forces him to expend extra energy to keep his anger in check.

Speaking to guests who’d assembled to hear him speak at a Henderson, Nevada fundraiser, Mr Biden was working through what has become a standard recitation of his record since taking office in 2021 when he turned to the matter of former president Donald Trump’s attitude towards men and women who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice in service of the United States.

He told attendees: “I have to hold my Irish temper” when it comes to that subject.

The matter that so evokes Mr Biden’s anger is a series of comments first reported by The Atlantic regarding Mr Trump’s attitude towards American war dead.

Andrew Feinberg reports from Washington, DC:

Biden says he has to ‘hold my Irish temper’ when talking Trump at campaign fundraiser

Cheney says neither Trump nor Vance ‘fit to serve’

Monday 5 February 2024 18:30 , Oliver O’Connell

JD Vance shut down after suggesting Trump could defy Supreme Court

Monday 5 February 2024 18:15 , Oliver O’Connell

Republican senator JD Vance – who is reportedly being considered for Donald Trump’s potential administration – repeated baseless claims about the 2020 presidential election and falsely asserted that Mr Trump as president could defy the US Supreme Court.

The Ohio senator told ABC News on Sunday that unlike then-vice-president Mike Pence, he would not have certified the results of the 2020 election, which he falsely claimed is the “legitimate way” to handle contested results from states that Mr Trump lost.

There is no provision in the US Constitution to do so, nor is there any evidence of widespread election fraud that manipulated 2020’s outcome against Mr Trump.

Alex Woodward reports:

JD Vance shut down after suggesting Trump could defy Supreme Court

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

Monday 5 February 2024 18:10 , Oliver O’Connell

New polling by CNN and SSRS shows that most Americans want a verdict on Donald Trump’s election subversion charges before the 2024 presidential election.

Some 48 per cent of those polled say it is essential to have a verdict before voting in November, with another 16 per cent saying they would prefer it to happen before then.

Only 11 per cent believe the trial should be postponed until after the election. A further 25 per cent say the timing of the trial does not matter to them.

A majority of 72 per cent of Democrats and 52 per cent of independents say it is essential to reach a verdict pre-election.

Republicans are more divided with 38 per cent saying that a verdict should be reached before the presidential election, including 20 per cent who call that essential.

Another 39 per cent say it doesn’t matter when the trial is held, and 23 per cent that they think the trial should be held after this election.

The polling took place between 25-30 January. There were 1,212 respondents.

Ann Coulter’s brutal advice for Trump: ‘Die’

Monday 5 February 2024 17:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter did not mince her words when asked what former president Donald Trump could do to “help us take America back”.

“Maybe he could die?” she wrote on X.

Ms Coulter was previously one of Mr Trump’s most prominent supporters. In 2016, she endorsed the former president and authored a book, In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome!

However, she turned against the former president after accusing him of “betraying” his voters by failing to complete the much-touted wall along the US-Mexico border to stop the flow of undocumented migrants.

She has since been an outspoken critic of Mr Trump, describing him as “the biggest wimp ever to serve” and “a gigantic baby” who “can barely speak English”.

Martha McHardy has the story:

Ann Coulter offers brutal advice for Trump: ‘Die’

Crenshaw rips GOP ‘stupidity’ for vowing to kill border deal

Monday 5 February 2024 17:30 , Oliver O’Connell

More and more Republicans are expressing frustration and outright anger over Donald Trump’s efforts to kill a bipartisan deal being worked out in the US Senate to address border security and the high numbers of migrants seeking asylum in the US.

On Thursday, Texas Congressman Dan Crenshaw joined that list. The border-state Republican’s opinion is significant as it shows that the House GOP is far from unified around Mr Trump’s desire to see the push to address immigration fail — despite Speaker Mike Johnson seemingly being on board with the former president’s wishes.

“The height of stupidity is having a strong opinion in something you know nothing about,” said the congressman in a gaggle with reporters in front of the steps of the US Capitol.

“I’m extremely disappointed in the strange maneuvering by many on the right to torpedo a potential border reform bill.”

John Bowden reports from Washington, DC:

Dan Crenshaw rips Republican ‘stupidity’ for vowing to kill border deal

House Republican leadership lines up with Trump on border bill

Monday 5 February 2024 17:22 , Oliver O’Connell

“Any consideration of this Senate bill in its current form is a waste of time. It is DEAD on arrival in the House. We encourage the US Senate to reject it.”

Voices: Republicans just wasted everyone’s time

Monday 5 February 2024 17:15 , Oliver O’Connell

Eric Garcia writes:

Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona had not even finished her call with reporters about the immigration-Ukraine bill when Republicans began to react.

Representative Matt Gaetz, the right-wing gadfly from Florida who ousted Kevin McCarthy, called it the “Senate Amnesty Bill” and said that it would force a future president Donald Trump administration “to let in illegals well into his term.” House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, who is currently auditioning to be Trump’s running mate, called it an “absolute non-starter.” In the Senate, Ohio’s JD Vance, perhaps the Trumpiest Senator, said he “cannot imagine why any Republican supports this atrocious proposal.”

But this is far from an “amnesty bill,” to borrow from Gaetz’s words.

Continue reading…

Republicans bizarrely refuse to take the win on immigration

Monday 5 February 2024 17:00 , Oliver O’Connell

With a single word Trump employs familiar playbook in tweaking his investigators

Monday 5 February 2024 16:45 , AP

Each time Donald Trump refers to a Georgia prosecutor ‘s colleague as her “lover,” he’s invoking a strikingly familiar turn of phrase.

After all, Trump as president repeatedly used the same word to mock two FBI officials, including an agent who helped lead the Russia election interference probe, after revelations that the pair had an extramarital relationship and had traded pejorative text messages about him.

Throughout years of scrutiny from prosecutors, culminating in 91 felony counts, Trump has repeatedly sought to deflect attention from himself by making the personal lives of investigators ripe for derision and ridicule. He’s jumped on allegations of affairs and leveled claims of bias against agents, prosecutors and judges. He’s also been quick to exploit the sometimes questionable decision-making, or occasional outright protocol breaches, by officials investigating him as a means to try to discredit entire inquiries.

The strategy underscores the extent to which Trump views his four criminal cases as battles to be won not just in a courtroom but in the court of public opinion, where attacks on officials — both for groundless reasons but also for actual judgment lapses and unforced errors — are capable of shaping perception of investigations and distracting from the underlying allegations of the probes.

Continue reading…

With a single word — ‘lover’ — Trump employs familiar playbook in tweaking his investigators

Trump’s election conspiracy trial is off the calendar… for now

Monday 5 February 2024 16:15 , Oliver O’Connell

On 4 March, Donald Trump was due to stand trial in a federal courthouse in Washington DC for criminal charges surrounding his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

But the date, roughly one month away, dropped off the court’s calendar this week, signalling what had long been anticipated and what federal prosecutors have warned judges would happen: the former president’s attempts to evade criminal prosecution by claiming “presidential immunity” have thrown the schedule off track.

It was all but expected. After Mr Trump’s “immunity” defence was shot down by the federal judge overseeing his case, his appeal has effectively ground proceedings to a halt for the last two months.

On Friday afternoon, the judge overseeing his case made it official: his federal election conspiracy trial date is no more, and the court will set a new one at another time.

Continue reading…

Trump’s election conspiracy trial is off the calendar for now. New York is next

Americans are waking up to what a Biden-Trump rematch really means

Monday 5 February 2024 15:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Eric Garcia writes:

For much of his time in the White House, President Joe Biden has faced low approval ratings. In addition, a steady stream of polls last year showed him losing to Donald Trump in a hypothetical rematch.

Progressives warned that Biden’s handling of the Israel-Gaza war, in particular, would risk him losing support among young people. Rising cost of living prices in 2021 and 2022 also caused his approval to take a hit — as well as the US exit from Afghanistan, which led to the deaths of 13 US service members. More than a few surveys have shown that Biden’s age also remains a problem for him, despite the fact Trump is only a few years younger.

Yet, with the exception of Republican primary voters, most voters did not believe that the United States would undertake another Trump-Biden election. We moved from denial that it could ever happen; to anger at the realization that no other candidates would challenge Biden; to bargaining (what if we could convince a Democratic Biden challenger? What if Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis or someone else could beat Trump in a primary?) It was a very American progression through the classic stages of grief.

Now, it appears that we are moving from depression to acceptance.

Continue reading…

Polls show what Americans really think of a Biden-Trump rematch

Trump says he would impose more tariffs on Chinese goods

Monday 5 February 2024 15:15 , Oliver O’Connell

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he would impose more tariffs on Chinese goods if he wins the presidential elections in November.

The tariff could exceed 60 per cent, said the former president in an interview with Fox News aired on Sunday.

“We have to do it,” said Mr Trump, amid high economic and regional tensions between the US and China.

Namita Singh reports:

Trump says he would impose more tariffs on Chinese goods if he wins election

Truth Social: Trump blasts border deal

Monday 5 February 2024 14:56 , Oliver O’Connell

Donald Trump has slammed the “horrendous” border bill calling it a “Death Wish for the Republican Party” and a “great gift to Democrats”.

Here’s what he wrote on Truth Social this morning:

Only a fool, or a Radical Left Democrat, would vote for this horrendous Border Bill, which only gives Shutdown Authority after 5000 Encounters a day, when we already have the right to CLOSE THE BORDER NOW, which must be done. This Bill is a great gift to the Democrats, and a Death Wish for The Republican Party. It takes the HORRIBLE JOB the Democrats have done on Immigration and the Border, absolves them, and puts it all squarely on the shoulders of Republicans. Don’t be STUPID!!! We need a separate Border and Immigration Bill. It should not be tied to foreign aid in any way, shape, or form! The Democrats broke Immigration and the Border. They should fix it. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!

Here’s our coverage of the much-anticipated legislation released by the bipartisan group of senators:

Bipartisan Senate group releases text of Ukraine-immigration agreement

Coming up this week: Supreme Court hearing on whether Trump can stay on the ballot

Monday 5 February 2024 14:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Coming up later this week, US Supreme Court justices will hear oral arguments in a major case that could determine whether Trump’s support for the January 6 attack – and his failure to stop it – disqualify him from holding public office under the scope of the 14th Amendment’s “insurrection” clause.

The justices have scheduled 80 minutes of oral argument time for the hearing on 8 February.

That includes 40 minutes from Trump’s team, 30 minutes from a group of Colorado voters who sued to kick him off the ballot, and 10 minutes from Colorado’s secretary of state, whose office handles elections.

Justices are expected to move relatively quickly in the case, which arrives smack dab in the middle of the 2024 election cycle, with Trump as the GOP’s likely presidential nominee.

Voices: Trump’s legal woes could yet derail his presidential campaign

Monday 5 February 2024 14:15 , Joe Sommerlad

Here’s Jon Sopel on how Trump’s race to the Republican nomination could yet be thwarted by the courts.

Trump’s legal woes could derail his presidential bid – but not in the way you think

Polls show what Americans really think of a Biden-Trump rematch

Monday 5 February 2024 13:45 , Joe Sommerlad

For much of his time in the White House, Joe Biden has faced low approval ratings. In addition, a steady stream of polls last year showed him losing to Donald Trump in a hypothetical rematch.

Progressives warned that Biden’s handling of the Israel-Gaza war, in particular, would risk him losing support among young people. Rising cost of living prices in 2021 and 2022 also caused his approval to take a hit — as well as the US exit from Afghanistan, which led to the deaths of 13 US servicemembers. More than a few surveys have shown that Biden’s age also remains a problem for him, despite the fact Trump is only a few years younger.

Yet, with the exception of Republican primary voters, most voters did not believe that the United States would undertake another Trump-Biden election. We moved from denial that it could ever happen; to anger at the realisation that no other candidates would challenge Biden; to bargaining (what if we could convince a Democratic Biden challenger? What if Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis or someone else could beat Trump in a primary?) It was a very American progression through the classic stages of grief.

Now, it appears that we are moving from depression to acceptance. Trump’s overwhelming victories have made it clear that there’s really no other option — and make no mistake: regardless of how pundits spin it, Trump still has an iron grip on a large portion of the GOP.

Here’s more from Eric Garcia.

Polls show what Americans really think of a Biden-Trump rematch

Biden wins South Carolina primary

Monday 5 February 2024 13:15 , Joe Sommerlad

The president unsurprisingly won the South Carolina Democratic primary on Saturday, taking a majority of the votes and delegates in the Democratic Party’s first official primary of the 2024 election season.

Biden was running against two lesser-known candidates: Minnesota representative Dean Phillips and self-help author Marianne Williamson, neither of whom have been given much media attention or appear to stand any realistic chance of making a mark on his bid for a second term in the White House.

Here’s more from Ariana Baio.

Biden wins South Carolina primary – initiating path to 2024 nomination

Trump asks followers for validation that he looks like Elvis

Monday 5 February 2024 12:45 , Joe Sommerlad

The orange narcissist straw-polled his supporters on Truth Social this weekend over his apparent likeness to the King of Rock and Roll.

Amid preparations for the Nevada Republican caucus next week, the former president took time to ask followers on the social media platform for their thoughts on his similarity to Elvis Presley.

The former president shared an image comprising half of Presley’s face lined up with half of his own.

“For so many years people have been saying that Elvis and I look alike,” Trump posted on Saturday. “Now this pic has been going all over the place. What do you think?”

His followers obliged. One shared an image of Elvis singing with the Republican’s face photoshopped on top and the words “Trump is the MAGA king” across it.

Another posted an image of both men’s side profiles, claiming they were “cut from the same cloth”.

Here’s Ariana Baio on the latest evidence that MAGA has lost its grip on reality entirely.

Trump asks followers for validation that he looks like Elvis

Former Trump official dies after attempted car-jacking in Washington

Monday 5 February 2024 12:15 , Joe Sommerlad

A former Trump and Obama administration official died on Saturday, days after being the victim of a reported violent attempted car-jacking in Washington, DC.

Mike Gill’s death was confirmed by his wife, Kristina Gill, in a statement to The Washington Post.

“It is with profound sadness that I wish to inform the community of the passing of my husband, Mike Gill,” the statement read.

“His sudden departure has left a void in our lives that can never be filled. In this time of grief, we are grateful for the outpouring of love and support from family, friends, and the community, and extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has reached out to offer condolences and assistance. Thank you for respecting our privacy as we mourn the loss of an incredible man.”

John Bowden has more.

Former Trump official dies after attempted car-jacking in Washington

Johnson denies Trump is ‘calling the shots’ in DC

Monday 5 February 2024 11:45 , Joe Sommerlad

Also on TV this weekend was the House speaker, who had a torrid old time on NBC’s Meet the Press and was forced to deny that Trump is essentially leading him by the nose as Congress attempts to thrash out funding for the US border to the satisfaction of all sounds.

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